How We Can Do More By Doing Less
Many historians and philosophers have indicated that the world today is a glimpse into what a fully globalized world could be. This may fill those who value the benefits of globalization with optimism and hope for all that humans will accomplish together in the future. However, it is difficult for me, and anyone who analyzes the greater effects of globalization from a non-western viewpoint to adhere to a global identity. The global institutions present today are flawed, and often give those who favor a global unification a false sense of reality, and an inaccurate representation of our ability to confront global issues, such as climate change, food shortages, and vast income inequality, with an all inclusive global governing body. Although I grant that it is important to be conscious of these global issues, global institutions have shown to be ineffective at efficiently governing numerous nations, and solving issues at the local level is often more effective at creating substantive change, due to the increased understanding one has of their community.
To accurately deconstruct the effectiveness of global institutions in solving global issues, the best indicators we can look to today are two of the largest and most prominent intergovernmental organizations to ever exist, the League of Nations and the United Nations. The League of Nations was the first intergovernmental organization and was created shortly after the first World War, for the purpose of maintaining world peace. The League of Nations utterly failed at its main goal of preventing another world war. Considering the fact that only elite western countries were present during its formation and that major global powers either left or refused to join the League, it is no surprise that the institution was abandoned for a more inclusive one. Following the Second World War, the world took another chance at a global unification by establishing the United Nations. Although the UN is a much more inclusive intergovernmental organization than the League of Nations, this institution has a history of protecting the political and economic interests of its permanent members. In other words, some countries in the UN have a greater influence over others, resulting in a counterproductive power dynamic. Oftentimes countries who profited during the colonial era hold greater weight in the governing body of the UN, and under the guise of global unity and foreign aid, they are given a pass to continue to exploit third world countries.
With a truly inclusive intergovernmental organization yet to exist, it is often contemplated whether it could even be achievable and if it would yield better results than a communal based approach to tackling the world’s issues. Not only do I believe that a truly global institution is difficult to achieve, but the benefits of installing a collaborative institution would be a wasted effort. Although we wish to be united as people, it is inconceivable and to an extent, a child-like imagination to expect all one hundred and ninety five countries to set aside their differences and come to a common ground. It is naive to assume that humans would learn to miraculously suppress their natural urge to form tribes, when these splits and factions existed in civilizations since the beginning of time. Thus, one can assume that it would be impossible to appease the needs of all countries, due to the different methods of governance and distinct economic policies.
Dividing ourselves along our ethnic, political, and religious affiliations has been ingrained in us, and has proven time and time again to be a destructive force when opposing factions are unwillingly grouped together. The ever present rifts between opposing groups can be seen throughout the globe and even in some of the most globalized nations today, including America. In cases where people within a governing body have widely differing views, it is a given that the governing body will be rendered ineffective in addressing the needs of the people. To further illustrate this idea, we can turn to the increased dissatisfaction Americans have with their government, as a result of congress inability to address the economic turmoil created by the global pandemic. This is a clear example of a governing body failing to cater to the needs of the people due to having two opposing groups with vastly different political ideologies. If we cannot come to common grounds in America to address a critical global issue, what makes you think we can achieve this on the global scale? The harsh reality is that humans form factions naturally, and instead of grouping opposing factions, we should each do our part at the local level to help solve global issues. I wholeheartedly agree that it is important not to neglect global issues, but how much of those issues could be better addressed at the local levels? And would it not yield better results if carried out by people who truly understand the issue?
At every level of society, people representing the needs of their constituents is the only way to have a representative and actionable process of addressing the world’s many issues.This is because people who are more familiar with a community happen to also be more responsive to that community. A person from the United States for example, would simply not have the cultural or political awareness to create environmental policies to combat climate change in countries such as Uganda or the Philippines. Furthermore , an individual who represents their local community can also be held responsible for their actions, whereas it would be difficult to hold global officials accountable. Another seemingly overlooked benefit of thinking and acting locally is that it is oftentimes the only way to address global issues. For example, global warming would not be addressed in Norway in the same way it would be in the Philippines, because each country has different needs, and would therefore need to adhere to a local solution and not a global one. In a nutshell, the attentiveness and devotion one has when addressing issues at the communal level is more effective than intergovernmental organizations who often have difficulty being inclusive of the needs of all of its members.
Many critics would argue that leaving nations alone to implement their own laws and practices to confront global issues will only create a selfish society that disregards the world’s many issues. Although it appears to be a valid concern, it is one that has no basis in reality. Global issues can never be ignored in a world where we value our local identities because global issues also have a cost at the communal level. To put it more clearly, the effects of global issues such as climate change would be seen at the local level, causing the people of that community to act.
But how would a world where we value our local identities rather than a global one look? The world I envision, where people have a strong sense of duty to their community is not a self-serving one as many would think, but it is one in which countless nations would be spared from undergoing a new era of colonialism. It would be a world where nations cannot hide behind the guise of protecting the world and saving nations from evil dictators to serve their own purposes. It would be a world where western countries will be unable to take out foreign leaders and install them with their own puppets, leaving behind a vacuum of violence and destruction. It would be a world in which transnational corporations will not continue to exploit developing countries. It would be a world where we finally realize how much global issues we can actually prevent by not promoting a further globalization, and instead, focusing our attention on the needs of our immediate community.