“In my opinion the only salvation for civilisation and the human race lies in the creation of a world government, with security of nations founded upon law. As long as sovereign states continue to have separate armaments and armament secrets, new world wars will be inevitable.”
- Why I even like the idea of a World Federation in the first place!
- The New Unions that increase the chance of success, but also the risks of failure!
- The European Union shows how it might START
- The European Union shows how it might WORK
- African Union — or United States of Africa?
- South America plans USAN by 2019
- Strategies to get there
- Other groups promoting world union: join one near you.
- Other thinkers promoting global democracy
1. Why I even like the concept of a World Federation in the first place!
- World peace: Those two beauty pageant words that seem so elusive may just be within our grasp. This Scientific American podcast (from 19:00 minutes) discusses a world without war and makes the point that democracies don’t attack other democracies. Indeed, nations that once regularly attacked each other can become democratic and form binding treaties like the European Union.
- (Scientific American above makes another point on peace, and that is educating women in poorer nations lowers the risk of war. The ‘demographic transition’ or stabilisation of population growth improves local health, reduces resource stresses, and creates a much lower probability of conflict with neighbouring states! So as well as educating women to reduce population growth, we need to do it to help bring political stability in poorer parts of the world and reduce the risk of conflict.)
- As the preview to the movie “World Vote Now” says, “We are told democracy increases stability and raises living standards. So why not for everybody?”
- Save trillions through increased security: Imagine the governments of the world feeling more relaxed about their own security. Imagine the money that would be freed up for more noble purposes if the military could cut their spending in half! All right, maybe half is a bit ambitious at first. What about 5%? According to Professor Ian Lowe of the Australian Conservation Foundation, 5% of the global military budget is enough to meet all the basic needs of every man woman and child on earth. It could provide all the fresh water and nutrition, adequate shelter, education, health care, and family planning to ensure every human being reached their potential. This would not only help the poor and create a safer, more prosperous, healthier planet, but it would also stabilise population growth.
- Save trillions through increased financial efficiency: A Single Global Currency would save one trillion dollars a year in currency exchange fees! There are also many other overwhelming benefits for a global currency! Caveat: The Global Currency wiki has arguments for and against a global currency (as does the wiki on the whole concept of a World_government in the first place!)
- We face dangerous global challenges: Japan attacked Pearl Harbour to try and ensure access to oil. They were reacting to the US oil embargo against them. Germany let a madman into power through their desperate financial situation and sense of unfair war reparations from the first world war. The world faces global peak oil. We may feel like the Cold War is over, but China is growing, the European Union is growing, Russia is behaving strangely and the potential new African and South American Unions are slowly coming together. (More below). Competing super-states entering into the ‘peak everything’ could prove too dangerous. We need open, binding, democratic process and the rule of law at a global level. As Federal Union said:
For example, global flows of money are now far beyond the power of any national authority to regulate or control, but the relevant global bodies, such as the World Trade Organisation and the IMF, lack legitimacy. Bringing democratic principles into global economic institutions will make possible a fairer and more prosperous global economy.
Similarly, we face environmental and humanitarian problems on an unprecedented scale, but the international institutions and agreements lack powers and they lack teeth. The biggest threats to our environment ought to get the most concerted response, but because they are international, they often get the least. We need to globalise our ways of dealing with threats to match the way in which those threats too have changed.
2. The New Unions that increase the chance of success, but also the risks of failure!
The growth of the African Union and especially the South American Union is very encouraging. These continents have suffered a sad history of colonial rule, resource pillaging, mismanagement and abuse. Their histories since throwing out the colonisers have in some cases proved even worse, with civil war, Marxism, religious strife, tribal conflicts and political upheaval claiming lives and devastating countries.
But as we shall see below, Africa and South America are both heading towards Federations of their own. I am excited by the strength of Federal government oversight over heated local debates. The strong, impartial arm of a growing Federal government might finally bring stability to these continents. The dream is there. Timetables have even been drawn up for economic and parliamentary unity.
However, I am also nervous. I am concerned that this is occuring just as the world hits ‘peak everything’. These new super-states might just rise out of poverty only to lose access to oil and other resources as the crisis unfolds. How will they react to being out-bid by the older, wealthier Western Federations? The global north has the money to out-bid the global south.
