[Paleopsych] Foreign Policy: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
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Fri Sep 30 20:55:04 UTC 2005
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
[et seq., through 3188. All articles appended.]
* The Sanctity of Life
By Peter Singer
* Political Parties Subscription Only Archived Content
By Fernando Henrique Cardoso
* The Euro
By Christopher Hitchens
* Japanese Passivity Free Registration Required
By Shintaro Ishihara
* Monogamy Free Registration Required
By Jacques Attali
* Religious Hierarchy Subscription Only Archived Content
By Harvey Cox
* The Chinese Communist Party Free Registration Required
By Minxin Pei
* Auto Emissions Subscription Only Archived Content
By John Browne
* The Public Domain
By Lawrence Lessig
* Doctors Offices Subscription Only Archived Content
By Craig Mundie
* The King of England Subscription Only Archived Content
By Felipe Fernández-Armesto
* The War on Drugs
By Peter Schwartz
* Laissez-Faire Procreation Subscription Only Archived Content
By Lee Kuan Yew
* Polio Subscription Only Archived Content
By Julie L. Gerberding
* Sovereignty Subscription Only Archived Content
By Richard N. Haass
* Anonymity Free Registration Required
By Esther Dyson
Albert Einstein claimed he never thought of the future. It comes soon
enough, he said. FOREIGN POLICY decided to not grant 16 leading
thinkers that luxury. Instead, to mark our 35th anniversary, we asked
them to speculate on the ideas, values, and institutions the world
takes for granted that may disappear in the next 35 years. Their
answers range from fields as diverse as morals and religion to
geopolitics and technology. We may be happy to see some of these
endangered species make an exit, but others will be mourned. All of
them will leave a mark.
The Sanctity of Life
By Peter Singer
During the next 35 years, the traditional view of the sanctity of
human life will collapse under pressure from scientific,
technological, and demographic developments. By 2040, it may be that
only a rump of hard-core, know-nothing religious fundamentalists will
defend the view that every human life, from conception to death, is
In retrospect, 2005 may be seen as the year in which that position
became untenable. American conservatives have for several years been
in the awkward position of defending a federal funding ban on creating
new embryos for research that prevents U.S. scientists from leading an
area of biomedical research that could revolutionize the treatment of
many common diseases. When they are honest, conservatives acknowledge
that giving up some medical advances is simply the price to be paid
for doing the right thing.
This year, however, that view became much more uncomfortable. South
Korean researchers showed that human stem cells can be cloned by
replacing the nucleus of an unfertilized human egg with the nucleus of
an ordinary cell. The South Korean breakthrough poses a stark
challenge to the conservative position. The possibility of cloning
from the nucleus of an ordinary cell undermines the idea that embryos
are precious because they have the potential to become human beings.
Once it becomes clear that every human cell contains the genetic
information to create a new human being, the old arguments for
preserving unique human embryos fade away.
The year 2005 is also significant, at least in the United States, for
ratcheting up the debate about the care of patients in a persistent
vegetative state. The long legal battle over the removal of Terri
Schiavos feeding tube led President George W. Bush and the U.S.
Congress to intervene, both seeking to keep her alive. Yet the
American public surprised many pundits by refusing to support this
intervention, and the case produced a surge in the number of people
declaring they did not wish to be kept alive in a situation such as
Technology will drive this debate. As the sophistication of techniques
for producing images of soft tissue increases, we will be able to
determine with a high degree of certainty that some living, breathing
human beings have suffered such severe brain damage that they will
never regain consciousness. In these cases, with the hope of recovery
gone, families and loved ones will usually understand that even if the
human organism is still alive, the person they loved has ceased to
exist. Hence, a decision to remove the feeding tube will be less
controversial, for it will be a decision to end the life of a human
body, but not of a person.
As we approach 2040, the Netherlands and Belgium will have had decades
of experience with legalized euthanasia, and other jurisdictions will
also have permitted either voluntary euthanasia or physician-assisted
suicide for varying lengths of time. This experience will puncture
exaggerated fears that the legalization of these practices would be a
first step toward a new holocaust. By then, an increasing proportion
of the population in developed countries will be more than 75 years
old and thinking about how their lives will end. The political
pressure for allowing terminally or chronically ill patients to choose
when to die will be irresistible.
When the traditional ethic of the sanctity of human life is proven
indefensible at both the beginning and end of life, a new ethic will
replace it. It will recognize that the concept of a person is distinct
from that of a member of the species Homo sapiens, and that it is
personhood, not species membership, that is most significant in
determining when it is wrong to end a life. We will understand that
even if the life of a human organism begins at conception, the life of
a personthat is, at a minimum, a being with some level of
self-awarenessdoes not begin so early. And we will respect the right
of autonomous, competent people to choose when to live and when to
Peter Singer is professor at Princeton University and the University
of Melbourne. His books include Practical Ethics (New York: Cambridge
University Press, 1979) and Rethinking Life and Death: The Collapse of
Our Traditional Ethics (New York: St. Martins Press, 1995).
By Fernando Henrique Cardoso
We take it for granted that political parties are vital to modern
political life. They have shaped representative democracies since the
late 19th century. Yet, their prospects are not bright in todays large
democracies. In fact, these powerful political machines may soon
The ground is already shifting underneath their feet. Political
parties have based their platforms on ideological and class divides
that are becoming less important, especially in more advanced
societies. Although class consciousness still matters, ethnic,
religious, and sexual identities now trump class, and these
affiliations cut across traditional political party lines. Today, the
labels left and right have less and less meaning. Citizens have
developed multiple interests, diverse senses of belonging, and
overlapping identities. Some political parties have managed to adapt.
Think of the British Labour Party, under Prime Minister Tony Blair, or
Brazils Workers Party, whose economic policy has very little to do
with its trade union origins.
