Sunday, April 29, 2007


"The time -- which, looking back, seems so idyllic -- is gone forever when individuals or relatively small groups could be completely self-sufficient. It is only a slight exaggeration to say that mankind constitutes even now a planetary community of production and consumption." - Albert Einstein
Welcome to my debate for a global government. "The End of Nations" refers to the idea of abolishing national sovereignty in order to make way for a global government which can support the growing world population and growing trends towards a unified society.
For those new to this blog, I am working on a book which I hope to promote throughout the world. The book calls for, and offers strategies to implement, a central global government in which national sovereignty becomes a thing of the past.
For those of you who have been following the discussions on this blog, thanks for your input in the debate. This has been extremely helpful as I develop my ideas for my book, and the more I discuss important issues with you all the more anxious I am to start putting the book together.
Sovereignty (def.) is the exclusive right to exercise supreme political (e.g. legislative, judicial, and/or executive) authority over a geographic region, group of people, or oneself.
Whenever I refer to the term "sovereignty" I will be referring to "national sovereignty". Sovereignty of oneself is an inalienable right of all humans (not in the anarchist's sense of the word but the "all men[women] are created equal" and the "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness" sense), a right currently undervalued and abused in much of the world, a right I believe only a global government can protect indefinitely.
This is a radical concept, but not a new one.
"I believe at some future day, the nations of the earth will agree on some sort of congress which will take cognizance of international questions of difficulty and whose decisions will be as binding as the decisions of the Supreme Court are upon us" -Ulysses S. Grant
Many elements of this debate date back to the post WWII era when nations were attempting to figure out how to respect national sovereignty, regulate labor laws, and promote free trade. During the Cold War borders became a man's best friend and cinder block walls replaced the white picket fence. Shortly after the Soviet Union fell the world turned again to globalism, but the new war on terror has sent the developed world backsliding again from the ultimate goal. However, the capabilities of the world through technology and the thinking of political, academic and economic minds have evolved dramatically over the past fifty years.
I don't know whether you'd consider me left or right, partly because I am interested in politics only enough to not care which "side" I'm on (I simply have an idea for a better world that will most likely still contain and even require constant partisanship). Let me know which one promotes free trade, poverty reduction, environmental protection, regulated capitalism, democracy, global education and infrastructure development and I guess I'll join that camp. I know that parts of my idea is shared with minds such as Albert Einstein and Mahatma Gandhi, but just because I share cause with geniuses doesn't mean that the road to a global government will be easy (nor my book well received for that matter).
Perhaps this will all be merely a regurgitation of my education, but I've already learned several things that most academic institutions either avoid or don't have the capacity to teach.
Some things just have to be self taught.
One thing recent history has taught us though is that the U.S. will probably be the greatest opponent of a global government, even though presidents Reagan, Bush (Sr.), Clinton, and Bush (Jr.) have sought to pursue what they call a Pax Americana which seeks to democratize the world. They have refused to ratify governing bodies to regulate trade, creating sensitive trade agreements instead, and they regularly undermine efforts of the UN when it would require the sharing or relinquishing of some power.
So this contradiction seems to indicate that they want the world to remain independant sovereign nations but they also want international cooperation through free trade and democracy. However, as long as nations remain independant and sovereign, trade will never be 'free' and democracy will never be a global reality.
One thing I don't consider myself is a supporter of the "Bush Agenda" for a "New World Order" - an idea which is generally interpreted to refer to a world dominated by the U.S. through diplomacy, imposed democracy, and (when all else fails or before anything else is attempted) "Shock and Awe". On the other hand, I don't think Dubya's evil for his efforts, just lacking the proper vision for peace.
In other words, I don't agree with the conspiracy theorists who claim the current Administration worked with Al Queda to orchestrate 9-11 in order to create an opportunity to establish stronger military rule at home. These people nit-pick over vague evidences based on straw man cases, and they fail to establish a valid argument based on prudence (at least nI've yet to see one). I really think that most of the problems are due to incompetence and the lack of proper objectives and strategies, vertical bureaucracy and red tape, no clear mission, and fear in the public mind, investors' minds, and the minds of political leaders.
To be fair (and a person who loves his home), with the current state of geopolitical instability in the world, it is a good thing that the US holds fast to its power. The question of the day is, how should the U.S. use that power? I am neither an opponent of war nor a proponent - actually I am both. There are times when war is necessary and other times when it is overkill (not necessary or the wrong objectives pursued too vigorously) and other times when it is underkill (mission incomplete or lacking support) and other times when it is pure blood sport. There are plenty of arguments on all partisan fronts that the current war is 'all of the above', so I'm not going to delve into my opinion on whether or not it is justified or right. This is not the debate I am waging.
