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j10pilot
Call me an idealist, but I like to think big, and think far into the future. I have always thought that it is not only possible, but also beneficial and necessary, for the human race to have a global government.

Seeing how new communication technologies are bring the world closer together and that economic globalization is becoming an irresistable trend, the formation of a global governmnet could be a reality within the next century or so.

So here are the topics for debate:


1. Is it possible to have a global governing body with real power?

2. Would it be beneficial for the majority of the human race to have such a governing body?

3. If such a government is possible, what would be the best structure for such a government? -- i.e. how many branches; if representatives are to be elected, how are they elected, per region or per ethinic group, etc..
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Blackstone
QUOTE(j10pilot @ Oct 16 2005, 10:24 PM)
1. Is it possible to have a global governing body with real power?

Yes, all too possible, I'm afraid. As for...

QUOTE
2. Would it be beneficial for the majority of the human race to have such a governing body?


Almost definitely not. Think of why it's considered such a bad thing when countries don't allow their citizens to emigrate. That's what we'd be faced with if a global government should come into existence. Whatever government comes about, we'd be stuck with it. Keep in mind also that most cultures throughout the world do not have the same grounding in political freedom that we do here in the U.S. We tend to take a lot of that for granted here, but in other countries, people just aren't accustomed to free institutions. That's going to take a long time to change, and frankly, I'd prefer that Americans not be made subjects for them to practice on.

But even if the people of the world do become accustomed to free institutions, that's still no reason to put everyone under one government. Better instead to work on maintaining peaceful relations, which, between free societies, isn't all that hard to do anyway.
Dingo
1. Is it possible to have a global governing body with real power?
Let's get clear, we're talking really about the UN and institutions it sponsors in a future incarnation.

"Possible" is an interesting word. I'd say it is necessary or we are going the way of the dinosaurs.

2. Would it be beneficial for the majority of the human race to have such a governing body?
Yes, particularly if it is well run.

3. If such a government is possible, what would be the best structure for such a government? -- i.e. how many branches; if representatives are to be elected, how are they elected, per region or per ethnic group, etc..
When I contemplate a world government I don't see it subsuming all the functions of other governing bodies except in matters that are compellingly international in nature. I'll leave the specific structure of this international body up to those who have made a careful study of such matters.

I would hope an effective international governing body would outlaw the whole range of WMDs and would have adequate inspection and punitive powers to enforce the ban. Insuring against international epidemics like the avian flu would certainly fall under its jurisdiction. Setting international environmental standards would be another responsibility. Of course we have the International Crime Commission (ICC) and the World Court.

The principal point is to get folks around the world on board with the idea that intractable international problems should mostly be the responsibility of a world government that is properly empowered. It only makes sense.
Izdaari
1. Is it possible to have a global governing body with real power?

Yes. It could happen without anybody really intending it, by nations gradually yielding more and more of their sovereignty to the UN.

2. Would it be beneficial for the majority of the human race to have such a governing body?

No. Most of the world is so badly governed now, and most of the world doesn't even believe in freedom for individuals. And the UN is so corrupt now, that it compares unfavorably to the most notoriously corrupt parts of the US, such as New Orleans. Look at the stuff that gets passed in the UN now for a preview of what a world government would be like. Worst of all, there'd be no place to run! A world government -- if done before other planets (possibly other stars) are colonized -- would be my worst nightmare.

3. If such a government is possible, what would be the best structure for such a government? -- i.e. how many branches; if representatives are to be elected, how are they elected, per region or per ethinic group, etc..

There's no possible way to structure such a government that I could live with, short of an immortal and incorruptible libertarian monarch, cunning enough to defeat any who conspire against him/her. Know anybody like that?
BaphometsAdvocate
QUOTE(j10pilot @ Oct 16 2005, 10:24 PM)

1. Is it possible to have a global governing body with real power?

2. Would it be beneficial for the majority of the human race to have such a governing body?

3. If such a government is possible, what would be the best structure for such a government? -- i.e. how many branches; if representatives are to be elected, how are they elected, per region or per ethinic group, etc..

*



Many will think in terms of the U.N. but I think the Original Poster is thinking about some Star Trekkian government ideal.

So to answer the points:

1) Anything is possible. However it is such a resoundingly bad idea it should be stricken from our minds.

2) It would, as all large lumbering things do, promote mediocrity at best and lowest common denominator sydrome at worst.

3) Let's all hope this never happens in anyway shape or form.
VDemosthenes
QUOTE(j10pilot @ Oct 16 2005, 10:24 PM)

1. Is it possible to have a global governing body with real power?

2. Would it be beneficial for the majority of the human race to have such a governing body?

3. If such a government is possible, what would be the best structure for such a government? -- I.e. how many branches; if representatives are to be elected, how are they elected, per region or per ethnic group, etc...

*



1.) Yes.

2.) No. When dealing with even a body as small as a four person family, people are left behind. Now try governing six billion people and tell me how each person will come out happy.

3.) An American House of Representatives style government should be established. Where each country has a representative per every X number of citizens. There should be a Roman-style executive branch with two people at the head who can veto the other and in that case the representative body must vote on an issue with a 5/8 majority vote to pass a piece of legislation. Each country or region, depending on manner of government, should have the right to refuse or modify a piece of legislation, in that case a group of assessors from a separate branch will meet and discuss that regions grievances and try to resolve them. A court would also be needed, so all in all I would say four branches would work nicely.


Ultimatejoe
It's kind of disappointing that everyone immediately thinks "United Nations" as soon as we talk about Global Governance. Disappointing for a couple of reasons. First, the usual crowd immediately drags out the "the U.N. is so corrupt that they couldn't run a lemonade stand" argument, which is based on circumstance and sensationalist headlines more than reality.

Second, because there are other ways to perceive global governance. The United Nations is a body designed for a specific purpose, in a specific environment. It's purpose is to prevent international conflict during the modern nation-state period. It has done so , and arguably it has done so quite well. However, the very existence of a global system would either make the United Nations irrelevant, or change the global governance paradigm so significantly that it is impossible to apply current dynamics of U.N. governance to such a scenario.

Of course, that never stopped anyone from trying. tongue.gif

As I said before though, there are other options. For now, free men (and women, as well as any third gendered people who are reading this) consider themselves free in that their sovereignty belongs to the state to which they belong. I am a sovereign citizen from Canada, Izdaari is a sovereign citizen of the U.S., etc. Both of us would fight to the death (should it become necessary) to defend our sovereign rights. But what if our sovereignty didn't belong to the state, but it belonged to us? What if the nation-state stopped being the identifier for political identity, and the guarantor of our rights and freedoms.

That is the question that cosmopolitanism asks. Granted, there are no easy answers, and there is no easy prescription. Who's conception of rights would inform this global order? How would governance be understood? How does such a system arise?

I can't answer that. Others have tried, and their answers are at best persuasive. But that does not mean that there is no purpose in considering them either. The discussion of Cosmopolitanism informs everything from Arms Reduction efforts to trade agreements to United Nations reform. The point is that because we cannot see the details of a global system does not mean that we shouldn't be looking. There is a an idea called standing in the shadows of the future: We cannot see the future off in the distance, but we are close enough to it that we can perceive that we are standing in it's shadows.

I'm not suggesting we all abandon our citizenships and clamour for something new. But we can't let our thinking be constrained by centuries-old philosophizing either.

1. Is it possible to have a global governing body with real power?

Yes. I just haven't worked out the details yet. Get back to me in a decade or two.

2. Would it be beneficial for the majority of the human race to have such a governing body?

With the exception of about 600 million people, life is characterized by hardship and endless toil just to survive. There has to be a better way. If the world's problems can be stood as merely a "distribution of resources" problem, then a global governance system obviously has tremendous potential.

