Parting thoughts from a French diplomat as he leaves America.

Does the U.S. want to become a new “Middle Kingdom” or does it want to continue helping to shape the world?

Does the U.S. want to become a new “Middle Kingdom” or does it want to continue helping to shape the world?


François Delattre,France’s ambassador to the United Nations/ June 13, 2019 / Opinion, NYTimes

[RP: “The Middle Kingdom...was the domain of King Augustus Bonifacius. King Bonifacius was not a good ruler of the land. He was greedy, uncaring of his heirlooms, and kept a retinue of worthless knights. Eventually his misrule led to Farmer Giles' decision to establish himself as an independent lord and eventually the king of the new Little Kingdom. ...Augustus Bonifacius was unable to prevent the separation of Giles' realm from the Middle Kingdom.”

“Farmer Giles of Ham” is a short story written by J.R.R. Tolkien in 1947]

QUOTE:

We are now in a new world disorder. The three main safety mechanisms are no longer functioning: no more American power willing to be the last-resort enforcer of international order; no solid system of international governance; and, most troubling, no real concert of nations able to re-establish common ground.

In the absence of a functioning multilateral system, the world tends to devolve into spheres of influence; that leads of confrontation, as European history has shown too many times. The risk is even greater when geopolitical divides are superimposed on the technological battle between American- and Chinese-led digital worlds.

Europe faces an existential decision. Does it want to remain a full-fledged player in the world, with a vision and policy it owns? Or will it resign itself to becoming, at best, an impotent witness to the rivalry among the great global powers or, at worst, these powers’ playground?

The United States also faces a fundamental choice. Does it want to become a new “Middle Kingdom,” an insular Fortress America? Or does it want to continue speaking to the world and helping to shape it?

 A prerequisite for a stable international environment is for America to be engaged in world affairs and multilateral institutions. To combat terrorism, prevent nuclear proliferation, manage international crises and protect our children from an environmental tragedy in the making, we need America’s strong commitment, as well as new forms of multilateralism adapted to the times we live in. America can’t make it alone, and the world can’t make it without America.

UNQUOTE

READ THE ARTICLE…


Disclaimer The views and opinions relayed in this blog are those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Global Agility Services LLC or its staff.

Renew the Bretton Woods System

The gradual disintegration of the global rules-based economic order requires a new ‘Bretton Woods’ conference to reaffirm the benefit for all countries of internationally accepted, treaty-based economic relationships – and to reinvent the institutions to manage those rules.

The gradual disintegration of the global rules-based economic order requires a new ‘Bretton Woods’ conference to reaffirm the benefit for all countries of internationally accepted, treaty-based economic relationships – and to reinvent the institutions to manage those rules.


Stephen Pickford / June 12, 2019 / Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs

QUOTE:

Towards the end of the Second World War, the Allied powers came together in 1944 to plan a new economic order for the post-war world which would avoid a repeat of the disastrous policy mistakes of the 1920s and 1930s.

At the conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, 44 Allied countries met under the intellectual leadership of Harry Dexter White (a senior US Treasury official) and John Maynard Keynes. The conference envisaged new rules of the game to prevent countries following the ‘beggar-thy-neighbour’ policies that had led to the Great Depression.

This new structure was initially successful in allowing the world to recover after the war.

Over the subsequent 50 years the structure of the global economy changed rapidly.

But these institutions, and the rules that they manage, have not adapted quickly enough over the last decade to the changing world order, and to the growth of popular discontent with globalization and internationalism.

To tackle this erosion of support, a new ‘Bretton Woods’ conference is needed. As with its predecessor in 1944, its aim would be to reaffirm the benefits for all countries of international cooperation rather than unilateralism.

Risk versus reward

But the current challenges require a substantial rethink of the international economic and financial architecture. Incremental changes are unlikely to be able to address these challenges. And without changes, the Bretton Woods institutions – and the international economic system that they support – will continue to erode, until at some point they break.

UNQUOTE

The Bretton Woods Conference, 1944 / US State Dept. Archive

READ THE ARTICLE…


Disclaimer The views and opinions relayed in this blog are those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Global Agility Services LLC or its staff.

