Visions of World Peace,
Roles for World Government

(First written at the beginning of the Gulf war. Last edited 6/29/96, for presentation to the World Federalist Association)

Sometimes I'm called idealistic. I started to call this "Paths to World Peace", but realized I'm only talking about the other end of the paths. The real problem is figuring out how I as an individual, and we as communities of various sizes, can find the beginnings of these paths. But we get nowhere without ideals either. We need to try to figure out how the world should work before deciding how it will work, and then, perhaps, how it didn't work. Any time we talk about something we can't actually implement at the moment, we're being a little bit idealistic. Unfortunately, it seems every time we try to deal with one problem, we have to solve all the others first.

We need global government if we are to deal with global problems. Governments are formed first to protect us from each other. Their real value is to protect society, now and in the future, from individuals. The principle of government goes beyond might makes right and balance of power stability.

"Peace"

The most obvious global problem is conflicts degenerating into being settled by eliminating one side, threats of same (might makes right) or other political manipulations. War, long-distance violence by one team, not necessarily of volunteers, against another team, interferes with progress. (Both civilians and soldiers are on the teams, the only difference being that the soldiers are pressured or brainwashed to fight, while civilians are pressured or brainwashed to pay for it.) Violence will always be available for settling disputes. I prefer to try to make it a last resort option, trying many alternatives first. We can limit the options for violence, or at least their effects, by limiting the weapons available. The seeming psychological need for violence, perhaps particularly among men, might be relieved by direct-contact, non-spectator sports, played to the death, if all participants see fit.

"Peace" to some extent implies absence of conflict, perhaps even absence of activity. Death might even be considered the ultimate "peace". I'm looking instead for peace with options for progress, "freedoms to ..." rather than "freedoms from ...".

We should phase out national borders, emphasizing natural divisions according to geography and established cultures. Emphasize the central "homeland" or nucleus of a culture rather than the borders. Divisions are particularly appropriate at levels of individual, household, neighborhood, city, local geographical region, cultural and intercultural geographical region. We need group representation in world councils, buffers between the individual and the UN, but not structured around present power blocs. Each bloc should be represented according to how many people freely claim allegiance to it. World government should deal mainly with the larger sub-divisions of the world. (There is some question of how we differentiate between cultures and sub-cultures, especially if without borders.)

There is an optimum level of diversity in any community, a compromise between being so similar that we have nothing new to say to each other, and being so diverse that we can't communicate.

Economics

Another global problem is the rich getting richer (TRGR), out of proportion to their value to society, in many kinds of wealth, at many levels of community, individual to national. This is a very natural, but destructive, evolutionary process, unless the goal is to create a bud of a new species. I don't feel today's "elite" of the world are good candidates for that new species.

In all governmental entities, I support more heavily graduated income taxes as a way to inhibit TRGR, other tax sanctions to discourage profitable, though socially destructive industries, and tax subsidies to encourage socially positive and innovative new industries. Such taxes can control economic factors and statistical numbers, but leave final decisions up to smaller communities and individuals, avoiding many prohibitions and commandments. This is a non-zero-sum compromise between strong government and individual rights, leaving room for incremental adjustments.

World government should support itself in the same way as many other governments, by taxes, not just donations. It should have the power to impose sales taxes on all international (intercultural) flow of goods. This especially includes taxes on sale of military equipment (which I understand was being proposed at the U.N.), and oil and other non-renewable natural resources which should be owned first by all the world's people, and their descendants. Taxes on each group (perhaps a combination of sales and "wealth" tax) should also be inversely related to the group's commitment to world progress, especially civil rights. Thus world trade with anti-social groups would be inhibited. We need to develop new standards to define progress, and what kinds of trade are in the U.N.'s jurisdiction to tax.

The taxes should be used partly to aid developing areas, maintain a U.N. inspection and military peace-keeping force and an international news agency. Each governmental entity should have its own news agency, and especially an accessible presence on the Internet.

