Previous discussions have all led to the same conclusion: based on current patterns of scientific and technological development, human extinction is inevitable and not too far in the future. Combined with our analysis of external threats, we can clearly see that the threat to mankind comes from within, not without. Faced with this grim reality, what option does humanity have?
SECTION ONE: CORRECT TREATMENT AND UNDERSTANDING OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
One: Changing Extinction Views
Since ancient times, mankind’s sense of crisis has been directed towards natural or supernatural forces. Floods, earthquakes, volcanoes, and asteroid collisions have been the focus of natural threats, while doomsdays and judgment days have been the focus of supernatural threats. However, people’s crisis views underwent historic change with the explosion of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Humans started to realize the extent of destruction they could mobilize, and it rendered former natural and super natural threats less fearsome. An unseen force has been moving humanity closer and closer towards extinction. This destructive force is not a force of nature or supernatural in origin. On the contrary, humanity is driving itself into the abyss of extinction.
The concerned parties in this issue include some of our most distinguished scientists and scholars. Known as the father of the atomic bomb, Einstein spent the last years of his life appealing for this matter and co-published the famous “Russell-Einstein Manifesto” with philosopher and Nobel Laureate Bertrand Russell. A total of eleven famous scientists and scholars signed this manifesto, crying out, “Shall we put an end to the human race; or shall mankind renounce war?” Scientists and scholars like Einstein and Russell believed that with the possession of powerful weapons like the atomic bomb, human existence would be threatened if wars were not renounced.
These were true prophets. They realized the terrible fate that could befall humanity if our irrational behaviors persisted. This was a transcendent view of human extinction; however, these esteemed scholars only attributed humanity’s self-destruction to “war,” because at the time, nuclear bombs were the most destructive weapons in existence and only countries were capable of manufacturing and using them. When the “Russell-Einstein Manifesto” was published, only the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union possessed nuclear weapons. For these scholars, only countries would use such destructive weapons, and only during times of war.
Fifty years have passed, and perhaps it is the fear for mankind’s survival that has stopped the outbreak of World War III and the further use of nuclear weapons in war. However, the terrifying speed of scientific development has only increased our fears of extinction. Genetically modified biotoxins have destructive capabilities that are unmatched even by nuclear weapons; a teenage computer genius can invade the US Department of Defense’s data base and cause millions of computers to crash through one virus; self-aware artificial intelligence could easily eliminate humanity; uncontrolled self-replication of nanobots could swallow the entire planet; further development of cloning technology could even achieve human replication. In short, further development of many technologies could result in either extinction or mass destruction of mankind. Moreover, many of these technologies can be manufactured and operated by a small number of people—or even one individual.
This means that the power to decide humanity’s survival has gradually transferred from a few major powers into the hands of many human individuals. The inherent characteristics of humanity means that even the best social systems cannot stop such extreme means of devastation from being used.
The atomic bomb warned humanity of the potential extinction that could be caused by wars. Seventy years later, our understanding has undergone a major change. We now understand that in addition to war, crimes, laboratory accidents, and even misuse of technical products may also lead to human extinction. In fact, war poses the least amount of threat compared to the other three. War is a group act meant to kill enemies and benefit the victorious party, so total destruction is usually not the goal. Contrarily, psychopathic crimes are usually committed by people who wish to enact revenge by causing as much damage as possible—they would not hesitate to use methods of extermination.
The unintended catastrophes caused by scientific experiments and products cannot be ignored either. Future scientific research will become much more challenging, and extremely powerful natural forces will be used. It is possible that other disastrous forces will be mobilized in the process. Similarly, as science becomes more complex, the products developed from it will become more difficult to control and predict as well. Any little misstep could be the end of mankind.
Upon deeper thinking, the internal threats to humanity’s survival cannot be simply attributed to war, crime, laboratory accidents, or misuse of scientific products. These four can only count as the likely methods for extinction. Their one common root is science and technology. Science and technology are the fundamental forces that will determine the overall survival of the human species.
Two: Restricting the Development of Science and Technology
In most cases, scientific research is to benefit humanity. The negative by products—killing methods—are unintended but unavoidable. Planes were invented to give humans the power to fly, yet they were quickly turned into military aircrafts; genetic engineering started out as a project to improve gene structures in animals and plants, but it was quickly modified to produce agents for biowarfare.
Despite our tendencies to apply science and technology to war before all else, future extinction means will likely not be intentionally created. Means of total extinction would destroy their creator as well, so apart from a few insane scientists and extreme cults, most would not actively seek out such means. It is most likely that means for total extinction will emerge unintentionally after generations of accumulation. In other words, as science and technology continues to accumulate in power, there will be a last straw that breaks the camel’s back.
The only way to avoid killing the camel would be to stop adding more straw. A hundred years ago, extinction would not have been a concern. Science and technology’s power only becomes truly threatening after reaching a certain level. Once this level is reached, this power does not just erupt due to intentional application, but it can also be ignited inadvertently. Therefore, we must strictly limit the continued development of science and technology to ensure that it never reaches the level of extinction capabilities. This is the only way to save humanity.
The strict restriction of scientific and technological development should include the following aspects: firstly, the study of natural sciences should be most strictly limited. Any theory without absolute safety assurances must be banned altogether. Any breakthrough within one theory would trigger multiple breakthroughs on complex levels in other fields; the power of such enormous breakthroughs would be impossible to regulate. Atomic weapons would never have been created without the mass-energy equivalence theory, and genotoxins would never have been possible without biogenetic theory.
Secondly, the further technical application of existing scientific theory must be restricted. As long as the situation is not 100 percent certain, further research should cease. After all, one technological breakthrough could produce a domino effect that would be impossible to predict.
Thirdly, when it comes the development of new technology, if potential harms are uncertain, it should be treated as potentially harmful. The survival of humanity outranks human happiness. It is much more important to ensure human survival than it is to strive for marginal enjoyment.
Fourthly, products that have already been developed should be strictly researched before going to market. Existing scientific theory should also be assessed in-depth. If further excavation could bring disaster to humanity, the theory must be permanently shelved.
Fifthly, the gradual nature of scientific and technological development must be taken into account. Means for total extinction will most likely emerge in very accidental circumstances, so we must be constantly vigilant. Scientific and technological breakthroughs cannot progress in leaps; it relies heavily on earlier accumulation. Without Galileo and numerous other physicists, Newton and Einstein would never have produced their theories. To prevent more destructive means from emerging, we must start controlling science and technology immediately and in detail.
The restriction of scientific and technological development must be a consistent long-term process. In the future billions of years of human history, one minor lapse in control could result in the destruction of the human race.
If we look back on the past two hundred years of scientific and techno logical development, we will be shocked by how much we have achieved. Based on this, it is entirely possible to ascertain that a few centuries more of development would lead to human extinction.
Three: A Dialectical Understanding of Science and Technology
The restriction of scientific and technological development is a holistic approach; it is a last resort in the fight against extinction. Restricting scientific and technological development is not negating its positive effects; rather, it is merely a necessary action meant to restrict the corresponding negative threats that may ensue. We are not completely against scientific research and application; in fact, the rational development of science and technology is crucial to human survival and happiness. A dialectical understanding of science and technology is necessary. We must vigilantly guard against potential threats while also exploring possible benefits.
1. Science and Technology Are the Cornerstone of Humanity and Human Civilization
To a certain extent, humans would not exist without science and technology. It is our pursuit of science that evolved us from primate into man. The primitive discoveries of stone tools and fire greatly stimulated the brain’s capacity of our ancestors and led them to evolve into the intelligent beings humans are now.
