The struggle between the forces of elite globalization and the forces of global civil society is defined by a tension between two deeply conflicting world views. It is the contemporary face of an epic struggle between community and empire that extends back to the earliest human experience. Its contemporary resolution may determine the fate of humanity for many generations to come.
In the worldview of community, the world is a place of creative opportunity best realized through cooperation and the equitable sharing of power and control of resources. This worldview gives rise to the democratic impulse.
In the worldview of empire, the world is an inherently hostile and competitive place. In the world of empire the only choice life offers is to be a winner or be a loser, rule or be ruled. Trust, compassion, and cooperation are for fools and cowards. By the logic of empire smartest, toughest, and most rational players have both the right and the duty to seize and hold power by whatever means available to impose peace and order on the unruly in the interests of all — a service for which they believe they are justly rewarded with wealth and power. This worldview gives rise to the authoritarian impulse.
Concentration and centralization of power and wealth are essential organizing principles of elite globalization. Equitable distribution and decentralization of power and wealth are essential organizing principles of global civil society.