I believe that a peaceful (stable) world cannot be obtained with this type of constant power struggle among nations. I believe that the only type of competition that should exist is in a regulated free market, not among nations themselves.
So, with that I first want to make a list of the issues I want to delve into further. If any of you have specific knowledge pertaining to any of these items please share and try to include sources along the way as I can use them in my research for the book.
1) Environmental protection - on the economic side of this I see the US and other heavily regulated nations who adhere to the Kyoto Protocol and other policies at a commercial disadvantage to countries like China and India which do not follow the clean air acts and operate their mines and plants at a discount since they don't have to implement the costly cleaning systems that the "clean" nations use.
Thus, a global government could enact an environmental protection agency which would provide oversight into all industries anywhere in the world. This would level the playing field as far as operating costs and it would greatly reduce water pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and degradation of natural resources.
2) Human Rights - Currently there are roughly 3 billion people on the planet and I would guess only around 10-25% of them enjoy the freedoms of speech, suffrage, and religion that citizens of the "developed" world enjoy (I am trying to find a more accurate estimate so if you have one, please share it). Also, labor laws in poor countries are lax and corruption prevents national leaders from effectively cleaning up sweat shops and slavery. National sovereignty laws prevent the nations with the ability to regulate these issues from stepping in. Corporations have been pressured by aware consumers and they in turn have pressured the plants and sweat shops, but I see this as temporary and many countries or factories only clean up their act enough to avoid media attention.
For example, China is desperately trying to clean up its huge air pollution problem from its coal burning plants, but only to improve their public image for the Olympics. I find this disturbing on a deep level, because the entire Chinese government is only acting on national pride and not on what the environment and their own nation actually needs. It's completely hypocritical.
Poverty in countries like Africa are also subject to the failures of their governments while the rich nations try to help, but the red tape of sovereignty gums up the system and corruption prevents a large portion of aid from efficiently or ever reaching those to whom it is intended.
I read an article, I believe from CNN, which said large pharmaceutical companies have the resources to completely wipe out malaria and greatly reduce the AIDS epidemic which currently prevents poor African nations from developing. However, this would require a hefty philanthropic gift which would not be in the economic best interests of the companies and their stakeholders. But, if there was a global government which could police the corruption to ensure the dying receive the medicines they need, and a global tax, even a minimal one, could be used to build the infrastructure and health care system these nations need, the global poverty level would be greatly reduced and the overall wealth and health of all nation-states would benefit.
How would they all benefit? Well, if we could turn all of the poor refugees in Africa into an industrious workforce they would not only create goods and services, but they would also be a huge consumer market which is currently non existent due to the extreme disease and poverty. Plus, imagine how much intellectual talent is being wasted in those refugee camps. A global government could establish a global education system, the benefits of which need no explaining.
However, the socialist regime which is the teacher's union in the U.S. fails to reward great teachers and prevents many from performing at their best while it rewards mediocre and even terrible teachers by not firing them and giving them periodic raises based only on tenure and not on performance; thus, leaving us with one of the worst education systems in the world. I believe a global eduation system would require a lot more forethought and realistic application of a rewards system which makes the positon of teacher one of the most respected and well paid jobs on the planet.
3) Global Economy - Currently the world is made up of hundreds of nations which, except for a few exceptions which use, or are pegged to, the US Dollar or the Euro, each have their own currency and monetary policy. This creates huge risks for foreign investors as minor fluctuations in FX rates, political risk, and localized recessions can greatly disrupt a business.
The recent single day fall of all of the world's major stock markets which was spurred by the fall in Shanghai's financial market is enough indication that we are no longer a world of separate economies acting internationally, but a single global economy in which nations react to production and consumption, and each is intricately tied to each other. The idea of diversifying one's portfolio has new meaning now that we know that foreign markets are not separate entities with separate risks, but uniquely inter-dependant institutions in a single market with global risk implications.
Also, trade regulations, tariffs and embargos create imbalanced competition and hurt both the enacting nation and the outsiders subjected to their trade laws. Basic macroeconomic theory opposes any of these barriers to trade, but they still exist on a large scale. Recent changes in international commerce have reduced these barriers, while new threats in the past decade have put up new ones. For example, NAFTA, the EU, ASEA, CAFTA, Maquiladoras, Free-trade zones, and other trade agreements have reduced costs to international business. But new threats like terrorism have caused nations to heighten port security and intelligence efforts to protect their borders. This, along with geopolitical risk, has greatly increased the costs of trade, and for the first five years following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, these costs have completely negated the progress of the free trade efforts of the previous decades.