How the World is actually (not) governed

Blood Diamonds.PNG

Interview by LYNN FRIES of HARRIS GLECKMAN, senior fellow at the Center for Governance and Sustainability at the University of Massachusetts Boston. / May 23, 2019 / The Real News Network

[RP PREFACE:

We individuals are pawns on the bottom board of a 3-dimensional game of chess.  We organize into Nation-States so that we as law-abiding individuals are not in a war-prone “state of nature” vis a vis each other.  We’ve created and empowered Companies that cooperate/compete and produce wealth on the middle level of the game.  On the top level, Nation-States, who are in a “state of nature”, relate to each other…first to secure themselves with armies and alliances, second to prosper from their security. 

So, people and companies organized into countries; countries that make war and/or cooperate with each other in whatever ultimately non-binding yet lawful “international system” they can devise and maintain.

In the interview “There Are no Nation-States, Only Corporate Global Governors” Harris Gleckman describes the players and the state of play in this space between nations at the top of our world.  He focuses on how, during the recent decades of “globalization”, corporate players from the middle level have begun to play independently not only in the “international” space between Nation-States but also inside combinations of Nation-States who, until now, enclosed both their populations and their companies.  

So, people organized into countries with domestic companies; “post citizens” and transnational corporations; sovereign countries; and a non-sovereign “international system”.]

It’s a long 2-part interview.  I am going to quote some descriptions and definitions, then I’m going to follow the author by relaying the example he used to best explain his point.

 

QUOTE: 

 “One of the things which prompted the World Economic Forum to... eel the need for a new system of global governance was an anxiety that the whole globalization project of the last 30 years… …they could see that the aspirational benefits collapsed with the impact of the start of the 2008-’09 financial crisis. And so, they said if we’re not going to be able to maintain the dreams of people, their anger will come to the fore. And so, we need to come up with a new system of governance which keeps the corporate role central, but now involves civil society and governments and other actors to be participants in this process…”

 

“Previous to this initiative on multistakeholderism , we had formal global governors in nation-states and de facto governors in the corporate world.

Under multistakeholderism, the formal global governors now become a combination of corporate executives, government representatives, civil society representatives, academics, media figures, whatever combination is seen as useful for providing a new buffer space in global governance, but that remains unenforceable, remains a voluntary system.”

 

Volunteerism is another principle in back of multi-stakeholder governance. When volunteerism says we will declare this is what we would like to do. Those who would like to join this process might be welcome to do so. When they find that it’s not what they like, they can say goodbye. And if they find that the voluntary principles that are articulated are not to their short-term or medium-term sense of power, they can ignore it, because there’s no statutory penalty for not doing it.”

[Example: Blood Diamonds]

“A number of major civil society organizations correctly brought to the world’s attention that diamonds were being taken from central war zones in Africa, sold on the international markets and then the money that was from those sales was being used to buy arms to continue the wars in those areas. They brilliantly created the public image that these diamonds, which the industry had spent decades saying these are love objects, you provided one to someone that you really loved. But these were really, really blood diamonds. They were tied up in death and destruction.

This was a shock to the world diamond industry. This was a shock to some of the diamond exporting countries who saw some of their income go down. And so, the diamond industry said to the civil society organizations, “let’s join forces. We can solve this problem in conjunction with some of the African exporting countries. And we will set up a voluntary certification system.” That voluntary certification system was that the countries were to say that any given group of diamonds were extracted from areas which were not war zones.

What happened at the United Nations is that those African countries and the European countries went to the United Nations and said don’t deal with this issue. It is being handled by this multi-stakeholder group. Let’s give them time to do it by themselves. And in fact, let’s give them the United Nations blessing for their efforts. The blood diamond called the Kimberley Process tried to set out, wrote some rules defining areas in conflict, defining how the certificate should work. But then it didn’t really work that way when diamonds were being presented to the diamond industry to purchase. Funny thing, there were no arrests made if the diamonds didn’t have the right certificates. Funny thing, every once in a while some of these diamonds were being certified by countries as if they came from non-war areas. Civil societies raised their voices, saying, wait a minute, we’ve got to fix our certificates. We have to punish those countries who are falsely certifying diamonds. We have to issue sanctions against firms who are buying uncertified diamonds. The diamond industry and the countries involved said no, no, no. Eventually the civil society organizations, one by one, withdrew.

And so you end up having a situation where even the public pressure of those three key organizations that brought to the world’s attention the issue of blood diamonds had to withdraw, because the process was so voluntary it did not work. However, it did manage to prevent the international system from actually having formal intergovernmental rules about the process or establishing global sanctions that could, through a multilateral system, been much more effective.”

