A globally re-connected world

Posted on 15/03/2011

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It used to be called, and completely seriously, the Information Superhighway. Today it’s almost embarrassing calling it by a name, as its supposed to be so integrated into our daily lives that it would almost be like stating the fact that you are breathing. The internet has undoubtedly created a highway for change on several levels of society and culture. But  what has also become clear is to the extreme extent regimes and individuals and corporations have exploited this highway for their own means, whether meaning their own people, partners or customers.

What countries around the world are now realising that is that it is no longer tenable to keep playing their own secretive games with the world as the board.

I say games because metaphorically speaking there will always be at least one game played, but what specifically has become unsustainable is to play different games, depending on who you’re playing with and against, simultaneously.

Today there are 34 ongoing military conflicts around the world, accompanied by a number of  natural disasters, the latest being the worst ever earthquake in Japan with one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters around the corner. At a sensitive point in time for the global economy, the markets are close to going into a perpetual recession that could take until the next generation to come out of. And by that time it could well be a new political world order emerging too. Not in terms of power politics, but in basic realpolitik.

What will soon become obvious to even the most hardcore players is that everyone is a looser in a game where no one follows the rules.

People and their governments, whether elected or not, will start calling for their country to do trade only with nations that have a degree of transparency and long term strategy that benefits the majority not just introvertly inflating its own markets.  Once the new rules are agreed, people will be eager to join, and everyone will realise that everything is to be gained from more transparency and clear rules. People will start to trade and negotiate on the table, instead of under the it.

But let’s not be naive, of course, some people will still have the resources and therefore power to be bigger and more important players. This is where a new world order will start to emerge within the next decade. Most people have had something to bargain with, from resources to talent, size, markets or simply a geostrategic location – and the people who hadn’t could either join a trade or military alliance.

It is these unholy alliances that will go through the most dramatic shift over years ahead.

30 years ago this shift was driven by ideology, next time it will be through what we can call the Tripoli Consensus; meaning an order where the people can reject a partner, regime or an alliance if it doesn’t comply with these game rules. Ideology will mean less, and fundamental rights will mean everything. One day perhaps, it may even be equally embarrassing to call those two words by name. Agreed, it sounds like a long time away right now, but the signs of this trend are already here today, from the dealing with Saudi Arabian oil, Palestine and terrorism.

For journalists, this new order will bring new challenges.  A curious side effect of all this will probably be, and ironically so, a shift in the ideology among the actual journalists, from today’s left-leaning ranks of the trade, to a near future where the pursuit of fundamental rights will push people and governments towards the left, and therefore automatically push the journalists to the right, in order for them to keep playing their part as the counter weight.

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