And then there is China to consider. Today China is aggressively pursuing oil and gas and mineral interests in poorer African nations, and doing deals with sometimes questionable governments or dictators. China is desperate to fuel her own leap out of poverty. Chinese industrialisation is the greatest and fastest building project that the world may ever see! Yet will a future, stronger ‘United States of Africa’ play by the same trading rules as today’s dictators? Will they renegotiate higher prices with China, or maybe even refuse to sell at all — especially if it is their last drops of oil? Will the African hope of Federation turn into hyper-nationalism? New super-powers create the risk of currently inconceivable future cold wars and tensions.
I think we need to consider how to keep these unifying forces alive so that we can shoot past mere continental unions and aim for a World Union.
3. The European Union shows how it might START
For starters we need a global agreement along the lines of the Oil Depletion Protocol. The global energy and climate crisis requires global answers. These resource crisis could either heighten international tensions, or be used as a platform for increasing harmony and co-operation between nations.
WW2 destroyed much of Europe. Yet the EU began back in 1951 with the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community. From little things, big things grow. What was once just a coal and steel agreement between a few European nations has created not only the European Union, but a potential model from which all nations could receive democratic representation!
4. The European Union shows how it might WORK
Federal Union argues that the EU is more than just another Federation like a ‘United States of Europe’ but a potential model for world Federation.
The most important aspect of a federal system is that it recognises that there are different types of political issue which need different types of institution to deal with them. Some affect only a local area, others are more widespread in their scope. The institutions of government should reflect this. The idea that government should be based solely on strong central institutions is old-fashioned and out-of-date.
In a federal system, the power to deal with an issue is held by institutions at a level as low as possible, and only as high as necessary. This is the famous principle of subsidiarity.
The second major feature of a federal system is that it is democratic. Each level of government has its own direct relationship with the citizens. Its laws apply directly to the citizens and not solely to the constituent states.
In a federal system, power is dispersed but coordinated. For this reason, federalism is often seen as a means of protecting pluralism and the rights of the individual against an over-powerful government.
5. African Union, or United States of Africa?
Personally I hope the African Union grows to become like the European Union, as this might allow more scope for integration into a world parliament than if Africa truly Federates into the one nation. However, the dream of a truly Federated “USA” is growing.
In a world of increasing globalisation, where the small guys often get drowned out by the bigger players, especially on issues such as trade, some African leaders believe the only way for the continent to prosper is to unite. They want to replace the current African Union (AU), a largely administrative group for the 53 countries from Egypt to South Africa, with a proper African government that would control a two million-strong continental army, direct the fight against Aids, and speak with one voice in international negotiations.
“The battle for the United States of Africa is the only one worth fighting for our generation – the only one that can provide the answers to the thousand-and-one problems faced by the populations of Africa,” Alpha Oumar Konare, head of the AU, said before the meeting.
BBC News | AFRICA | United States of Africa? — July 2000
6. South America plans USAN by 2019.
The group announced their intention to model the new community after the European Union including a common currency, parliament, and passport. According to Allan Wagner Tizón, former Secretary General of the Andean Community, a complete union like that of the EU should be possible by 2019.
7. Strategies to get there
A Parliament for the world is our goal
WCAA is working towards the establishment of a democratic global parliament as the basis for an effective system of international law, while respecting the right of each nation to manage its own internal affairs within this framework.
Some of the possible paths to a global democratic parliament include:
- Reform of the United Nations. Through constitutional reform the United Nations could transform itself into a genuine democratic world federation of nations. An example of this would be the United Nation Parliamentary Assembly.
- Enlargement of the Euopean Union. Gradual enlargement of the European Union to include countries outside the borders of Europe.
- The Functional Approach. Functionalists such as David Mitrany would argue for what might be called the “look, no hands!” approach. The functional needs of the world community will demand their own solutions. Agencies and committees will be set up to handle these common problems, and little by little the various national sovereignties will be whittled away and transferred to the growing network of international agencies. There is no need to set up any formal political structures to achieve integration.
- The Regional Approach. Following on from the success of the European Common Market, other economic integration and free trade organisations have sprung up for example, North American Free Trade Association (NAFTA), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). This can lead on to other associations been built like the Organisation of American Strates (OAS), African Union, Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Nordic Council and the League of Arab States (Arab League). Although none of these organisations have a political structure like the EU, it is a start and may follow the same road that the EU began.
- The Evolutionary Approach. This strategy is to begin with an association of a few of the more progressive states, with a specific and limited set of aims, and then let it evolve in a natural, state-by-stage fashion towards a more deeply integrated community with wider membership.
