GAIA 2048 – A ‘Glocal Agency in Anthropocene’: Cognitive and Institutional Change as ‘Legal Science Fiction’

7 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2019

See all articles by Rostam J. Neuwirth

Rostam J. Neuwirth

University of Macau - Faculty of Law, E32

Date Written: July 15, 2019


The world is writing the end of the year 2048 NCE, which marks the time of concerted efforts towards the establishment of a new and comprehensive global governance mechanism, known short as “GAIA 2048”, i.e. the “Glocal Agency in Anthropocene”. These efforts come following the period of 2030 until 2045, which was dubbed the “digital dark age”. The “digital dark age” was caused in 2030 by a complete blackout and meltdown of all existing infrastructure using the Internet plus related hardware connected to it via the Internet of Things. This event had overnight erased all digitally stored data, destroyed most of the infrastructure and caused many lethal casualties around the world.

With a complete loss of all digital resources, humanity had suffered a kind of collective amnesia and it took it more than two decades to rebuild the infrastructure and try to reconstruct the missing part of the human memory of world history as it had evolved.

The present paper retells the story of competing explanations for how the world community arrived at the year 2048 with the efforts to construct a global legal order from the remnants of its predecessor, an international legal order established under the UN and WTO systems.

More precisely, it focuses on the “trade linkage debate” and related institutional aspects of global governance, as institutions are called upon to play an important role in the negotiation, implementation and enforcement of laws. Plus, they are crucial in the reform process of adapting themselves and the laws they govern to changes in society and the wider context in which they operate. In the history of the 20th century, reforming the WTO and the UN proved to be burdensome and in the case of the latter practically impossible. It seems that institutional change can only take place when a drastic cognitive change in the mind-set of people has occurred, like it was sadly the case after both World Wars I and II.

Ultimately, the paper ponders whether history repeats itself or there is a way out of the dilemma that history only seems to teach as a lesson that people and governments never learn from it.

Keywords: Global Governance Debate; WTO Law; International Law; Trade Linkage Debate; Trade and …” Problems; Coherence; International Institutions; Law and Logic; Essentially Oxymoronic Concepts; Cognitive Revolution

JEL Classification: K00, K10, K33

Suggested Citation

Neuwirth, Rostam Josef, GAIA 2048 – A ‘Glocal Agency in Anthropocene’: Cognitive and Institutional Change as ‘Legal Science Fiction’ (July 15, 2019). Paradise Lost or Found? The Post-WTO International Legal Order (Utopian & Dystopian Possibilities), King College London Workshop, Available at SSRN: or

Rostam Josef Neuwirth (Contact Author)

University of Macau - Faculty of Law, E32 ( email )

Avenida da Universidade
Taipa, Macau
+(853) 8822-4085 (Phone)
+(853) 8822-2380 (Fax)


Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics