Introduction - problems and benefits of World Government
The idea of world government has not received a good press for many years. It tends to make most of us think of Stalinist dictators and fascist domination of the globe. I wish to argue, though, that there is a viable form of democratic world government which could bring many benefits.
A democratic world government that really worked would lead to a major increase in the freedom enjoyed by all people on the planet. It would also make more equitable the international balance of power which currently so heavily favours the rich developed nations and their citizens at the expense of the much larger numbers of citizens in the underdeveloped world.
The billion-dollar question is, though, whether there could be a form of democratic world government which was workable and sustainable, not inefficient and expensive, and above all which was fair?
Conventional ideas about world government, which typically picture it in the form of a global parliament passing universal laws in order to create an identikit legal framework for all world citizens, suffer from three severe problems. Firstly, the near-impossibility of persuading all of the world's countries to hand over their sovereignty to a global government of this sort. Secondly, the risk - of which we are, and must always be, very aware - of permitting a future global dictatorship of a particularly intransigent kind (imagine how difficult it would be to dislodge a Hitler if he was in possession of the kind of absolute power available through such a form of government). And thirdly, as we see sometimes today in the European Community, the tendency of such a large-scale government to create detailed, uniform laws for the entire area it governs; the impetus would be towards a sort of global standardisation, almost certainly based in the cultural attitudes of the West, which would massively erode the rich cultural variations which exist in the world.
A preferable system of world government, if such could be invented, would meet all of these objections, as well perhaps as providing a global framework designed to encourage the democratic possibilities of all nations. Perhaps such a system might look something like the one I shall now describe.
New form of World Government - outline structure
The new World Parliament would be a single elected chamber, possibly similar in format to the House of Commons in the UK but with places for up to 1000 elected representatives - Members of the World Parliament, or 'MWP's. The MWPs would be elected from national or supra-national constituencies, one per so many head of population (but probably with a minimum of at least one per nation, at least in the early decades [There are approaching 200 nation states in the world at the moment, with populations ranging from 50,000 - St Lucia - to 5,000,000,000 - China. This represents a variance of a factor of 100,000, so the disparity in representation could not be tolerated indefinitely. In due course some notion of communal MWPs, shared by small countries of reasonably alike culture, would have to be introduced.]). They would be subjected to re-election every 5 years. The world government envisaged here would have no army and would require only minimal administrative support. As a result, its costs would be small. It would not be allowed to raise any taxes, instead being funded in a similar way to that in which the United Nations is today, by contributions from the nation-states which make up its membership. Such nation-states would continue to exist in the new system just as they do now, forming an essential balancing power to that of the world government, and would be without significant loss of sovereignty.
Membership of the new system which the world government represented would be voluntary for each nation in the world, just as membership of the United Nations currently is...