Our ancestors once faced the tests of nature naked like other animals. As they began to sew skins into garments, they not only learned how to keep warm but also began to understand the concept of dignity. Additionally, our ancestors also learned to make decorations out of animal teeth, shells, and other materials. These primitive inventions were an expression of their pursuit of beauty, and they further stimulated a longing for beautiful things.
In essence, science and technology is, in itself, a carrier of civilization. The domestication of animals and plants marked the beginning of agricultural civilization; the use of steam engines and the improvement of textile machines foretold industrial civilization. Without the numerous creations produced by science and technology, there would be no human civilization and no development of humanity.
Primitive humans were interested in music and art, but that was merely a simple pursuit. With the discovery of metals and other non-metallic materials, as well as development of finer processing technologies, a variety of instruments were created. Today, the performance of such instruments is a truly transcending experience.
Scientific discoveries also led to the production of gouache, acrylics, oil paints, and other materials in countless different colors. These varied pigments further expanded the way art was practiced and resulted in some of the greatest masterpieces in history.
The development of science and technology has distinctively separated humans from all other animals in many aspects. We eat, wear, dwell, and act the way we do because of how science and technology has impacted us. It is the reason humans can be known as not only intelligent life-forms but also civilized life-forms.
Science and technology has also served as a messenger for human civilization. The convenient and rapid means of communication, media, and transportation were all fruits of science and technology.
It was science and technology that enabled us to break away from primitiveness and emerge into civilization. Without science and technology, humans would not be the intelligent and civilized species we are today.
2. Science and Technology Are the Cornerstones of Human Survival and Happiness
The significance of science and technology can be found in all aspects of humanity. At present, the human population is seven billion. A species of such huge scale has enormous consumption demands. Just in terms of food, Earth could not have sustained us naturally. Without science and technology, humans would experience extreme food shortages. There would be no happiness to speak of.
In the long run, the rational development of science and technology still has a positive and even decisive role in humanity’s overall survival. We all know that science and technology is not the only force that can destroy humanity, as natural forces can do so too. The need to restrict science and technology is more pressing, since its destruction timeframe is mere centuries compared to the billions of years natural extinction will take. However, natural extinction is only distant due to the high level of scientific and technological advancement we have achieved. Without such methods to prevent external threats, we would be in just as much danger from natural destruction. We are only able to devote our efforts towards the threat of science and technology because they have already provided us with the means to circumvent most natural disasters.
Science and technology have also been crucial in safeguarding the survival of human groups and human individuals. For example, epidemics and plagues would have caused greater devastation without developments in medicine. By guaranteeing the health and longevity of human beings, science and technology also contributed to the overall happiness of humanity. The overall improvement in life expectancy—especially in developed countries—and the improvement in overall human health can all be attributed to science and technology. Science and technology also contributed to the way we communicate, dwell, and clothe ourselves. They have significantly bettered our living conditions and vastly enhanced our happiness levels.
Science and technology not only laid the foundation for human survival, but also for human happiness. Their contribution to humanity is unique and irreplaceable. We are not negating all this when we ask for restrictions on scientific and technological developments; we merely believe that further breakthroughs may be unwise. Though more advanced levels of science and technology may bring even more positive benefits to humanity, their negative effects may also be vast—vast enough to exterminate humanity.
3. Rational Restriction of Science and Technology
In view of the fact that science and technology can both harm and benefit humanity, and that mankind is heavily dependent upon them, a dialectical attitude should be adopted for the rational restriction of science and technology. In principle, when we talk about limiting the development of science and technology, we are merely talking about limiting their harmful side; their benefits should not only not be limited but further promoted. We should observe the following guidelines:
First, existing science and technology achievements proven to be mature and safe should be universally promoted and applied. Today’s world population is huge and still expanding. Without science and technology, there would be immediate survival problems for humanity. Scientific achievements that are assuredly safe and mature should be popularized on a large scale to ensure the overall quality of human life. This can help to ensure that humans will live a long, happy life on this planet.
In fact, if safe and mature technologies already in existence are distributed to all corners of the world, it would be more than enough to ensure the essential needs of humanity. Countries like United States, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, and France have built strong, powerful nations based off of these technologies, while smaller countries like Luxembourg, Switzerland, Singapore, and South Korea have also established affluent societies based on technological achievements. Even developing countries like China feel the beneficial impact of science and technology. If we spread such mature science and technology results to Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia, the positive results would be abundant.
Second, research in specific fields of science and technology should still be furthered. The strict limitation of scientific and technological development is a general requirement. There are still many major technical problems in the future history of mankind; these problems are related to the overall survival and happiness of human beings. Therefore, under the premise of general restriction, topics that are obviously safe and heavily influence human survival and happiness should be further researched.
A typical example of this would be further research to prevent major natural disasters like asteroid collisions or infectious diseases; however, such research must be conducted with the greatest caution to prevent it from permeating into more threatening areas. There are many natural forces that threaten humanity, such as epidemics, earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, and hurricanes. If we mistakenly treat all threats as destructive threats, the efforts to restrict science and technology would come unraveled very quickly.
We should also realize that mankind will have to make some sacrifices when restricting science and technology. Not only will some material enjoyments be reduced, but some research projects aimed at enhancing survival crisis for individuals and groups will not be easily initiated. For example, research for some drugs that may relieve pain and suffering for certain patients may be restricted to prevent means for destruction from emerging as by-products. In the face of overall human survival, some individual survival and happiness needs must be sacrificed.
When faced with such choices, we must learn to view everyone’s life and death candidly and as a natural component of life. This is not saying that we should stop pursuing ways to save those in need ... just the opposite. We must always be devoted to helping our fellow human beings within current science and technology capabilities; it is only further research that must be cautioned.
In addition, some other areas of research should be opened up sparingly. For example, alternative sources for non-renewable resources are crucial to continued human survival on Earth; such research should be allowed to carry on under safe conditions. Of course, the utmost caution must be constantly taken.
Third, the restriction of science and technology cannot be flawless. Scientific discoveries and technological creations have often happened accidentally; even the most rigid restriction systems could not stop such accidents from occurring. Once occurred, such accidental achievements must be carefully screened to determine their potential threat. If they are proven to be safe, they should be promoted and utilized; if not, they must be strictly sealed.
As a whole, the restriction of science and technology should be comprehensive and strict, and it must be continuous and uninterrupted. Further development of science and technology can only take place in the most carefully selected areas with great caution. Scientific and technological achievements should be widely used and promoted, but they must be carefully screened and tested first.
SECTION TWO: THE PREREQUISITES FOR SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY RESTRICTION
After determining the necessity of restricting further scientific and techno logical development, we should continue to analyze whether or not we can achieve this goal.
One: Countries Are Today’s Social Forms
The social formation of human society has gone through three stages: the primitive migratory stage, the village and tribal stage, and today’s nation/country stage.
In the earliest days, when primitive humans lived in migratory groups, there was very little interaction between groups. The Agricultural Revolution brought about the domestication of animals and plants and allowed humans to settle down. Villages and tribes were formed.
Countries formed a few thousand years after the Agricultural Revolution. The earliest country formed some six thousand years ago. The country stage is the third stage of human society development, and it has lasted to this day.
The formation of countries was an inevitable outcome of human society development, and it was based on village and tribal societies. Due to the extreme selfishness and eternal competitiveness of humanity, villages and tribes engaged in constant conflict. Agricultural production also required large water conservancy projects and natural disaster prevention methods. All of these elements gave rise to the formation of countries. Even though today’s societies retain the basic form of countries, their essences have changed drastically. Human society today is much more rich and vivid than it was thousands of years ago.