A global economy with a single monetary policy, a single central bank and regulating board could greatly reduce the risks and costs of international trade and put all nations on a level playing field. Couple with that the improvement of labor regulations and the protection of human and property rights and the field becomes even more congruous throughout the world.
The EU is a good case study for the pros and cons of uniting nations. According to one of my peers who calls himself Space Cadet, the EU began as a strictly economic solution for the region, but has recently developed political laws, yet still has many problems. Some might see this being compounded on a global scale as detrimental to civilization, but I think if nations approach this with a distinct mission to protect human rights, democracy, the environment, and trade it can work. Based on what I know and from some of Space Cadets comments, I don't believe the EU began with the appropriate mission or vision and they have struggled to define and enforce their laws while member nations reap huge benefits from the free trade amongst themselves. This is evidence that even a misguided effort at unity can produce huge success, but proper guidance and strategy is crucial if this were to be implemented on a global scale, on any scale for that matter.
All the trade agreements I listed are evidence that this is what the world wants, but many who fear, reject, or oppose this idea generally hold the notion that nationalism is a good thing. I see it as one of the most detrimental forces against human progression. It creates protectionism which hurts the economies of all affected parties. It encourages racism and prejudices which in no way uplifts or enlightens the soul and degrades the character of the oppressor while damaging the natural rights of the oppressed.
4) Global Tax and Social Programs - This is where the government will be truly tested. How well can it allocate the revenues it collects to best improve the overall well being of the world? Whether it be on infrastructure and utilities such as sewage, clean running water, electricity, roads, and telecommunications, or social programs such as public education, health care, unemployment, police, corrections, debt relief, etc. the funds need to go first and foremost to the areas of the world that have been most neglected. Once they are up to speed, the taxes can either be reduced or redirected to improve the social services throughout the world. Each existing nation would be a state with full representation in the central government and could levy additional taxes as their region needed and as the voting public approved.
As I said, this tax could be minimal. If it were only 0.5% of the household income throughout the developed world I imagine it would produce enough revenues to completely pull the poorest nations out of their poverty stricken and backsliding state. I'll have to do some analysis to get a good estimate, but I am confident that a sub-marginal tax rate at first would be more than sufficient to get the ball rolling in a quick and powerful way.
5) Technological Advances - Along with the idea that we have the means necessary to govern ourselves on a global scale, I want to compare our world today with past civilizations and empires to see what failed them in the past and what we can implement today. Basically, I believe that the great empires of the world - Rome, Egypt, Great Britain, France, China, even the US depending on whose perspective you're taking - each came close to dominating the world through military might. However, when they began stretching outside their own continent it became difficult to govern outlying colonies.
While the technical reasons are more complex, I believe they each eventually fell for two reasons 1) they did not have the technological means (travel, communications, weapons systems, medicine, local social welfare, etc.) to control their dominion for more than several decades. 2) They were imperialists trying to impose their government by force. This naturally leads to resistance so they constantly had to maintain a military presence which quickly got stretched too thin.
With today's technology and democracy, a global government can succeed where each of the great empires failed. I believe I share the concern that the US is currently starting to repeat some of the foibles which brought down past global powers. Diplomacy and democracy must be utilized on a much larger scale, both of which are much easier to do today with the technology we enjoy on this side of the digital divide.
6) Immigration, National Security, National Culture, Politics, etc. -
"Social behavior of human beings may differ greatly, depending upon prevailing cultural patterns and the types of organization which predominate in society" - Albert Einstein
This is where the debate gets complicated and the challenge of a global government seems like more of a threat than an opportunity. According to historic anthropological trends and Einstein's reasoning, if we established a strong central government and sovereignty were abolished, human behavior and culture would adopt the new organization of society as "good" or "normal'. The challenge is not the idea itself; the challenge is getting society to accept the idea. Once it is in place, the following generations would feel as strongly about the central government as we do about our national governments.
In the US the political climate over the past five years has grown to focus on issues such as homeland security and immigration. Many US citizens feel the burden of both whenever they try to travel by plane. Other countries like the UK have similar issues and Space Cadet's blog describes a personal experience which reflects the "police state" tendencies some of the world powers are adopting in order to "secure" their borders.