UNQUOTE

READ THE INTERVIEWS…

There Are no Nation-States, Only Corporate Global Governors (Pt 1/2)

Three Ways To Discipline Corporate Global Governors (Pt 2/2)


Disclaimer The views and opinions relayed in this blog are those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Global Agility Services LLC or its staff.

Breaking My Own Silence

“I come from many tribes — immigrant, introvert, working class, Korean, female, public school, Queens, Presbyterian. Growing up, I never knew that people like me could write books or talk in public. To this day, I worry that if I mess up, others like me might not be asked or allowed. This is how outsiders and newcomers feel. It is neither rational nor fair. I know.“

“I come from many tribes — immigrant, introvert, working class, Korean, female, public school, Queens, Presbyterian. Growing up, I never knew that people like me could write books or talk in public. To this day, I worry that if I mess up, others like me might not be asked or allowed. This is how outsiders and newcomers feel. It is neither rational nor fair. I know.“


By Min Jin Lee / May 20, 2019 / NYTimes

[RP: Here’s a rare heartfelt sharing of what a newcomer can experience. Walk a mile in these shoes. Reminds us that people are fragile — even in the best of circumstances — and that we usually don’t live in the ‘best of circumstances”. It’s from this understanding that we can appreciate each other’s resilience & dignity. ]

READ THE ARTICLE…


Disclaimer The views and opinions relayed in this blog are those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Global Agility Services LLC or its staff.

Spoken VERSUS Digital Languages

Languages.JPG

The above table and comments are based on:

Summary by language size & Languages used on the Internet

[RP:

Interested readers might also consider:

Internet World Users By Language

&

English is no longer the language of the web by Ethan Zuckerman / June 20, 2013 / Quartz ]

Disclaimer The views and opinions relayed in this blog are those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Global Agility Services LLC or its staff.

A cultural map of the world. Watch them morph from 1981 to 2015!

World Values.PNG

The World Values Survey is a global network of social scientists studying changing values and their impact on social and political life

[RP:

Note: Lower places on the map have more Traditional values; higher have “Secular-Rational” values.

The USA is more traditional than all Protestant and Catholic Europe and only 3 English-speaking countries are more traditional.

If you are knowledgeable regarding the Roman Catholic Church globally you won’t be surprised by how traditional African and Latin societies are compared to Catholic Europe and the USA.

Note: The Survival-oriented values of places to the left are, let’s say, indicative of the base of Maslow's hierarchy of needs; the Self-Expressive values on the right have to be affordable.

Again, the USA is more survival-oriented than much of the Self-Expressive “1st World”.

It’s fascinating to watch this over and over again, focusing on a group or a country. (Apparently, Thailand is at the center of the values universe.) Enjoy.

WATCH OUR VALUES MORPH…


Disclaimer The views and opinions relayed in this blog are those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Global Agility Services LLC or its staff.

Many Americans Will Need Long-Term Care. Few Can Afford It.

A decade from now, most middle-income seniors will not be able to pay the rising costs of independent or assisted living.

A decade from now, most middle-income seniors will not be able to pay the rising costs of independent or assisted living.


Paula Span / May 10, 2019 / NYTimes

QUOTE:

[By 2029] About 14.4 million people will fall into the middle-income category, almost double the current number. 

A decade hence, 80 percent of middle-income seniors will have less than $60,000 a year in income and assets, not including equity in their homes. Yet the estimated cost of assisted living plus out-of-pocket medical expenses will hit $62,000, by the team’s conservative estimate.

UNQUOTE

READ THE ARTICLE…


Disclaimer The views and opinions relayed in this blog are those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Global Agility Services LLC or its staff.

Europe’s Crisis of Integration

Two strands wind through the mesh of problems the Continent faces: the downsides of globalism, and lessons taken from the past.

Two strands wind through the mesh of problems the Continent faces: the downsides of globalism, and lessons taken from the past.


By Ian Kershaw, a British historian with a focus on Germany. / April 29, 2019 / NYTimes

QUOTE:

If there is a common thread in all of these problems, it is the interplay of national interests and identities with the demands of an increasingly integrated continent, and an increasingly global world.