As an organization form of human society, countries are not unique. Many other types of organizations are active in the world. In terms of scale, international organizations are the largest groups. For example, the United Nations is the largest international organization in the world. As a universal international organization, its existing 193 member states include almost all the sovereign nations of the world. In addition to universal international organizations like the United Nations, there are also various regional and trans-regional international organizations, such as the European Union, the Southeast Asia Union, and the G8.
Apart from international organizations, smaller forms of organizations exist in abundance; these include various governments, agencies, enterprises, associations, schools, public welfare agencies, social welfare agencies, and various cities, villages, towns, and neighborhoods. These organizations exist all around us and are inextricably linked to all of our lives.
Two other forms of organization exist invisibly. They connect people by blood or belief and awaken a strong sense of belonging within each individual. These unseen organizations are ethnicity and religion. All people belong to their own ethnicity, and most people have their own religious beliefs. Though people may not necessarily be influenced by a particular ethnic or religious organization, they cannot deny their existence.
Despite this, the most stable, sacred, and systematized organization in human society is still the country. Today’s human society exists in country configurations, which are the dominant force in today’s world. All other organizations are subordinate to them.
Various international organizations are actually subordinate to countries as well. It is the country’s decision to join and act in these international organizations according to their individual interests. International organizations are largely influenced by their member states, especially the more powerful ones. Therefore, countries dominate international organizations ... not the other way around. This is a basic fact.
Similarly, ethnicities and religions are also subordinate to countries. Most countries contain multiple ethnicities and religions, and most ethnicities and religions are distributed across many countries. Although each person feels ethnic and religious kinship, they are usually driven by the interests of their country.
The sacred authority of the country began six thousand years ago and has continued to this day. There have been instances where religious power supersedes national power; for example, in Medieval Europe, the Pope held higher power than the secular monarch. However, this was only a brief, transient moment in history, and even then, religious power was used as a tool to achieve state rule. In fact, religion was still subordinate to the state.
We can make one observation: In today’s society, countries dominate all the groups, organizations, and individuals subordinate to it. They also deter mine the ultimate role they play in the world according to their own interests.
Two: Competition between Countries
The inherent weakness of human beings often leads to irrational behavior. Individual irrationality, or even irrational behavior of a normal organization, cannot cause much harm. The case is different when it comes to the irrationality of a country. As the highest form of power in the world today, a country can mobilize all its resources when needed, and no other social form can limit its behavior. Therefore, the irrational behavior of a state will be much more devastating than any other social force.
Due to the coexistence of many countries in the world, countries are constantly competing with each other. Such competition is reflected in all aspects of the state, such as politics, economics, military affairs, diplomacy, and culture. Once conflicts from competition intensify to a certain extent, they manifest in the form of war. This has always been the rule of countries.
From the perspective of human nature, competition between countries is usually decided by two factors. The first factor is the eternal competitiveness of humanity itself. The inherent competitiveness of human beings means that all countries will constantly seek to surpass their rivals in all aspects. Smaller countries wish to become larger, and larger countries wish to become superpowers. Though competition between nations involves all aspects of the state, the two main areas of contention are usually the economy and military affairs. As long as these two elements are enhanced, the overall strength of the country will improve. Politics, diplomacy, and culture will improve accordingly. Therefore, all countries give priority to economic and military development.
Military and economic strength are largely decided by a country’s land size, population, and resources. For a small country like Singapore, no matter how developed, civilized, and respected it is in the world, it cannot become a major power that dominates world or regional affairs. For a country like India, though it is poor and less developed, its huge land size and population means that it will not be underestimated. It is precisely for this reason that an expansionist mentality will lurk inside all countries. This mentality is closely linked to the country’s competitive mentality. Countries will usually resort to territorial expansion in their bid to surpass their competitors, and territorial expansion can usually only be achieved through war.
The second factor is the extreme selfishness within human nature. Expanding through means of plunder and war is an extremely selfish act. It establishes happiness based on the suffering of others. The casualties in such expansions not only include the people of other countries but also a country’s own people; however, a country will never abandon competition due to the immorality of expansion. Extreme selfishness is rooted in human nature, and it makes the expansion of countries unavoidable.
All countries understand the unavoidable nature of expansion and will take precautions to prevent annexation and plunder from invading forces. The most effective way to prevent such invasions is to develop one’s own economy and military power. Every country has a sense of crisis and urgency; the coexistence of countries means that not all countries can feel a sense of security. Therefore, the constant need to defend oneself and surpass one’s competitors will drive countries into a constant need for further, faster development.
Whenever countries reach a certain level of economic and military development, they will feel constrained by their national limitations. This will drive them to consider expansion. Similarly, countries will also seek to strike first before they themselves become targets of expansion; thus, all countries have the potential to become aggressors and invaders.
To sum up, if proactive competition between countries is caused by the eternal competitiveness of humanity, then humanity’s extreme selfishness is what leads countries into passive competition. It does not matter if the com petitions are proactive or passive—they will all inevitably lead to expansion and aggression. In a society comprised of countries, no country can escape the fate of invading others or being invaded. No country exists in a vacuum.
Three: The Double Strengthening of Scientific and Technological Development
Competition among nations will also lead to the emergence of another phenomenon: the country’s firm dependence on science and technology. The competition of countries depends mainly on overall strength. The main sustaining point of overall strength lies in economic and military strength; however, military strength needs economic strength as its backing. The improvement of economic strength requires continuous improvements in production efficiency and continuous accumulation of economic wealth. We know that a country’s economy mostly relies on enterprises, but the overall development of enterprises decides the overall effectiveness of a country’s economy.
Judging from today’s situation, globalization is the main trend of the world economy. As the world economy further integrates, this characteristic will only be strengthened. What should countries rely on to remain invincible in the international market? In the long course of human history, mankind has been mostly self-sufficient. Our ability to adapt and transform nature has been very limited. It was not until the Industrial Revolution that people discovered the great power of science and technology. The steam engine propelled the train beyond the power of thousands of horses. Planes took humans into the sky; televisions and telephones transported images and sounds across tens of thousands of kilometers instantly; the computing speed of one computer soon exceeded that of millions of excellent mathematicians. Science and technology has created unprecedented potential, and people have fully realized its immense ability to create wealth. Science and technology has come to be regarded as the primary force in productivity; therefore, the competition of modern enterprises has become the competition of science and technology.
Since improving the overall efficiency of enterprises means enhancing the economic health of the country, its military budget, as well as overall strength, science and technology has become the core factor affecting national interests.
In fact, the development of science and technology can also directly provide the military with more effective means of war. The emergence of new scientific and technological achievements has always been prioritized for the military and national defense. Therefore, science and technology not only have an indirect effect on the improvement of military strength, but also a direct and important significance. All of this augments the importance of science and technology to national interests.
Since countries and enterprises have similar interests in the development of science and technology, they will mutually reinforce and promote each other in terms of scientific development, forming this logical relationship:
1. Enterprises will only be able to gain substantial economic benefits and remain competitive in the market through scientific and technological research, development, and utilization; therefore, enterprises will be devoted to scientific and technological research.
2. Economic efficiency will lead to corresponding increases in the economic, military, and overall strength of the country. The state can obtain corresponding benefits through the development of science and technology.
3. The state will then support the enterprises’ research and development of science and technology with its own resources.
4. The enterprises gaining further economic benefits through scientific and technological innovations enhances the overall strength of the country and gives the country more ability to support and promote further research and development.
