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Machiavelli Perspective On Globalization

Practically nothing is known of Nicolo Machiavelli before he became a minor official in the Florentine Government. His youth, however, was passed during some of the most tumultuous years in the history of Florence. He was born the year that Lorenzo the Magnificent came to power, subverting the traditional civil liberties of Florence while inaugurating a reign of unrivaled luxury and of great brilliance for the arts. He was twenty-five at the time of Savonarolas attempt to establish a theocratic democracy, although, from the available evidence, he took no part in it.

Yet through is family, he was closer to many of these events than many Florentine citizens. The Machiavelli family for generations had held public office, and his father was a jurist and a minor official. Machiavelli himself, shortly after the execution of Savanarola, became Secretary of the Second Chancery, which was to make him widely known among his contemporaries as the Florentine Secretary. By virtue of his position Machiavelli served the Ten of Liberty and Peace, who sent their own ambassadors to foreign powers, transacted business with the cities of the Florentine domain, and controlled the military establishment of Florence.

During the fourteen years he held office, Machiavelli was placed in charge of the diplomatic correspondence of his bureau, served as Florentine representative on nearly thirty foreign missions, and attempted to organize a citizen militia to replace the mercenary troops. In his diplomatic capacity, which absorbed most of his energies, he dealt with the various principalities into which Italy was divided at the time. His more important missions, however, gave him insight into the court of the King of France, where he met the mightiest minister in Europe, Cardinal d Amboise.

On this occasion he began the observation and analysis of ational political forces, which were to find expression in his diplomatic reports. His Report on France was written after he completed three assignments for his office in that country; the Report on Germany was prepared as a result of a mission to the court of Emperor Maximilian. The most important mission, in view of his later development as a political writer, was that to the camp of Cesare Borgia, Duke Valentino.

Under the protection of his father, Pope Alexander VI, Cesare was engaged in consolidating the Papal States, and Machiavelli was in attendance upon him at the time of his greatest triumph. Machiavelli had served audiences with Cesare and witnessed the intrigues culminating in the murder of his disaffected captains, which he carefully described in the Method Adopted by Duke Valentino to Murder Vitellozzo Vittli. As the Florentine Secretary, he was present a few month later in Rome when the end of Cesare came to pass with disgrace following the death of Alexander VI.

During his diplomatic career Machiavelli enjoyed one outstanding success. Largely through his efforts, Florence obtained the surrender of Pisa, which had revolted from Florentine rule and maintained its independence for ears. Although he did not achieve any other diplomatic triumphs, he was esteemed for the excellence of his reports and is known to have had the confidence of the president of Florence, the Gonfalonier, Piero Soderini. But with the restoration of the Medicis to power in 1512, Machiavellis public career came to an abrupt end. His attempts to prove his talents to the new rulers were ineffectual.

His appearance as a former gonfalonier man cast significant doubt on his work and he was removed from office and exiled from the city for one year. He was imprisoned and tortured for allegedly being nvolved in a conspiracy against the new government. His release required the intervention of Giovanni de Medici himself, albeit after his ascension to the papacy. On release from his dungeon, Machiavelli with his wife and children, retired to a small farm not far from Florence. Dividing his time between farming and petty dispositions, he commented that, possessing nothing but the knowledge of the State, he had no occasion to use it.

His only remaining link the official world was through his longtime friend, the Florentine Ambassador to the Pope, to whom he wrote of public affairs and, strangely, his more romantic encounters. His letters reveal the inner dichotomy of this man. He wrote, at the threshold I take off my workday clothes, filled with the dirt and mud, and don royal and curial garments. Worthily dressed, I enter in the ancient courts of the men of antiquity, where I am warmly received. I feed on that which is my only food and which was meant for me.

I am not ashamed to speak with them and ask them the reasons for their actions, and they, because of their humility, answer me. Hours can pass, and I feel no weariness; my troubles forgotten, I neither fear poverty nor dread death. I give myself over entirely to them. And since Dante says that there can be no science without retaining what has been understood, I have noted down the chief things in their conversations. It was through these discussions that the concept of The Prince took form. Largely because of the fame he had acquired as a writer, Machiavelli was asked by the Medici rulers to give advice on the government of Florence.

