Richard Haass has a brilliant essay in Foreign Affairs, just out, arguing that we are moving from a world structure of multipolarity and bi- and unipolarity — that is, the Cold War and its aftermath — to an age of nonpolarity — that is, nobody's in charge.

We are entering an open marketplace of influence. I think of this as a molecular era, when any of us are atoms that can attract and repel from other atoms around any common interests. The internet — read: Google — makes it possible for us to broadcast our interests and then to find, coalesce around, organize, and act in concert around them. One no longer need control institutions to control agendas, for the institutional structure is fading as are the institutions themselves: Haass chronicles the dilution of governments and other static bodies. I regularly follow the crumbling of the power of the fourth estate, the press. See also the fall of the firm. And add to that the long-ago decline of the first estate, the church. You could say that this is the day of the third estate — the rise of the people — which might otherwise be seen as anarchy except for the internet's power to enable organization. But that organization is ad hoc; molecules can dissipate as quickly as they come together. We are still organized, only differently. We can organize ourselves even around old borders and rules. (See Andrew Tyndall's ideas for how such organization can work.)

At last, here's Haass setting forth is theory of unipolarity:

Today's world differs in a fundamental way from one of classic multipolarity: there are many more power centers, and quite a few of these poles are not nation-states. Indeed, one of the cardinal features of the contemporary international system is that nation-states have lost their monopoly on power and in some domains their preeminence as well. States are being challenged from above, by regional and global organizations; from below, by militias; and from the side, by a variety of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and corporations. Power is now found in many hands and in many places.

ajor world powers, he lists regional power; organizations (the powerful alphabets: UN, IMF, EU, OAS, OPEC, WHO); nation-states (e.g., California); companies; global media outlets (as opposed to declining local ones); militias (as he calls them); terrorist organizations; NGOs (he uses the Gates Foundation as an example).

"Today's world," he says, "is increasingly one of distributed, rather than concentrated, power."

This includes, of course, media: "Alternatives to U.S.-produced and disseminated television are multiplying. Web sites and blogs from other countries provide further competition for U.S.-produced news and commentary. The proliferation of information is as much a cause of nonpolarity as is the proliferation of weaponry."

Globalization and the falling of borders to many flows — "rom drugs, e-mails, greenhouse gases, manufactured goods, and people to television and radio signals, viruses (virtual and real), and weapons" — also has an obvious impact:

Globalization reinforces nonpolarity in two fundamental ways. First, many cross-border flows take place outside the control of governments and without their knowledge. As a result, globalization dilutes the influence of the major powers. Second, these same flows often strengthen the capacities of nonstate actors, such as energy exporters (who are experiencing a dramatic increase in wealth owing to transfers from importers), terrorists (who use the Internet to recruit and train, the international banking system to move resources, and the global transport system to move people), rogue states (who can exploit black and gray markets), and Fortune 500 firms (who quickly move personnel and investments). It is increasingly apparent that being the strongest state no longer means having a near monopoly on power. It is easier than ever before for individuals and groups to accumulate and project substantial power.

aass argues that is is a more disorganized though not anarchic world: "With so many more actors possessing meaningful power and trying to assert influence, it will be more difficult to build collective responses and make institutions work. Herding dozens is harder than herding a few." True, but I'd also argue that at a smaller scale level, it is easier to organize and influence than it ever was for those outside of institutions.

It's the centralization of control that is really disappearing. Control moves to the edge. That does not mean the world is out of control (except to those who used to control it).

RLCC Comment: Everything has always been in flux. The rate of change is speeding up even while things remain the same. We are speeding toward separation and also inevitable consensus. Those who are selfish will fall away. Unselfishness (harmlessness, beneficence, service, and real abundance) shall inherit the Earth.

Link to source-webpage by Jeff Jarvis, obtained via: BuzzMachine, April 16, 2008, 7:15am


The following should appear at the end of every post:

According to the IRS, "Know the law: Avoid political campaign intervention":

Tax-exempt section 501(c)(3) organizations like churches, universities, and hospitals must follow the law regarding political campaigns. Unfortunately, some don't know the law.

Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. The prohibition applies to campaigns at the federal, state and local level.

Violation of this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes. Section 501(c)(3) private foundations are subject to additional restrictions.

Political Campaign Intervention

Political campaign intervention includes any activities that favor or oppose one or more candidates for public office. The prohibition extends beyond candidate endorsements.

Contributions to political campaign funds, public statements of support or opposition (verbal or written) made by or on behalf of an organization, and the distribution of materials prepared by others that support or oppose any candidate for public office all violate the prohibition on political campaign intervention.

Factors in determining whether a communication results in political campaign intervention include the following:

  • Whether the statement identifies one or more candidates for a given public office
  • Whether the statement expresses approval or disapproval of one or more candidates' positions and/or actions
  • Whether the statement is delivered close in time to the election
  • Whether the statement makes reference to voting or an election
  • Whether the issue addressed distinguishes candidates for a given office

Many religious organizations believe, as we do, that the above constitutes a violation of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

That said, we make the following absolutely clear here:

  • The Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project not only do not endorse any candidate for any secular office, we say that Christianity forbids voting in such elections.
  • Furthermore, when we discuss any public-office holder's position, policy, action or inaction, we definitely are not encouraging anyone to vote for that office holder's position.
  • We are not trying to influence secular elections but rather want people to come out from that entire fallen system.
  • When we analyze or discuss what is termed "public policy," we do it entirely from a theological standpoint with an eye to educating professing Christians and those to whom we are openly always proselytizing to convert to authentic Christianity.
  • It is impossible for us to fully evangelize and proselytize without directly discussing the pros and cons of public policy and the positions of secular-office holders, hence the unconstitutionality of the IRS code on the matter.
  • We are not rich and wouldn't be looking for a fight regardless. What we cannot do is compromise our faith (which seeks to harm nobody, quite the contrary).
  • We render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. We render unto God what is God's.
  • When Caesar says to us that unless we shut up about the unrighteousness of Caesar's policies and practices, we will lose the ability of people who donate to us to declare their donations as deductions on their federal and state income-tax returns, we say to Caesar that we cannot shut up while exercising our religion in a very reasonable way.
  • We consider the IRS code on this matter as deliberate economic duress (a form of coercion) and a direct attempt by the federal government to censor dissenting, free political and religious speech.
  • It's not freedom of religion if they tax it.

And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. (Matthew 17:24-26)

  • Subscribe

  • Tom Usher

    About Tom Usher

    Employment: 2008 – present, website developer and writer. 2015 – present, insurance broker.

    Education: Arizona State University, Bachelor of Science in Political Science. City University of Seattle, graduate studies in Public Administration.

    Volunteerism: 2007 – present, president of the Real Liberal Christian Church and Christian Commons Project.

    This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.