United Federation of Scientific States: Humanity's Path To The Stars
You wake up to the sound of your alarm. You sit up on bed and reach out to turn it off on habit, but it turns off automatically instead. You get up groggily and walk toward the bathroom, which lights up on its own. As you stare at your sleep riddled face, the latest news scrolls through your bathroom mirror. One headline, in particular, grabs your attention, and your eyes widen. The headline enlarges as you read the article, with your brush hanging out of your wide-open mouth. The headline read
"Scientists of UFSS cracked the warp drive, next stop Alpha Centauri"
After reading through the article, you stand there in a daze waiting for the news to finally sink in. You do a little happy dance thinking all the while, "This must be a dream", and leave for your research lab.
Wouldn't we all love to live in a utopia as such? In a world, where your daily news feed is not crammed with stories of conflict, oppression or how some guy is selling your privacy, making his next billion. In a world where cash is not motivation but simply something meant to facilitate trade. Where scientific research is not hampered by bureaucracy, money or infrastructure.
The cure for cancer, the next clean energy source or design, cheap quantum computers are all out there, locked in someone's mind, unable to manifest due to lack of support and capital. It may even be known to the world, but can't reach the masses due to a patent or paywall.
This system might have worked so far, but it cannot take us any further. We, as a race, have been stagnant innovation-wise. Apart from speeding up processes, we have not taken any giant leaps in technology since the introduction of semiconductors. The next technological revolution is due, but we are keeping ourselves in check.
This may seem like a daunting task. I mean, we don't know what the next leap could possibly be. But we can prepare for it, by providing a favourable environment for it to develop in, which is where the UFSS comes in.
From the era of Homosapiens, it is understood that working together increases efficiency and produces better results. And since then, we formed families, tribes, nations and unions. It is fundamentally ingrained in us that working together is the way forward and we have followed it since. We have come a long way from the formation of tribes to the unity of nations. But in the past 5000 years, some of our ways have never changed. Only as recently as in 1993 did we take the first step towards forming a union of nations, known as the European Union.
The European Union was formed to encourage trade between European countries, improving significantly in the last two decades. Since 2000, the EU has contributed to almost 1/3 rd of scientific research in the whole world, as stated in a report by the EU in 2018. In 2008, the EU made online the world's largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, which was a major step for research in understanding the physics of the universe.
These achievements were made possible solely due to the EU acting as a singular entity to propel science in the right direction and not as an individual nation. Such megaprojects usually take a long time to construct and this time is longer than the standard term of office. Also, the price of construction and budget overruns are too large for a single nation to dedicate and bare.
To overcome these problems that hamper scientific research, I would like to propose a change to our current system of government. As seen earlier, a union of like-minded nations has the power to manifest many ideas that seem too daunting to take on for a single nation. Similarly, a Federation of nations, united for the cause of uninhibited Scientific and Technological Development, a United Federation of Scientific States (UFSS) would become the fertile ground for the next technological leap.
In a setup such as this, the current democratic system is modified to give the scientists, economists, ecologists, etc, equal footing with the elected representatives of the nation. Instead of two houses of the government consisting of politicians, one house would be for the politicians and another for the intellects. A majority consensus would be needed from both houses to pass a law.
Such a system would allow laws favouring the development of both science and society. This would bring a balance to the power that many politicians hold in several countries. Some countries do possess a scientific advisory panel of some form, but these panels only hold advisory power. By giving a council of intellects who are expert in their respective fields equal footing with the politicians, effective economic policies, laws that actually protect the environment, reforms to the education system to include research-backed teaching methods would become the norm.
Currently, in the Indian society, only those who study well are appreciated and innovation by students is usually discouraged. They are simply being programmed to get a degree by hook-or-crook and be placed into a well-paid job. Moreover, the lawmakers of our nation aren’t required to have a degree and a large majority of them only possess basic middle school education.
In a system like the UFSS, society would encourage the intellectuals and many would choose an intellect oriented field. Citizens would possess the capacity to innovate and this would increase their demand by employers. With increased education and awareness, better leaders would be elected and society's mentality would develop. In such a setup, there is a high chance of social issues like gender inequality, rape, thievery and police brutality to slowly, but surely ceasing to exist.
The UFSS is not meant to be implemented in a single nation. A union of nations similar to the EU, having such a system of governance, would increase its impact by several multitudes. The working of this system would be similar to the relation between the Union government and states of India, giving the member states autonomy in certain aspects of governance, while a majority of policymaking being done by the House of Specialists and House of Representatives, both of which have equal representation by all member states.
The primary incentive to join such a union would be the leniency of Intellectual Property laws for member states and access to Federation owned advanced research parks. The current Intellectual Property laws are quite stringent across the globe leading to high prices of research equipment. Under the Federation, all of the IP’s generated would be subsidised by the Federation, particularly to member states. The advanced research parks would be a major attraction to researchers worldwide. Many researchers would be willing to emigrate to one of the member nations, for the sole reason of scientific and technological research being encouraged there more than their native place.
Such a union would also prove beneficial when we start to colonize space. We do not want nations or large corporations claiming planets and moons as their territory. Our solar system is for the whole of humanity to inhabit and not meant to be ravaged just as Earth has been all these centuries. And if we finally do come in contact with aliens, they will not want to talk to the president of the USA, because let's face it, America is not the centre of the world. They would rather talk to a nation that facilitates science rather than peace through war.
I know that there are many problems that would be encountered when all of this is put into practice. The system that I have proposed is not perfect and has many flaws that could be pointed out. But what I know for sure is that our current systems are obsolete and failing all across the world. While at the same time, we are still stuck on a planet-destroying our surroundings, and the technologies that can save us are too expensive to implement that governments find it cheaper to allow this destruction.
Spread the word, get together and talk about it. With changing times, everything that is already in place needs to change. Leaving things as it is, will make the world rot with us in it. Individual "Democratic" nations may have worked until now, but the time has come for humanity to break out of its shell of ignorance and stagnation, in turn reaching for the stars and going where no man has gone before.
- Abishek Shankar