The world isn’t in the best shape these days. There’s a rise in extreme nationalism and intolerance, climate change is leading to some wild weather, and overall it just feels we’re moving in the wrong direction. Everyone can speculate on the causes but to me it’s a function of the complicated, and often, antithetical incentives from the various global players. Each country is looking out for its own interests and despite their behavior having an impact on others. This leads to a “tragedy of the commons” situation where the earth is being abused. The world’s institutions are just not strong enough to support the policies the world needs.

Tens of thousands of years ago the organizational unit was a small tribe that was largely nomadic. Once humanity discovered farming humans became sedentary and led to the rise of the village. Once there were enough villages they became cities and then city-states. These then gave rise to countries.

This is a gross simplification that I’m sure will anger historians and anthropologists but humanity came up with the appropriate structure at the appropriate time. Cities didn’t make sense until there was enough infrastructure, both administrative and agricultural, to support them. Countries didn’t make sense until it was possible to govern massive areas. And we’re soon approaching the need for a global solution.

The trend is to move towards larger and larger units and we’ll inevitably end up with some form of global government. We already have the United Nations but it doesn’t have the power to set or enforce global policy. It may be that it evolves to have this additional power or it may be that the future is more of a EU model that grows as more and more countries join. It’s impossible to tell when this will happen but it feels inevitable given the scope and impact of today’s problems.


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