Others wont be so lucky. Political dislocation exists alongside a
growing fatigue with traditional forms of political representation.
People no longer trust the political establishment. They want a
greater say in public matters and usually prefer to voice their
interests directly or through interest groups and nongovernmental
organizations. The debate on genetically modified food in Europe, for
example, can hardly be understood without reference to organizations
allegedly representing consumer interests, such as Greenpeace. And
thanks to modern communication, citizens groups can bypass political
parties in shaping public policy. Political parties no longer have a
lock on legitimacy.
Voting, of course, remains essential. But voting doesnt require
political parties, either. Indeed, the more important the issue, the
more likely governments in places as different as Switzerland,
Bolivia, and California will seek legitimacy directly in referenda
rather than through parliaments or legislatures, the traditional
stomping grounds of parties. The rejection of the European
constitution in France and the Netherlands demonstrates that major
political partiesall of which supported the constitutionoften have
little leverage once an issue is posed to the people.
In this environment, political parties are at a critical junction:
They must transform themselves or become irrelevant. To survive, they
must design flexible agendas not dependent on traditional class and
ideological divides. Somehow, theyll have to recapture the public
imagination. And theyll have to accept that others deserve a seat at
the political table. Otherwise, the party may be over.
Fernando Henrique Cardoso was president of Brazil from 1995 to 2003.
By Christopher Hitchens
"So, said Jörg Haider with a slightly unpleasant smile, you like the
new Esperanto money? I was interviewing the leader of Austrias Freedom
Party in early 2003, at a time when he was also applauding Saddam
Hussein and supporting the suicide bombers in Israel and Palestine.
His sarcastic comment about the newly introduced euro notes made me
want to believe in the new currency even more. On a long reporting
trip to Europe, I had been rather affected to find myself using the
same money in Paris one evening as I had used to pay a Berlin taxi
driver in the morning. I remembered how the Franco-German coal and
steel agreement that was the nucleus of the European project was
designed to make war within continental Europe materially impossible.
On New Years Day 2002, it suddenly became possible to employ the same
currency in Finland as in Greece (which surrendered the worlds oldest
surviving monetary denomination in the form of the drachma). Why
should one listen to any sneering about that, especially from a man
not fully reconciled to the outcome of the Second World War?
My internationalist prejudice is not something for which I feel like
apologizing, even now. I remember how I twisted with embarrassment
when Norman Lamont, British Prime Minister John Majors chancellor of
the exchequer, returned from Brussels with the grand news that he had
won the right to keep the visage of Her Majesty the Queen on any
British version of the euro bill. If the Germans could make the
remarkable sacrifice of the deutsche mark, their greatest postwar
achievement, then why quibble over the insignia of the House of
Windsor? I looked forward to showing my children the old British
currency, just as I had kept a sentimental box of the ancient British
coinage that had been making holes in our pockets before
And now I cant quite believe that my children, or their children, will
be using the Esperanto money after all. As suddenly as it began, the
whole idea of a common currency seems to have receded. The likelihood
of new countries adopting the euro has become remote ever since the
French and the Dutch repudiated the proposed European constitution
earlier this year. But more than that, there is a pronounced nostalgia
for the old money in Germany and in other nations that have already
adopted the euro. If a referendum is involved, I cannot see the
British electorate voting to abandon the pound, with or without the
queens head, in any circumstances. The Scandinavian periphery now
seems less, rather than more, persuadable. As for the new and aspiring
members, such as Poland and Turkey, one winces to think of the
disillusionment that will set in now that so many brave promises will
This economic setback is determined in part by political and
bureaucratic failures large and small. Europes passport, to take a
tiny example, could have been worth flourishing at a frontier post.
But a series of dull compromises reduced it to a tawdry paperback,
bound in some off-color maroon: too obviously a document designed by a
committee. Then I should like to know at what dire meeting it was
decided that the first seven words of the preamble to the European
Constitution would read: His Majesty The King of the Belgians Until
Albania or Belarus joins, which seems a long way off, Belgium and its
monarch come first in the European alphabet. But this is not how
things were done in Philadelphia, and the emphasis is not at all
designed to produce a more perfect union.
I take absolutely no pleasure in saying this. I did not at all care
for the alliance of parties, from xenophobic to post-Stalinist, that
combined to defeat the constitution and that now yearn for the euro to
be undone. But I cant rid myself of the memory of that smirk on
Haiders face. If the euro is going to be only one currency among many,
then it will have lost its essential point. Esperanto aimed to replace
the Babel of competing languages with one universal tongue, and it
succeeded only in adding an extra tongue that was a mere hybrid. A
euro that is legal tender only in some parts of Europe will not only
emphasize the continents failure to eliminate differences: It will
itself become one of those differences.
Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair and a visiting
professor of liberal studies at the New School University. His most
recent book is Thomas Jefferson: Author of America (New York:
By Shintaro Ishihara
In todays accelerating world, we are exposed to changes that might
have taken two or three hundred years to unfold during the Middle
Ages. Time and space have contracted, and nothing now happens in
isolation. Japan is having difficulty adjusting to this new world. It
clings to a hopelessly idealistic and historically illegitimate
constitution handed down by U.S. occupation forces nearly 60 years ago
to block Japans reemergence as a military power. Japan now entrusts
its survival to the United States, has forsaken independent thinking,
and has become spineless.
Some people have contended that Japan can prosper as a nation of
peaceful merchants. That might have been possible as long as the
United States was a reliable guardian. Today, with the limited
capability of the United States as a superpower apparent, this
dependence is extremely risky for Japan. It is ironic that the
Japanese economyespecially in the financial sectoris susceptible to
plunder by the very Americans who were originally supposed to be our
The Japanese used to have the spirit and backbone of the samurai, the
same warriors who were applauded by Walt Whitman when they visited the
United States in the 1860s. When will we recover our national virtue,
described so well by Ruth Benedict in The Chrysanthemum and the Sword?
