Vol 2 Ed 21 » Omnia » Civil Society and Technology in the New World Order

Civil Society and Technology in the New World Order

Jose David Quiñones V

Introduction:

The classical studies of International Relations show that the main actor in the International field had always been the State. If we take a look to Political Philosophy, the International Law and the history of Diplomacy, we can see that there is always a State in search of power who plays the game of war using its soft or hard power.

The central and powerful role played by the State in the International sphere during the past, granted its Head of State the exclusive competence of making foreign policy decisions in the name of national interest and its own will of power. Even if the decisions of the head State were against Law or the common social welfare, the society or any other politic organism was not able to do anything because the power of the Head State was based in its own legitimacy and sovereignty.

Undoubtedly in many cases, war has been the engine for the states to keep on growing or destroying themselves. For this reason many States had made alliances with other States creating bridges of political interests, economical exchanges and diplomatic understanding. States are also related by their culture, identity, and common history. Today the war is spread all over the world and the main actors are not any more the States as it was before even though they are still playing a very significant role.

According to Samuel P. Huntington in his book The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the New World Order, the most difficult conflicts in the future will be produced by cultural identity between people from different civilizations. The world would be no longer divided by developed and underdeveloped countries as it was after the Cold War though it will be divided by their culture, history, language, tradition and most important, religion (Huntington 1996).

We can say that a civilization is a group of people that share their identity at the broadest level. It is also a cultural entity that differentiates itself from others by its common beliefs, values, institutions and its vision of the world. According to Huntington, there are still some civilizations in the contemporary world: The western, Confucian, Japanese, Islamic, Hindu, Slavic Orthodox, Latin American, and possibly African civilization (Huntington 1996).  

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The idea of civil society defined as a social activity in opposition to the State is still questionable and perhaps not so appropriate for the existing reality of the world today. According to Dorota Pietrzyk, “The institutions of civil society have historically been national and constituted by the relationship to the nation-state. Civil society has been, almost by definition, national”[1].

This means that civil society is a result of the State or vice versa, the State is a result of civil society. In any case, both of them seem to exist because of each other and probably they do work for the same purposes: The preservation of order, peace and individual liberties. If Hobbes was the theorist who gave the most important role to State as the first result of rational humans who needed a strong peace keeper and order preserver, Jhon Locke argued that first humans created civil society and then the state to protect their own individual rights.

Nevertheless, there are many cases in which the States can’t guarantee order, peace and individual liberties.

Unfortunately, some States are the cause of the violation of Human’s rights, freedom, peace and stability. In these cases is when civil society needs to show up with its institutions to ensure the effective protection of citizens and to collaborate with the communication and understanding between society and the state.

According to Don Kraus from The World Post, “Recent events in the Middle East have shown that civil society can bring about big change in the world. The people of Egypt were able to revolutionize their government in only 18 days and civil society groups are increasingly using emerging technologies to connect to one another and make their voices heard”[2].

Continuing with Pietrzyk, “what makes society civil is the fact that it is the locus where citizens can freely organize themselves into groups and associations at various levels in order to make the formal bodies of the state authority adopt policies consonant with their perceived interests”[3].

The process of Globalization has changed the way in which individual liberties, human rights, and social responsibility is understood. New technologies of communication and the availability of information in the world wide web is helping individuals to recognize their freedom, the role of the state, the economic system and their real needs in society. When human’s liberties and rights are violated, individuals of all parts of the world can notice and react to this abuses and they may be authorized to use the power of the law and further on to preserve their lives.

In the latest years the civil society has been related with the end of communism.  The new role of institutions in Europe opened spaces so new voices can be heard and the public sphere has the safety guarantee of preserving liberty and abuses from the state. According to Pietrzyk, “The reappearance of civil society in East-Central Europe during the 1980s paved the way for the 1989 revolutions. The civil society based literature in Eastern Europe postulated that since democracy was introduced, civil society would automatically follow its institutionalisation”[4].