This mutually beneficial relationship between the state and the enterprises further promotes the development of science and technology. We will call this relationship the double strengthening of scientific and technological development, or “double strengthening” for short.
Double strengthening is an inevitable phenomenon in our country-based society; it is the inevitable result of competition between coexisting countries. After the Industrial Revolution, this double strengthening became more obvious and stronger in effect because the great power of science and technology became apparent through the Industrial Revolution. This has led to the consolidation of the double strengthening effect.
Although the main factor for scientific and technological development lies in both the countries and the enterprises, enterprises are still subordinate to countries, leaving the fundamental responsibility with the countries. As supreme powers of the human world, countries have a sacred duty to manage the world in a responsible manner. Any act that goes against the values of mankind should be stopped by the state. This task of preserving human interests cannot be accomplished by enterprises. Enterprises can only be respondents and participants at most— they cannot be the leaders of change.
The competitiveness between countries means that no country can shoulder such responsibility. Science and technology is at the core of economic, military, and overall competitiveness between countries. It determines whether or not a country can hold supreme power in the world. Not only will countries not restrict scientific and technological development, but they will do everything to promote it. The overall threat to mankind cannot undermine the attitude of countries. Human extinction is a future matter for everyone, while any failure in national competition would lead to individual demise. The more immediate and personal matter will obviously win out. All countries must be constantly prepared for war; only by improving their competitive strength can they avoid tragic demise.
Three: Uniting the Human Race
The restriction of scientific and technological development involves many aspects. It is an arduous and long-term goal. Only the utmost commitment from the highest powers of the human race could achieve this goal. The most supreme form of power in human society today is the country; without countries, the move to restrict scientific and technological development is inconceivable.
Countries today put their own interests first and are in constant competition with each other. They are obviously not in a position to lead the charge. What conditions must be met to achieve the goal of scientific and technological development restriction? In order to propel countries into action, there must first be a strong motivational force. The threat to human survival is not strong enough of a motivational force. All countries must receive equal guarantee that their survival and safety will not be threatened due to individual restriction efforts. The rules for restriction must be universal and absolute so that none will benefit from breaking the rules and none will have cause for personal worry.
In order to satisfy these demands, the highest forms of power cannot have divided rule. Whenever power is divided, competition and confrontation will quickly render all efforts useless.
It is logical to conclude that the restriction of scientific and technological development cannot be achieved when the highest powers are divided; the only way to achieve the goal would be through unified global action.
Unified global action refers to the unification of the human race. It requires that the world be unanimously unified and unswerving in its commitment to restrict scientific and technological development. No regional dissent can be allowed. At the same time, the restriction of scientific development has to be long-term and consistent for the future billions of years.
Since countries are the highest forms of human society, the unification of the human race is essentially the uniting of countries. All countries must adhere to the above requirements, and no individual deviation can be per mitted. If any country deviated from the common goal, its impact would be multifaceted. Not only would it cause direct harm through potentially dangerous scientific research, but it would also create a domino effect that would erupt the entire system.
The weakness of humanity ensures that eternal competitiveness, competition, vanity, and aggression will always be a part of human society. If one country opened the dam on scientific and technological development, others would follow suit to avoid being surpassed. The increase in national strength brought on by leading scientific developments would propel a country into a superpower, and it could easily order around and determine the fate of other countries. No leader would allow their competitors to gain such an advantage. Moreover, once a country lifted the restrictions on the development of science and technology, it would achieve high levels of economic development, far surpassing that of other countries. Its citizens’ standard of living would be far ahead of the rest of the world, and many attractive technology products would appear. Due to this, people of other countries would demand the same improvements from their own governments, and restrictions on scientific and technological development would be abandoned.
SECTION THREE: THE EFFORTS TO UNITE HUMANITY
Having clarified our attitude towards science and technology and the need to adopt holistic action to strictly limit their development, we should now explore the path to human unity.
In the past, there have been efforts dedicated to exploring and coordinating human actions. These efforts included political, economic, social, environmental, and military developments, but the focus was mainly on the prevention of war. Historically, war has been the clearest and most lethal form of destruction to humanity; however, the situation has changed drastically today. Now the root causes behind the most terrible disasters are science and technology. Not only do they cause mass destruction, but potentially human extinction as well. The development of scientific research and technology should be controlled a hundredfold—or even a thousandfold—more than war.
This matter concerns the overall survival of mankind, which propels it to the highest priority of humanity. This unparalleled importance necessarily requires that the unification of mankind must be absolutely thorough, absolutely consistent, and absolutely persistent. Efforts to unite mankind in the past have been both extensive and vigorous. Among them, the two most effective efforts were the League of Nations and the United Nations.
One: The League of Nations
The League of Nations was the first universal international organization in the history of mankind and the first organized attempt to coordinate world action and safeguard the collective security of humanity. The League of Nations was founded in the early twentieth century after a period of terrible human calamity.
The First World War that broke out in 1914 lasted for more than four years and was the first war on a global scale that involved almost all of the major powers in the world. Over ten million died in the war and more than twenty million were injured. Direct and indirect war costs amounted to 436 billion US dollars—more than ten times the sum of all previous war expenditures of the past two hundred years.
Such huge devastation shocked the world, and fear lingered on long after the end of the war. During the war, some advocated for the establishment of an international organization that would unify and coordinate world affairs and prevent a recurrence of large-scale wars. At the Paris Peace Conference, President Wilson of the United States proposed a fourteen-point plan, in which he devoted the utmost passion and greatest hope to the establishment of an international coalition. In the Treaty of Versailles, the establishment of the League of Nations was listed as the first constituent.
The establishment of the League of Nations was extremely promising to the world. In particular, some smaller countries that were bullied by larger countries saw it as an umbrella to protect their own national security and sovereign equality. Wilson—known as a scholar president—firmly believed that the League of Nations was a “reliable guarantor” of world peace.
After its founding, the League of Nations strived to play an active role in international affairs and carried out a series of tasks following the expectations of the world’s citizens. However, as proven afterwards, the League of Nations did not have the capacity for substantive action, and its effectiveness was extremely limited.
The first serious challenge to the League of Nations was Japan’s aggression against northeast China. On September 18, 1931, the Japanese Kwantung army launched a surprise attack on Shenyang and proceed to occupy the major towns along the Nanman Railway. After the incident, the Chinese government in Nanjing placed great hopes in the League of Nations and expected them to stop such blatant acts of aggression. They decided to hand over complete resolution power to the League of Nations. As a result, the Chinese government filed a petition demanding that the League of Nations take action to rectify the situation.
In response to the Chinese government’s complaint, the League of Nations immediately conducted a study and passed a resolution, but the Japanese government ignored it. Under such circumstances, the League passed the resolution a second time and was opposed by the Japanese again. With no other choice left, the League of Nations decided to form a special team to conduct investigations in the Far East.
After a six-month survey, the team completed the League of Nations Investigation Team Report on the situation in China. After fierce debate, the League of Nations Assembly passed a resolution on the mission’s report, renouncing the Japanese army’s interference in China. They declared Japan’s occupation of Northeast China to be illegal and required immediate withdrawal of Japanese troops. At the same time, they refused to recognize the puppet regime established by Japan; however, they did not impose any sanctions against Japan under the coalition’s treaty and admitted Japan’s special interests in the northeast. This was actually a resolution that compromised with Japan.
Even such a compromised resolution was met with Japan’s firm opposition. The Japanese representative immediately left the assembly, and the Japanese government formally announced its withdrawal from the League of Nations. In the face of Japan’s arrogance and dominance, the League of Nations had no alternative but to end the issue with a moral condemnation of Japan.