Much will depend on how East Asia evolves, especially militarily, in
the next decade. One critical factor will be where Chinawith its
growing military and stubborn Communist Partycasts its gaze and
whether its ambitions will be pursued with the same kind of hegemonic
intentions employed in Tibet. It will also depend on whether China,
which has repeatedly asserted claims on Japanese territory, persists
in its provocations. I wonder how the United States will interpret its
security treaty with Japan if our nation decides to confront China,
perhaps even militarily, in the dispute over the Senkaku Islands, a
part of Okinawa with potentially valuable seabed resources. There are
many other uncertainties. The overheated Chinese economy is on the
verge of collapse. What form will the frustration of the Chinese
people take and how will it erupt? Economic collapse in China may
trigger a Soviet-style disintegration that will lead to the
dissolution of the Communist regime.
Nor is China the only concern. North Korea, with a political regime
that can only be described as insane, is busily developing a nuclear
capability and brandishing it as a bargaining chip. Let us not forget
that this is a terrorist nation that has abducted more than 100
Japanese citizens and likely murdered most of them. Pyongyang has
warned that it would hit Japan with missiles if Tokyo decides to
impose economic sanctions, Japans sole form of leverage. Leaving aside
uncertainty about the accuracy of North Korean missiles, the question
of how Japan and the United States would respond remains critical.
These regional tensions and uncertainties may finally stimulate Japan
to emerge from its futile passivity and become a strong nation willing
to accept sacrifices. When Japan again exhibits the backbone that
helped it become the first non-white nation to modernize successfully,
the balance of power in this region will change dramatically. Japan,
not China, is the regions sleeping lion.
Shintaro Ishihara is governor of Tokyo.
By Jacques Attali
Two hundred years ago, few people foresaw legalized divorce or open
homosexualitylet alone gay marriage. Abstract art and jazz were
unimaginable. Aesthetics, morals, and family relationships, it seems,
are the bane of the futurologist. We constantly speculate about the
future balance of power, looming conflicts, and emerging technologies.
Yet somehow, we imagine that morals and aesthetics are immutable. So
we forget to ask how conceptions of good and evil, acceptable and
unacceptable, beauty and ugliness will change. And they will.
Monogamy, which is really no more than a useful social convention,
will not survive. It has rarely been honored in practice; soon, it
will vanish even as an ideal. I do not believe that society will
return to polygamy. Instead, we will move toward a radically new
conception of sentimental and love relationships. Nothing forbids a
person from being in love with a few people at the same time. Society
rejects this possibility today primarily for economic reasonsto
maintain an orderly transmission of propertyand because monogamy
protects women against male excesses.
But these rationales are dissolving in the face of powerful new
trends. The insatiable demand for transparency, fueled by democracy
and the free market, is placing the private lives of public men and
women under greater scrutiny. The reality of multiple lives and
partners will become more apparent, and societys hypocrisy will be
revealed. The continued rise of individual freedom will permanently
change sexual mores, as it has most other realms. Likewise, jumps in
life expectancy will make it nearly impossible to spend ones entire
life with one person and to love only that one person. Meanwhile,
technological advances will further weaken the links between
sexuality, love, and reproduction, which are very different concepts.
Widely available birth control has already stripped away an important
obstacle to having multiple partners.
Just as most societies now accept successive love relationships, soon
we will acknowledge the legality and acceptability of simultaneous
love. For men and women, it will be possible to have partnerships with
various people, who will, in turn, have various partners themselves.
At long last, we will recognize that it is human to love different
people at the same time.
The demise of monogamy will not come without a struggle. All the
churches will seek to forbid it, especially for women. For a while,
they will hold the line. But individual freedom, once again, will
triumph. The revolution will begin in Europe, America will follow, and
the rest of the world will eventually come around. The implications
will be enormous. Relationships with children will be radically
different, financial arrangements will be disrupted, and how and where
we live will change. To be sure, it will take decades for the change
to be complete and yet, if we look around, it is already here. Beneath
our hypocrisiesin movies, novels, and musicthe shape of our future is
Jacques Attali is a writer, president of PlaNet Finance, an
international nonprofit organization, and a contributing editor to
By Harvey Cox
It is easy to forget that, for centuries, most people were unaware
that they had any choice in religious matters. They were surrounded by
people like themselves, and only a few ever met believers from other
traditions. No more. A mosque is being built around the corner and,
look, the Dalai Lama is on TV again. Thousands of religious and
spiritual chat rooms and blogs have popped up. This is the age not
only of the cafeteria Catholic, but also of the cafeteria Buddhist,
Baptist, and Mormon. More and more people view the worlds religious
traditions as a buffet from which they can pick and choose.
In this environment, religious hierarchy is crumbling fast. The
notions of consumer choice and local control have stormed the
religious realm, and decentralization of faith is now the order of the
day. Religious leaders who once could command, instruct, and expel now
must cajole, persuade, and compete.
Protestant Christians, of course, have always been suspicious of
hierarchy as a matter of principle. In practice, however, they have
often let church bureaucrats run their affairs. Today, local Methodist
or Lutheran congregations often ignore the dicta of church leaders,
and denominational brand loyalty is a thing of the past. The 77
million-member Anglican Communion recently faced a schism over the
ordination of a gay bishop. In response, the Archbishop of Canterbury
could only try to encourage a dialogue between the feuding parties; a
resolution of the crisis from on high was out of the question.