3. If such a government is possible, what would be the best structure for such a government? -- I.e. how many branches; if representatives are to be elected, how are they elected, per region or per ethnic group, etc...

Fine, expose me for being a pie-in-the-sky idealist. Others, in particular David Held hav advocated a system of Cosmopolitan Democracy. He posits that the key to forming a new form of government depends not on the actual structure of the government itself, but on the underlying conditions for governance. As international trade regimes change for example, new global institutions and instruments for the regulation of trade would emerge, which could eventually be folded into a proper global cosmopolitan democracy.
Devils Advocate
1. Is it possible to have a global governing body with real power?

I think it is possible, though not probable; at least for a long time. If it guarenteed certain rights for all people and could be smoothly then I think it would be a fine system. But I don't think that could happen, at least not yet.

2. Would it be beneficial for the majority of the human race to have such a governing body?

I believe it could, but it probably wouldn't. Where I think the crux of the problem lies is with the vast differences in culture. Overcoming these would be the most difficult task to forming this government. Who is represented and how, what goes into the constitution and bill of rights (or whatever derivation is used), secular or religious, what type of government, ect. There are so many variables it seems like an almost impossible task to get all countries to accept one governing body.

3. If such a government is possible, what would be the best structure for such a government? -- i.e. how many branches; if representatives are to be elected, how are they elected, per region or per ethinic group, etc..

Hmm, VDemos summed it up pretty well. Nothing comes to mind on how to improve from his idea.
deerjerkydave
2. Would it be beneficial for the majority of the human race to have such a governing body?

No. One of the problems with government is the imposition of the majority over the minority. Doing so would require an executive branch which would probably make for plenty of wars and conflicts as it would attempt to enforce the will of the majority.

A benefit of maintaining governments at the micro level is if you don't like your local government then you can relocate and live under a different government. This is why I agree with Izdaari, we can explore this option as a possibility only after we have colonized other planets. Which, thankfully, will not be in my lifetime. alien.gif
Blackstone
QUOTE(Ultimatejoe @ Oct 17 2005, 03:04 PM)
If the world's problems can be stood as merely a "distribution of resources" problem, then a global governance system obviously has tremendous potential.

That's an "if" that could stand a little examination. People in the third world generally aren't poor because of some maldistribution of global resources. In fact, many of them live in countries with abundant natural resources. The problem is that they're often stuck with corrupt leaders who keep the resources for themselves and their cronies (both in and out of the country), or worse yet, use those resources as a political weapon. This isn't something that is likely to be solved by some global government, at least not one that operates with the consent of these very same governments. And in order for these countries to be trustworthy members of a global state, they'd have to reform themselves and root out the corruption. But once they do that, then they'll be able to effectively manage the distribution problem on their own.

So it just comes back to what I said in my response at #2, which is that free societies can live in peace and prosperity with each other without the need for an international government, and that unfree societies should be given no say over the affairs of free societies.
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Ultimatejoe
QUOTE
That's an "if" that could stand a little examination. People in the third world generally aren't poor because of some maldistribution of global resources. In fact, many of them live in countries with abundant natural resources. The problem is that they're often stuck with corrupt leaders who keep the resources for themselves and their cronies (both in and out of the country), or worse yet, use those resources as a political weapon.


You are approaching the statement I made from a nation-state perspective however. When I mean "distribution of resources" I'm not thinking in terms of countries and borders, but of people. The fact is that under the nation-state structure billions of people have no access to the resources needed to enjoy a halfway decent standard of living, regardless of whether or not the natural resources are situated nearby.

QUOTE
So it just comes back to what I said in my response at #2, which is that free societies can live in peace and prosperity with each other without the need for an international government, and that unfree societies should be given no say over the affairs of free societies.


This seems like an oversimplification to me. What about two free societies? Should one be able to interfere in the affairs of another? Because they all do, with the U.S. wielding the biggest stick. Should free societies be able to interfere in unfree societies? Lord knows that happens pretty regularly.

In case you didn't notice, I am not advocating some sort of super-state government using nation-state terminology or understand. A cosmopolitan democracy could never function in the current geopolitical arrangement. But if you continue to evaluate a Cosmopolitan perspective using a different framework (the moder nation-state structure), then you're just blinding yourself to other alternatives.
Blackstone
QUOTE(Ultimatejoe @ Oct 17 2005, 08:45 PM)
The fact is that under the nation-state structure billions of people have no access to the resources needed to enjoy a halfway decent standard of living, regardless of whether or not the natural resources are situated nearby.

Without further elucidation on that point, one might as well say that under an 80% nitrogen atmosphere, billions of people don't have access to these resources. What I'm looking for from you is some evidence to suggest that this situation is in fact caused in some way by the mere existence the "nation-state structure" (despite the fact that this situation generally isn't the case under the nation-state structure that exists here in the U.S.), rather than by the corrupt governments that exist nearly all throughout the third world.

Part of my problem may be that I'm not having an easy time following you. At #7, you referred to a David Held, and said, "He posits that the key to forming a new form of government depends not on the actual structure of the government itself, but on the underlying conditions for governance." But since you appear to condemn the current nation-state structure as being responsible for a lot of the problems people face (please correct me if I've misunderstood you), it would seem that structure is indeed an important consideration here.

QUOTE
QUOTE
So it just comes back to what I said in my response at #2, which is that free societies can live in peace and prosperity with each other without the need for an international government, and that unfree societies should be given no say over the affairs of free societies.


This seems like an oversimplification to me. What about two free societies? Should one be able to interfere in the affairs of another? Because they all do, with the U.S. wielding the biggest stick. Should free societies be able to interfere in unfree societies? Lord knows that happens pretty regularly.

Perhaps I could have made myself a little clearer here. I don't think free societies should be trying to run each other's affairs either. My point was that a fortiori, we definitely shouldn't want unfree societies exercising any degree of control over free societies. The ultimate point I was making is that a global government is unnecessary at best (because free societies can run their own affairs), and quite pernicious at worst (becaue it would give unfree societies a measure of control over free societies).

QUOTE
In case you didn't notice, I am not advocating some sort of super-state government using nation-state terminology or understand. A cosmopolitan democracy could never function in the current geopolitical arrangement. But if you continue to evaluate a Cosmopolitan perspective using a different framework (the moder nation-state structure), then you're just blinding yourself to other alternatives.

Well I can assure you it's not a conscious decision on my part to blind myself. It's just that if you posit a solution that involves breaking a paradigm, and then don't provide any real explanation as to what the new paradigm would entail, it's only natural that people will continue to evaluate things under the existing paradigm. So in other words, can you give us some details, in your own words, as to the nature of some of these alternatives you speak of?
Julian
QUOTE(Blackstone @ Oct 18 2005, 01:18 AM)
That's an "if" that could stand a little examination.  People in the third world generally aren't poor because of some maldistribution of global resources.  In fact, many of them live in countries with abundant natural resources.  The problem is that they're often stuck with corrupt leaders who keep the resources for themselves and their cronies (both in and out of the country), or worse yet, use those resources as a political weapon. 
*



That certainly happens.

However, just as often, the abundant local resources are bartered away to the first world (the EU and USA are equally bad at this) in exchange for "access to market", which usually means the natural resource markets that the first world finds useful (e.g. mineral deposits) are more or less hijacked by first world businesses who siphon most of the profits back to their first world headquarters, and the natural resource markets that the first world doesn't find useful (e.g. local food crops) are flooded with artificially cheap subsidised foodstuffs produced purely to keep first world farmers in business. This puts large number of third world farmers and other producers out of business, keeping them in poverty.

Of course, it doesn't help when their leaders are corrupt and take even more of their sparse wealth for themselves, but that isn't the only reason they're poor.

