Modern societies are typically describe as being largely non-religious, control by power and money instead of belief in gods. This definition defines them as modern in comparison to traditional societies. As well as highlighting the various problems of modernity. Such as the rise of capitalism, overproduction, growth as well as climate changes.
Why do we feel so confident that secularisation and the power of the economy. And politics are a part of the DNA of our modern societies? Our answer is what defines and restricts our ability to solve problems.
A recent study in the journal Futures shows that many models and tools for strategic management of the future. Show prominently influenced by the sciences. Economy and politics and are systematically ignoring the law, religion or art.
Since this bias is unintentional and unjustified, we run the risk of always looking. For the right solution to the wrong problems.
Monitoring The Cultural Power Memory
In a study from May 2017 that was publish in Technological Forecasting and Social Change We examined. The concept of secularized as well as politic and economic-focused contemporary societies.
We conducted big data-based analysis of the digital database built in Google Books. Google Books project, which has been scan and digitally. Digital for over 25 million copies of 130 million books published around the world.
To efficiently screen this vast amount in text we employed to screen this massive text. We used the Google Books Ngram Viewer, an online graphing tool. Which charts annual word counts, as documented inside Google Books. Google Books project. This Ngram Viewer comes with an easy-to-use interface, where users can input keywords, select the time period for the sample. Select the desired area of language and alter the form of the graphic output.
One of our issues was to determine the best keywords. To do this, we utilized an open source tool developed by Jan Berkel.
This resulted in a compilation of most commonly used words and phrases from books written between 1800 to 2000. The period encompasses a significant amount of the time period. That is that is often refer to as the modern era and is consider reliable information by Google.
List of English Power
Repeated the process until we came up with a list of English, Spanish, Russian, French, German, and Italian. Then we look through the frequency lists for words that can be consider to be distinct and clear keywords. Money or God are good examples of these keywords, however we did not include. The terms tax and constitution because they are related to both economics and politics or law.
We also have sorted the five most popular religious and political, economic and other relevant keywords. In order to perform comparative analysis of time-series plots for word frequency. That are display through Google Ngram Viewer. Google Ngram Viewer.
The following figure shows the frequency of words for economic, political, religious, media. And scientific words from the English-language Google Books corpus between 1800 to 2000.
Since a considerable proportion of humanity’s collective memory between 1800 and 2000. And since the outcomes of our research resemble classical electroencephalography (EEG). Recordings (see figure), we also linked our research into the global brain discourse.
The premise is that the global internet of information and communication technology functions as the brain of the planet earth. In this sense, our electroencephalographic big data internet research is the first example of a global brain wave measurement. Which was herald by Peter Russell in his 1982 book The Global Brain.
Secularisation, A Lot Of Politics, And No Capitalist System
When we look at the brain wave records of all people (figure below) and we see that our method does well in recording the anticipated decline of religious belief (orange line) and is, in fact is not as important when compared to Spanish as well as Italian.
The chart for the English language shows the significant interactions between two world wars as well as the importance of the political system (blue line) We also find similar patterns in other areas too.
In the Russian section, the significance of politics is significantly elevated in the (postpost) October Revolution period and especially during the second world war.
In the French instance, the period in the period between the First World War have seen a significant increase to the role of the political however, the interactions during the second world conflict is more moderate. The German results follow the same pattern to that of the French however, they show the significant rise in politics after the second world war period, peaking around 1970.
Increasing Power Importance
The increasing importance of mass media is in line with the time line of the age of information (green line). What we do not observe however is the dominant role of the economy (purple lines) in our modern society. There was a brief period from 1910 to 1950 when economics was second only to a far more robust political.
The image of a war-time economy is closest to the capitalist scenario seen within the English segment, where the economy is beaten with the help of scientific research (red line) immediately following the second world conflict and through mass media in the 1990s, achieving fourth at the conclusion of the sample.
There’s no evidence of the glorious capitalism of the 19th century as the stories from those of the Industrial Revolution would lead us to believe.
The charts for other languages don’t confirm the notion of modern societies being capitalist or controlled by the economy. There is only one exception: that of the French segment, in which the economy is second only to a stronger political structure after the conclusion at the end of WWII.