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the future trends of civil society and technology in the new world order and how the end of war and the supremacy of a peaceful cultural exchange would be. Even if it sounds a little bit naïve, it is known that the present, the same as the future, is a social construction that begins in the minds of free thinkers and ends up in the different expressions of culture (Wendt 1999).

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To make this analysis it is necessary to define civil society and all its components in different scenarios. Additionally, we need to understand how culture can make a real change in the construction of reality and then start thinking about the world in 2050 with the absence of war. Naturally, the aid of technology for a peaceful new world would be a very important topic that will help us defining these future trends.
 
1. From civil society to global civil society

If we take a look to the past, according to the descriptions of the world given by Hobbes and Locke, we can say that individuals at their first stage were living totally free in their natural state. When they started relating with each other and their tribes and communities started growing, they saw the great need of protection and order between them.

To preserve their lives from the possible attack of any other member of the group or even more from other groups or individuals from outside, they decided to give all their power of defence and attack to one whole body of people (Assembly) or to one man that was able to protect them with his wisdom or his power to rule and order the entire community.

As we can infer, by this association, mankind built a society in which they were controlled by rules that gave them the right to preserve their freedom anytime that they respect others freedom too. When an individual violated or transgressed the pact made by all of them, they were allowed to punish him and even kill him if it was necessary.

The term civil has to do with “the city” in which free individuals were gathered. We can say that the first city in which the first civil law was recognized as it is today was Rome and its citizens were engaged with a written code that applied to all of them.

In the state of nature where there were no rules apart from survival law, the humankind was totally free of doing whatever they considered necessary to preserve their lives and the place where they use to inhabit. Over this specific point is where law started to make much more sense in the future.

At the beginning of the time the land was from nobody or from everybody. With the time, it was from those who started appropriating it and getting any advantage or profit from it. The same happened with the products of the land, the animals and every single living thing that can give any benefit from it.

Before the states were created and humankind started to work the land, it was totally unproductive. Animals were also in their natural state and the knowledge of agriculture was starting to be the material support that feeds society.

To start developing a civilization as we know it today, individuals had to wait for a very long time until they notice how the seeds of the fruits and flowers grow in the land with the combination of water and the rays of the sun.

With the creation of the state, most of the lands that were in their state of nature started to be productive so the community can satisfy their needs with their own products and start to exchange with other groups that had some other products to share. This is how mankind started building the states and furthermore the civilization that today adopts a global civil society where Diplomacy adopts a different perspective than it had before with the State.

Manuel Castells states that “the global civil society is the organized expression of the values and interests of society in the public sphere”[5]. Furthermore, he argues that “public diplomacy, as the diplomacy of the public, not of the government, intervenes in this global public sphere, laying the ground for traditional forms of diplomacy to act beyond the strict negotiation of power relationships by building on shared cultural meaning, the essence of communication”[6].

The relation between civil society and the state is based on communication. This means that there is a bridge between individuals from one sphere of society trying to negotiate with the government that is also ruled by individuals trying to take the best advantage of their position to define the rules of power.

When the State authority and power has no balance between its interests and the interests of civil society, the negotiation gets to be a struggle for power and it can end in a civil war. For this reason, cultural diplomats from all over the world are creating a new way of communication to define in a proper way the real needs of society and to share a deeper cultural meaning of power relations.

Global civil society is composed by political parties, syndicates, labour unions, mass media, social media, religious congregations, and groups of companies, the academy and many other aggrupations of diverse nature that are constantly shaping society. For example, we can mention the UNESCO, which since its founding in 1945 has been working together with teachers, scientists, cultural diplomats, and social workers between others, to achieve peace.

The UNESCO is very well known for its slogan: “Building peace in the minds of men and women”. Moreover, it is a defender of worldwide independent media and a great promoter of freedom of expression constantly defending the positions of journalists that have been threatened or persecuted.  

It is also known that there are many interests that find their way of expression through global civil society where global culture is having its best interaction all around the world. In this sense, we can say that the emerging global society is creating its own platform of sharing goods and services in the international field. The global cultural exchange is expressing itself by world religions, international business, art, music, theatre, literature, and a common way of living that we can call cosmopolitan, which introduces a very likely way of experimenting life in modern terms.  