And on another page:
- Chris Hamer is particularly interested in the opportunity now presenting itself to transform NATO into a worldwide Community of Democratic Nations, which could be the starting point for an eventual democratic world federation, following an evolutionary path like the European Union.
- Europe was “not built all at once, or according to a single plan”, as the Schuman Declaration puts it. It evolved from the nucleus of the European Coal and Steel Community, founded by a smaller group, ‘the Six’, according to the ideas of Jean Monnet. We need to find a way of emulating this evolutionary process for the world community. A treaty forming a Community of Democracies might be the way to go, and could encompass both NATO and the OECD. In the recent Presidential campaign in the US, John McCain talked of a ‘League of Democracies’, and Madeleine Albright talked of a ‘Community of Democracies’, so there would be some sympathy for such ideas on both sides of politics in the US.
8. Other groups promoting world union: join one near you.
worldcitizens.org.au — Australian group promoting world peace through world parliament.
United Nations Reform:
- The Committee for a Democratic UN is a network of parliamentarians and non-governmental organizations from Germany, Switzerland and Austria which is based on world federalist philosophy.
Other World Federation groups
The World Policy Institute, cited by Foreign Policy magazine and the University of Pennsylvania as among the world’s leading think tanks, identifies critical emerging global issues in an interdependent world and gives voice to compelling new global perspectives and innovative policy solutions.
A non-partisan source of global policy analysis and thought leadership for nearly five decades, World Policy Institute focuses on complex challenges that demand cooperative policy solutions to achieve: an inclusive and sustainable global market economy, engaged global civic participation and effective governance, and collaborative approaches to national and global security. It seeks to introduce fresh ideas and new voices on critical shared issues — like migration, climate change, technology, economic development, human rights, and counter-terrorism –that cannot be solved from traditional “foreign-versus-domestic” boxes. World Policy Journal –celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2008/2009 —provide a forum for solution-focused, accessible policy analysis and public debate.
Simpol — The Simultaneous Policy
Runs a campaign within the current domestic voting systems of separate countries to enact Simultaneous Policy on global warming, corporations, reducing poverty and other issues that require global action.
See the Wiki on World government organisations
- The World Federalist Movement (WFM) is a global citizens movement with 23 member and 16 associated organizations around the globe working towards the establishment of a federated world government. The U.S. member organization is Citizens for Global Solutions, and the Canadian organization is World Federalist Movement – Canada
- The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) is a well-funded research and education center in Canada dedicated to the subject. It is preparing to launch IGLOO: “a global online research community focused solely on strengthening governance around the world.”
- One World Trust (OWT) is a charity based in the United Kingdom and member of the World Federalist Movement. Its current work aims to promote reforms of existing global organizations leading to greater accountability.
- Civitatis International is a non-governmental organization based in the United Kingdom that produces legal research promoting increased systems of global governance to policymakers.
- Democratic World Federalists is a San-Francisco-based civil society organization with supporters worldwide, advocates a democratic federal system of world government.
- The World Government of World Citizens, founded September 4, 1953 in Ellsworth, ME, by former Broadway actor and WWII bomber pilot Garry Davis following the registering of 750,000 individuals worldwide as World Citizens by the International Registry of World Citizens, headquartered in Paris, January 1, 1949. Its main office is in Washington, DC.
- Vote World Parliament(VWP) is a Canadian NGO which has independently begun a global referendum posing the following question : Do you support the creation of a directly-elected, representative and democratic world parliament that is authorized to legislate on global issues?
9. Other thinkers promoting global democracy
The challenge is how to create a world parliament. The first step is to realize that the U.N. as presently constituted isn’t democratic and can’t be made democratic. The same is true of the Inter-Parliamentary Union composed of members of national parliaments. A parliament of representatives from NGOs also wouldn’t work because someone would need to decide which NGOs get to participate and which ones don’t. Monbiot concludes that a world parliament must consist of directly elected representatives from 600 districts of 10 million people each and with no regard to national boundaries. The meetings of the World Social Forum provide a model. An election commission to draw district boundaries could be established. Monbiot outlines how obstacles such as funding and resistance from national governments, especially nondemocratic ones, could be overcome. He notes that “building a world parliament is not the same as building a world government” (p. 93) because the world parliament he proposes would, at least at first, have only moral power. But history shows that popular groups exercising only moral power have exerted much influence. Monbiot discusses at length various difficulties that a world parliament would likely encounter and gives his proposals for how to deal with them.
George Monbiot, in his book Age of Consent