After the Japanese invasion of Northeast China, the League of Nations was challenged again by Italy’s aggression against Abyssinia. On December 5, 1934, on the pretext of a border incident in the Walwal region on the Somali-Abyssinian border, Italy sent troops to occupy Walwal and forced Abyssinia to compensate Italy for its losses. This rude demand was strongly rejected by Abyssinia, but the weaker Abyssinian government knew that it could not defeat Italy on the military front. Its hope was therefore placed in the League of Nations. On January 3, 1935, Abyssinia filed a complaint and requested the League of Nations to intervene to stop Italy’s aggression.
At the time, the League of Nations was controlled by Britain and France. Whether for the purpose of upholding the principles of the League of Nations or for safeguarding British interests in North and East Africa, the League of Nations should not have dismissed Italy’s aggressive acts. However, the United Kingdom and France were extremely cautious in their treatment of Italy. Their main focus was not on upholding justice and the principles of the League of Nations, but rather on the fear of an Italian-German alliance. Therefore, they adopted an extremely ambiguous attitude to avoid antagonizing Italy.
Britain and France’s compromise furthered Italy’s aggressive ambition. On October 3, 1935, Italy formally attacked Abyssinia. With such a blatant act of aggression, the League of Nations was forced to react strongly. They declared Italy’s action an invasion and decided to impose economic sanctions in retaliation. Unfortunately, due to France’s uncooperative attitude, the list of sanctions did not include important products like oil, coal, or steel. A sanction like that was doomed to fail.
In May 1936, Italian troops used chemical poisons to break the stalwart resistance of Abyssinian defenders before capturing its capital, Addis Ababa. Abyssinia was annexed. It is worth pondering that the eminent Abyssinian emperor, Haile Selassie, went to Geneva to speak at a League of Nations conference on June 30, accusing Italy for its crimes of aggression and pleading for assistance. The emperor appealed for a loan from the League of Nations in order to buy weapons to resist the Italian army. This pitiful request met with twenty-three votes of rejection and twenty-five abstentions. The only affirmative vote came from the Abyssinian government itself. On July 4, the League of Nations concluded its sanctions against Italy; thus, one can see the insignificance of the League of Nations and how vulnerable justice can be in the face of power.
The weakness of the League of Nations, its inability to uphold justice, and its submission to power deeply disappointed the countries of the world. At the same time, it opened the door for fascist aggressions. The League of Nations’ weak and incompetent treatment of the Abyssinia issue greatly aroused the aggressive ambitions of the fascists in Germany and Japan. On July 7, 1937, Japan launched an all-out war against China.
Hitler was the ultimate disincentive for the League of Nations. Inspired by Mussolini’s successful invasion, Hitler decided to challenge the Treaty of Versailles. Under this treaty, Germany—a defeated nation in World War I—was not allowed to station armies within fifty kilometers of the Rhine’s eastern bank. This area was strictly labeled a demilitarized zone.
The presence of the demilitarized zone was a thorn in Hitler’s side. It constrained Germany’s military expansion and left the west side of Germany defenseless against bordering France. Hitler had wanted to pluck out this thorn since he took office, but Germany was only just beginning to reorganize. Germany could not compete with France and Britain in terms of military strength; it would fail if the international community intervened again; however, the weak actions of the League of Nations, as well as of Britain and France, gave Hitler a spark of hope. On March 7, 1936, he commanded thirty-five thousand German troops to enter the Rhine demilitarized zone and build a military defensive line; they also occupied several important towns along the west bank of the Rhine.
This blatant violation of the Treaty of Versailles put France directly at risk. At the time, the French government advocated sending troops to the Rhineland area and forcing Germany to withdraw its troops. However, Britain, who was unwilling to risk war, opposed France and opposed sanctions against Germany. As the French government did not dare to act alone, the opportunity to enter the Rhineland and stop Hitler’s ambitions from further expanding was lost.
The frequent successes of German, Italian, and Japanese fascists made Hitler aware of the League of Nations’ vulnerability and insignificance. He quickly realized that there was nothing to fear from the organization. As a result, Germany annexed Austria in March 1938 and again occupied and annexed the Sudeten region of Czechoslovakia in October 1938. Afterwards, it took the opportunity to loot and destroy Czechoslovakia.
On September 1, 1939, Hitler’s Germany publicly broke the German Soviet Pact and attacked the sovereign state of Poland. On September 3, Britain and France were forced to declare war on Germany, and World War II finally broke out. After the outbreak of World War II, the League of Nations existed in name only. It officially announced its dissolution after WWII.
Peace lovers, political leaders, and scholars alike devoted great enthusiasm and effort to the League of Nations, from its preparation to its establishment. People imagined that the establishment of an international coalition would bring lasting peace to the world; however, this was only a short-lived illusion. In the twenty-six years of its existence, the League of Nations did not stop any major wars.
Another important task undertaken by the League of Nations was the organization and coordination of international disarmament. In this arena as well, the League of Nations did not achieve any substantive disarmament progress. In fact, it only ever managed to provide unrealistic hope to the people and some reference for the establishment of the United Nations in the future.
Two: The United Nations
Humans never learn from past mistakes. We pray for peace, but peace is often easily shattered. The Second World War broke out only twenty years after the first and on an even more devastating scale. World War II resulted in one hundred million casualties, of which more than fifty-five million were deaths. The economic loss caused by the war cannot be accurately calculated.
Having personally experienced the great catastrophe of two world wars, people desired peace even more and hoped for an institution that could truly control the world and ensure peace. The United Nations was born as the result of this desire.
1. Inability to Maintain World Peace
The United Nations was founded more than seventy years ago. Maintaining world peace and building a collective security system were the main purposes and original intentions of the United Nations. During this time, although a third World War has not occurred, localized wars has never stopped. Armed conflicts of varying scales have been taking place constantly. The death toll from these wars and armed conflicts has totaled nearly thirty million, three times that of World War I. Bigger conflicts have broken out more than two hundred times. Some of them were very large in scale and involved many countries, such as the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the war in the Middle East, the Iran-Iraq War, the Gulf War, the Iraq War, the Syrian War, and others. Though the United Nations has tried its best, it is often powerless to safeguard world peace and resolve local conflicts.
Varying national interests is the fundamental factor that affects the United Nations’ peacekeeping efforts. As an international organization, the authority of the United Nations is bestowed by the states; thus, the interests of sovereign states precede the interests of the United Nations. The decisions of the United Nations can be rejected by countries when they conflict with national interests, and they are largely influenced by the major powers of the world. Therefore, most United Nations decisions are only likely to be implemented when they are in line with the interests of the major powers.
During the forty-year period between the June 1948 war in the Middle East and the end of the Cold War in 1988, only thirteen peacekeeping operations were conducted by the United Nations. However, since 1989, there have been peacekeeping operations every year ... sometimes with more than ten in a year. The differing camps of the Cold War era made it very difficult for the Security Council to reach an agreement on peacekeeping operations. Since the end of the Cold War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the conflicts among the major powers have eased and the competition among countries has shifted to economic and social development. All countries want a peaceful and stable international environment to ensure development; therefore, peacekeeping efforts have progressed.
A new world order formed after the Cold War, and the United States has emerged as the undeniable superpower. As the only superpower in the world, the United States has habitually influenced the United Nations’ decisions and facilitated its own expansion in the name of peace and anti-terrorism. The United Nations does not always heed the United States’ demands, but whenever this happens, the United States pushes aside the UN and acts alone outside UN jurisdiction.
