- Politics and Social Issues
The Powerful Controls the Future of this World
Justice is the moral rule for governance; however, power subverts justice
To the religious, the world serves God's purpose; to the pantheist, parts of the world follow a design
The world will be according to one's framework. All frameworks are possible; some are more probable than others. Man using power can bring this earth to his desire, discounting forces beyond his power. In metaphysics, the destiny of this world is inevitable. The character of this world, along physics, contributes to its future. The future of this world varies with frameworks. But the framework with adherents who are more powerful than adherents of other frameworks will dominate this world.
We will use accounts in history as basis for speculations of the future of this world. That's a combination of true sentences and sentences that are neither true nor false.
From history to speculations of the future
Religion. If religion is meant to unify people, it has not been the case. Even religions have split. Islam had divided into Sunnites and Shi-ites. In 1054, Christianity split into Eastern Christian churches (led by the patriarch of Constantinople) and the Western church (led by the Pope) with the patriarch and Pope excommunicating each other. This excommunication was mutually revoked in 1965 (Encyclopedia Britannica 2009).
Take the crusades: among other aims it was meant to counter the expansion of Islam, to retake the Holy Land and as a way to earn redemption and expiation of sins. Pope Urban II launched the first crusade in 1095. The passion for crusades was diminished, by the reformation movement initiated by Luther. Military campaigns ended with a victory over the Ottoman fleet in 1571. In the first crusade, the floor of the temple was ankle-deep with blood of children, old men, old women, and all who were butchered by the invading Christians. There was one crusade composed of "virgin" male children and teenagers who were believed (by the pope) to have the protection of god being untainted with sin. They were all butchered by the defenders of the temple. The bitterness has remained.
The trauma, the agony, and vengeance have reverberated to the present. The Muslims in Mindanao, Philippines had harassed the Christian missionaries and settlements in Luzon. The stigma still shows in the murder of Christian priests in the South and the encroachment by Christian missions in Muslim areas.
In a worldwide scale, the crusades show among the protagonists from the Middle East and the West. In the long future the psychology of the crusades will linger.
Neocolonialism means poverty. Colonialism as practiced by the West has graduated into neocolonialism. The tools of neocolonialism being refined like globalization, and multinational corporations will prolong the advent of neocolonialism. Neocolonial nations are poor. The end of the tunnel of poverty will be dark for a long time to come. (I have a Hub "Why Developing Countries Will Take A Long Time, Or Never, To Become Developed").
Rivalry translates into world war. There was a rivalry between the commerce of the British and that of the United States.
"Over the period from 1789 to about 1820 the United States struggled for economic survival in an international environment controlled by Britain. Americans were almost completely at the mercy of the British not only for providing critical capital and manufactured imports but also for purchasing most U.S. raw material exports. Continued access to British markets was absolutely essential to Americans...." (Deese, D.A. "The Hazards of Independence: World Politics in the American Foreign Policy Process." The New Politics of American Foreign Policy. 1994:8).
This rivalry had largely brought about World War II that served to make the American dollar dominant, consequently the entry of American exports to the British sphere. After WWII, the USA was the only source of credit in the world. Erstwhile world powers like France and Britain obtained loans from the USA made available through the Marshall plan. With the Marshall plan, USA shaped economic policies of Europe according to its wishes.
The rivalries among countries in Europe weakened them. France came to the aid of the thirteen British colonies in the New World as a way of weakening Britain, thus the birth of the United States of America. However, it drained the coffers of France such that King Louis XVI of France had to call the National Assemblies to raise taxes. This lead to the French revolution of 1799 that ushered in adventures in democracy that caused shudders among kings in Europe.
The terms of the Treaty of Versailles that punished Germany, the defeated aggressor in World War I, furnished fuel to the protest among Germans provoked by Hitler. Merchant bankers mostly residing in the United States financed Hitler's secret rearmament that resulted in a built-up capable of launching World War II. If anything, Hitler served to weaken Europe further.