Economy is rank 3rd in the Russian segment only from late 1950s until the 1990s, and for the German segment prior to the 1970s. It is also lower than both the Spanish and Italian segments.
The New God Of Modern Society
Our research on big data indicates that our modern society is highly politicize. The majority of societies are clearly secular, with some reservations for communities where Spanish as well as Italian are spoken. We also find that science plays an important function, placing 2nd in the Englishas well as Russian and German-speaking regions in late in 20th century.
None of the societies studied is rule by the economics and the small reservation that was mention earlier only applicable to French. This is a reflection of the notion that capitalism is an economic political philosophy but not the importance of the economy.
The main conclusion we have derived from our research is that it is the fact that political power, not economy, has replaced religious belief as the primary principal between 1800 to 2000.
Our data strongly suggest that, in spite of different ideologies or habits of mind economics is of only a moderate significance to our modern-day societies. This means that, in the near future we might want to reconsider our choices before we label our societies as being based on money or economy-biased capitalist.
Primarily On Books Power
The main flaw of our study is that it was primarily on books. However, this is not a problem since the concepts of capitalism as well as the importance of the economy were formulate specifically in the texts we examine.
The idea that the notions of contemporary societies as being dominate by economy or capital are likely based on misconceptions instead of modern scientific worldviews could be contradictory or even shocking to both capitalists and anti-capitalists.
However, once we begin to accept it as a fact it expands our perspective of options to the capitalism system, which includes alternatives to post-growth, degrowth or alternative forms of growth.
Acknowledgement: The research we conducted was first presented at the 2016. City University of Hong Kong Workshop on Computational Approaches to Big Data in the Social Sciences and Humanities. I am thankful for Jonathan Zhu and the entire team from the Web Mining Lab at the City U Department of Media and Communication for inviting me to Hong Kong as well as for the valuable feedback.
Hungary has been declare to Europe’s very first illiberal democracy, an result. That the prime Minister Viktor Orban all but promised in the past few years.
On June 13, Hungary’s Parliament approved a widely-criticized bill, called the Transparency of Organisations Assisted by Foreign Funds. Which increases the control of non-governmental organisations which receive funding from abroad in law.
The law requires organizations which have receive greater than 7.2 millions Hungarian forints (around $ 26,000). From foreign entities or individuals to be list in a register and required to make public statements the amount they receive as foreign funding. Foreign donors to identify.
Organizations that do not comply may face financial penalties or even shut down. In Budapest in the middle of April thousands of people protested against the law. And to support NGO’s, which are under attack in Poland. Because the Polish government is trying to regulate the funding for civil society.
Amnesty International, whose branch in Hungary directly affect by the law. Described the legislation the latest in an escalating crackdown on critical voices. And will hamper critically important work by civil society groups.
Show Of The Authoritarian Stance Hungary
Orban’s strategy targets civil society by imposing crippling laws and regulations. Which are present as technical requirements necessary to enhance transparency or security for the nation.
Similar rules across the world show that this is usually an unintentionally authoritarian approach. Which limits freedom of association and voice and silence of critics.
The government has acknowledged this. In January of 2017, Szilard Nemeth, a right-wing politician who is also a deputy chair of the parliament’s. The national security panel, was quote as a source in the Guardian newspaper. As well as in Reuters as declaring that the proposed law targeted organizations. That receive funds from groups that are a part of the American-Hungarian businessman and philanthropist George Soros. The George Soros-owned Open Society Foundations supports pro-democracy groups across the globe.
In April 25 the government spokesperson Zoltan Kovacs made reference at the danger of so-called NGOs specifically. He mentioned the Open Society Foundations funded organizations that deal with immigration concerns.
The law that governs civil society is a follow-up to a fast-track law that targets the foundation of Soros Central European University. Which could force the prestigious university to abandon Budapest. Soros protested by describing the Orban government as a mafia state.
A Long-Standing Tactic Hungary
The restriction of foreign funding is an increasingly popular method for governments to thwart the civil society. According to the International Centre for Non-Profit Law discovered that 36%. The restrictive civil society laws that were enact. Worldwide between 2012 and 2015. targeted international funds.