A possible opening for a world government might be, paradoxically, a body that robustly defends the rights of one nation state not to be exploited by another through market manipulation (e.g. subsidy).

This might be rooted in something akin to the kind of thinking behind the States' Rights movement in domestic US history and politics, where the only real purpose of a Federal government is to give an equal voice to small states, rather than the tyranny of the majority in the big and economically powerful ones.

Of course, in such a federal-model world government, Malawi or Chile would have exactly the same influence and power as the USA, France or the UK, and what powerful minority ever voluntarily gave up their own disproportionate power and wealth?
Blackstone
QUOTE(Julian @ Oct 18 2005, 07:32 AM)
However, just as often, the abundant local resources are bartered away to the first world (the EU and USA are equally bad at this) in exchange for "access to market", which usually means the natural resource markets that the first world finds useful (e.g. mineral deposits) are more or less hijacked by first world businesses who siphon most of the profits back to their first world headquarters, and the natural resource markets that the first world doesn't find useful (e.g. local food crops) are flooded with artificially cheap subsidised foodstuffs produced purely to keep first world farmers in business. This puts large number of third world farmers and other producers out of business, keeping them in poverty.

Of course, it doesn't help when their leaders are corrupt and take even more of their sparse wealth for themselves, but that isn't the only reason they're poor.

Not only does it not help when third world leaders are corrupt, that is the very problem. A responsible government would be able to provide appropriate safeguards to prevent this sort of economic takeover, on its own, without the need for a global government doing it for them. Irresponsible governments, on the other hand, will encourage it. So therefore, giving them a voice in a global government would not help put a stop to that trend.
moif
1. Is it possible to have a global governing body with real power?

No. It would fail, catastrophically, unless some exterior pressure existed to hold it together (for example, extra terrestrials)

Governments exist as a method of controlling and protecting society against exterior competition. Without any competition, then there is no need for any government.

I'm surprised so many people here seem to think that the people of the world could actually unite under one political system without some sort of reason as to why... Sure, anything is possible, in theory, but in practice what could unite the entire human race, short of the threat of alien invasion, to abide by the commands of one government?


2. Would it be beneficial for the majority of the human race to have such a governing body?

No. What would it do?


3. If such a government is possible, what would be the best structure for such a government? -- i.e. how many branches; if representatives are to be elected, how are they elected, per region or per ethnic group, etc..

Such a government could never hope to be effective and certainly not democratic. Democracy does not work well in big states because the distance between the politicians and the people is too great for any sort of democratic accountablility to have effect on the political leadership and what you get instead of democracy is a pantomime that masquerades as democracy where who rules is decided by who has the most personal support amongst the rest of the political elite.

Thus a World Government would have no direct contact with the rest of the human race and its lower levels would be in such constant conflict with it, and with each other that the World Government would require vast military resources simply in order to survive.

The ONLY way for such a government to exist is if every one agreed on a single unbending, ideology, for example; Islam and if such a World Government came into existence it would be forced to purge the unbelievers in order to maintain its position in the same way that Stalin once did.
Yogurt
QUOTE(j10pilot @ Oct 16 2005, 10:24 PM)

1. Is it possible to have a global governing body with real power?


Probably less possible than the Earth being sucked into the sun next week, and probably also less desirable. wink.gif

Given the difference in cultures, it would be nothing short of one civil war after another. Unless, of course, they disarmed everyone first. Wait, I think I'm on to something here....(Self-Designated Intellectuals begin salivating here)

QUOTE
2. Would it be beneficial for the majority of the human race to have such a governing body?


The answer is transparent, look around. I don't see an exodus headed for Somalia, or France for that matter. sour.gif In spite of our misgivings, our system works pretty darned well well for us. I don't see the Socialists/French of the world being happy with any system, like ours, that attempts to restrain the government.

QUOTE
3. If such a government is possible, what would be the best structure for such a government? -- i.e. how many branches; if representatives are to be elected, how are they elected, per region or per ethinic group, etc..


I have to agree with the Dane here, unless the 'government' were a omnipotent extra-terrestrial who was imposed on us, I don't see any shape or form being acceptable, or needed for that matter.
EricStanze
QUOTE
As I said before though, there are other options. For now, free men (and women, as well as any third gendered people who are reading this) consider themselves free in that their sovereignty belongs to the state to which they belong. I am a sovereign citizen from Canada, Izdaari is a sovereign citizen of the U.S., etc. Both of us would fight to the death (should it become necessary) to defend our sovereign rights. But what if our sovereignty didn't belong to the state, but it belonged to us? What if the nation-state stopped being the identifier for political identity, and the guarantor of our rights and freedoms.


That is the problem. Looking at United States for example, they are heavily indoctrinated to´love their country´, and their Goverment has succeded very well in this. It has gone so far that any american (lets talk general here) would "defend their right to be an american" and "love their country", without any reason. They have simply been told that their country is the best, and thats it.

If you compare it to the main of Europe, excluding United Kingdom which has a similar indotrination (perhaps poor education is the keyword, but this is another issue), most of Europe is trying to become one "state". Even Germany with its History, and France. Of course we have conflict regarding this, else it would not be healthy. You need to debate these issues. Thats one big difference between EU and the U.S (as example), the EU tries to evolve, whiles the U.S never changes, no conflict is alowed.


QUOTE
That is the question that cosmopolitanism asks. Granted, there are no easy answers, and there is no easy prescription. Who's conception of rights would inform this global order? How would governance be understood? How does such a system arise?



Intellect. And good Education, thats why americans specifically is so against it (the indoctrination part i was speaking of). No doubt it will not happen anyhow, United States would most likely start a war before it would happen. Just look at United Nations. Most americans do not even know what it is, United NATIONS, the Nations of the World. They never realize that when the UN is against someting, its the World thats against them, and they perceive the UN (the World) as a bad thing, or, evil. See the danger in this? We are right, the World is wrong.

But the EU will most likely become one Solid "state" eventually.



But a "Global Order" is of course the best thing for humanity. Only poorly educated and, lets be blunt, stupid people would go against this. Its the same with communism, anyone with any sort of intellect knows it to be perfect. The issues with possibilty is not on debate, so hence, we are not talking about that.
Ultimatejoe
EricStanze, despite the fact that you agree with me on some level, I find absolutely nothing compelling or persuasive in your post; for one simple reason.

You accuse Americans (in particular) of engaging in some sort of jingoistic nationalism, which is an exercise riddled with hypocrisy. If Americans think themselves better (which is not something they all do) just for the fact that they are American, then by saying that you are better because you are not American you are behaving no differently. In fact you are engaging in the very behaviour you deplore.

QUOTE(EricStanze)
But a "Global Order" is of course the best thing for humanity. Only poorly educated and, lets be blunt, stupid people would go against this. Its the same with communism, anyone with any sort of intellect knows it to be perfect. The issues with possibilty is not on debate, so hence, we are not talking about that.


Well, that all depends. Would you consider someone like David Chandler stupid? Here is a biography of his academic work culled from his home university. He disagrees strongly with the Cosmopolitan democratic model, and is skeptical of global government. Link.

