15 September, 2016

Why we can't live in a completely liberal/internationalist world

It's amazing how many people dedicated to an open, liberal world fail to recognize the collective goods problem. In other words, for a "liberal", open, "Star Trek" world to operate, everyone within the system must be willing to play by the rules.  However, the profit to be made by breaking those rules remains great. Whether he's Putin, or Kim Jong-Un, or the leader of any of a number of countries, the payoffs to breaking the rules is higher than the rewards for abiding with them.  Such leaders, and such countries, drag everyone down to their level.
"The problem isn’t that the goals of the liberal internationalists are bad goals. They are excellent goals: no war, the spread of democracy and human rights, limits on weapons of mass destruction, strong institutions. The world they dream of is a much better world than the one we have now. And the liberal internationalists are also right that the world can’t afford to go on in the old way. Given 21st century technology and the vulnerability of our large urban populations to anything that disrupts the intricate networks on which we all depend, old-fashioned great-power politics with its precarious balance of power shored up by recurring wars is a recipe for utter disaster and, maybe, the annihilation of the human race.But the difficulty that over and over sinks hopeful efforts by liberal internationalists is this: Liberal internationalist methods won’t achieve liberal internationalist goals. Power, not communiqu├ęs, is what makes the world go round."