In 2003, the United States planned to overthrow the Iraqi Saddam regime under the pretext of fighting terrorism. The entire world was well aware that the United States’ so-called anti-terrorism campaign was nothing but nomenclature. Promoting its own hegemony and acquiring oil rights in the Middle East was the real motive. Most countries firmly boycotted the actions of the United States. Massive protests and demonstrations around the world highlighted common spontaneous actions that had not been seen since the Cold War. Even major US allies like France and Germany expressed their firm opposition. The United States tried to obtain authorization from the Security Council, but apart from themselves and Britain, the other three permanent members vetoed the motion. Under these circumstances, a handful of countries, including the United States and Britain, bypassed the United Nations and unilaterally attacked Iraq to overthrow the Saddam regime.
Such disregard of unanimous international opposition and the bypassing of UN decisions has not been uncommon during the United Nations’ seventy-year tenure. The UN passed several resolutions denouncing the blatant Israeli occupation of Arab territories and its suppression of the founding of Palestine; however, Israel repeatedly ignored these resolutions due to strong backing from the United States. North Korea relies on its special relations with China and Russia to repeatedly bypass the United Nations as well. The United Nations has no alternative but to turn a blind eye to North Korea’s frequent testing of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles. When it comes to actions involving direct participation of major powers, the United Nations is even more helpless and sometimes cannot even verbally protest. Examples include the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the NATO war on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the United States’ invasion of Grenada, the United States’ invasion of Panama, and so on. As for the two largest wars since World War II—the Korean War and the Vietnam War—the United Nations was powerless to settle any disputes, since both wars were backed by major powers.
2. The Difficult Road to Disarmament
The UN Charter states that the United Nations will work to minimize the consumption of the world’s human and economic resources by armaments and that the UN General Assembly and Security Council are responsible for disarmament efforts. In order to promote disarmament, the United Nations has set up a series of disarmament negotiation organizations. On January 24, 1946, the UN established the Atomic Energy Commission under the UN Security Council. This was the UN’s first disarmament organization; however, the United Nations’ disarmament efforts over the past seventy years have been almost laughable.
In 1961, the Soviet Union planned to test a hydrogen bomb that would produce energy equivalent to fifty-six million tons of TNT in Novaya Zemlya. Such a huge explosion would be nearly three thousand times more destructive than the atomic bomb explosion in Hiroshima, and it was extremely incompatible with the world’s desire for nuclear disarmament. Therefore, on October 27, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution that required the Soviet Union to stop the nuclear test with eighty-seven votes in favor, eleven votes against, and one abstention. Three days later, the Soviet Union conducted the test as scheduled, despite the unanimous opposition of the international community.
The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty requires the signature of forty-four nuclear-capable countries and the approval of relevant authorities in those countries. So far, a number of nuclear-capable countries have not signed and ratified the treaty. In particular, the largest nuclear-armed country in the world—the United States—has not ratified the treaty through its congress. The UN has no power to enforce the actions of such powerful countries.
In 1967, the United States adopted the Outer Space Treaty, forbidding the deployment and use of weapons of mass destruction in outer space and prohibiting the establishment of military bases on alien planets. However, both the United States and Russia have officially launched “Space Force” projects, and Russia has officially named its aerospace force the “Space Force.”
The United States’ withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was especially regrettable. The ABM Treaty was signed by the United States and the Soviet Union in 1972 to ensure mutual nuclear deterrence by forbidding the development of a national anti-ballistic missile system on both sides. It aimed to control the “nuclear terror balance” to contain potential nuclear war. After the Cold War, the balance of power between the United States and Russia shifted. The United States became bent on becoming a military leader and dominating the world, and the world was aware that the United States might decide to unilaterally withdraw from the ABM Treaty. As a precautionary measure, the fifty-sixth session of the UN General Assembly passed the resolution to “safeguard and observe the ABM Treaty” by an overwhelming majority of eighty-two votes in favor and five against on November 29, 2001. The UN General Assembly had passed three similar resolutions in a row; however, on December 13, 2001, the US president announced withdrawal from the ABM Treaty despite strong opposition from the international community.
The ABM Treaty was a cornerstone of the international arms control system. More than thirty international disarmament treaties were linked to it. The abolition of this treaty shook the international disarmament system, and the consequences can only be imagined.
When the UN started to devote itself to international nuclear disarmament in 1946, only the United States had atomic bombs; however, an increasing number of countries have come to own nuclear weapons despite international disarmament efforts, and nuclear weapons have increased in variety and number. The number of countries that have openly admitted to nuclear weapon possession has reached nine so far, but the actual number is likely even higher. The world’s nuclear arsenal reached a maximum of seventy thousand warheads at one point, and even existing nuclear warheads total about ten thousand. In addition to atomic bombs, nuclear weapons have also developed to include hydrogen bombs, neutron bombs, and shock wave nuclear bombs. Fourth generation nuclear weapons are also being secretly researched by major countries.
After the Cold War, the United Nations adopted many resolutions regarding disarmament; however, the minimally restrained United States has been marginalizing the United Nations. Few resolutions can have any substantive restriction on a major power like the United States ... or any major powers at all.
3. Coordinating the Dilemma Between Economic and Social Conflicts
Unlike the League of Nations, the United Nations is also tasked with coordinating international economic, social, cultural, educational, and health work. Compared to the maintenance of world peace and international dis armament, it is much easier for the United Nations to adopt declarations, conventions, treaties, and resolutions in these areas. These issues concern general morality and universal common interests; however, the number of resolutions from the United Nations must be greatly reduced if they are to be implemented. Resolutions with universal common interests are easily implemented, but resolutions of a moral nature must contend with varying national interests. When long-term interests conflict with short-term interests, or national interests conflict with global interests, resolutions become difficult to implement, and countries often withdraw their support.
Relative to war and disarmament issues, economic and social issues are less urgent and less focused upon. As a result, the world has less supervision over economic and social resolutions adopted by the United Nations. The prevailing non-implementation of such resolutions has not drawn the attention of most people in the world.
From August 27 to September 7, 1990, the Eighth UN Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders was held in Havana, Cuba. In only ten days, forty-six resolutions were passed—a record that would never have been achieved if war and disarmament issues were being discussed. Crime prevention is a matter of concern to all countries, and not much opposition exists, but the treatment of criminals is a generally accepted moral issue. Even if some countries did not intend to improve their treatment of criminals, they would not voice such views publicly.
Drug abuse and drug trafficking are universal problems for humanity as well, and the concept of drug control generally receives worldwide acceptance. The United Nations adopted the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and UN Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances without much resistance. Similarly, the more than one hundred anti-drug motions formulated by the United Nations were also relatively easy to carry out.
Terrorism is also a big threat to humanity, so resolutions like the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, Including Diplomatic Agents and the International Convention Against the Taking of Hostages received minimal protest.
Environment and resource problems are major issues that concern the sustainability of humankind. Under the United Nations, two hundred conventions, agreements, and treaties relating to environmental and resource issues have been adopted and signed around the world; however, such conventions, agreements, and treaties are much more difficult to implement. For example, after many years of difficult multilateral negotiations, more than one hundred countries witnessed the signing of the Paris Climate Change Agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, the United States also signed this agreement. Unfortunately, on June 1, 2017, the new US president, Donald Trump, announced his withdrawal from the agreement out of consideration for the US economy.