QUOTE
Having previously lectured in international relations at Brunel University, Nottingham University and the University of Northumbria, David Chandler is Senior Lecturer in International Relations at CSD. He is the author of Constructing Global Civil Society: Morality and Power in International Relations (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2004); From Kosovo to Kabul: Human Rights and International Intervention (Pluto, 2002); and Bosnia: Faking Democracy after Dayton (Pluto, 1999, 2000); co-editor of Global Civil Society: Contested Futures (Routledge, 2005); the editor of Peace without Politics? Ten Years of State-Building in Bosnia (Routledge, 2005) and the editor of Rethinking Human Rights: Critical Approaches to International Politics (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2002). He has contributed to many journals - including: Millennium: Journal of International Studies; the Cambridge Review of International Affairs; Political Studies; International Politics; the British Journal of Politics & International Relation; Radical Philosophy; Current History; the New Left Review; Human Rights Quarterly; the International Journal of Human Rights; WeltTrends: Zeitschrift für internationale Politik; Global Dialogue; Democratization; International Peacekeeping and Policy and Politics and to a large number of edited volumes - including: A. J. Bellamy and P. Williams (eds) Peace Operations and Global Order (Taylor and Francis, 2004); J. Demmers et al (eds) Good Governance in the Era of Global Neoliberalism (Routledge, 2004); P. Burnell and P. Calvert (eds) Civil Society in Democratization (Taylor & Francis, 2004); H. Mollett (ed) Europe in the World: Essays on EU Foreign, Security and Development Policies (British Overseas NGOs for Development, 2003), W. van Meurs (ed.) South Eastern Europe: Weak States and Strong International Support (Bertelsmann Foundation, 2003), and D. Archibugi (ed.) Debating Cosmopolitics (Verso, 2003).


The reason I ask is simple. The least effective method of intellectual discussion is dismissal. Any discussion about global politics is necessarily a dialectical one. Only by engaging opposed ideas and discussing them frankly can there ever hope to be a better way.

QUOTE(Blackstone)
Not only does it not help when third world leaders are corrupt, that is the very problem. A responsible government would be able to provide appropriate safeguards to prevent this sort of economic takeover, on its own, without the need for a global government doing it for them. Irresponsible governments, on the other hand, will encourage it. So therefore, giving them a voice in a global government would not help put a stop to that trend.


This is a valid point, but a misleading one nonetheless. The fact is that poverty and exploitation can exist without corruption of state/national governments. Botswana for example is frequently touted as a country which has successfully purged corruption from its system, is relatively stable and has had no internal conflicts since it's independence in the 1960's. In fact, some have argued that there is less government corruption in Botswana than there is in the United States. However, that country frequently ranks in the bottom half of global wealth indices; in spite of diamiond resources.

While the global economy is no doubt more "fair" than it was during the era of Colonization or Imperialism, the fact is that national wealth is still predicated on command and control, not the free exchange of resources. Corruption is a major problem in the world, but it is not the only one. More importantly, a new political paragidm- one where the nation-state was obsolete- would make national government corruption a thing of the past, as well as allowing for the tremendous gains to be made elsewhere in the realm of human rights, peace, and prosperity.

QUOTE(moif)
Such a government could never hope to be effective and certainly not democratic. Democracy does not work well in big states because the distance between the politicians and the people is too great for any sort of democratic accountablility to have effect on the political leadership and what you get instead of democracy is a pantomime that masquerades as democracy where who rules is decided by who has the most personal support amongst the rest of the political elite.


Call me a cynic, but couldn't you easily make the argument that this is true in any large state? How many Americans who voted for Clinton or Bush knew the man personally? If elections were based purely on political prowess and experience, and support of the elites was not necessary, why is fundraising the most important exercise in every democracy?

There are two ways to look at large scale democratic institutions. Either they don't work already and the system needs to be overhauled, or the system DOES work on what is already a huge scale meaning that a larger scale is certainly possible. The way I see it, you can't have it both ways. Once democracy moved from a direct format, it has become indirect. Who's to say at exactly what size an indirect (or representative) democracy stops working, especially when it has never been tried on a supranational scale.

QUOTE(Blackstone)
Part of my problem may be that I'm not having an easy time following you. At #7, you referred to a David Held, and said, "He posits that the key to forming a new form of government depends not on the actual structure of the government itself, but on the underlying conditions for governance." But since you appear to condemn the current nation-state structure as being responsible for a lot of the problems people face (please correct me if I've misunderstood you), it would seem that structure is indeed an important consideration here.


I should have been more clear here. I am not suggesting that Nation-states themselves as institutions are to blame for the corruption and inequality which plagues 90% of humanity. The conditions for governance on the other hand are. While the economy is global, sovereignty is still meted out by individual nations, trade is seen as something distinct (and to be protected by) from government, and the forces of internationalism are entirely distinct from the individual people that they impact. THis is a system borne out of Imperialism and modernism, both of which have largely faded into the dust themselves. The organizing principle of the planet is responsible both (and seperately) for the inequality I spoke of, and our system of governance.
carlitoswhey
Interesting Topic! thumbsup.gif

As a small-government federalism kind-of-guy, I have to agree with the following.
QUOTE(deerjerkydave @ Oct 17 2005, 06:54 PM)
A benefit of maintaining governments at the micro level is if you don't like your local government then you can relocate and live under a different government.  This is why I agree with Izdaari, we can explore this option as a possibility only after we have colonized other planets.  Which, thankfully, will not be in my lifetime.  alien.gif
Driving decision-making down to the most local of levels is the best form of government in nearly all instances. Moreover, it gives people real choice. Want no taxes and no services? OK, move to an unincorporated township out in the country. Want big government and lots of service? Move to a big city. Want socialism-lite and free health care? Move to Canada. I'm being simplistic, but the point is valid. One-size-fits-all is not going to work for a whole world full of people, 3 or 4 billion of whom don't agree with the general gist of US-style democracy and freedom.

QUOTE(moif @ Oct 18 2005, 11:29 AM)
Such a government could never hope to be effective and certainly not democratic. Democracy does not work well in big states because the distance between the politicians and the people is too great for any sort of democratic accountablility to have effect on the political leadership and what you get instead of democracy is a pantomime that masquerades as democracy where who rules is decided by who has the most personal support amongst the rest of the political elite.

Thus a World Government would have no direct contact with the rest of the human race and its lower levels would be in such constant conflict with it, and with each other that the World Government would require vast military resources simply in order to survive.

The ONLY way for such a government to exist is if every one agreed on a single unbending, ideology, for example; Islam and if such a World Government came into existence it would be forced to purge the unbelievers in order to maintain its position in the same way that Stalin once did.

I'd agree with moif here as well, with a small build - even if we did have Islam or whatever to rally around, there would soon be a schism that would break that unity, and we'd have Shia/Sunni civil war in about ten minutes. Not gonna happen.

QUOTE(EricStanze @ Oct 18 2005, 01:04 PM)
But a "Global Order" is of course the best thing for humanity. Only poorly educated and, lets be blunt, stupid people would go against this. Its the same with communism, anyone with any sort of intellect knows it to be perfect. The issues with possibilty is not on debate, so hence, we are not talking about that.

I can only hope that I'm mis-interpreting this, but ad.gif is a debate site. As such, will you please acknowledge that those who disagree with you about, say, global order being the ideal, or that communism is perfect, are not all stupid or lacking intellect? Because, it kind of ruins the debate to make such (absurd) blanket statements, particularly without presenting any evidence.
Yogurt
QUOTE(EricStanze @ Oct 18 2005, 02:04 PM)
That is the problem. Looking at United States for example, they are heavily indoctrinated to´love their country´, and their Goverment has succeded very well in this. It has gone so far that any american (lets talk general here) would "defend their right to be an american" and "love their country", without any reason. They have simply been told that their country is the best, and thats it.


"Not exactly", as Agent 86 would say. Although I haven't lived in many countries, I've had the pleasure of visiting a few. Since the advent of "television" some years back we also a broader vista to gaze on. If I preferred to be a socialist, I'd get on a plane today. RATHER, I enjoy being able to be an individual, rewarded on the basis of my own efforts. The thought of being just another ant in the colony is not very appealing.

QUOTE
Intellect. And good Education, thats why americans specifically is so against it (the indoctrination part i was speaking of).


