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Social Strategy Shift: Avoiding Globalization Threats


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Pavel Luksha. Presentation for RC51 SOCIOCYBERNETICS 2004 Conference on the 'meta-strategies' exhibited by societies and the threats they create as the world becomes globalized

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Social Strategy Shift: Avoiding Globalization Threats

  1. 1. Social Strategy Shift: Avoiding Globalization Threats Pavel Luksha Higher School of Economics Presentation for RC51 SOCIOCYBERNETICS Conference Lisbon, July 26-31, 2004
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Globalization and Growth </li></ul><ul><li>Deriving Meta-Startegies from Minimal Self-Reproductive Structure of Society </li></ul><ul><li>Self-Organized Criticality of Meta-Strategies </li></ul><ul><li>Coping with SOC By Counter-Programs </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural Dissemination as Meta-Strategic Shift </li></ul>
  3. 3. Threats of Globalization <ul><li>Globalization is a multi-facet process that involves economic, ecological, political and cultural aspects (Beck 1997, Therborn 2001). It has now clearly presented its failures (Stiglitz, 2002) </li></ul><ul><li>Following critical ‘knots’ identified for both developing and developed countries (Fuchs, 2003): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>(1) environmental crisis [unlimited use of non-renewable resources and critical over-exploitation of renewables]; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(2) socio-economic crisis [growing difference between richest and poorest part of society, and rich and poor societies, and thereby emerging discontent]; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(3) social crisis [degradation and elimination of traditional social institutions such as family, friendship etc.]; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(4) cultural crisis [degradation and destruction of culture, especially due to its ‘commercialization’]. </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Growth as Source of Threat <ul><li>‘ Knot problems’ are due to globalization driving force: the constant growth and development of capitalistic system that requires growing resource absorption and increasing involvement of social individuals into globalizing markets </li></ul><ul><li>Economic growth has become an ultimate value of societies, and a scope of state policies. The main reason behind this is competition between societies (e.g. (Stewart, 2000)) </li></ul>
  5. 5. Growth as a Strategy of Competition <ul><li>Economic growth has become a major (meta-) strategy of winning intra-society competition (see e.g. (Charlton, Andras, 2003)) </li></ul><ul><li>It has emerged as a response to threats of other competitive strategies, in particular, ‘war conflict’ strategy, that resulted in major massacre never seen by humanity before: WWI & WWII [multiple indications of speeding-up globalization as an economic process after WWII (Krugman, 1995), (Baldwin&Martin, 1999) etc.] </li></ul>
  6. 6. Minimal Self-Reproductive Structure Activity / passivity of social indi - viduals (expressed through bodies ) Natural (outer) environment of social system Social memory ( languages , technologies , rituals etc .) in individual memory executing regulatory structures of social system objects and structures outside of given social system ( nature, other societies ) controlling regulatory structures of social system Social individuals Social system <ul><li>Artificial (inner) environment </li></ul><ul><li>means of production </li></ul><ul><li>objects of consumption </li></ul><ul><li>non-economic material culture (e.g. sacred objects) </li></ul>executing regulatory structures of social system natural environment internal memory internal SAFE / external memory external SAFE non-contact environment element of informational / cybernetic system (Luksha, Plekhanov, 2003) from (Luksha, 2001), amended
  7. 7. Meta-strategies executed <ul><li>It is evident that societies undergo the evolutionary process, as do other biological and social entities (Campbell, 1965, 1974; Plotkin, 1994; Dennet, 1995) </li></ul><ul><li>Evolving entities can overcome their opponents by quantitative suppression or by open aggression </li></ul><ul><li>Four major meta-strategies executed. Other strategies possible? </li></ul>reproduction of artificial environment of a given society artificial environment replication of genome of a given population (society) soma (human biology) warfare as the harmonized activity of social memory, soma and military means replication of social memory of a given society social memory destruction suppression element of society
  8. 8. Meta-strategies of Social Competition <ul><li>Throughout human history, meta-strategies yielded different dominating values and social hierarchies. Economic suppression as a new ‘world system’ that emerged in Medieval Europe (Wallerstein, 1974, 1997) </li></ul>
  9. 9. Relationship of Strategies <ul><li>Meta-strategies were often realized inter-dependently, more explicit competition complemented with less explicit one </li></ul><ul><li>However, one type of strategy always remains dominant for a given society </li></ul>
  10. 10. Few Indications: Genetic Suppression Female fertility in different world regions, 1970-75 and 2000-05 Source: (UN HDR, 2003) overall fertility decreasing, rates of decrease are different
  11. 11. Few Indications: War Conflicts Major war conflicts, 1950-2004 Major war conflicts within developed countries: 1900-1925: 5, including WWI 1926-1950: 3, including WWII 1950-2004: 0 Calculations based on (Teeple, 2002) and author’s amendments importance reduced during last 25 yrs increasing importance in last 25 yrs
  12. 12. Few Indications: Economic Suppression Indications of economic development in different regions, 2001 Source: (UN HDR, 2003)
  13. 13. Readiness for Cultural Dissemination Indications of ‘cultural dissemination infrastructure’ in different regions, 2001 Although cultural level may be comparable, the ‘digital divide’ and institutional infrastructure makes OECD countries the only capable to accomplish the strategic shift towards ‘cultural dissemination’ strategy Source: (UN HDR, 2003)
  14. 14. Regional Strategies Pursued Rough indication of dominating meta-strategies genetic suppression; war conflicts [?] MIX Middle East & North Africa genetic suppression PURE Sub-Saharian Africa MIX TRANSITION MIX TRANSITION PURE Class of Meta-Strategy economic suppression East Asia and Pacific economic suppression; war conflicts [with non-OECD countries, esp. Arab States]; cultural dissemination OECD no clear strategy chosen CEE & CIS genetic suppression; [shifting to] economic suppression South Asia no clear strategy chosen Latin America Meta-Strategy WORLD REGION