International standards stipulate that organizations can freely seek to receive. Accept and utilize international or foreign funding and not be brand as a negative for doing so.
Since the beginning of 2016, the Human Rights Council of the United Nations Human Rights Council had already expressed. Concerns over the current increase in restrictions on funding. The Carnegie Endowment of Peace’s Thomas Carothers, an expert in the subject. Describes the attack on foreign funds as being the leading edge of wider crackdowns on civil society.
Around the world activists are operating under increasingly risky conditions and are subject to physical attacks, threats and assassination. In April, the president of the international organization CIVICUS declared the state of civil society as a global emergency.
Hungarian Government’s Strategy Hungary
According to the Hungarian government’s strategy to foreign policy. It is clear that the foreign tag is a negative image for both donors. And NGOs, according to Transparency International. This implies the idea that everything that is foreign is necessarily against the Hungarian nation and could represent foreign interests
In the case of Amnesty International, the bill bears echoes of the harsh foreign agents law. That was enacted during the administration of Russian president Vladimir Putin, which has shut down. Restricted or silenced more than 150 Russian human rights and social justice groups in the last two years.
As was noted in 2013 in 2013 by Maina Kiai UN Special Rapporteur on the right to liberty of assembly as well as association as noted in 2013, the Russian phrase foreign agent or foreign agent is synonymous with the term foreign spy.
A 2012 Russian law introduce increasingly severe legal sanctions against civil society organizations and the 2015 undesirables law that allows organizations to be shut down and people to be fine or detain for violating foreign agents law.
Seven non-profit groups were later classify as undesirable, including The National Endowment for Democracy, Open Society Foundations, International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs as well as in April of this year the organization that run by the former Russian jailer for conviction Mikhail Khodorkovsky.
A Reaction From The European Union Reacts
It is report that the European Commission and European Parliament vice president express their concerns regarding the Hungarian law’s incompatibility with EU laws while it was still in draft form.
Prior analyses jointly conducted through The European Centre for Non-Profit Law and the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, together with other NGOs, suggested that the law in question is not compliant with EU laws on the prevention of money laundering and financing terrorists and also the laws that allow for the freedom of circulation of capital.
The government has provided no evidence, it claimed, to show that NGOs are at risk of laundering money or financing of terrorists or that its existing transparency measures are not sufficient.
In spite of all evidence, Viktor Orban has repeatedly reiterate that the law governing NGO was enact to increase transparency, claiming that it is based on the American law.
Human Rights Watch Noted
However, according to Human Rights Watch noted, this argument that hungary Russia has also used in 2012, is a reference to the US Foreign Agent Registration Act which covers those organisations and individuals that operate under direction and control of a foreign principle. This does not apply to advocacy-oriented NGOs that have international donors.
The passage of the law places on the EU in a dilemma. The member states have significantly weakened rights to freedom of expression and association.
In interacting and collaborating with the Hungarian government in the last months, and particularly in April, the announcement of violations of the Higher Education Law that targeted the Central European University, the Commission and the European Parliament have emphasised the importance of these fundamental freedoms.
However, if the bloc wants to keep claiming the claim of being a united state. Built on democratic principles, it will need to not just express worries. If it fails to safeguard and defend the democratic values within its borders could compromise the EU’s credibility. When it comes to be a credible force in the view of its own citizens and the rest of the world.
An United Nations initiative reviewing human rights records in countries across. The globe is strengthening civil society organizations within Southeast Asia by allowing them to be part of the process. However, the organizations are not able to ensure that the rights of people are protect in their respective countries.
It was in 2006 that the UN General Assembly established its Human Rights Council and introduced. The universal periodic review of human rights situation of its member countries in the year 2006. The 10 Southeast Asian countries that make the group of ASEAN The ASEAN countries. Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand. Vietnam have been through two cycles of reviews and a handful of countries are waiting for the next round.
In the course of this procedure, states submit their reports to the commission. Every four and a half years, and given its recommendations. Reviewers focus on the progress of human rights within the state, as well as the application of recommendations previously made. The state being review can choose to accept or note the recommendations.
The most common recommendations that states accept include recommendations for improving. Equal gender representation, accessible to those handicap. And the rights of children. Which have given a particular importance in the course of the review.