And you think that your indoctrination does not lead you to make statements like that? I think what you really mean is "your education".
We all interpret thoughts and ideas based on "filters" that are the result of education and experience. There are a lot of dead Cambodians who would have loved to debate Chomsky about how marvelous Pol Pot was.


QUOTE
Just look at United Nations.


Aye, just look at it. It's one of the most inefficient organizations in the world. Just imagine what they could do with more power. First you have the scandals, then the waste of money, then just look at the member nations on the human rights committee. You are just trying to kid us, aren't you? Their glorious IAEA gets a Nobel prize for being incompetent and blind. Genocide and rape by UN troops in Africa.

Thanks, You made my point for me.


QUOTE
But the EU will most likely become one Solid "state" eventually.


You may be correct, but if it gets traded on Wall Street, I would plan on "shorting" it. As it's been pointed out already this thread, it's barely tenable for different sects in one religion, be it Islam, Christianity, et al, to get along, let alone thousands of years of cultures.
I also hate to bring it up, but there was a guy in Germany who wanted to unify Europe about 60 years ago, followed by one in Russia. It didn't play well.

QUOTE
But a "Global Order" is of course the best thing for humanity. Only poorly educated and, lets be blunt, stupid people would go against this. Its the same with communism, anyone with any sort of intellect knows it to be perfect. The issues with possibilty is not on debate, so hence, we are not talking about that.


Statements like that are precisely why conservatives enjoy debating liberals. When a liberal has no facts to support an argument, they get dismissive.

Please make yourself at home in Euroland living like an ant if it is your idea of nirvana, just don't ask me to.
Jaime
QUOTE(EricStanze @ Oct 18 2005, 02:04 PM)
But a "Global Order" is of course the best thing for humanity. Only poorly educated and, lets be blunt, stupid people would go against this. Its the same with communism, anyone with any sort of intellect knows it to be perfect. The issues with possibilty is not on debate, so hence, we are not talking about that.
*


This is not constructive. Please be sure to bring substance to the debates instead of making off-topic and dismissive blanket assertions.

DEBATE:
1. Is it possible to have a global governing body with real power?

2. Would it be beneficial for the majority of the human race to have such a governing body?

3. If such a government is possible, what would be the best structure for such a government? -- i.e. how many branches; if representatives are to be elected, how are they elected, per region or per ethinic group, etc..

Blackstone
QUOTE(Ultimatejoe @ Oct 18 2005, 02:57 PM)
Botswana for example is frequently touted as a country which has successfully purged corruption from its system, is relatively stable and has had no internal conflicts since it's independence in the 1960's. In fact, some have argued that there is less government corruption in Botswana than there is in the United States. However, that country frequently ranks in the bottom half of global wealth indices; in spite of diamiond resources.

Do we know why that is? If it has an honest, competent government, it should be able to stop the hijacking of its natural resources by outside interests. What's preventing it?
carlitoswhey
Hope this isn't too off-topic, but we have some recommendations for leader of our one-world government. This from the same poll that voted Karl Marx "favorite philosopher" (despite his being an economist).

BBC poll - who should rule the world?

QUOTE
1 - Nelson Mandela
2 - Bill Clinton
3 - Dalai Lama
4 - Noam Chomsky (pictured)
5 - Alan Greenspan
6 - Bill Gates
7 - Steve Jobs
8 - Archbishop Desmond Tutu
9 - Richard Branson
10 - George Soros
11 - Kofi Annan


As for Botswana being "in the bottom half" of global wealth indices... Their natural resources are not being "hijacked" by anyone. They rank 59th in the world in terms of per-capita GDP and were well on their way to becoming the second "first-world" economy in sub-saharan Africa (besides S. Africa) before the AIDS crisis hit. From Nationmaster.com:

QUOTE
Botswana has maintained one of the world's highest growth rates since independence in 1966. Through fiscal discipline and sound management, Botswana has transformed itself from one of the poorest countries in the world to a middle-income country with a per capita GDP of $8,800 in 2003. Two major investment services rank Botswana as the best credit risk in Africa. Diamond mining has fueled much of the expansion and currently accounts for more than one-third of GDP and for nine-tenths of export earnings. Tourism, subsistence farming, and cattle raising are other key sectors. On the downside, the government must deal with high rates of unemployment and poverty. Unemployment officially is 21%, but unofficial estimates place it closer to 40%. HIV/AIDS infection rates are the highest in the world and threaten Botswana's impressive economic gains. Long-term prospects are overshadowed by the expected leveling off in diamond mining production.
moif
QUOTE(EricStanze)
That is the problem. Looking at United States for example, they are heavily indoctrinated to´love their country´, and their Goverment has succeded very well in this. It has gone so far that any american (lets talk general here) would "defend their right to be an american" and "love their country", without any reason. They have simply been told that their country is the best, and thats it.
This is equally true of Denmark. Would you say the Danes were indoctrinated?


QUOTE(EricStanze)
If you compare it to the main of Europe, excluding United Kingdom which has a similar indotrination (perhaps poor education is the keyword, but this is another issue), most of Europe is trying to become one "state". Even Germany with its History, and France. Of course we have conflict regarding this, else it would not be healthy. You need to debate these issues. Thats one big difference between EU and the U.S (as example), the EU tries to evolve, whiles the U.S never changes, no conflict is alowed.
I might be a Dane, but I grew up and went to school in the UK. I have never seen any indication that the English have been 'indoctrinated'.

And I don't know how you can say the USA never changes compared to the EU. The United States today is very far from the nation it was just a few decades ago and lets not pretend that Europe could have evolved as it did without massive help from the USA. I don't know how you perceive the post war era, but few Danes have forgotten the Marshall Plan or the Cold war.


QUOTE(Ultimatejoe)
Call me a cynic, but couldn't you easily make the argument that this is true in any large state? How many Americans who voted for Clinton or Bush knew the man personally? If elections were based purely on political prowess and experience, and support of the elites was not necessary, why is fundraising the most important exercise in every democracy?
Okay, so your a cynic tongue.gif laugh.gif

Yes. You can make that argument for any large state, and coming from a very small, and very democratic state I am indeed apt to do so...

But, don't make the mistake of thinking that just because a large state runs a pantomime of democracy that that state cannot function, and function well. It can. Size alone gives political momentum and even the most badly managed states (the USSR for example) manage to get by, at least for a while on sheer size alone. The larger a state is, the more difficult it is to control and/ or change it. Democratically, or in any other way.

And then, if the large state is well managed (USA) then it can get by with even a pretend democracy and prosper.

Democracy, by itself, is not the only path towards success.


QUOTE(Ultimatejoe)
There are two ways to look at large scale democratic institutions. Either they don't work already and the system needs to be overhauled, or the system DOES work on what is already a huge scale meaning that a larger scale is certainly possible. The way I see it, you can't have it both ways. Once democracy moved from a direct format, it has become indirect. Who's to say at exactly what size an indirect (or representative) democracy stops working, especially when it has never been tried on a supranational scale.
Well you can look at the existing examples. Does Indian democracy work? Does US democracy work? I don't think so but I'm not using the performance of the nation as my barometer either.

The USA functions very well as a state, but poorly as a democracy (in my not very humble opinion)

Denmark (to blow my own trumpet) on the other hand, functions well as both because Denmark is a small nation and the distance between my and Anders Fogh Rasmussen is not so very great. Its certainly greater than I can cross it and complain directly to the prime ministers face, but small enough that he is held accountable by the democratic system.

Or in other words, the leader of a small democratic nation is easier to replace than the leader of a big democratic nation.


carlitoswhey

QUOTE(BBC)
1 - Nelson Mandela
2 - Bill Clinton
3 - Dalai Lama
4 - Noam Chomsky (pictured)
5 - Alan Greenspan
6 - Bill Gates
7 - Steve Jobs
8 - Archbishop Desmond Tutu
9 - Richard Branson
10 - George Soros
11 - Kofi Annan
Yeah... I can't but help notice the absence of female leaders on that list...

