Sunday, January 27, 2008

Local Production for Local Consumption versus Ever Increasing Free Trade

O.k., here's the quandary:

What should be the goal of international economic relations?

Get rid of tariffs of all sorts as much as possible and let the world "free trade" marketplace dictate what goods are produced where and for whom?

Or should we encourage individual countries to identify basic goods and services that should be produced and provided locally for local consumption, encouraging each country's economic independence as much as possible?

At this point, "free trade" is winning the day, with national trade barriers regarded as anathema. But is this good?

Does insistence on "free trade" diminish the likelihood of the long-term continuation of the sovereignty of nation-states? Does this matter?

Mahatma Gandhi advocated local production for local consumption. So did E.F. Schumacher in Small is Beautiful. If a long list of commonly used goods in each country is produced there for local consumption, this tends to promote the independence of countries. Independent countries can be a bulwark against over-arching supra-national tyranny, which may be headed our way.

The study of the need for the continued independence of countries is added by an understanding of sovereignty. The Jacobs Elements of Sovereignty give a sort of definition of sovereignty. By studying its elements, one can begin to discern its nature. Feel free to check out the Elements on another post in this blog.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Jacobs Elements of Sovereignty

The Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776, declares that the entities that were English colonies in America were now "free and independent States." Those thirteen States eventually formed the sovereign nation we know as the United States of America. The United States regarded itself as a federation of sovereign States, with the federation itself as a sovereign nation among the nations of the world.

But what does it mean to be a sovereign state? What is sovereignty?

One way of defining sovereignty is to list its elements. Sovereignty is not really an all-or-nothing affair. An individual nation can be more or less sovereign, depending on the elements of sovereignty it retains.

If we are going to study globalization to determine what we should be doing about it, we need to figure out politically what is happening. In large part, globalization is the process of the degrading of the sovereignty of individual nations and the transferring of elements of sovereignty from the nation-state to other nations or supranational organizations.

So, let's declare a list of the elements of sovereignty (including overlapping elements to help in articulation) to aid us in this analysis. I will give it a label, as selfish as it is, since references to this list in future postings and discussions outside this blog will make further discussions clearer and references easier. Forgive me.

The Jacobs Elements of Sovereignty.

I declare that the fully sovereign nation has:

1. Exclusive power to tax its own citizens living in its territory and transactions originating or occurring within its territory.

2. Exclusive power to set and maintain tariffs on goods entering into or leaving its territory.

3. Exclusive power to make its own money and to regulate the use of money in its territory (Example: U.S. requires purchase of U.S.-based stocks in U.S. dollars.).

4. Exclusive power to have and control its own military and internal police force.

5. Exclusive power to jail its own citizens living in its territory and the right to prohibit other outside countries or international organizations from jailing its resident citizens or taking its citizens away.

6. Exclusive power to make and control its own domestic policy including the control of its own culture.

7. Exclusive power to make and control its own foreign policy.

8. Exclusive power to make and control its own governmental structure and systems.

9. Exclusive power to control its own natural resources.

10. Power to establish how its government will be involved in its society instead of having such involvement dictated by treaties or other nations or supranational organizations.

11. Exclusive power to control immigration to, emigration from, and residency in its territory.

12. Freedom from remedies against the sovereign nation for violation of treaties with outsiders except such action as may be taken by the outsider or outsiders without the consent of the sovereign. (This is unlike contracts between non-sovereign or less-sovereign entities that are subject to a higher third party, such as a court or tribunal, to impose remedies upon proven breaches.)

13. (Speaking in religious terms) Authority coming directly from God rather than through another nation or entity.

So this is a pretty good list of the elements of sovereignty. Getting a handle on these elements will help us to analyze globalization through the lens of sovereignty and should help us to figure out what political structures, rights, and processes we should put in place now to get ready for the coming Leviathan of one world government and its precursors and approximations.

More later . . .