Christians are not the only ones straining against the religious
hierarchies of old. In the early 1990s, the entire organized lay wing
of Nicheren, the largest Buddhist organization in Japan, effectively
seceded, leaving behind a rump priesthood without parishioners.
Although a casual observer might assume that hierarchy is alive and
well in Islam, the opposite is closer to the truth. Muslims have never
developed a clear hierarchy, and they have battled over questions of
succession and doctrine ever since the death of the prophet. Even the
limited hierarchy that did exist has broken down. The Talibans leader,
Mullah Muhammad Omar, became Afghanistans spiritual leaderand even
donned the cloak of the prophetwithout the consent of other Islamic
religious figures. Osama bin Laden presumes to issue religious rulings
without formal training. Indeed, the present crisis in the Islamic
world may stem from too many loud and conflicting voices, all claiming
Even the Catholic Churchthe lodestar of religious hierarchyis
vulnerable to decentralization. Pope Benedict XVI knows that the
churchs traditional flowchart is in trouble, and he intends to salvage
it. He certainly has a long track record, including his campaign
against the Latin American liberation theologians who tried to enlist
the resources of the church for radical social change. He was less
concerned with their alleged Marxist leanings than with the thousands
of lively Catholic base communities they were organizing all over the
continent, groups that did not fit into the churchs chain of command.
Now, American Catholics are also demanding more say, staging vigils in
churches they refuse to allow to be closed, withholding contributions,
and taking dioceses to court. Voices are bubbling up from the bottom
and seeping in from the edges, and hierarchy is showing signs of
The guardians of religious hierarchy understand the danger that lurks
inside this revolution. Religions without unassailable leaders and
with hungry competitors may find themselves marketing as much as
ministering. Meeting buyer preferences may be essential in business,
but it can eviscerate the integrity of the religious product. Imagine
what the Ten Commandments or the Sermon on the Mount might have been
if Moses or Christ had poll-tested them. And, yet, just such carefully
tailored messages may be the key to the spectacular success of the
so-called megachurches, which rarely make a move without consulting
Grappling with choice contributes to a religious maturity unavailable
to someone who simply accepts what is passed down from above, and for
that reason it could actually strengthen the capacity of the religious
to cope with the challenge of secularism. Of course, the lack of
recognized authority could also lead to fragmentation. But even that
has an upside. Pentecostalism, for example, has no hierarchy, but its
divisions and rivalries have generated an entrepreneurial energy that
has made it the fastest growing Christian movement in the world. They
have proven that sometimes religion without hierarchy can endure, and
Harvey Cox is professor at Harvard Divinity School and author of Fire
from Heaven: The Rise of Pentecostal Spirituality and the Reshaping of
Religion in the Twenty-First Century (Reading: Addison-Wesley, 1995).
The Chinese Communist Party
By Minxin Pei
It may appear the Chinese Communist Party has never had it so good.
Inside China, the party faces no serious challenges to its authority.
Internationally, talk of China collapsing is out, and China rising is
in. We are regularly told that globetrotting Chinese diplomats are
running circles around their American and European counterparts,
cutting deals and burnishing Beijings image around the world. But
inexorable forces are arrayed against the long-term survival of the
Communist Party in China, and its chances of staying in power for
another 35 years are slim.
Ultimately, the party may fall victim to its own economic miracle. The
partys unwillingness to establish the rule of law and refrain from
economic meddling may yet slow the remarkable growth of the last
decade. But for the sake of argument, lets assume China can continue
to grow. Another 35 years of solid economic growth (even at a much
slower 5 percent a year) would mean an annual per capita income of
about $7,000. Professionals, private property owners, and hard-working
capitalists will number in the hundreds of millions. If history is any
guide, it will be next to impossible for an authoritarian regime to
retain power in such a modern society, let alone one as large and
diverse as Chinas.
If economic success does not end one-party rule in China, corruption
probably will. Governments free from meaningful restraints on their
power invariably grow corrupt and rapacious. That is true in China
today. Party discipline has broken down. Selling government
appointments for personal profit has become widespread. The cumulative
effects of pervasive official corruption can transform a developing
autocracy into a predatory regime. The experience of General Suhartos
Indonesia suggests that predatory autocracies have trouble turning
high rates of economic growth into political stability. There, even 30
years of impressive growth wasnt enough to save the regime.
Autocracies that are expanding economically contain the seeds of their
own destruction, mainly because they lack the institutional capacity
and legitimacy to weather economic shocks. In this postideological
era, the partys sole justification for its political monopoly is its
capacity to improve the lives of the Chinese people. The party still
pays lip service to an amalgam of Marxism-Leninism and Chinese
nationalism, but with little credibility. A ruling party without core
values lacks mass appeal and the capacity to generate it. Even its own
elites are growing increasingly disillusioned, cynical, and fearful
about the partys future. It is telling that many senior officials,
including one provincial governor, regularly consult fortune tellers.
A party capable of reinvention and regeneration might be able to skirt
these looming dangers. But the Chinese Communist Party is growing
arthritic. By 2040, it will have been in existence for 119 years and
in power for 91. Today, the world has no septuagenarian one-party
regimesand for good reason.
Of course, in democratic societies, political parties undergo major
transformations all the time. But one-party regimes have no intrinsic
incentive to reengineer themselves and little capacity to correct
course. Accumulated strains and ailments are left untreated until they
precipitate larger crises. The Chinese Communist Party experienced
this cycle once before, and the Cultural Revolution nearly destroyed
the party. It recovered from that self-inflicted disaster only by
thoroughly reinventing itself and adopting a distinctly anticommunist
policy of market reforms.
Will the party be as lucky next time? If the fortune tellers are being
honest, theyll tell Chinas leaders the future isnt bright.
