Professor of Institute of Philosophy, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
1. A Non-World or a Failed World
Our supposed world is still a non-world.
This side of creation, our globe, has not yet become a world of oneness, but remains the chaos of a Hobbesian situation, for there is no real coherent world society under a universally accepted political institution of a system of the world. Politically abandoned, the world where we are is the one only in geographical sense. The political identity of the world is still missing for lack of the political oneness. The world will not be made unless organized and controlled by a world institution established on a new world-view, a new political philosophy for the world.
People have tried in vain to make a world either by means of world-empire or union of all nations, fundamentally due to the untamed problem of stable cooperation, or of the Kantian perpetual peace, or in Chinese perspective, the problem of universal harmony of all peoples. More than the often spoken historical accidents and limitations, the poor political philosophy prepared for the world must be accounted guilty for the failures. People recognize much of the political concept of a nation, knowing well what to do for a nation-state, but never the political concept of the world, unaware of what to do for the world. The key problem today is the failed world rather than the so-called failed states in the world. No country could always be successful in a failed world.
An interesting question put forward by Martin Wight as “why is there no international theory?” in 1966 seems still relevant to the issue wherein I am discussing. Wight argued that we had not prepared qualified international theories but instead only the so called “political theories” that were actually merely about the domestic politics of states with some poor parerga about the problems of international “balance of powers” or something like that. He implied that people did not really know what internationality was. I am afraid that Wight would have had changed his mind if he had had learnt the Chinese philosophy of world politics in terms of all-under-heaven focusing on world-ness more than internationality. Perhaps Wight’s question could be rewritten as “why is there no world theory?” to fit the new context of globalization. In the last decades the term “world politics” has become popular and said to mean something more than “international politics”. This is a late-coming but still significant change, though not so new in its understanding of the political, for the interpretations of world politics remains in the framework of internationality so that the viewpoint of world-ness is still missing. A world theory will never be possible unless we think in consideration for the universal goods of the world instead of a nation-state.
A modern world system is far from an institutional system of the world. A world system is always the imperialistic dominance, as Wallerstein analyzes in his The Modern World System, that is, one or a group of powerful nation-states has its political, economical and cultural dominance over the less powerful nation-states. It could be said that a world system is essentially an imperialistic system in terms of dominance as a transformation from the concept of empire in terms of rule by power. Now an imperialistic system has been proved definitely not a solution to the problems of world politics, for it is a system imposed on the world rather than of and for the world, not to say by the world. What the world needs is an institutionalized system of world to improve the universal and common goods of the world, instead of the interests of some dominating nations.
Hardt and Negri impressively argue that the emerging new empire is a sort of global empire inheriting but rehashing, by means of globalization, the ancient empire that accepts no limited boundaries, such as a Roma empire in a new pose. But we have to further realize the complicated composition of new empire inheriting not simply the ancient ideal of empire but also both the modern imperialism and the Christian ideology of cultural universalism. American empire is trying to reshape the concept of empire in advantage of all dangerous possibilities, making the concept of empire a paradox of launching wars in name of peace and destroying liberty in name of liberty. It is a wrong way for the world.
Given that an empire rules the whole world, it makes no world. Ruling the world does not mean having the world, as said in Chinese political philosophy, ruling the world enjoys only the land, the geographical world, rather than the “hearts” of all peoples, so the world as the spiritual, has never been given to the ruler. The world exists only when peoples want it. In other words, the world is only when justified, and to be justified when a political system of universal “harmony” is developed to successfully solve the problem of universal cooperation of all peoples.(点击此处阅读下一页)