Before we formed civilizations, humans were nomadic hunter gatherers, and the social structure was most likely a hierarchy similar to how some primates organize themselves today. We would have had a few dominant members of either sex and one alpha figure making the ruling party, and all other members having progressively less status as you go down the hierarchy.
Back then, there would have been power struggles, both within the tribe, as members try to become the dominant members of the tribe, as well as power struggles between tribes as they competed for land and resources.
With the advent of agriculture about 10,000 years ago, civilizations started to grow, societies formed, and the basic hierarchical structure of the tribe was expanded to fit the structural needs of the society. Instead of a ruling party for a tribe, we had a ruling party and an alpha figurehead for the entire society, with other parties having progressively less status as you go down the hierarchy.
Since then, there have been wars between neighbouring societies, caused by one society’s leaders using their power to try to overthrow and absorb the power of other society’s leaders. As well, there are internal power struggle between different parties all trying to become the ruling party of their society.
On top of this, there is a power struggle between the selfish desires of the ruling party and the selfish desires of the rest of people. The ruling class perpetually manipulates the laws (either written or unwritten), shifting the balance of power in their own favour. Eventually the people have enough and start to unite against the ruling party. When the power of solidarity amongst the people is greater than the power of the ruling class, they can successfully revolt and disperse the power to a new, more generous ruling party. The people disperse, going back to their work and living their lives, leaving the new ruling class the opportunity to gain power. The new ruling class will go on to be overthrown when their quest for more causes another revolution, and so forth.
So, societies battle amongst each other, members within societies battle for control over the society, and the people who make up the society are constantly battling against their own ruling party’s desire for power. This trend would continue on indefinitely, were it not for new technology.
For one, technology brings with it highly destructive weapons. A society that tries to claim too much power from other societies is at risk of instigating a war that destroys virtually all life. This leaves the only option for expansion being to attack countries that lack their own WMDs. When the time comes that all societies have WMDs, mutually assured destruction awaits any nation with goals of conquest.
Technology also brings new means of control for the ruling party. Ubiquitous, automated surveillance of public and private life, combined with increasingly effective means of information control, gives the ruling class ways to tighten their control over the people. Tightened control means the ruling class can increasingly strip the people of power with the comfort of being able to quash any potential uprising. With enough new laws, with more ubiquitous surveillance measures, and harsher enforcement techniques, the ruling class could gain enough power to install a totalitarian regime, where the system remains unchanged indefinitely.
But technology also brings the people a new means to create solidarity and resist totalitarianism. Communication tools, like the Internet, make it easier to form social networks and unite against tyrannical ruling parties. The solidarity of a people united gives them the power to resist their ruling class’ exploitative ability.
We are coming to a crossroads on earth. One path leads to a world where most people have been killed, and the survivors eek out a living Mad Max style. Another path leads to a world where the ruling party, using the latest in technological forms of control, successfully installs a worldwide totalitarian regime. A third path leads to a world of peace created by humans who have used technology to form a worldwide system that is both pluralist and democratic.
World wide destruction is not, IMHO, desirable for our world. And, while a worldwide totalitarianism would mean way fewer decisions to make, it would probably mean living as a non-thinking drone in a completely mechanized system with zero consideration for anything other than the preservation of the system itself.
Instead, a worldwide pluralist democracy represents a future that most people should want for themselves and their families. A world where power persistently stays with the will of the people, keeping any person or any group from gaining too much power. A global democracy that hears the voice of the people and resists totalitarianism.
We, the people alive today, have the choice between these three futures. We have the ability, right now, to further the global democracy we have already begun to create. We can make the world a better place.