Regions are becoming increasingly grouped in Nineteen Eighty-Four style, but we should be wary of the consequences and conscious of the teachings detailed by George Orwell.
It’s 1984, the world is divided between three superpowers and war is ever-present. Control and power are reserved for the elite who maintain their place by implementing rigorous societal structures. Stepping out of place is a non-option, as history is re-written and society is tyrannised by ‘the Party’ and its totalitarian ideology.
Nineteen Eighty-Four is a novel which implicates many aspects of life, some of which are becoming worryingly real. The need to have war to keep social structure is something we should all be familiar with today – ever since the Twin Towers collapsed the western world has been led on a tireless campaign against a word (‘terrorism’) across the Middle Eastern belt, replicating the ‘them vs us’ aspects seen in ’84s Oceania.
And the list goes on; powerful structures (Apple, Microsoft etc..) have gained monopolies and control by keeping tabs on everything we do – a striking reference to the Telescreens seen in George Orwell’s classic novel. A recent campaign by Google to document all the books we own replicates aspects of Winston Smith’s(protagonist) job as a clerk in the Records Department of the Ministry of Truth.
I could write a novel on the way in which society is moulding into the perceptions made by Orwell, but I’m no sociologist, and so I’ll take a go at something I know a little about: business, economics, and another Orwell trend that has been emerging of late: the rise of unified superpowers.
“War is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength.” – 1984, George Orwell
3 new superpowers
Eurozone/ Eurasia: Orwell’s version of Eurasia isn’t far from becoming reality. The merger of nation states (bar the UK) within Europe with the Soviet Union is the one Orwell envisaged, and as we know, half of that is already true. What’s more, even though the notion has never been ushered, Russia holds more allegiances with Europe than it does with Asia, and there has been a flurry of cross-border activity of late which would only benefit from an economic and monetary union (in theory).
Mercosur/ Oceana: Oceana is the biggest state in Orwell’s 1984, comprised much of Britain’s former empire. Ireland, Iceland, Australia, New Zealand, and southern Africa join Britain (Airstrip One), America and South America, speaking English and divided into the ruling left, the ruling right and the proles (practically meaningless ordinary people).
We know of Britain and America’s special relationship, but there is another bloc of unified states which will garner more interest as they grow. The Mercosur union in Latin America has already bound the largest nations on the continent under trade agreements, and there is talk that the organisation’s powers may be extended in a similar way to the eurozone. Things are moving slow in South America, but the wheels are certainly in motion to solidify the developing region.
CEPEA/ EastAsia: An emerging EastAsian bloc is certainly the most comparable in terms of geography, with nations moving to implement the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership for East Asia (CEPEA). This is a Japanese led proposal for trade co-operation, but crucially, it involves China, which means if steps can be made towards an agreement, this will be a very powerful unification indeed.
The Cold War to the Great War
Superpowers struggle to coexist – the Cold War and tensions between the US and China has highlighted this well over the last century. These economic blocs are being created to allow nation states to compete on a global level, but as they gain more momentum and influence we must be wary of how they interact. Blocs don’t mean borders, and transparency through global agreements (NATO, G7, G20 etc) will be crucial if we are to use 1984 as a warning, rather than a template.
By Jack Peat