Power plays a central role. Individuals can impact on history like when kings were still powerful. Napoleon Bonaparte showed how. He usurped the waning powers of the French revolution and crowned himself king. He knew how power works, naked power or sheer force, and persuasive power by setting his crown onto his head himself, not the traditional one of the pope crowning the king. Then he proceeded to set up an empire in Europe. The attempt to assassinate him goaded him to assume the seat of an emperor making ascension to the throne hereditary. Now the French revolution had come full circle, from the overthrow of King Louise XVI and beheading him by the guillotine for counterrevolution, to the reign of peoples’ representatives, to the reign of terror, to the rule of a self-made emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte. That may not be an innovation because in the beginning, naked power made kings. That is why power, a quantitative concept, plays out now and in the future.
Even when Napoleon was exiled after his defeat at the hands of Britain's Wellington and the Prussians in Waterloo, his descendants continued to reign over France (Napoleon III), Spain (Joseph Bonaparte) and other European countries up until Hitler of Germany rolled over France and Poland. Napoleon's assumption of the title of emperor paid off.
Mao Tse-Tung led the resurgence of China over Chiang Kai-Shek and the deceptive neutral stance of the United States that landed 153,000 military personnel (53,000 US marines) in China on the side of Chiang including advisers like General Joseph Stilwell, Major General Robert Wedemeyer and General George C. Marshall. The US lost its hold on China when Chiang fled to Formosa, now called Taiwan. Deng Xiao Peng has firmed up China' s resurgence which is now the second economic power in the world by adopting some Western technology. (I have a Hub "China To Catch Up With The United States By Way of the Economy").
Gen. Douglas MacArthur played a role in the rehabilitation of Japan after its defeat in WWII. MacArthur was the Supreme Allied Commander of the Southwest Pacific theater of war who received the surrender of, and administered the occupation of Japan. He was virtually the emperor of Japan. Some hands in Washington like Dean Acheson wanted the Japanese punished including the abolition of the Japanese emperor. To MacArthur, the emperor was worth 250,000 American troops in the occupation of Japan which was reduced to 200,000 owing to the emperor's cooperation. MacArthur broke up feudalism, the power base of militarists in Japan, by land reform; imposed a constitutional monarchy, women suffrage, liberal education; and disallowed Japanese armed forces (Hunt, F. The Untold Story of Douglas MacArthur. 1964). These measures hold true to this day that prevents the resurgence of militarist Japan.
The People Power. This phenomenon that started in the Philippines (instrumental in dismantling the dictatorship of Marcos) has spawned people power in other parts of the world. It is responsible for the unification of West and East Germany and the downfall of Mubarak then resurgence of democracy in Egypt. People power will continue as instrument of direct people's intervention. However, it has only succeeded in the return to power of the comprador class in the Philippines that has halted the promise of a true revolution.
Catholic Church in politics. Generalissimo Franco set up a dictatorship in Spain with the support of the Catholic Church. Civil war and dictatorship in Spain were responsible for the stagnation of this once powerful colonizer. Now Spain is surging back through democracy, is trying to win back its lost colonies as a new market. Spain has given support for the mitigation of climate change in the Philippines with an attached agenda of teaching the Spanish language as an option in the secondary grades.
As a way to co-optate the Catholic Church and use its persuasive power and priestly power to consolidate his hold on Italy, Benito Mussolini (the Fascist dictator) granted one square mile of territory to the Vatican. It was Charlemagne who first used the Catholic church to consolidate political power. Power is a quantitative concept consisting of naked power, persuasive power, economic power, priestly power and executive power (Russell, B. Power). The Vatican will be one of the most enduring institutions owing to the hold of the cardinals on the pope. It will support dictatorships when it suits it like its support of Salazar dictatorship in Portugal. It will dabble in politics like its resistance to the reproductive health bill being deliberated in the Congress of the Philippines. But it will maintain a virtual empire in terms of territory like its having landholdings in the Philippines. It will not pay taxes and will repatriate funds to its coffers using the separation of the state and church as shield, like in the Philippines. The Vatican has a dual personality: it is the seat of the Catholic Church and a state. When the pope goes to a country, it is also considered as state visit and the pope is accorded a protocol like that for a president of a state.
The Allied Powers did not touch or abrogate the emolument to the Vatican even as Italy had been defeated and Mussolini himself had been hanged. That is an evidence of the powers of the Vatican.