If I had to choose one leader of all, then I would be inclined to look for another Elizabeth I of Great Britain. Thats the sort of leader we need. She inherited a bankrupt nation filled with anarchy and despair and without ever starting a war, left it the richest most powerful state the world had ever seen.

This planet has been ruled by men, since... for ever and its a shambles. I say, give the job to a woman! whistling.gif

Dingo
QUOTE
Moif. I'm surprised so many people here seem to think that the people of the world could actually unite under one political system without some sort of reason as to why... Sure, anything is possible, in theory, but in practice what could unite the entire human race, short of the threat of alien invasion, to abide by the commands of one government?

It seems to me certain aspects of the UN have worked pretty well. Peace keeping and Unesco come to mind. We have a head of state being arrested and brought to justice under the jurisdiction of a world body in the Hague. The precedent on a simple level is already there.

As far as the external threat necessary to compel the uniting of the human race, how about the immanent threat of WMDs wiping us all out? Got any nationalist solutions for that?
Yogurt
QUOTE(moif @ Oct 18 2005, 07:11 PM)
I don't know how you perceive the post war era, but few Danes have forgotten the Marshall Plan or the Cold war.


Having spent a few weeks in Copenhagen & Herlev, I can attest that the great majority of Danes I came across made me feel quite welcome. (But how come all the exotic dancers always said they were from Sweden, or some other country, none of them locals??)
Although most Americans don't really feel anyone "owes" us for helping out, it's always nice to see a trace of gratitude, my thanks.

QUOTE(moif @ Oct 18 2005, 07:11 PM)
The USA functions very well as a state, but poorly as a democracy (in my not very humble opinion)


Small point of order, the US in not really a Democracy, but more precisely a Republic. (Much to the chagrin and dismay of some I might add) wink.gif



QUOTE(BBC)
1 - Nelson Mandela
2 - Bill Clinton
3 - Dalai Lama
4 - Noam Chomsky (pictured)
5 - Alan Greenspan
6 - Bill Gates
7 - Steve Jobs
8 - Archbishop Desmond Tutu
9 - Richard Branson
10 - George Soros
11 - Kofi Annan


Gee, I wonder who would be on the list if Spectator or NR ran it. A more telling question would be, "Would the mainstream media even pick it up?", I doubt.
I can bet that there weren't any Cambodians voting in this pole either...
j10pilot
QUOTE(Blackstone @ Oct 17 2005, 10:54 AM)
Almost definitely not.  Think of why it's considered such a bad thing when countries don't allow their citizens to emigrate.  That's what we'd be faced with if a global government should come into existence.  Whatever government comes about, we'd be stuck with it.


Just out of curiosity, how often do people in the U.S. of A. move to another country because they don't like their government? As far as I know, even people like Michael Moore, who dislike the current system in America, stay and try to change the system. So if the global government provides a way for its citizens to rectify problems through direct votes or representatives, a vast majority of the people would try to go that route, don't you think?

My inclination has always been to face the problems, not to run away.
Mrs. Pigpen
QUOTE(Dingo @ Oct 19 2005, 01:38 AM)
As far as the external threat necessary to compel the uniting of the human race, how about the immanent threat of WMDs wiping us all out? Got any nationalist solutions for that?
*


Have any internationalist ones? The difficulty of obtaining (and maintaining) a just and effective governing world body to deal which such problems is insurmountable.

First that government would have to come up with a series of laws that apply to everyone (done that, sort of), then it would have to have the power to enforce those laws consistently and equally. National sovereignty would have to be eliminated under such a system. Maybe if such a (future) government could obtain androids or some sort of modified clones it could work, but then the path to exploitation and corruption is clear. One powerful body of humans wielding a mass army of clone or android warriers isn't something to be desired. Or, potentially that government might have the power to modify all dissenting humans to agree with and obey whatever that government says. Be careful what you wish for. Of course, an omniscient, perfect immortal dictator with total power over humanity would likely solve such problems. Realistically, I think the current trend is towards more governments, rather than less of them.

Per the Democratic Constitutional Representative Republic (like us) style global governing body. Consider what we have here, take the corruption and inefficiency and multiply it by about 20. How many people feel well represented with their tiny share of the federal vote? Divide that representation by 20. That would be the product of such a system. No thanks. sour.gif
j10pilot
QUOTE(carlitoswhey @ Oct 19 2005, 06:20 AM)
1 - Nelson Mandela
2 - Bill Clinton
3 - Dalai Lama
4 - Noam Chomsky (pictured)
5 - Alan Greenspan
6 - Bill Gates
7 - Steve Jobs
8 - Archbishop Desmond Tutu
9 - Richard Branson
10 - George Soros
11 - Kofi Annan


Frankly, I don't have a problem with most of the people on the list running the world. A good leader doesn't need to be a know-it-all or a saint, as long as he or she is intelligent, open-minded and doesn't crave power or personal wealth too much.


QUOTE
As for Botswana being "in the bottom half" of global wealth indices... Their natural resources are not being "hijacked" by anyone.  They rank 59th in the world in terms of per-capita GDP and were well on their way to becoming the second "first-world" economy in sub-saharan Africa (besides S. Africa) before the AIDS crisis hit.  From Nationmaster.com:


Nationmaster.com totally copied that passage from the CIA's World Factbook. But anyway, according to the CIA, 47% of Botswana's population is below the poverty line, while the per capita GDP is over $9,000 now. If you ask me, something is wrong with this picture.
carlitoswhey
QUOTE(j10pilot @ Oct 19 2005, 03:34 PM)

Nationmaster.com totally copied that passage from the CIA's World Factbook. But anyway, according to the CIA, 47% of Botswana's population is below the poverty line, while the per capita GDP is over $9,000 now. If you ask me, something is wrong with this picture.

The fact that 53% are OVER the poverty line indicates that something is right with this picture. Compare Botswana to its immediate neighbors.
GDP per capita = 10 times that of Zambia, 4 times that of Angola (who has oil), slightly more than Namibia, and only about 20% less than that of South Africa. Let's not even start with Zimbabwe, which is a complete mess. As for % under the poverty line, Zambia is at 86%, Namibia 70%, Angola 50%, etc. etc. etc. This really was one of the poorest countries in the world 40 years ago. How specifically would "one world government" help Africa's economy?

Dingo
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Oct 19 2005, 10:55 AM)
QUOTE(Dingo @ Oct 19 2005, 01:38 AM)
As far as the external threat necessary to compel the uniting of the human race, how about the immanent threat of WMDs wiping us all out? Got any nationalist solutions for that?
*


Have any internationalist ones? The difficulty of obtaining (and maintaining) a just and effective governing world body to deal which such problems is insurmountable.

First that government would have to come up with a series of laws that apply to everyone (done that, sort of), then it would have to have the power to enforce those laws consistently and equally. National sovereignty would have to be eliminated under such a system. Maybe if such a (future) government could obtain androids or some sort of modified clones it could work, but then the path to exploitation and corruption is clear. One powerful body of humans wielding a mass army of clone or android warriors isn't something to be desired. Or, potentially that government might have the power to modify all dissenting humans to agree with and obey whatever that government says. Be careful what you wish for. Of course, an omniscient, perfect immortal dictator with total power over humanity would likely solve such problems. Realistically, I think the current trend is towards more governments, rather than less of them.