He used the occasion to re-state and defend republican principles. He was also commissioned to produce a history of the city, and did so in his Florentine History. He was finally appointed by Pope Clement VII to organize a city ilitia, such as he had defended in previous writings, but the lack of assistance from men with whom he was assigned the task led to little productivity. Finally, his efforts bore no fruit when the troops of Emperor Charles V sacked Rome. Shortly before Macheavellis death, the Republic was re-created in Florence.

Although he had never been able to regain public office in Florence under the Medicis, he still seemed to close to them to be acceptable to the new republican government. His request to be reinstated to his previous position was denied, and he died a few days later on Jun 20, 1527. For over 500 years past his end, Machiavelli has influenced how many people perceive the idea of the end justifies the means. While much of the text of the Prince at first reading seems heatless and, judging by the reception the work received in the 1500s, extreme, many of the tenets were applicable until recent years.

The question of modern times is whether, against the backdrop of national interests and the concepts of principalities mentioned so often in this work, has globalization and the decrease in the sovereignty of definitive countries and governments made obsolete the personal traits eferred to in the Prince? As Socrates stated, the study of philosophy is no less an important matter than how we ought to live, so then this work of Machiavelli would seem to be a matter of how man should govern.

Central to the theme in this work is the belief that a leaders personality ranks as prominently as his capability. The issues of liberality and meanness, cruelty and clemency, integrity, and whether the leader should aspire to be hated by his subjects are debated and questioned as to their impact on the population. It was this frank attempt to discuss the most fficient means of ruling a principality that led to the idea of his insensitivity to the concerns of the population.

In reality, the Prince provided a clear and objective historical perspective on actions that already were implemented by governments and rulers for many generations. As Machiavelli wrote in chapter XV, It remains now to see what ought to be the rules of conduct for a prince towards subject and friends. And as I know that many have written on this point, I expect I shall be considered presumptuous in mentioning it again, especially as in discussing it I shall depart from the methods of other people.

But, it being my intention to write a thing which shall be useful to him who apprehends it, it appears to me more appropriate to follow up the real truth of a matter than the imagination of it; for many have pictured republics and principalities which in fact have never been known or seen, because how one lives is so far distant from how one ought to live, that he who neglects what is done for what ought to be done, sooner effects his ruin than his preservation; for a man who wishes to act entirely up to his professions of virtue soon meets evil with what destroys him among so much that is evil.

This work was then considered one of the definitive essays on the successful ruling of a nation. The negative image of Machiavelli as a person who advocates any action that creates a successful outcome is skewered from the premise that all possible actions have already been undertaken in all possible situations. Even in what was considered modern times, namely post-renaissance Europe through the beginning of the 1950s, the concept of a ruler operating unabated in the confines of his own country was accepted as the norm.

Machiavelli wrote diligently about the need for this ruler to possess ertain traits, as well as their contradictory qualities. And that is was through this combination of vices and virtues that the well-being of a nation rested. He wrote specifically of liberality, cruelty, faith, renown, and being despised. His detractors mention often that on the subject of liberality versus meanness Machiavelli showed his true form and penchant for any action that promotes the proper outcome.

He wrote that any incident of liberality, from spending public monies on specific areas to the maintenance of the army, should be noted and treated as a memory in the peoples concept of their leader. He believed that any act of liberality not associated with the leader is a wasted opportunity and begets more suffering in the future. For example, Machiavelli stated in his works liberality exercised in a way that does not bring you the reputation for it, injures you; for if one exercises it honestly and as it should be exercised, it may not become known, and you not avoid the reproach of its opposite.

While this may not be considered the Judeo-Christian methodology of how best to live ones life, the similarities between these words and what the population at large in many countries saw on a daily basis is barely discernable. He goes further to dictate that a ruler who acts out of avariciousness will be recognized for this, and any actions will be viewed through the prism of this characteristic. Therefore, this person will be loved by all from whom he does not take, because he does not squander his resources, and only regarded hostilely by those few from whom he takes, who do not have the numbers to rise against him.

On the subject of cruelty and clemency Machiavelli advocates that all rulers should strive to be considered clement, but not at the expense of losing their control of the realm. With many examples throughout history o refer he paints a picture of how leaders considered malevolent and vicious were able to unite large groups of very different people. From the time periods of Cesar Borgia to the modern examples of Tito in Yugoslavia, rulers have relied on this belief to insure their survival.