Minxin Pei is senior associate and director of the China Program at
the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
By John Browne
Those skeptical of the data on global climate change point out that
there is a lot we still dont know. But there are some things we do
know: By 2020, there will be another 700 million additional vehicles
on the roadsmany in China. Ensuring that these new vehicles
incorporate the latest clean technology will be one of the most
critical public policy challenges of our time. The absence of total
certainty or consensus on the dangers of climate change must not
impede constructive action. Fortunately, scientists and engineers
havent let it. And because of the advances they are making, I am
convinced that one of todays most pressing environmental problems will
By 2040, harmful vehicle emissions will be a thing of the past. Those
who can remember the dark fumes pumped out of cars and trucks know
that weve already come a long way. Lead, sulphur, and benzene have
been progressively reduced or removed from new vehicles. In the United
States, lead emissions have dropped by about 95 percent. If only a
third of the cars in 2050 run at 60 miles per gallon rather than 30
miles per gallon, carbon dioxide emissions will decline by 1 million
tons a year.
But the progress wont stop there. New refinery technology is producing
ever cleaner fuels. The quality of lubricantswhich allow engines to
operate efficientlyis improving. And engines themselves, whether
hybrids or upgraded internal combustion machines, are becoming cleaner
fuel burners. The combination of these trends will have a tremendous
impact as the worlds capital stock of vehicles turns over during the
next 35 years.
Vehicles, of course, are only one source of potentially harmful
emissions. The static uses of energyfactories, schools, and
homesaccount for the bulk. There, the challenge is to transform both
the products that generate energy and the goods produced so that the
worlds increased energy needs can be met without savaging the
environment. It is too early to predict that victory, but work is in
progress. And I wouldnt bet against human ingenuity.
Lord John Browne is the group chief executive of British Petroleum.
The Public Domain
By Lawrence Lessig
Within every culture, there is a public domaina lawyer-free zone,
unregulated by the rules of copyright. Throughout history, this part
of culture has been vital to the spread and development of creative
work. It is the part that gets cultivated without the permission of
This public domain has always lived alongside a private domainthe part
of culture that is owned and regulated, that part whose use requires
the permission of someone else. Through the market incentives it
creates, the private domain has also produced extraordinary cultural
wealth throughout the world. It is essential to how cultures develop.
Traditionally, the law has kept these two domains in balance. The term
of copyright was relatively short, and its reach was essentially
commercial. But a fundamental change in the scope and nature of
copyright law, inspired by a radical change in technology, now
threatens this balance. Digital technologies have made it easyindeed,
too easyfor creative work in the private domain to spread without
permission. Piracy is rampant on the highways of digital technology.
In response, code writers (both legislators and technologists) have
created an unprecedented array of weapons (both legal and technical)
to wage war on the pirates and restore control to the owners of
culture. Yet the control these weapons will produce is far greater
than anything we have seen in our past.
So, for example, the United States has radically increased the reach
of copyright regulation. And through the World Intellectual Property
Organization, wealthy countries everywhere are pushing to impose even
tighter restrictions on the rest of the world. These legal measures
will soon be supplemented by extraordinary technologies that will
secure to the owners of culture almost perfect control over how their
property is used. Any balance between public and private will thus be
lost. The private domain will swallow the public domain. And the
cultivation of culture and creativity will then be dictated by those
who claim to own it.
There is no doubt that piracy is an important problemits just not the
only problem. Our leaders have lost this sense of balance. They have
been seduced by a vision of culture that measures beauty in ticket
sales. They are apparently untroubled by a world where cultivating the
past requires the permission of the past. They cant imagine that
freedom could produce anything worthwhile at all.
The danger remains invisible to most, hidden by the zeal of a war on
piracy. And that is how the public domain may die a quiet death,
extinguished by self-righteous extremism, long before many even
recognize it is gone.
Lawrence Lessig is professor of law at Stanford University.
By Craig Mundie
Getting sick today is a chore. Finding out whats wrong means
scheduling an appointment, driving to the doctors office, filling out
forms, waiting, and answering questions while being swabbed and poked.
Then you wait for test results, pick up your prescriptions, and
schedule more appointments with specialists. The nuisance of seeking
care is quickly becoming a crisis around the world, as declining birth
rates and aging populations put a crushing burden on national
Soon, governments, insurers, and taxpayers around the world will be
forced to confront a complicated and inefficient system that focuses
too much on managing disease when it arrives and not enough on
preventing people from getting sick. A critical step in reforming the
system will be making visits to a doctors office a last resort rather
than a first step.
This shift will require all kinds of structural, legal, and financial
changes, but innovations in computing, communications, biology,
nanotechnology, and robotics will ease the way. The Web is already
allowing patients quick access to quality health information once
dispensed only by white coats. Soon, patients will access customized
health plans online. Diagnosing and treating many everyday conditions
will be as simple as depositing a drop of blood in a machine and,
within moments, having the computer tell you what you have and how to
get rid of it.
Doctors wont be obsolete, of course. In fact, general practitioners
will be more important than ever, but theyll spend more time assessing
options for preventive action and less time shepherding patients
through their offices. Doctors will increasingly rely on highly
personalized treatmentssuch as new drugs targeted specifically to
personal needs, or even nanomachines that attack bad cholesterol or
eliminate tumors too small to detect today. Specialists, in turn, will
be free to focus on highly difficult procedures and push the frontiers
Many of these technologies will reach the developed world first, but
the rest of the world will benefit in turn. And it will behoove the
rich countries to hasten the spread of its innovations. In an era when
new diseases can circle the globe in hours, its in everyones interest
to stop the next pandemic before it happens. The end result will be a
technologically driven shift toward preventive medicine that will help
keep soaring health costs in check and make visits to the doctor more
rareand less painful.