I personally feel that trying to find terrorists through the airport check system is like trying to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Currently, the focus is turning towards Iran who is attempting to launch satellites and move forward with its nuclear program. There is talk of the US possibly engaging Iran in the same manner as Iraq. I'm not going to discuss the technical politics around this just cause I've never liked politics, but I will express my frustration that the idea of national security is a sort of farce - well, at least the way it is currently being handled.
The US has tightened its borders and has clamped down on illegal immigrants either under the rationale that they are hunting for or preventing the entry of potential terrorists in the US. However, as 9-11 evidence has shown, US intelligence was well aware of the threats the day before and could have acted. They did not need these endless security checks at airports or INS crackdowns to find the guys. They only needed to take existing threats seriously. <>
Granted, the attacks have forced different agencies such as the CIA, FBI, FAA and others to be more cooperative and efficient in the way they handle serious threats, but Hurricane Katrina revealed another weakness in the system. So security and response is lacking and many strategies to plug holes seem more like bad PR efforts - mere placebos.
So what does all this have to do with a global government? Well, first of all I don't think a global government would suddenly be more capable to act any better or worse than the US in preventing attacks, but I do think the fundamental difference of how borders are perceived and treated will change a number of things which can make governments at the national and state level working in harmony under a single constitution more efficiently clamp down on terrorism around the world.
For one thing the economic issues I've highlighted would allow nations in poverty (the perfect environment for terrorist ideologies to breed) to rise out of poverty and improve the feelings of unstable regions as members of a global community. Second, if borders were no longer relevant the immigration problem would be instantly nullified - a non-issue. Also, with global trade, labor, resources and human rights regulated, the economic conditions would be more balanced and people who would be emigrating from a poor country would return home as their regions would become the fastest growing economies and their efforts to prosper would be rewarded. Huge amounts of capital would follow these people and international investors would be huge beneficiaries. Plus, with corporations more free to enter markets, but more obligated to act ethically, competition would occur in the only arena it should: in the market and not among governments.
As national intelligence became global intelligence, it would be easier to find and prevent threats and the lack of sovereignty would allow defense forces to enter regions which are currently "no-fly zones". If U.S. and Iranian forces became allies and friends and the global government allowed the desired satellites to provide the communications infrastructure Iran is attempting to improve, then the threat of nuclear war could be greatly reduced. Nuclear proliferation is another concern of a global government. Who, if anyone, would hold nukes and who could gain access to them? This is a question I think I will leave alone for now, but an important one so please, share your thoughts on it.
As far as national culture, I believe many of US citizens would fear that rights such as the right to bear arms would be removed, or simpler things like the way we treat sports like Futbol and Football (not the one that actually utilizes feet) might be at risk. Patriotism and holidays like the 4th of July are big parts of US culture while the Queen and tea are big parts of GB culture, and tea ceremonies and deference to seniority are major elements of Japanese culture.
First of all, I don't think these elements of culture will change much if at all. However, Japan has always been a "closed" society. Even though I lived there for two years and learned the language, I will always be an outsider. If I raised children there and they remained for generations (something that is very difficult to do with current Japanese immigration laws) my posterity would still be considered outsiders. How would the Japanese feel about their country suddenly required to be an open society?
Well, I think those technical details will have to be hammered out through long debates among countries, but I really feel that most things won't change much and such huge "cultural" sacrifices won't have to be made. As I mentioned previously, this global government would only be a higher (preferably multi-lateral and flat) level of government wherein nation-states would be able to maintain many elements of tradition, culture, and law, but the elements I have listed which supersede culture (environment, natural rights, trade, etc.) would be protected and balanced throughout the world. If anything, the barriers of language and culture could more quickly be overcome and understanding and diplomacy would be easier, more efficient, and more accurate.
So those are some of my issues. If you have any comments on the ones I've listed or if you have any ideas for some issues I might have missed, please, by all means share your thoughts and try to include sources so I can verify any findings. Please, read on and welcome to my debate for global unification.....
"...the French had rejected the EU Constitution because they had "the impression that Europe was not protecting them anymore" and was making them "not actors but victims of globalisation"."
The above quote came from and couldn't be a more misguided view by the French. Unfortunately (fortunately) we are all victims (beneficiaries) of globalization. We are also all actors. So the French have rejected progression because they have failed to realize their own position and value in the world. This debate is going to be long and tough as long as whole nations lack any confidence or self esteem.