Intellectual acumen. This impacts on history as demonstrated by Albert Einstein. He came up with his formula E = mc2 that is the basis of the atomic bomb. It ushered in the atomic age and the world now seethes on the brink of annihilation by the atomic bomb and its sibling, the hydrogen bomb.
Duality in man. This bomb demonstrates strongly the duality in man as rational and moral. As rational in acquiring knowledge and as moral in using knowledge for good or for bad. We are advancing fast on the acquisition of knowledge but stagnating on morals. May be only total annihilation of man is deterring us from using the bomb. The one nation that can guarantee survival of a few of its citizens will dare go ahead and lead the pact of other nations.
Health and well-being. Economic and political powers are controlling conventional medicine to hold out from advancing for the well being of people. It has been ignoring and resisting the free radical theories of disease. In the past, the medical profession had resisted Pasteur’ s germ theory of disease for over 40 years. However, people’s demand for alternative treatment and cure will thrash away the resistance of conventional medicine.
Split in governance. Merchant bankers have succeeded in splitting governance into economic and political power. The Federal reserve bank holds power over money, central banks in the capitalist world holds power over monetary policy. This split will hold for a long time to come. Not for China whose leaders hold the economic and political powers together.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt used to decide the value of gold for the day over his breakfast. President John F. Kennedy grumbled at his lack of power to order the minting of US coins without the approval of the Federal Reserve Bank. President Bill Clinton had to haggle with US Congress for budget deficit reduction package, economic stimulus package, and health care reform. Allan Greenspan of the Federal Bank raised or reduced interest rates on his own without any intervention from Clinton (Woodward, B. The Agenda. 1995). It was even unstatesmanlike for Clinton to ask Greenspan what the latter was going to do. Greenspan just told Clinton what he had done; or Clinton read it from the newspapers.
Such things will happen for years on end unless the law that enables this split were amended. Similar things are occurring in the Philippines since the 1990s when former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, then a senator, sponsored the bill that was enacted into law.
Take a look at this Internet news item:
"BSP sees inflation rising
"The BSP’s Monetary Board has so far slashed interest rates by 50 basis points this year bringing the overnight borrowing rate back to a record level of four percent and the overnight lending rate to six percent.
"Due to benign inflation outlook and moderate global economic growth, the BSP reduced interest rates by 25 basis points last January 19 and by another 25 basis points last March 1" (YahooNews. March 24,2012).
BSP is Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas which means Central Bank of the Philippines.
Economic system. The capitalist system is dominant now. It caters to liberalism and individualism that are served by the free market. However, we find excesses. Other forms of economic system must be explored. May be a modified capitalism or socialism or cooperativism. Seeds of modified socialism has been planted even right in the United States. The health maintenance organization (HMO) was labeled as socialist when it started. In 1987, an executive of Allied Signal corporation found that the budget for health care in one year was about 39% of income. He said, that could not be; it was eating into the profits for shareholders. So he proceeded to find bids from outside insurers who could reduce the budget (Anders, G. Health against Wealth. 1996:16-34). Now, you can find HMOs at every turn in the United States. And it is big business. Of course, there are downsides like the sick cannot go direct to the doctor of his liking unless he is ready to foot the bill. (I have Hubs on HMO: http://conradofontanilla.hubpages.com/hub/In-Heart-Surgery-Insurance-and-Managed-Care-May-Have-Chosen-Hospitals-With-Low-Capability-to-Treat-The-Heart).
The economic system of China will run its course in spite of other systems in other countries.
Energy. The reserve of fossil fuel is running low or out. Hydrogen fuel is expensive and cumbersome to carry around. Two general approaches will be taken: reduction of consumption of fossil fuel and production of renewable energy like growing plants convertible to energy. In South America the alcohol is now in use. In the Philippines, jatropa whose fruit yield oil is being raised but mass production is being sabotaged by fossil oil companies. Information highways will find more use. Prioritization bordering on rationing will be explored.This was tried by the War Industries Board of the USA in WWI headed by Bernard Baruch on materiels of war like iron, textiles, rubber (Baruch, B. My Public Years. 1960). The scheme of HMOs will be modified for the purpose of allocating fuel.