Craig Mundie is senior vice president and chief technical officer for
advanced strategies and policy at Microsoft.
The King of England
By Felipe Fernández-Armesto
In 1948, the embattled Egyptian King Farouk said that soon only five
ruling royals would be left: the kings of hearts, clubs, diamonds, and
spades, and the English monarch. It now looks as if he was off by one.
The monarchy will not, however, drown in a wave of republican
sentiment; nor will it be discarded because it fails. The crisis, when
it comes, will be provoked by the unwillingness of the royal family to
carry on with the job.
In theory, royals should symbolize collective national purposeif and
where such a thing existsand embody common values. That was the role
for which Queen Elizabeth IIs brood seemed perfectly suited when they
were young. Courtiers, counsellors, and the media cast them as an
ideal of bourgeois gentility. Then history took over. The royals
turned out to be all too representative of their timesmore like a
sitcom household or a soap-opera dynasty than a model family: dim or
daft, undisciplined, self-indulgent, driven by petty enmities, and
animated only by infidelities.
Their pomp and glitter now look tawdry and overpriceda gold tooth in a
mouth full of decay. Charles, the prince of Wales, who has done so
much for society and the environment, could have harnessed the
goodwill of his people. Instead, he has turned his tragedy into farce.
The latest of his bumbles was to book a shabby civil wedding, which
can be represented as legal only by appealing, ludicrously, to the
European Convention on Human Rights. We have thus discovered the
worlds smallest and richest disadvantaged minority.
In short, the royals have done an abominable job in a role they chose
for themselves. By any normal criteria of employment, they ought to be
sacked. Lamely and risibly, however, they can still do the day
jobwhich is to stay mum, sign legislation, and entertain top
foreigners. The British, on the whole, are willing to let them
continue, not out of lingering affection but for want of a viable
Soon, however, the royals themselves will lose the will to go on. Even
the prince of Wales, who yearns to be king, no longer likes the
country he is called to represent. From his point of view, the British
have abandoned all their distinctive traditionssurrendering them to
new, classless, politically correct values. Celebrity has replaced
noblesse oblige as the nearest surviving thing to an aristocratic
ideal. At the millennium celebrations, the queen had to link arms with
the prime minister and mouth auld lang syne like a barmaid. If youre a
royal, what is the point of carrying on in such a distressingly
The next generationthe duo of Wills and Harryhas no appetite for the
job. Both take after their mother. The shallow, meretricious
egocentrism of Dianas life and times represents the only future these
postmodern princes can hope to enjoy. Deracination, anomie, and
future-shock separate them from the traditions to which they are
supposedly heirs. Neither of them is very cleverindeed, even with
every advantage possible, Harry proved incapable of getting close to
an average performance in national entrance exams.
Yet both princes surely have enough sense to realize that the job of
king is now utterly unappealing. After what their parents have
suffered from the public and the pressthe obloquy, the derision, the
intolerable intrusions into their private livesthey can only face
their fate with dismay. As Charles grows old, the boys will long for
the prospect of being pensioned playboys rather than dutiful royals.
The problem for the monarchy will be of a kind well known in other
kinds of theater: how to get bums on thrones.
Felipe Fernández-Armesto is professor of history at Tufts University
and a professorial fellow at Queen Mary, University of London. He is
author of Ideas That Changed the World (New York: DK Pub., 2003).
The War on Drugs
By Peter Schwartz
The war on drugs will soon be over. It wont have been won or lost, and
we certainly wont have wiped out illicit drug use. People will still
pursue their personal pleasures and uncontrollable addictions. No, the
war on drugs will end because drugs as we know them today will be
The model drug of the future is already here in the form of crystal
methamphetamine, a drug that is sweeping the United States and making
inroads abroad. Its cheap and easy to makelittle more than Sudafed
doctored up with plant fertilizer. One hundred percent of the profit
goes to the manufacturer; no intermediary or army of couriers is
required. Made of locally acquired materials in the garage or
basement, the drugs production is nearly impossible to stop. Only the
stupid and incompetent get caught.
Thirty-five years from now, the illicit professionals who remain in
the business will be custom drug designers catering to the wealthy.
Their concoctions will be fine-tuned to ones own body and neural
chemistry. In time, the most destructive side effects will be designed
out, perhaps even addiction itself. These custom drug dealers will
design the perfect chemical experience for those who can afford it.
The combination of cocaine with skiing, sex, or other intense physical
activities is common today; likewise for pot and making music. In the
future, there will be custom drugs for meals, golf, gardening, and
more. Like crystal meth today, some drugs will reach the point of home
manufacturing. And they will all be designed to make their use
invisible to othersno red eyes, nervous tics, or lethargy.
The shift to custom drugs that are locally produced will have some
positive effects. Opium fields in Afghanistan and coca plantations in
the mountains of Colombia will wither, creating new economic realities
for those countries. The loss of cash crops will sting at first, but
farmers and traders producing legal goods that are taxable and
transparent will ultimately facilitate the building of healthy
societies. Cocaine couriers wont sweat their way through customs, and
human mules will stop smuggling bags of heroin in their guts. Drug
lords will not need to launder billions of dollars or pay for private
armies, and street corners wont have drug dealers waging gunfights for
turf. The prison population in Western countries, and particularly the
United States, will shrink.
But as the violence of the drug trade dies down and as drugs become
safer, drug use will blossom. The boundary between legal performance
enhancement (Viagra) and the illegal drugs of pleasure and creativity
will blur. The political and social pressure against drug use will
remain, but it will increasingly resemble the campaigns against
performance- enhancing drugs for athletes. Widespread use will spark
debates about fairness and authenticity: Is a drug-using musician
better than one who composes and performs naturally? Is it fair for
only the wealthy to have the richest sexual or culinary experiences?