Per the Democratic Constitutional Representative Republic (like us) style global governing body. Consider what we have here, take the corruption and inefficiency and multiply it by about 20. How many people feel well represented with their tiny share of the federal vote? Divide that representation by 20. That would be the product of such a system. No thanks. sour.gif

You don't like the international approach but you don't offer any alternative. The rationale for an international body is that the individual members see that they can achieve objectives by consensus that they can't achieve individually. In the case of eliminating WMDs there is a powerful motive to cooperate but you need an international institution to provide the vehicle for implementing that mutual objective.

And of course we are not talking about a world government that wields total power. It would only have jurisdiction in matters that were of compelling international concern. It would have no doubt far fewer civil servants than your average nation-state. It wouldn't run your schools, your fire department, your police or your transportation system. It would have some say in setting standards for environmental pollutants and be involved with say international policing - think Interpol.

As far as the power to enforce laws by military means that would be pretty much impossible against a major country within its borders. It could however arrest culpable members of that state who leave it and go to a cooperating country. The present ICC (International Crime Commission) already contemplates such an action. Milosovitch right now is in the docket in the Hague as an individual who committed crimes against humanity and is being judged by an international body. There also is the power of the economic boycott, think South Africa.

I obviously can't predict the exact details of the progress to such an international body but it will come in some form or this experiment called Homo Sapien Sapien will be one more evolutionary dead end.
carlitoswhey
Dingo, your point on world government limiting itself to world affairs is interesting, but not realistic. I'm thinking of the UN and its gradual acquisition of power in disputes up to and including the International Criminal Court, to which you've referred. You spoke of 'crimes against humanity.' I'd like you to imagine exactly how we would come to a harmonized criminal code for things related to morality.

Monotheists mostly believe that adultery is wrong, a sin, one of the 10 Commandments. In the USA, the only penalty is found in divorce proceedings and payment to an ex-spouse. In some Muslim countries, penalty for an adultress can be burial up to her waist and stoning to death. In Turkey, 40% of people think it's a death penalty offense, but 21% think that the woman should only have her ears or nose cut off (source). The USA executes minors. China forcibly aborts babies. The Netherlands and Belgium endorse euthanasia. Gay marriage is allowed in certain nations but not others. Muslims and African tribes mutilate one or the other sex' genitalia. 10-year-old girls are married to their uncles in Arabia.

All of the above issues have already been raised as "human rights violations" by our current proxy global government, the UN. If we had a real global government, how could it resolve these issues, other than to adopt a liberal European cultural standard and force it on the rest of the world? How would that be fair to non-European cultures?
Blackstone
QUOTE(j10pilot @ Oct 19 2005, 12:59 PM)
Just out of curiosity, how often do people in the U.S. of A. move to another country because they don't like their government?

They don't, which is testament to the amount of freedom and prosperity people enjoy here compared to the rest of the world. Now, mix the rest of the world in with us, and subject us all to the same government, and what do you think will happen to that freedom and prosperity? Will it increase or diminish?
Dingo
QUOTE(carlitoswhey @ Oct 19 2005, 03:20 PM)
Dingo, your point on world government limiting itself to world affairs is interesting, but not realistic.  I'm thinking of the UN and its gradual acquisition of power in disputes up to and including the International Criminal Court, to which you've referred.  You spoke of 'crimes against humanity.'  I'd like you to imagine exactly how we would come to a harmonized criminal code for things related to morality.


Pretty simple. As in the case of the ICC (Sorry about my inaccurate definition) the code is presented and the various countries discuss it and create alterations and additions until it meets their satisfaction. Then they all agree to abide by it. I am sure if you got a definition of what constitutes "Crimes against humanity" it would have just as precise a legal definition as any of the other laws that we take for granted. Obviously they are talking about collective violations, not individual ones that are left to the countries. My guess is countries would choose to focus on crimes that had a spill over affect. I doubt the excesses of Sharia would be high on their agenda although they would be free to exercise noncoercive moral influence.

As for there being a slippery slope causing the world government to assume more and more invasive power, I just can't picture that. Remember the world government is sanctioned by the individual states. That pretty much precludes this world government from accreting local power against the wishes of its members.
deerjerkydave
QUOTE(Blackstone @ Oct 19 2005, 03:49 PM)
QUOTE(j10pilot @ Oct 19 2005, 12:59 PM)
Just out of curiosity, how often do people in the U.S. of A. move to another country because they don't like their government?

They don't, which is testament to the amount of freedom and prosperity people enjoy here compared to the rest of the world. Now, mix the rest of the world in with us, and subject us all to the same government, and what do you think will happen to that freedom and prosperity? Will it increase or diminish?

Agreed. Remember that America is a nation of immigrants. They immigrated here because they felt that it is better than where they were. So far we have not seen a mass-exodus of citizens. This tells me that most Americans are content with living here, even Alec Baldwin (you know, the actor who said he would move out if Bush became president). Of course we have our problems, but they could be a lot worse. Don't be fooled into thinking that people don't migrate because of financial or political strain caused by an oppressive or corrupt government. Just look at the huge flow of immigrants from Mexico.
Mrs. Pigpen
QUOTE(Dingo @ Oct 19 2005, 02:55 PM)
You don't like the international approach but you don't offer any alternative. The rationale for an international body is that the individual members see that they can achieve objectives by consensus that they can't achieve individually. In the case of eliminating WMDs there is a powerful motive to cooperate but you need an international institution to provide the vehicle for implementing that mutual objective.
How is this any different than what we have now with the UN and the IAEA? If you wish this global body to have greater powers there must be a medium for enforcing those powers. Simple fact, laws are only as good as the potential to enforce them.

QUOTE
And of course we are not talking about a world government that wields total power. It would only have jurisdiction in matters that were of compelling international concern. It would have no doubt far fewer civil servants than your average nation-state. It wouldn't run your schools, your fire department, your police or your transportation system. It would have some say in setting standards for environmental pollutants and be involved with say international policing - think Interpol.

As far as the power to enforce laws by military means that would be pretty much impossible against a major country within its borders. It could however arrest culpable members of that state who leave it and go to a cooperating country. The present ICC (International Crime Commission) already contemplates such an action. Milosovitch right now is in the docket in the Hague as an individual who committed crimes against humanity and is being judged by an international body. There also is the power of the economic boycott, think South Africa.


Milosevic was turned over by the Serbian government (following the use of force, I might add). Pinochet was apprehended in Spain after he left office. There are serious drawbacks to arresting visiting heads of state for allegations of this type. It opens the door to arbitrary and frivolous charges, and could halt diplomatic relations and negotiations before they even begin. We have diplomatic immunity for this reason.
VDemosthenes
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Oct 19 2005, 08:00 PM)
Simple fact, laws are only as good as the potential to enforce them.
*



Here here! I believe that this is the core reason that no global government has worked in the past, and why governments of such caliber are failing today. The simple desire to remain independence is so strong among nations that we find ourselves unwilling to relinquish sovereignty to a global body. The United Nations has neither the ability nor the resources to enforce its own resolutions. The U.N. has no real army nor any real funds with which to do something on a large-scale without its member nations providing.

As an independent nation it is hard to accept giving up sovereignty. I admit, I too have my reservations about the possibility of such a thing happening. I like freedom too much, and I know it wouldn't be giving up any real freedoms, but it would be universal and we all know how hard it is to get something universal. I would love to see a global government convince the Arabs and the Israelis that they aren't enemies anymore and that the only thing separating them is a name.


Dingo
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Oct 19 2005, 05:00 PM)
QUOTE(Dingo @ Oct 19 2005, 02:55 PM)
You don't like the international approach but you don't offer any alternative.(*You still don't) The rationale for an international body is that the individual members see that they can achieve objectives by consensus that they can't achieve individually. In the case of eliminating WMDs there is a powerful motive to cooperate but you need an international institution to provide the vehicle for implementing that mutual objective.
How is this any different than what we have now with the UN and the IAEA? If you wish this global body to have greater powers there must be a medium for enforcing those powers. Simple fact, laws are only as good as the potential to enforce them.