The crux of the issue in Macheavellis writings centers on the belief that somewhat heartless and malevolent rulers are preferred by their people more so than a merciful leader who fails to provide the domestic tranquility necessary for a good life in the realm. Again it is the overt style of this writing that causes eaders to cringe with the apprehension typically associated with the Prince, not the information itself. Even in our modern world we see examples of cold-heartedness in this allegedly free society of America, always at the cry of insuring better opportunities and lifestyles for the masses.

Worse yet is the stated belief of the author that people are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, and covetous. And owing to this cynical mindset of humanity, it is only natural for one to prefer the stick to the carrot. The author touches on the subject of whether it is advantageous for a leader to be hated and despised by his subjects. He addresses with many examples, the fate of rulers who, upon finding their land threatened by external forces, seek to rely on the capabilities of the citizenry. It is in this light that the need to maintain the goodwill of the masses is most evident.

Whereby a leader establishes good and sound laws then maintains those laws upon the entire populous, this leader will be loved and adored by his subjects, and may seek their aid in times of strife. But, having provided a workable background for this mans work, I seek to discover whether the laws of the past on the rule of kingdoms still holds to he test, or whether it has been replaced, either for good or for temporary tenure. In the early 1950s the nations of the world banded together and developed a forum in which each, great or small, could voice their particular grievances and expect to be heard.

This organization, the United Nations, still stands as testimony to the belief that the closest definition of violence is the breakdown of communication. But it has morphed into the very international enigma Machiavelli warned. Almost to a fault the belief of Machiavelli was each ruler could and should provide the best means of governance for his country. It is the advent of globalization and the uni-polar mechanisms put in place by non-accountable unions such as the World Bank, the European Union, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the World Health Organization, and the U. N.

Security Council that constantly devalues the leeway and options of each countries populace. The Security Council smacks of the worst in Orwellian more equalism. Every country has a seat at the table, but only some, those with the power to utterly destroy neighbors, may have a special seat. Then when other countries seek the same recognition, India and Pakistan, the rules are changed by the status quo. The World Bank establishes objective ratings for the credit and solvency of nation-states, but has anyone seen a global decision in the last 50 years without political considerations?

The people of Austria chose a leader in a democratic, open election, followed by the threat of economic constraints by the remainder of the EU because of the fear of radical idealism. NATO dropped bombs on a sovereign country in an effort to stop a self-defined ethnic cleansing, which turns out to be a euphemism for the same migration of people from a dangerous situation that has gone on since man began to wage war. It is in this fray of differing logic and changing reasoning for armed intervention that Macheavellis teachings seem so distant from the world in which we live.

Even in this seemingly endless string of examples and references, a question remains unanswered. Will the end result of this single super power era, with the support of its allies and followers, the economic stranglehold wrapping itself around the globe, and the cultural oneness of the developing young men and women lead to the emergence of a solid, almost utopian world where everyone must resort to debate and compromise to overcome differences? So many foundations of conventional wisdom lead us to remember that nature abhors a vacuum, and that each rising power has met the same familiar fate.

On the upswing of the national growth and development, one can always find the antithesis of the selected country. This implied struggle lays the groundwork for a national unity, a unity of consciousness against an enemy of the state. And where this enemy lacks, either internally or externally, groups of others form together as raindrops creating a river, to right the scales that have been human existence. In this context, the writings of Machiavelli dictate the pendulum will return fter a time, and all will be as it was.

However, each of the pillars of possible change is currently owned by either the great superpower, again we are reminded that this power operates on the premise of republican ideals not individual leader characteristics, or a conglomerate of leading nation-states determined to preserve their status in the international arena. Politically, culturally, and economically, saving only the continued fragmentation of religious beliefs on the planet, we have witnessed the amalgamation of these pillars into the new world order. We are left to onder the significance of our ascendancy.

Does the nature of man, and the desire for one to live his or her life by separate concepts of civilization and the cultural identity this allows, force us to eventually tear apart these artificial binds with one another? Or have we reached the turning point in our discovery that human life, regardless of the differences seen by the eye, will be the defining characteristic, and the artificiality of nationalism and borders will fade into the history as feudalism and the pre-Copernicus understanding of the solar system? Will Machiavelli be proved timeless, or time spent?

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