I cut and pasted the following from an email I sent to one of my readers. The first part in Italics was his comments in response to my first blog. What follows is my response. He'll remain anonymous in this posting, but if you are the author and are reading this please repost it as a comment so other readers don't think I'm making up dialogue.
I read the synopsis you had written up this blog, I have thought similar ideas before, as far as a global democracy or even a well maintained oligarchy so as to bring about world peace and hopefully a stable economy. However when thinking of the negative drawback of just the processes of achieving such an organization would be difficult, cause cultural confusion, and get anyone in a comfortable government position to put at risk their position for the world's sake. Of coarse there are many other issues entailed. Now, I am only a 22yr. old college soph. majoring in Psychology, so I'm by no means an expert opinion when it comes to anything. I just have an opinion. Anyway, good topic for a book. Also there is a good book about globalization called "The World is Flat" I can't remember the author presently. Its an interesting read. One last observation is that in my opinion globalization has been a long time coming from the start of the Columbian exchange before colonial times.
Actually, "the World Is Flat", by Thomas Friedman, was one of my inspirations. Another is "Globalization, A Very Brief Introduction" by Manfred Steger. I'm a recent college graduate and I studied international business so I feel my education will give me some credibility in promoting my book. By the time I publish the book I should have an MBA in Economics. Don't know if I want to go as far as a PhD, but we'll save that thought for later. I might try publishing brief articles about my ideas in the mean time.
I agree that there are some huge challenges in creating a global government. For one, it would require the US and other developed nations sharing their power with other nations and allowing other nations to have a closer look inside the workings of each government. However, that is one of the most important parts of making this work. Complete cooperation and knowledge sharing among civilized society is the key. The other key ingredient is ensuring that this government contains all of the human rights protections and that the judicial branch is powerful and efficient enough to ensure that human rights are protected. I think there are a couple of roads we can take to achieving that goal. One possible road is if the UN member nations or the G8 nations started talking about uniting and sharing power. However, if only the developed nations discuss this it will leave the interests of the undeveloped nations behind. There needs to be a forum in which all leaders, even the "harsh dictators", can speak about their country's needs without harassment. Each nation would still have significant powers to exercise locally, but the global government would have the power to enforce equal treatment, due process of law, labor and environmental regulations among other issues which require a single governing body. Sensitive local cultural issues would have to be considered, but with the way globalization is going, these issues are of less importance than the problems facing millions of poor people around the world. Besides, nationalistic pride only invokes racism, prejudice and ethnocentrism and is rarely beneficial to anyone (unless the feeling of pride itself is considered a benefit).For example, the AIDS epidemic in Africa could be controlled and almost completely wiped out with the resources available to the huge pharmaceutical companies; however, this is not economically viable for the companies, and the nations in which the companies operate are willing and able to avoid direct responsibility for these poor countries. Everybody talks about helping, but nobody wants to be accountable. If there was a governing body like a global health care system then the office accountable would exist and person in office and the corresponding board or agency would not only be required to improve health conditions, but the government and global defense force could ensure that the proper resources and funds got to where they need to be. Currently, donated resources are often getting into the hands of corrupt leaders of the country and because of sovereignty laws and constant fighting they are generally unable to interfere. The UN and UNICEF are starts, but they are not powerful enough, just like the Articles of Confederation were insufficient for the U.S. A strong central government with power over individual nations is vital. Right now the UN struggles to compete for power with the US and EU. Both of the latter are perfect case studies for how successful global unity could be. A global market economy is already pretty much in place. Many of the necessary elements of global unity are in place, we mainly just need all nations' leaders to talk and decide how to implement the united government. The main reason national boundaries exist is because in the past insufficient technology prevented a single government from stretching too far outside of a single continent. The US, Australia, w:st="on" New Zealand are perfect examples. They were too far away for the King or Queen of England to exercise total power for very long. However, with today's technology geographical limitations are virtually null and void. Anyways, those are some more of the thoughts. For the most part people agree that my idea is a good one, but doubt whether it could be implemented in our grandchildren's lifetime. I tend to feel that this is possible in my lifetime (perhaps within the next 40 year) but I think it will take an additional 40 years to truly reap all of the benefits and for the global public to fully accept the change and agree that it works.
So, for those of you who would rather go about your day and let someone else worry about it, at least enjoy the debate and let me know what you think. For those of you, who hope to be a part of this change, welcome and I am anxious to hear your thoughts. Thanks for your interest, and as they say in Japan to welcome and be welcomed "douzo yoroshiku onegaishimasu"....

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