Saturday, November 10, 2007

An assumption and a proposition

O.k., let's make an assumption and a proposition, and see where it leads us . . .

First, the assumption: let's assume that globalization is going to continue.

Let's assume that more and more power is going to be sapped from the family, from the local community, from churches and local organizations, and that that power is going to move up the line to the state, to the nation, and then on to supra-national organizations.

Hey, if we are talking about reality, the question arises: Is this assumption correct?

I suggest it is. Trends are up, up, up.

Look at it this way: many people nowadays are perpetually looking to the government to solve the perceived problems of living life on Earth.

From keeping the streets safe; to filling the potholes; to keeping the water piped into our homes and the air we breathe clean; to educating the kids in government schools ("public schools" as they are called in the United States); to "managing" the economy to minimize downturns and make sure reasonably safe jobs with decent pay are available; to providing everyone, or as many as possible, with health care; to finding global markets for locally produced goods - people look to government for answers and action.

Political campaigns are typically mostly about the candidates trying to outdo each other in their plans to have the government take and larger and larger role in solving society's problems, from misbehaving kids to trade deficits with other nations.

Combine this with the attitude that ever increasing global trade is a good thing, and you have a powerful recipe for the transfer of power from the individual and the family right up the line to international organizations.

Examples abound, but I'm just touching on a few general remarks here. Think about it and you'll come up with lots of your own examples.

So there's the assumption. What's the proposition?

The proposition is that we need to pay attention to globalization; we need to think about the process and ask ourselves, is this good? Are there dangers lurking in our headlong rush into economic and political integration around the world? If so, how can we avoid the pitfalls ahead?

I propose that we ask ourselves: How did we come to the nation-state, the paradigm that has been so prevalent around the world for these last several centuries? Is the nation-state worth preserving? Could it be that as we run toward global integration that we are forgettting the essential role of the nation-state in protecting and preserving true freedom?

Is there a sinister side to globalization? Are we blind to the dangers ahead? What can we do politically to begin to confront the coming Leviathan?

More to come . . .

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Globalization. What is it?


We've all heard of it. But what is globalization exactly?

Well, one definition is that globalization is the tendency of commerce, the exchange and development of ideas, and political structures to move from being focused and based at the local and the national levels to being focused and based on the multinational and the global levels.

You've seen it. If you're absorbing the news, you see it every day - in countless ways.

Nowadays there is a tremendous movement away from political power centered in the nation-state, toward power in supra-national organizations. Perhaps we are even headed for a one-world government.

It is time for serious open discussion of this process. It makes no sense to stick our national head in the sand and pretend the nation-state, including the nation-state of the United States of America, is not in danger of turning over its power to others - ultimately losing control over its own laws and destiny.

What's the process of globalization? It takes many forms. Often times it starts with a desire to eliminate trade barriers and to stimulate the free movement of goods across national boundaries. You've heard the "free trade" mantra.

Take Europe, for instance. The Treaty of Paris in 1951 created the European Coal and Steel Community among six European nations. This was followed in 1957 by the Treaty of Rome, establishing the European Economic Community, which by the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 became the European Community, which is known now as one of the pillars of the European Union.

You know about the European Union, which has created a supra-national monetary system in much of Europe. Their unit of currency we hear so much about these days is the Euro.

The European Union seeks to transfer many powers of the nation-states in Europe to itself. It developed, and member state representatives signed, a European Constitution, although as yet it is still unratified.

Is the United States immune from globalization - immune from the tendency to transfer its powers outside of itself to other supra-national organizations? No, not at all.

Is the United States at risk of losing its national sovereignty? Yes, but more on this later . . .

Friday, November 2, 2007

Ned at desk in St. Croix December 23, 1993


Hello, Everyone.

Welcome to Globalities, where we can discuss anything relating to globalization, the atrophy of sovereignty, and the coming of the one world government, as well as all that goes with it. What are the attributes of sovereignty? Do we care about the fading away of the nation-state?