Just as the legal system is struggling with new realities of
intellectual property in a digital age, it will struggle to control
innovation in the chemistry of pleasure. We may even wistfully look
back at a time when there were smugglers to be chased and coca fields
to be burned. The bad guys were brutes, largely foreign or inner-city
hoodlums. The new drug sellers will be chemists, most likely caught on
tax-evasion charges. Users, too, will be harder to hate. Theyll look a
lot like you and me.
Peter Schwartz is chairman of the Global Business Network, a Monitor
By Lee Kuan Yew
Demography, not democracy, will be the most critical factor for
security and growth in the 21st century. Booming populations are a
drag on developing countries, and low fertility rates are sapping
growth in developed societies. The poor are making themselves poorer
through rising birth rates, and the rich will have less dynamic
societies because they are not replacing themselves fast enough.
Population growth is outstripping the capacity of governments to
deliver basic services in the Middle East and Africa, producing
breeding grounds for extremist and terrorist movements. Rich societies
will, in turn, see migration from these places as a threatand they
Sex, marriage, and procreation may not be beyond the reach of
government influence for much longer. Governments facing population
explosions and implosions will soon have no choice but to grapple with
matters generally considered private.
Efforts to cajole and educate populations into more positive
procreation trends have had only limited success. European states, for
example, have made Herculean efforts to reverse declining fertility
rates, with disappointing results. Singapores fertility rate is a
dangerously low 1.25 percent. Pro-natal policies have increased
fertility only slightly. Without immigration that often exceeds the
natural yearly growth, Singapores economic growth rate would be as
sluggish as Japans.
When public campaigns have partially succeeded, as in some
Scandinavian countries and in France, they have forced society to
reconceptualize the roles of marriage and the family, with the father
taking on more of the mothers role, a transformation Asian families
find difficult to accomplish. Even then, these countries are unlikely
to get fertility rates to exceed replacement levels. Barring a
dramatic change of course, they will need immigrants to keep their
Countries that most welcome migrants have an economic advantage, but
open immigration policies also carry risks. New waves of migrants will
be ethnically different, less educated, and sometimes unskilled. They
will often be among the very religious in otherwise secular societies.
Many will move illegally. The greater ethnic diversity they create can
cause social tensions and have profound effects on cultural identity
and social cohesion.
Japan is perhaps the best example of a state that both fears and needs
immigration. It has a reproduction rate of less than 1.3 percent and a
rapidly aging population, yet it has shown a limited willingness to
welcome immigrants. The United States, on the other hand, has
traditionally been the most welcoming of immigrants. Although it has
near replacement fertility levels, 80 percent of its projected
population growth of 120 million in the next 50 years will come from
immigration. Will it remain as open politically and culturally as
Hispanics change the countrys character and culture? This dilemma is
even starker for Europe, where most migrants are Muslims from North
Africa and the Middle East. They are not likely to be assimilated into
a largely Christian secular society, and their social isolation could
impede the struggle against Islamic terror.
It will gradually dawn on governments that immigration alone cannot
solve their demographic troubles and that much more active government
involvement in encouraging or discouraging procreation may be
necessary. Those governments most able to think imaginatively about
these problems will save their societies and their neighbors much pain
Lee Kuan Yew was prime minister of Singapore from 1959 to 1990 and is
now minister mentor.
By Julie L. Gerberding
Few causes merit greater celebration than the end of a disease. But
despite the dedicated efforts of the last century, the world has only
held such a celebration oncewhen smallpox was eradicated in 1977.
Current generations who know smallpox only as a fading scar on the
upper arm forget the impact that this global killer had over
centuries. Its eradication in the United States alone has saved
countless lives and at least $17 billion.
Today, the world is poised to add another disease to the list of those
that will no longer threaten humans: polio. As difficult as smallpox
eradication was, polio has presented an even tougher challenge. Some
polio infections alert doctors with tell-tale paralysis, but for each
of these cases, about 200 people may have only minor flu-like symptoms
and can silently transmit the disease for weeks. As a logistical
challenge, one observer has written, the difference between smallpox
and polio eradication is the difference between extinguishing a candle
flame and putting out a forest fire.
Yet we have never been closer to ending the disease. In 1988, there
were an estimated 350,000 cases of polio worldwide. In 2005, the
confirmed caseload has been slashed to just 760 people in 13
countries. Through national and international leadership, local
heroism, and economic investments, immunization rates are climbing in
most countries. In 2003, 415 million children in 55 countries were
immunized during National Immunization Days, using more than 2.2
billion doses of oral polio vaccine. Most national health services
have responded quickly to outbreaks. China, for example, stamped out a
potential flare-up last year. The World Health Organization launched a
massive preemptive vaccination campaign in Somalia to prevent an
outbreak from spreading into the country from neighboring epidemic
The obstacles now are not a lack of vision or inadequate technology;
they are civil war and cultural mistrust. Several Nigerian states
have, at times, blocked polio immunization campaigns, believing the
vaccine to be a Western plot designed to render their women infertile.
The August 2003 refusal by the state of Kano resulted in hundreds of
children being paralyzed and the virus spreading to neighboring
countries. Despite these setbacks, the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention and its partners around the world believe that
polio eradication is within our grasp.
Each global infectious disease poses unique challenges, but the
strategy is clear: eradication in one region after another; isolation
to a limited number of countries; and aggressive campaigns to break
the chain of transmission and infection. In the Americas, public
health authorities have already eradicated measles and are stopping
the transmission of rubella. We are optimistic that these diseases,
and others, will soon go from endangered to extinct. These
eradications will be triumphs for public health scientists and
practitioners. Even more important, they will be a testament to the
power of global cooperation against diseases that recognize no
Julie L. Gerberding is director of the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention.