The recommendations that aren’t so popular are usually based on hard questions of politics. That concern the rights of citizens and their political freedoms. It’s not surprising that it’s these issues that are outline in the reports of civil society groups.
A Role For Civil Society
Participation of civil society organizations in the periodic review universal of ASEAN countries has increased significantly between both cycles. There were 592 organizations that were part of the first cycle, 2008-2012 and submitted 188 reports; The second one (2012-2016) saw a substantial rise, with 811 organizations submitted 310 reports (personal not published research).
The increase in social groups in the center in the UN human rights process for improving human rights. This isn’t the first time that these organizations have been at center of human rights advocacy in the region.
The civil society organizations like the coalition called the Working Group for an ASEAN Human Rights Mechanism. Helped in urging countries to join in the 2010 ASEAN Inter-Governmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) as well as The 2012 ASEAN Declaration on Human Rights.
Since the inception of the AICHR civil society has been absent out of the system. Instead, the commission has an opaque peer-review process which the groups not given a official role.
the Promotion Of Civil Human Rights
While AICHR was supposed to be involved in the promotion of human rights and protection work. It’s not able to offer any protection at all. It’s not mandated to investigate complaints about human rights violations, and is not able to exercise. The authority to investigate and make perpetrators accountable. In reality, the majority of AICHR activities are centered around meetings, discussions. And research that follow the consensual method of operation.
In the same way, human rights organizations in the country are not able to contribute. Effectively to the region’s arsenal of protection. Studies show that, as the AICHR National institutions are unable to fulfill their role in protecting effectively.
The weak mechanisms raise the issue of whether the national organizations for human rights. In Southeast Asia can fill the protection gaps. They also render protection of human rights in Southeast Asia weak and desperately in need of enhancement and improvement.
Due to the weaknesses of AICHR and the national human rights institutions engaging in. The Universal Periodic Review is crucial for the progress and protection of human rights throughout Southeast Asia.
It’s A Matter Of Being Clever About It
Since the introduction of the periodic universal review, civil society organizations within the region have received training, making submissions, and even traveling to Geneva. In 2015, for example five civil society groups from Singapore took a trip to Switzerland to discuss the rights of citizens in the city-state.
Civil society groups have been involve in monitoring the state’s recommendations and their execution, and also in addressing the process of review within the review process itself. A number of them have received international support and funding to carry out this work. American-based The Carter Center, for example, has recently released an article titled Universal Periodic Review: Training Manual for Civil Society.
Governments usually only offer attention to human rights organizations and the regular review is not any different. The issue was brought up during 2015 by civil society organizations in protest against Laos government in protest of the disappearance and disappearance Sombath Somphone and persecution of Lao Christians.
The Current Arrangement
In general, it appears that states are in favor of the current arrangement as they can make use of it to limit the involvement of civil society organizations to the procedure. They are able to create legal barriers or target groups, put restrictions on activities of civil society as well as harass and intimidate activists.
In a report released in 2015 the civil society organisation CIVICUS examine instances from Cambodia, Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam in which the authorities have responded to the cases with false information and arranged for numerous submissions by NGOs that are organise by governments and conducted consultations with political groups, refusing to collaborate with civil society organisations that have a more critical view of government policies.
Certain organizations have signed up to participate in sessions during the adoption of the work panel report that the commission. Some, like Vietnam has resisted the conferring the status of consultative to certain non-governmental organizations.
Southeast Asian Civil Society
However the review has been a success in the case of Southeast Asian civil society groups this review has proved to be an effective method of placing human rights issues on the agenda, and also engaging governments in discussions on important questions, including LGBTI human rights issues in Indonesia.
But there systemic issues to overcome when engaging with others. They include the need to follow recommendations and the review’s capacity to tackle complex political issues, for instance, the lese-majeste law in Thailand which prohibits citizens from insulting or defaming such people, as well as other freedom of speech issues.
In order for the review to have an impact, civil society organizations must reflect on what they’ve been up to and come up with more strategic plans for the third cycle that will begin in 2017. They’ll need to move beyond coalition-building and organizing submissions, and consider what they can do to ensure that human rights protections are legal.