The protection of forests is an important step in the protection of biodiversity, the prevention of desertification, and the control of global warming. In September 1991, the United Nations adopted the Paris Declaration and appealed to the world for better protection of forests and the rebuilding of green vegetation on Earth. Later, The Forest Principles, the Convention on Biological Diversity Protection, and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification were adopted. However, poorer, developing countries ignored these conventions to boost their productivity through industrial development and development of science and technology. In order to survive, they deforested, sold their resources, overgrazed, and over-cultivated to obtain basic food and clothing.
We can see that it is not so easy for the United Nations to pass the above mentioned resolutions, and it is even harder to solve such problems fundamentally. The reason for this lies in the contradiction between the restrictions contained in these resolutions and the interests of some countries. When there are contradictions between short-term interests and long-term interests, countries generally choose short-term interests. When national interests conflict with global interests, countries inevitably choose the former.
SECTION FOUR: THE FUNDAMENTAL CHOICE—BUILDING A UNIFIED SOCIETY
The two greatest efforts to unite mankind—the League of Nations and the United Nations— have both failed in practice. What led to this failure? What measures can be taken to truly achieve the goal of uniting humanity and thus ultimately realize the restriction of scientific and technological development?
One: The Root Cause that Limits the Effect of International Organizations
1. Conflict between the Interests of Nations and the Interests of International Organizations
The League of Nations and the United Nations were both born out of World Wars. They were the results of deep reflection in the aftermath of bloody casualties. Such international organizations were established based on the goals of ending war, reducing armaments, safeguarding peace, eradicating poverty, and benefiting the world by coordinating and unifying human actions. In practice, however, the League of Nations did not stop the outbreak of World War II, and the United Nations did not stop the hundreds of major local wars that took place after World War II. Neither organization managed to decrease the large reserve of nuclear warheads or the constant destruction of the environment. The problem of poverty also remains severe.
It should be said that international organizations are neither blind nor careless to all these issues. On the contrary, international organizations are dedicated to the preservation of overall human interests in all matters that seriously concern humanity. International organizations have made much effort and done all they can; unfortunately, they do not have much to show for it.
The first obstacle that stands in the way of international organizations’ efforts to unite humanity is the conflict between the interests of countries and the interests of international organizations. At the root, international organizations are comprised of countries, and they are established and promoted through the efforts of national leaders. The sponsors of international organizations are usually the most influential and authoritative country leaders; therefore, there should be no major conflicts of interest between countries and international organizations. However, that is not the case. The interests of countries and the interests of international organizations collide frequently, which usually makes it difficult for international organizations to achieve their intended goals.
At the root, it is the human inclination for visible interests that causes the contradiction between the interests of countries and the interests of international organizations. The weakness of human nature determines that local interests often prevail when they conflict with global interests. When immediate interests conflict with long-term interests, immediate benefits tend to win out. When surface interests conflict with fundamental interests, it is often surface interests that are chosen. This is the essence of human nature.
In general, international organizations represent the overall, long-term, and fundamental interests of mankind, since they are established to preserve the future of all humans. Both the League of Nations and the United Nations were established in view of the enormous casualties caused by the World Wars. They were meant to protect humanity from any further suffering. These international organizations were not formed to represent local interests, but rather the overall, long-term, and fundamental interests of all mankind.
The League of Nation’s main purpose and responsibility at that time was to stop war and reduce armaments. Its focus was undoubtedly on the overall interests of mankind rather than the local interests—the long-term and the fundamental interest rather than the immediate and surface benefits. In terms of commitment and scope of responsibilities, the United Nations has a broader purpose than the League of Nations. In addition to safeguarding world peace and reducing global armaments, the United Nations has social, economic, and cultural responsibilities as well. To this end, the United Nations is committed to poverty eradication, environmental protection, and the crackdown on drugs and international crime, all of which are issues of overall, long-term, and fundamental importance.
Not all actions of international organizations benefit the overall, long-term, and fundamental interests of mankind. For example, the United Nations does not advocate the restriction of scientific and technological development, but rather encourages it. This only means that the UN has not yet realized the enormous threat science and technology poses to humanity as a whole, not that they do not care about human survival. In another example, there have been some incidents in the history of the United Nations where major powers have been allowed to pervert social morality; however, this was because the United Nations was powerless to stop such aggression.
On the contrary, countries are usually only concerned with their own interests, the interests of the present generation, and the happiness and survival of their own people. The interests they represent are localized, immediate, and surface-level, because the country itself is a localized and regional concept. Countries must first consider the governance of their own regions and the interests of their state before the interests of the world.
We know that eternal competitiveness is an inherent weakness of humanity. Such competitiveness will also manifest between coexisting countries. Countries will compete with each other in terms of overall strength, citizen living standards, strength of national leaders, and other qualities. There will always be countries that put their own interests ahead of the overall interests of mankind. These actions will not only disrupt the hard work of other countries, but they will also bring them corresponding individualized interests, propelling them forward in terms of national strength. When their strength reaches a certain level, they will be able to oppress weaker countries, putting those countries that have prioritized the overall interests of mankind at a disadvantage. This disadvantage is not a disadvantage in the general sense. The oppression of a weaker country often comes at the expense of total demise or millions of casualties.
Similarly, there will always be some countries that blindly guarantee the interests of the present generation over the interests of future generations so as to enhance contemporary standards of living. The happiness of the current generation is closely tied to the rule of existing governments; thus, rulers will usually choose to satisfy the generation at hand.
When it comes to matters of fundamental interests, we know that the issue of overall human survival is often not an urgent issue. Contrarily, it usually takes some reflection and intelligent thought, and it is mostly focused on the future. Countries will always be pressured to develop faster for competitive advantage and to ensure the immediate demands of their people. In light of this, the fundamental overall situation of mankind is difficult to account for. After all, the survival of mankind is a future matter for everyone, while the interests of countries are much more personal and immediate.
To sum up, it can be clearly seen that localized, immediate, and surface interests often conflict with overall, long-term, and fundamental interests. In a society where countries represent the former and international organizations represent the latter, conflicts between the two cannot be avoided. As long as countries and international organizations coexist, conflicts between the two will not cease.
2. International Organizations Are Powerless to Restrain the Behavior of Countries
International organizations are established by and comprised of countries. Their power is given by countries; however, international organizations rarely receive state support when they exercise their powers. In fact, countries are usually the biggest obstacles to the efforts of international organizations.
In July 2004, China Central Television interviewed former UN Secretary-General Ghali. When talking about the massacre in Rwanda, Ghali said that he had asked more than forty countries to send troops after realizing the seriousness of the situation. Sadly, no country agreed to dispatch troops. As a result, nearly one million people died in less than one hundred days. No country wants to lose their own troops to peacekeeping efforts, nor do they want to pay for such operations. The United Nations does not have an army of its own. Secretary-Generals like Ghali can only ask other countries for troops, weapons, and money. Ghali commented that UN Secretary-Generals act as secretaries for the world’s major powers but are also expected to behave like generals during times of crisis. Countries generally only like the secretary—not the general.
In October 2004, when interviewed by China Central Television, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan—who was still in office at that time—said almost exactly the same thing. The words of both Ghali and Annan fully illustrate the awkward position of the United Nations.
The idea of people’s sovereignty is a commonly accepted political idea in contemporary democracies. According to this theory, state power is granted by the people, and the relationship between nations and their citizens is similar to the relationship between international organizations and nations. However, countries can restrain the behavior of their citizens through laws. Citizens must live, study, and work within the permitted scope of the country. In sharp contrast, the powers of international organizations are also given by countries; the constitutions of international organizations are signed by and legally bind all member states.