By Richard N. Haass
Sovereigntythe notion that governments are free to do what they want
within their own territoryhas provided the organizing principle of
international relations for more than 350 years. Thirty-five years
from now, sovereignty will no longer be sanctuary. Powerful new forces
and insidious threats will converge against it.
Nation-states will not disappear, but they will share power with a
larger number of powerful non-sovereign actors than ever before,
including corporations, nongovernmental organizations, terrorist
groups, drug cartels, regional and global institutions, and banks and
private equity funds. Sovereignty will fall victim to the powerful and
accelerating flow of people, ideas, greenhouse gases, goods, dollars,
drugs, viruses, e-mails, and weapons within and across borders. All of
this traffic challenges one of the fundamentals of sovereignty: the
ability to control what crosses borders. Sovereign states will
increasingly measure their vulnerability not to one another but to
forces of globalization beyond their control.
Impersonal forces arent the whole story, though. States in the future
will sometimes choose to strip sovereignty from their fellow states.
Similarly, a government that lacks the capacity or will to provide for
the basic needs of its citizens will forfeit its sovereignty. That
reflects not just moral scruple but also a hardheaded understanding
that neglectbenign or otherwisecan generate destabilizing refugee
flows and trigger state failure, which creates openings for
terrorists. The 1999 NATO intervention in Kosovo, which forced Serbia
to give up control of the restive province after years of abusive
rule, may well be a prototype for the future.
Implicit in all this is the notion that sovereignty is conditional,
even contractual, rather than absolute. If a state sponsors terrorism,
develops weapons of mass destruction, or conducts genocide, then it
forfeits the normal benefits of sovereignty and opens itself up to
attack, removal, or occupation. The diplomatic challenge will be to
gain widespread support for principles of state conduct and a
procedure for determining the remedy when these principles are
States will also willingly choose to shed some of their sovereignty.
This trend is well under way, most clearly in the trade realm.
Governments agree to accept the rulings of the World Trade
Organization because, on balance, they benefit from a rules-based
international trading order, even if a particular ruling impinges on
their right to protect national industries. Global climate change is
also prompting limits on sovereignty. The Kyoto Protocol, which runs
through 2012, requires signatories to cap greenhouse gas emissions.
One can imagine an even more ambitious accord in which a larger number
of governments, including the United States, China, and India, would
accept stricter limits based on a recognition that they would be worse
off if no country accepted such restraints.
All this adds up to a world that is not fully sovereign. But nor is it
one of either world government or anarchy. The world 35 years from now
will be semi-sovereign. It will reflect the need to adapt legal and
political principles to a world in which the most serious challenges
to order come from what global forces do to states and what
governments do to their citizens rather than from what states do to
Richard N. Haass is president of the Council on Foreign Relations and
author of The Opportunity: Americas Moment to Alter Historys Course
(New York: PublicAffairs, 2005).
By Esther Dyson
A world where everyone knows everything about everyone else has been a
common dystopia. The villain in these frightening worlds has often
been a shadowy government, thirsting for information and control. And
that remains a frightening possibility in many parts of the world. But
there are other, less gloomy outcomes. A world without secrets might
actually yield a more forgiving culture with stronger, more informed
Citizens of the developed world now give off information about
themselves at unprecedented rates. Authorities demand information from
us when we fly, pass through tollgates, cross borders, and enter
public buildings. As the investigation of the July London bombings has
revealed, dozens of cameras may capture a city stroll. The cyber
trails that people leave are now well known. As many have discovered
to their chagrin, records of e-mails sent and Web sites visited rarely
disappearand they often pop up at the most inconvenient moments.
Its ironic that the Web once seemed to promise individuals new
opportunities to explore the world without showing their face.
Instead, it is turning out to be a powerful force against anonymity.
Most information about peoples online actions is traceableif someone
with resources cares to go to the trouble. But there will be much more
to this trend than the familiar fear of governments spying on innocent
victims, or even they-asked-for-it dissidents. The bigger questions
revolve around the tolerance of societies for diversity and
recognition of the human capacity for change.
The technologically adept and dedicated may be able to preserve some
form of anonymityfor a time. Some people, for example, will create
multiple identities online for the various sites they visit, the
social networks they enter, and the online merchants they frequent. To
be sure, most identities will be traceable by authorities with
subpoena power, but not by your neighbors, your colleagues, or even
your prospective employer. But, in the end, these defenses will break
down and our slime trails will become increasingly visible.
Those trails will pose a challenge for societies eager to judge
instantly. Are we likely to have a tolerant society when whole swaths
of once private behavior become visible? Unprecedented transparency
may actually force a cultural changea sort of statute of limitations
on reputations. Curiosity will continue (were human beings, after
all), but a healthier understanding of how people can change may be
the ultimate result.
This salutary cultural change will not ease the concerns of those who
fear anonymitys passing. But there is reason to doubt the breadth of
this concern. The popular perception is that people want anonymity; in
fact, it appears that most people crave recognition. Many young people
want it so much that they join multiple networking sites, rate
themselves and friends on various scales, and fill in online
questionnaires and surveys. Even as individuals evince more and more
concern about privacy and identity theft, they flood onto the Web as
themselves, publishing blogs, posting photos, contributing reviews,
and revealing all (or so it seems) on dating sites.
In effect, people are trading anonymity for a voice. The Web is
empowering individuals to engage with others not just as consumers
picking from whats on offer, but as active negotiators, defining
specifications for others to meet. That effect is particularly visible
in the commercial and social realms, but less clear vis-à-vis the
governments of the world. As anonymity fades, a critical question will
remain: Are we getting as much as were giving up?
Esther Dyson is editor of Release 1.0, the technology industry
newsletter published by CNET Networks.
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