A major priority of any government should be spreading of information. Emphasis on secrets, rights of privacy and covert action, especially at higher levels of government, should be seen as barriers to world and local community and peace. At least world government should be able to examine not only known military bases and research facilities around the world, but also the flow of money to see if it's going to detrimental causes. (I can imagine having a weapons research and development facility completely underground, or at the bottom of a lake, with access from many directions, making it hard to detect.) The (region presently called) U.S. perhaps already allows more information exchange than many countries, though we probably also have more covert action at all levels.

U.N. taxes should also support international space efforts, for two reasons. If we leave space to individual nations, we will simply take nationalism, various other chauvinisms, greed and war into space with us, and those staying on the planet won't fare too well in such an environment.

Without space colonization, as world government increases, as it will, we come closer to "putting all our eggs [and sperm] in one basket", on one planet. Governments, like all biological entities, get old, degenerate and die (but the bigger they are, the longer it takes). It would be sad if a dying world government and culture took with it the whole human race and all the values we hold dear.

The U.N. should be a registration agency for treaties, coalitions and statements of loyalty to, and by, cultures, professions, and other divisions. I guess this equates to supporting a world court.

Foreign aid should be handled mainly by world government. It should never include military equipment or training, and not usually money, which can be misused at all levels, by the givers, receivers and middlemen. It should concentrate first on birth control and education, second on goods and services. No high-tech tools in order to develop markets for parts; tools in accordance with cultural advancement, manufacture of same to be developed locally. Food and defense aid only in a few acute emergencies. Governments that don't allow birth control and education aid desired by their people warrant sanctions on the international markets. Why shouldn't national military bases in foreign countries be converted to U.N. bases, if they're needed?

World environmental health should be handled by world government. Priorities should be sanctions on production of toxic chemicals, burning of rain forests, burning of fossil fuels; encourage re-mineralization of barren but potentially prolific areas by mining of the ocean floor, especially at the mouths of glacial rivers, and perhaps even mining of seawater (not necessarily just a dream).

I see arbitrary power blocs of all sizes, and conflicts between them, as means to aid TRGR. Though I consider myself a socialist, I feel government-"adjusted" free enterprise must remain a factor, as the simplest form of social control, but on a world-wide basis. I should be able to trade freely to get the best bargain from anywhere in the world without tariffs. The major limits to free trade should be transportation costs and taxes for harm done to the environment, civil rights etc.

My knowledge of the principle of Proportional Represenation has recently been enlarged. I'm interested to see how it might be applied in world government.

Suppose there was an international 911 number. Suppose the world government was able to respond to a violent attack by another country (culture) immediately with troops under its control, already in the region and trained for action there - control by the regional branch of world police rather than the regional gangs, or a visiting gang. Suppose that any killing by an attacking force was considered an act of murder, with responsibility falling on everyone who gives the orders as well as those who pull the triggers.

It seems daily more obvious that critical thinking, communication, honesty and therefore true democracy in this country are being replaced by propaganda, covert action and political subtrefuge to support the military/industrial complex and the money manipulators, while the rest of the world follows in our wake. A stronger world government may be the world's only immediate hope. Otherwise it seems very likely we'll have to wait until after the next dark age for more progress.

If we depend on small measures that end up only slowing the downfall, we also use up more non-renewable natural resources that might be better used by the next "generation" of civilization. Therefore I tend to support risky policies which may either save us or speed the demise of the present era. How about an "Alternative Communities Commission" similar to the Small Business Administration? How about a constitutional convention? If we're afraid to risk changes in our most basic legal document and must continue to rely on cut-and-patch, what chance do we have of making changes elsewhere?

I understand the U.S. is way behind in paying it's UN "dues". Assuming this compares very unfavorably with other countries, this and our materialistic wastefulness, imperialism, covert action etc., seem like possible justifications for transferring UN powers out of New York, to a new world government, perhaps in Geneva, in which the U.S. has less power. Quite possibly the above policies can't be expedited within the present UN structure.


Send me your thoughts.
Dan Robinson, danrob@efn.org, Eugene, Oregon
My home page: http://www.efn.org/~danrob/