If a sense of European identity has remained largely an idea and aspiration rather than a reality, it has nonetheless acquired a form of political content. “Europe,” in the eyes of most Europeans, has come to be largely synonymous (positively or negatively) with the European Union. “Europe” demarcates the countries of the bloc as an interwoven community of nations separate from the others on the European continent — mainly Russia and former members of the Soviet Union. This “Europe” is neither the “Europe of the fatherlands” favored by de Gaulle and others, nor the supranational entity that was associated with Jacques Delors. Rather, it stands as a unique entity somewhere in between. Some continue to look to an ever-widening ”Europe” incorporated in a federal European state as a utopian future. Others, increasing in number, regard “Europe” with distance, even hostility, as a foreign body impinging upon their sovereignty as nation-states.

This has left the “Europe” of the European Union in the eyes of many of its citizens as little more than an opaque and detached organization embodying rules and regulations that affect most people’s lives, but cannot be challenged through political engagement. That opens the door to the politics of nationalist and separatist movements. In reality, the main emotional allegiance is not to “Europe” but still to citizens’nation-state or region (or would-be independent nation-state).

However, while the union has been unable to create a genuine sense of European identity, the dangerously aggressive, chauvinistic nationalism that spawned two world wars scarcely exists any longer, and what does has been diluted and countered by the gradual increase in transnational cooperation and interdependence.

Europe has fought for and won freedom. It has acquired prosperity that is the envy of most of the world.

So, perhaps the elusive search for a European identity is unnecessary, as long as citizens of Europe’s individual nation-states are committed to upholding the common European principles of peace, freedom, pluralist democracy and the rule of law; to sustaining the material well-being that underpins that commitment; and to striving to strengthen wherever possible the bonds of transnational cooperation and friendship.

UNQUOTE

[RP:

It’s a thing about the globalized perspective that you can see more clearly in other countries what you are blind to in your own. When you consider another country you stand a better chance of not having your identification and your partisan loyalty stand in the way of fairly considering the facts and the essential situation. So read this article about Globalization’s impact on the self-governance of Europe to lay bare your logic, beliefs, values, et cetera…  Then, return to consider the USA. 

For instance, the article also includes the side comment on the USA:

Quote:

Today, the legacy of the past — overwhelmingly still the memories of the war, occupation and the Holocaust — plays a crucial role in shaping national identities in ways that have no equivalent in the United States.

Unquote

Do you really think that our memories of the European settlement era, Slavery, the Civil War, Urbanization, and the pendulum swing of Equality/Inequality don’t have an equally powerfully threatening impact on shaping our national identity? ]

READ THE ARTICLE…


Disclaimer The views and opinions relayed in this blog are those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Global Agility Services LLC or its staff.

Americans Are Among the Most Stressed People in the World, Poll Finds

Stress.PNG

Niraj Chokshi / April 25, 2019 / NYTimes

QUOTE:

WE WORSE:

In the United States, about 55 percent of adults said they had experienced stress during “a lot of the day” prior, compared with just 35 percent globally. Statistically, that put the country on par with Greece, which had led the rankings on stress since 2012.

About 45 percent of the Americans surveyed said they had felt “a lot” of worry the day before, compared with a global average of 39 percent.

 

WE ON PAR:

Meanwhile, the share of Americans who reported feeling “a lot” of anger the day before being interviewed was the same as the global average: 22 percent.

 

WE BETTER:

The findings were not all bleak for the United States. Despite having widespread negative experiences, Americans also generally reported more positive experiences, on average, than the rest of the world did.

Globally, just 49 percent of those interviewed said they had learned or had done something interesting the day before. In the United States, however, 64 percent of adults said the same.

 

 

BUT, THE WORLD’S IN A FUNK

Worldwide, negative experiences were just as widespread last year as in 2017, which was the darkest year for humanity in more than a decade, according to Gallup. While stress declined globally, anger increased. Worry and sadness reached new heights, and feelings of physical pain were unchanged.

UNQUOTE

READ THE ARTICLE…


Disclaimer The views and opinions relayed in this blog are those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Global Agility Services LLC or its staff.

Beyond Economics: Fears of Cultural Displacement Pushed the White Working Class to Trump

prri.png

Daniel Cox, Rachel Lienesch, Robert P. Jones, PhD / May 9, 2017 / PRRI

QUOTE:

Nearly half (48%) of white working-class Americans say, “things have changed so much that I often feel like a stranger in my own country.”

UNQUOTE

READ THE STUDY…


Disclaimer The views and opinions relayed in this blog are those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Global Agility Services LLC or its staff.