Countries often violate the rules and regulations of international law, yet they rarely receive any substantive penalty because they possess means like military, police, and courts to safeguard their regime, exercise their sovereignty, and mobilize their economic and social resources. International organizations do not have such means or capabilities; they are only able to exercise their functions through the power of the states. If countries are willing, they will lend their power. If countries are unwilling, and especially if they are strong enough, they can function free of restraint from international organizations.
It is the supreme authority of countries that allows them to hinder the decisions of international organizations; as such, international organizations are often unable to control the actions of countries. At the same time, countries all have their own varied interests. Conflicts will occur when each country is taking care of their individual interests independent of one another. As a lesser form of power, international organizations cannot unite the interests of all countries—at best, they can only try to coordinate. These coordination efforts depend entirely on the attitude of countries. When the interests of major powers converge, better results will be achieved; when interests contradict, the outcome is much worse.
We know that the restriction of scientific and technological development will inevitably touch on the interests of countries. National strength, the efficiency of enterprises, and the standard of living are all linked to science and technology, making any restriction a serious challenge to national interests. Only an extremely powerful global unification body could achieve successful scientific and technological restriction and preserve the overall, long-term, and fundamental interests of humanity. International organizations cannot fill this role, as they will always be overridden by the power of sovereign states.
Two: Only a World Power Could Unite Mankind
1. A World Power and a Unified Society
International organizations cannot be depended on to lead the unprecedented initiative of restricting scientific and technological development—neither can states. There are about two hundred countries in the world today, and it is precisely their vicious competition that has led to the rapid development of science and technology. The three increases pattern is an inevitable result of our country-based society. In fact, only by eliminating the fragmented actions of countries and unifying all humanity can we avoid disorderly competition and limit the development of science and technology.
What kind of organization, or what form of organization, can accomplish such an arduous and sacred mission? In the ten thousand years since mankind entered the civilized age, various forms of organizations have existed. The most systematic and effective organization has been the country. In theory, state power belongs to the people in modern democracies; however, states rule the people through various political institutions, like the military, the police, and the judiciary system. Under state governance, all persons must act according to law and will receive corresponding punishment otherwise.
Countries possess numerous ways to cement their rule, such as economic means, administrative means, military means, propaganda and public opinion means, and legal means. Countries have remained enduring and vital social forms due to these effective social management methods; however, countries only enjoy powerful governance and effective management within the scope of their own rule. Once they leave this scope, they will have to abide by the rules and management of other countries.
We can see that all countries have formed their own highly independent regions. These regions form the boundaries of all countries. Within the boundaries of each country exist independent governments and interests. Countries have absolute control within their own regimes, and no other forces can disrupt this control.
In order to control the world and unify the actions of all mankind, it is necessary to establish an institution as effective as countries in terms of rule and management, but this institution’s rule would not be merely regional—it would extend to the entire world. We can call this institution a world power.
This so-called world power would establish a global, unified regime and achieve the unification of all mankind. All human beings would be under the rule of this regime. This world power would have the authority and strength of countries expanded to encompass the whole range of mankind. It would replace countries to become the supreme governing body of human society. This supreme body of power would be totally unique. Not only would it govern all mankind, but it would also consider the overall, long-term, and fundamental interests of all mankind. Only a world power could achieve the successful restriction of scientific and technological development on a global scale.
The establishment of a world power would require the eradication of sovereign states. It would achieve governance on a global scale, and the social form of humanity would be transformed from a national one to a universal one. The world government would be the supreme administrative authority in a world-power based society. It would examine issues from a global perspective and take actions to preserve the long-term and fundamental interests of all mankind. To achieve this, it would coordinate the allocation of global resources and formulate administrative rules and regulations for the world.
In addition to an administrative power like the world government, a unified society would also have a unified legislative body and a unified judicial body. Everyone in the world would study, work, and live under the unified legal framework, and everyone would have corresponding obligations and responsibilities.
The world government, the world legislative branch, and the world judiciary system would constitute the major components of the world power. The world’s regime would be subdivided into many other departments of power, such as military, police, inspectorate, economic management, cultural administration and social administration.
2. A Unified Society Is Not a Deliberate Utopia
Historically, many thinkers have envisioned an ideal society. In The Republic, Plato spoke about public property, the emancipation of women and the emphasis on education. In Utopia, Thomas More also describes the idea of public property and female emancipation; however, while Plato advocated public ownership of property at the elite level, More advocated for public property in the whole of society. More also believed in monogamy and letting everyone work to earn their own living.
Chinese Confucianism also envisioned an ideal commonwealth society practicing public ownership of property. It advocated meritocracy and a harmonious, honest, and trustworthy coexistence of peoples. Many other well-known thinkers described similar visions of ideal societies, including Aristotle, Campanella, and Marx.
In The City of God, Augustine elaborates that the ideal nation should first be a Christian nation. This is a description of the ideal society from another perspective. Many people hold such a view, and most of the medieval scholastics subscribed to it.
Modern thinkers rely more on political theory and hope to achieve a perfect nation by changing a country’s political and state systems. A group of Enlightenment thinkers, like Hobbes and Rousseau, put forward the doctrine of popular sovereignty and believed that the sovereignty of the country belonged among the people. In order to realize people’s democracy in a large country and enable everyone to exercise their full powers, Paine and Mill proposed the idea of a representative government. In order to prevent dictatorship, Locke and Montesquieu and other thinkers put forward the idea to decentralize state power to balance power with power.
The above ideas are all deliberate designs for ideal societies based on ideas of “justice,” “goodness,” “happiness,” and “power.” They are societies meant to achieve the most suitable political circumstances and standards established by various thinkers. Perhaps these societies are simply impossible “utopian” fantasies, but they are theoretically consistent with some political principles.
Similar ideas have been proposed regarding the unification of the world; 2,300 years ago, the founder of the Stoic school, Zeno, proposed the concept of a “world state.” He believed that human rationality was unified and universal; therefore, all people were citizens of the world living by a common nature. He believed that there should be no distinction of race, status, or region. There should be only one kind of citizen in the world—namely, citizens of the world—and only one country should exist in the world: a country of the world.
Marx and Engels also discussed the issue of world unification. In their view, a communist society was the inevitable fate of human social development, but communist countries would gradually die out. The precondition for the demise of communist countries would be the eradication of class. Therefore, it would take a long time to realize country demise and world unification.
Many other historians have put forward the idea of world unification. For example, Kant thought of “world citizens” and Kang YouWei thought of “a world of common people.” Zeno, Marx, Engels, Kant, and Kang YouWei, all envisioned world unification from the perspective of an ideal society.
The unified society we speak of here is completely different. Our intention is not to create an ideal society. The need for world unity is simply because humans will face extinction otherwise. Only the unification of human society and the establishment of a world power can ensure the survival of mankind as a whole. Only a world power can truly unify human actions, limit the development of science and technology, and prevent the extinction of mankind by science and technology. In other words, a unified society is merely the only option we are left with.
Nonetheless, the human pursuit of ideal societies will always exist. Establishing a world power and realizing the unification of society does not rule out such hopes but is instead a step in the right direction. We must continue our efforts in this direction; if we stray from the path of world power, mankind will move towards extinction.
Numerous elements are involved in human society. We propose the concept of a unified society as an overall summary of the social forms of mankind under the future world power. In reality, the unified human society will include political, economic, social, cultural, and ideological aspects. Different designs and combinations of these various elements will have a direct impact on the realization of human values. We not sidestep the pursuit of an ideal society; on the contrary, we should seriously design and implement the overall interests of mankind to achieve the most ideal society possible. Only in this way can we truly adopt a universal standpoint and a responsible attitude towards all mankind.