  15. 15. SOC of Meta-Strategies <ul><li>Despite its ‘positive’ side for a society (that is, survival), every program bears inside itself a threat of society elimination; its implementation is always a self-organized criticality (SOC). </li></ul><ul><li>A chance to avoid a crisis is to change the dominating strategy (driven by set of social values) – that is, to introduce a ‘counter-program’. On different stages of human history, most competitive civilizations were able to do so. </li></ul><ul><li>Shift of ideology and universal widespread of counter-programs also destroys the existing system of values, and a corresponding social hierarchy: kindred and age hierarchies have been devalued with widespreading of political and military hierarchies; the latter have lost their significance as soon as economic hierarchies start to dominate. </li></ul>
  16. 16. SOCs and Counter-Programs
  17. 17. Counter-program development implementation of meta-strategy (driven by value system) emergence of SOC social concern about new risk shift of value system social discontent due to reduction of ‘old’ hierarchies and values emergence of a new alternate strategy social self-reflection variety of social strategies ‘supplied’ by various strata <ul><li>Even if homogenous initially, societies will perform a ‘mix’ of strategies after several ‘shifts’ (both between them and inside them) </li></ul>
  18. 18. SOC: Current Status
  19. 19. Shift Toward Culture Dissemination Strategy <ul><li>The shift from ‘economic suppression’ strategy towards ‘cultural dissemination’ strategy occurs presently in most developed countries. Some of its manifestations are observable (Internet information boom, TV-democracies, Hollywoodization etc.), noted e.g. as the ‘Third Wave’ by Toffler (1991) [although Toffler reduces these processes primarily to economic ones] . </li></ul><ul><li>Shifts in economy are also noticeable, with capitalism switching from ‘exploitation of men and machines’ towards ‘utilization of competences’, and increased importance of services, knowledge and culture. It has been argued that the contemporary variety of capitalism is quite different from what it used to be in mid-19 th century England when Marx made his account of it (Hodgson, 2002). </li></ul><ul><li>The contemporary period is transitional, with major changes of values and social hierarchies; most likely, a new dominating hierarchy shall be based on intellectual and creative capabilities of society members. </li></ul><ul><li>New social formation, that will present its own threats, most likely should not be called ‘capitalism’ at all: values and targets of this formation will be notably different from those traditionally accepted in capitalistic society. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Key Issues for Emerging Society <ul><li>Demolition of </li></ul><ul><li>traditional pricing mechanisms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the traditional pricing mechanism was an efficient self-organization rule for self-reproducing society: thus, theories of ‘natural price’ such as Marxist labor theory of value; with intangible goods dominating exchange, this does work anymore </li></ul></ul><ul><li>traditional property mechanisms </li></ul><ul><ul><li>how to restrict usage of idea, when ideas are produced by ideas; how to restrict reproduction of ideas, when ideas are translated through their retranslation (why pirate and not schoolteacher); etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>traditional economic motivation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>people are interested no more in getting their ‘share of material well-being’, but rather in interesting and creative work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>reduction of ‘work-hobby’ contraposition </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>volunteer economics – gift as socio-economic activity (Kendall, 2003) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>traditional human relationship system interlocked with the property relationships (e.g. traditional family) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>networking structures and ‘new families’ based on friendship (Rosneil, Budgeon, 2004) </li></ul></ul>
  21. 21. Strategic Shift: Chance for Crisis Resolution <ul><li>The contemporary economic system of global labor division rests upon inequality: knowledge-producers exploiting knowledge-users </li></ul><ul><li>The ‘shift’ of strategy therefore does not imply that globalization threats are resolved globally – they are ‘outsourced’ from most developed countries into those developing </li></ul><ul><li>HOWEVER </li></ul><ul><li>there exist opportunities to launch the process on the global scale: </li></ul><ul><li>Countries attaining the level of technological development in material production comparable with OECD countries, with a minimal share of human labor involved into manufacturing activities, and the military force parity (e.g. by access to MDW) may transit to the ‘cultural competition’ </li></ul><ul><li>Mass-scale change of consuming habits towards ‘responsible consumption’ due to public awareness [recent examples of ‘minor’ concern: CFC] and ethical reasoning could undermine the basis of global economy growth [back to middle-age philosophy of need-driven consumption?] </li></ul>
  22. 22. Implications for Global Crisis <ul><li>It thus can be argued that resolution of crises presented by globalization (as an expansion of capitalism) may occur naturally, as values supporting ‘counter-programs’ to ‘economic suppression’ strategy disseminate. </li></ul><ul><li>This process will be pioneered by developed countries, yet still for a relatively long time other meta-strategies will also remain executed. </li></ul><ul><li>BUT: this only ‘a possible world’: </li></ul><ul><li>The lesson of WWI/II: society had to run into all threats before it coped with them. Will the contemporary societies be wiser not to run into threats presented by global capitalism? </li></ul><ul><li>Self-reflective nature of societies allows to amplify the tendencies and make the transition process towards new sustainable strategy less painful; the role of social scientists to point out to existing threats and possible ‘way out’ should not be underestimated. </li></ul>