Conclusions

Democracy, the rule of Law, free markets and sovereign states are all concepts who feet in today’s worlds order. We can say that they are all going by the hand searching one same path to freedom, though, they are still binding with chains those individuals who are not part of the unsustainable plan of capitalism.

In this case is when new institutions of global civil society must prevent the exploitation of individuals who are being tortured by an imposed way of living that only represents the values and principles of an industrialized society.
Naturally, the human society as a global civil society is a historical consequence followed by the need of individuals to gather together for different but common interests that help their lives go easy and develop towards the path of working and enjoying.

Today, with the complete connection of the world, a social and economic system has been shaping the way in which society is working. The social and cultural capital of the world in our days is the result of an interconnected system of working and producing based on technology.

Thanks to the development of science and technology, human beings are able to produce in a massive way that allows them to have a great capacity of consumption and also to transform the land and get the most of it.

Nevertheless, we have to have in account that “free exchange of goods and services and the state, based on the rule of law, are preconditions of liberty and thus civil society. But at the same time both a corrupted state and a corrupted economy can be the greatest danger for civil society”[7].

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To achieve peace and a new world order, it is necessary to sacrifice the ego of the head states and start promoting the real interests of citizens all around the world. Global civil society, cultural diplomats, and all the free institutions of the world must get together and work for the same purpose. The constitution of a free federation of states and global governance that assure the complete fulfilment of the law based on principles of peace and equality.

The new world order will be given by the renovation of old structures that are not useful anymore. The economy, the politics, and all the spheres of public interest won’t be any more a cause of corruption because the leaders in the future will have the consciousness of the common goods and the will of doing things right. The new world order will be given by the truth of a natural law that says that we pick up what we plant.

Hundredths of thousandths of cultural expressions will be showing up how we are able to create a new world in which the chaos of the natural state is left behind. The rule of law will be the owner of every contract, every decision and every agreement between individuals, states and civilizations. 

Huntington argues that “for the relevant future there will be no universal civilization, but instead a world of multiple civilizations each of which will have to learn to coexist with each other”[8]. If humans get to understand that respect is the basis of a peaceful coexistence, by 2050 the world that we are living now will be totally renovated and new ideas will flourish in the young minds of social leaders. Every single human will be inspired by the powerful environment of peace and the seeds of tomorrow will grow in everyone’s hearts.
 
Bibliography:
Huntington, Samuel P, The clash of civilizations, Foreign Affairs; Summer 1993; 72, 3; ABI/INFORM Global.
Kant, Immanuel, The perpetual peace, a philosophical sketch, 1795.
Kraus, Don, Diplomacy in action: The U.S., UNESCO and Civil Society, The World Post, 2011, electronic article founded in: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/don-kraus/diplomacy-in-action-the-us-unesco-civil-society_b_828204.html
Castells, Manuel, Public Sphere: Global Civil Society, Communications Networks and Global Governance, ANNALS, AAPSS, 616, March 2008.
Pietrzyk, Dorota, Civil Society-From Hobbes to Marx, International Politics, 2001.
 


[1] Pietrzyk, Dorota, Civil Society-From Hobbes to Marx, International Politics, 2001, p. 6.

[2] See: Don Kraus, Diplomacy in action: The U.S., UNESCO and Civil Society, The World Post, 2011, p. 1.

[3] See: Pietrzyk, Civil Society-From Hobbes to Marx, International Politics, 2001, p. 4.

[4] Ibid. p. 2, 3.

[5] See: Manuel Castells, Public Sphere: Global Civil Society, Communications Networks and Global Governance, ANNALS, AAPSS, 616, March 2008. P. 78.

[6] Ibid. P. 78.

[7] See: Pietrzyk, Civil Society-From Hobbes to Marx, International Politics, 2001, p. 4.

[8] See: Samuel P. Huntington, The clash of civilizations, 1993, p. 49.


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