The use of fuel cell will be explored. In the Philippines, some jeepneys are now running on fuel cells.
China alternative. Now, China is putting up its banks in foreign countries and giving out loans that can be surmised as counterpart of World Bank loans. It is interesting to find out if it differs from World Bank loans in terms of charges. In his recent visit to the United States, February 2012, the heir apparent to top post in China, Xi Jinping, was reminded that China should play the economic game with the same rules as the present ones. Jinping did not make a concrete commitment on such rules which the US did not specify. Whether China will play according to these rules or will roll out different ones, the world will soon see.
Climate change. It will take time to tame climate change which means taming the industrialized countries to lessen and mitigate emission of carbon dioxide. We will have to live with flash floods and erratic climate for much longer. Even industrialized countries are not spared.
Expansion of the universe. The universe keeps expanding. It will bring about earthquakes and tsunamis. Collision between celestial bodies will ignore humans as it did six hundred millions years ago when the heat generated by a falling body on the earth annihilated the dinosaurs. The break up of the earth will not make a dent on the universe, if humans fool around with the atomic or hydrogen bombs. This had been demonstrated by the recent Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet break up. The comet’s “shattered nucleus crashed into Jupiter over the period of July 16–22, 1994... ” (Encyclopedia Britannica 2009). The break up of one galaxy spreads out hydrogen gas that serves as seed for the birth of another galaxy thus contributes to the expansion of the universe. (have a Hub “The Big Bang Theory, Origin of the Universe: What is the Mystery?”
There's hope that the moral side of man will prevail. At least the sense of sanity as shown by the strategic arms limitations talks (SALT I and SALT II) between the United States and Russia. With morality, nothing within the sphere of humans is inevitable. Balance will come from the co-existence of cultures: dominance on the one hand, and aggressive resistance on the other.
Another approach for this "What is the future of this world?"
This consists of surveying the boundaries of this world, surveying the movements at reform within boundaries (including forces favoring status quo or reform or deterring them). surveying movements at restructuring the boundaries of this world (including forces favoring or deterring them).
This approach is very difficult but more accurate. It begins with identifying the boundaries which is already difficult. For example "Split in governance." Forces for status quo are stronger than for reform and much stronger than forces for restructuring so that this split will hold in capitalist countries. This split will hold for a long time to come. The duration is difficult to speculate. It will not hold in China.
Merchant bankers had worked hard for this split. it is now working in the Philippines and in other countries within the orbit of the capitalist system, especially of the United States. Enactment of a law that restructured the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines) was demanded by the World Bank. This split started in the abandonment of the gold standard by the United States (President Nixon) in 1973. The gold standard was replaced by the floating rate that is no longer controlled by the U.S. president. The International Monetary Fund works through the central bank of countries within the capitalist orbit. Monetary policy is in its control, it is insulated from the politics of the country. If even the United States could not resist this split, how could lesser powers resist? The status quo will hold for a long time unless some reform will be initiated.
China took some loans from the World Bank very recently but not to the extent that China will be under the control of the IMF. The United States holds the controlling stock of the World Bank. As of now, China does not have the clout to reform the World Bank much less initiate restructuring. This split in governance will be one of the most enduring institutions in this world. The United States is the main power that holds it in place.
In his visit to the United States last February 2012, Xi Jinping, heir apparent to the top post in China, was reminded by American officials that China should play the economic game according to the present rules. Take a look at this excerpt:
"NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The World Bank and a Chinese think tank have a stern warning for China's government: transition to a freer market system, or else face an economic crisis.
"The "China 2030" report, released by the World Bank on Monday, recommends China enact reforms promoting a freer economy. Those reforms include a major overhaul turning China's powerful state-owned companies into commercial enterprises" (Internet. World Bank March 20,2012).
This governance split often puts to bad light the president of the United States because he is blamed for all the economic ills of his country. The fact is that he is not responsible for a lot of economic fiascoes. An increase in interest rate may bring about a sky high inflation. Interest rate is not controlled by the president of the United States; it is controlled by the chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank. High inflation brings about high prices that erase savings and the blame is placed on the president not on the chairman of the Fed.
This approach (boundaries/status quo/reform/restructuring) is very involving and makes for a long project that will result in volumes.
Triggers of conflict
4. Systems (political and economic)
7. Theocracy - a government by god as administered by priests or followers. Salazar set up a government in Portugal guided by papal encyclicals; it was a dictatorship. Theocracy burned Joan of Arc as a witch then consecrated her afterwards as a saint. Who would be punished for murdering her? Could consecration expiate for such a sin?
Catholic France supported Queen Mary I, daughter of King Henry VIII with Catherine of Aragon, in her wars against Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of King Henry VIII with Anne Boleyn, for a succession to the throne in England. These wars wasted human lives. If theocracy had its way, we would still be forced to believe and behave as if the sun moved around the earth which was the fate of Galileo in the hands of the pope Urban VIII in 1632. That year, Galileo was forced to recant what he wrote about the earth moving around the sun and was condemned by the Inquisition, the burning of heretics at the stake. Fortunately, he was not burned but he spent the rest of life under house arrest.
"In 1979 Pope John Paul II reiterated this view and stated that Galileo had suffered injustice at the hands of the church. A statement by the pope before the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 1992 is interpreted by some as a rehabilitation of Galileo" (Encyclopedia Britannica 2009).
Imagine, it took the Catholic Church centuries to recognize its mistake. If it were the Supreme Court (like that of the Philippines that reserves the right to reverse itself) how many more people would be burned by the inquisition at the stake? Who said inquisition has been abolished?
Another weapon of theocracy, excommunication, was applied on King Henry VIII of England when he founded the English Church in 1534. That is, King Henry VIII made himself the supreme bishop and broke away from the pope. In short, excommunication is a condemnation that your soul will not go to heaven after your death. The purpose is to put you back to the fold of the Catholic Church. King Henry VIII ignored the excommunication and the English protestants did not mind either.
[King Henry VIII wanted to divorce Catherine because she could not give him a son, besides she was his brother's widow. He wanted to marry Anne Boleyn. The pope did not approve of the divorce. Henry's solution was to break away from the authority of the pope.]
Archbishop of Manila, Bernardino Nozaleda, applied excommunication on a Filipino priest, Gregorio Aglipay. During the Philippine revolution of 1896 against Spain, Filipino revolutionaries founded the Philippine Independent Church that broke away from the Vatican. Aglipay was the Supreme Bishop. To scare Aglipay back to the fold of the Catholic Church, Nozaleda excommunicated Aglipay. In return, Aglipay excommunicated Nozaleda!
Presently, how is theocracy a trigger of conflict? Take the Philippines. The Catholic church does business but does not pay taxes using the separation of the church and state as shield. It repatriates funds to the Vatican further impoverishing the Filipinos. It has landholdings that are a carryover of the the Spanish colonial regime. It was the king of Spain. when the Philippines was still its colony, that granted these landholdings. Why is the Catholic church able to dodge paying taxes, repatriate funds to the Vatican and maintain landholdings? Filipino politicians cater to this church because of the Catholic vote. Eighty-five percent of Filipinos are Catholics.
Some indigenous peoples in some islands have occupied some of the landholdings; they are threatened with ejection. In the long run these indigenous peoples will hold on to the pieces of land.
For another. The Catholic church has recruited Manny Pacquiao, the world champion in boxing, as ambassador of the bible. It can propagate Catholicism through him. This church has been using Pacquiao in its lobby against the reproductive health bill being debated in the Philippine congress. Pacquiao is popular and a congressman to boot. This church's position is derived from the supposed admonition of god "go forth and multiply." Those in favor of the bill argue that a lot of mothers die from giving birth, population explosion contributes to poverty and poor health. Debate on the bill has been protracted and resolution is being delayed to give in to the wishes of the church as most of the congressmen are Catholics. Meanwhile mothers die, poverty remains, poor health exacerbate - all forms of conflict.
For another. Catholics in China (5.3 to 12 million) has formed their own association that has severed ties with the Vatican. The pope has been trying to bring them to the fold. That already is a form of conflict. Should these people turn loyal to the Vatican just because they are Catholics?
That brings up a question as to the concept and authority of the Vatican empire.