The difference would be more of degree than kind. The UN and related world bodies have already given us the principle of international cooperation. I would think that would be treated as a plus not the relentless pursuit of negatives. As for enforcement. I already offered the cooperation of the states who signed on to a world government. And of course we already have the precedent of UN peace keeping forces being employed in many parts of the world. It would be good to expand that in a manner that would be helpful.

QUOTE
Milosevic was turned over by the Serbian government (following the use of force, I might add). Pinochet was apprehended in Spain after he left office. There are serious drawbacks to arresting visiting heads of state for allegations of this type. It opens the door to arbitrary and frivolous charges, and could halt diplomatic relations and negotiations before they even begin. We have diplomatic immunity for this reason.

Milosevic was turned over due to international pressure. I think the opportunity to join the European Union was an influencing factor. International pressure influences national policy on a matter having to do with "Crimes against humanity." That is nothing but a big plus. Pinochet's arrest was a shot across the bow to future political leaders that your crimes will follow you out of office, another big plus. I don't see anything arbitrary or frivolous about an international judicial body taking evidence on crimes of serious stature by major players in the world of politics. Ending the anarchy of the lawlessness of the powerful is one important reason that this commitment to international justice is a good idea.

It is curious to me that since world cooperation is so manifestly necessary if the human race is to have a future that folks would keep desperately fishing around for reasons to sabotage the idea. If you want cooperation you need an infrastructure to carry it out. Anybody got an alternative to some sort of world government?
Paladin Elspeth
QUOTE
It is curious to me that since world cooperation is so manifestly necessary if the human race is to have a future that folks would keep desperately fishing around for reasons to sabotage the idea. If you want cooperation you need an infrastructure to carry it out. Anybody got an alternative to some sort of world government?
I don't have an alternative, but I can address the tendency of humans to try to sabotage the idea.

Is there a government on earth, including the Vatican, that can effectively address and eradicate the abuse of power? No. It would follow in the thinking of some of us that the more power an individual or group of individuals has, the greater the temptation and ability to abuse that power.

I don't think that a worldwide power could succeed for more than a couple of years, tops. Somebody's going to be marginalized, denied his/her rights, or abused in some manner, and there will be a group to embrace the outrage and take on the system. If the United States were comprised of one centralized government without the power and government of the individualized states, it would not have succeeded the way it has. At that, we can still recall the War between the States* and more recently the riots in Toledo over the Nazi party wanting to parade through the streets of the predominantly black area, or the way FEMA officials did not watch CNN to learn the extent of Hurricane Katrina's ferocity or destructive capability. ermm.gif

Of course, the farther you are away from the centralized government, the less control that government has over you. This would certainly hold true in a one-world government scenario.

But please don't get me wrong...I am for peace and order, but not at the expense of our rights and autonomy.

*That war wasn't "civil"
Dingo
Well I guess the commitment to inevitable armageddon enjoys the support of the vast majority here. Anything to avoid that dread entity called a world government.
QUOTE
PE. Is there a government on earth, including the Vatican, that can effectively address and eradicate the abuse of power? No. It would follow in the thinking of some of us that the more power an individual or group of individuals has, the greater the temptation and ability to abuse that power.

We don't abandon our governments and our churches because there are some abuses. There seems to be some confusion here that I am talking about a world government that has enormous autonomous powers. Frankly I don't understand that since it doesn't emerge from anything I have written as far as I know. This world government would be contingent on broad support from the community of nations. It is absurd to think it could wage war and crush its members. Then it would simply become another state rather than a creature of the many states of the world.

Throwing out expressions like "one-world government" is nothing more than a scare tactic. Who here has lost vital personal rights due to the existence of the UN? The idea is simply to make that international body and its related international institutions more effective in dealing with issues that are not presently being adequately dealt with. The phased removal of WMDs world wide is the issue that most readily comes to my mind.
Paladin Elspeth
QUOTE(Dingo @ Oct 20 2005, 01:02 AM)
Well I guess the commitment to inevitable armageddon enjoys the support of the vast majority here. Anything to avoid that dread entity called a world government.
QUOTE
PE. Is there a government on earth, including the Vatican, that can effectively address and eradicate the abuse of power? No. It would follow in the thinking of some of us that the more power an individual or group of individuals has, the greater the temptation and ability to abuse that power.

We don't abandon our governments and our churches because there are some abuses. There seems to be some confusion here that I am talking about a world government that has enormous autonomous powers. Frankly I don't understand that since it doesn't emerge from anything I have written as far as I know. This world government would be contingent on broad support from the community of nations. It is absurd to think it could wage war and crush its members. Then it would simply become another state rather than a creature of the many states of the world.

Throwing out expressions like "one-world government" is nothing more than a scare tactic. Who here has lost vital personal rights due to the existence of the UN? The idea is simply to make that international body and its related international institutions more effective in dealing with issues that are not presently being adequately dealt with. The phased removal of WMDs world wide is the issue that most readily comes to my mind.
*



I don't mean to employ a scare tactic through the use of the term "one-world government."

But let's look at it realistically: We can't even pass Universal Health Care in this country--it is dismissed as "socialist," even though this is the ONLY major industrialized nation on earth that doesn't have it.

Tell me that we can solve the health care crisis in this country by having the wealthier, more powerful members of our society acquiesce and loosen their purse strings a little, and I'll tell you whether anybody here will give the requisite cooperation to a world-overseeing government.

EDIT: And yes, there are Catholics who have left the church because of the abuses that have come to light. I'm not one of them, but I do understand why they have.
Dingo
QUOTE(Paladin Elspeth @ Oct 19 2005, 10:08 PM)
But let's look at it realistically: We can't even pass Universal Health Care in this country--it is dismissed as "socialist," even though this is the ONLY major industrialized nation on earth that doesn't have it.

Tell me that we can solve the health care crisis in this country by having the wealthier, more powerful members of our society acquiesce and loosen their purse strings a little, and I'll tell you whether anybody here will give the requisite cooperation to a world-overseeing government.

EDIT: And yes, there are Catholics who have left the church because of the abuses that have come to light. I'm not one of them, but I do understand why they have.

PE, let me be brutally realistic. We have the means to wipe out the human race right now. The odds are high that the life of this species and that means you and this forum are going to cease being part of this planet in perhaps the near future. It is just a matter of time and the concatenation of events. The game of Russian Roulette is being played out every day. The question of whether or not a particular person in this country gets a heart bypass or not simply does not rate a priority when measured against the immanent threat of human extinction.

If you are saying that the human ape is so me-here-now oriented, so without the inclination to think about the future and so tight fisted with their resources that they simply will not do what they need to do to assure their children and their children's children survival then you are probably right. However it does seem strange to me to devote time and argument to insist that there is nothing in our future but a one way ticket to Davy Jones Locker.
Paladin Elspeth
QUOTE(Dingo)
PE, let me be brutally realistic. We have the means to wipe out the human race right now. The odds are high that the life of this species and that means you and this forum are going to cease being part of this planet in perhaps the near future. It is just a matter of time and the concatenation of events. The game of Russian Roulette is being played out every day. The question of whether or not a particular person in this country gets a heart bypass or not simply does not rate a priority when measured against the immanent threat of human extinction.

If you are saying that the human ape is so me-here-now oriented, so without the inclination to think about the future and so tight fisted with their resources that they simply will not do what they need to do to assure their children and their children's children survival then you are probably right. However it does seem strange to me to devote time and argument to insist that there is nothing in our future but a one way ticket to Davy Jones Locker.


I absolutely agree with you. We are the means of our own destruction. Look at global warming: We just got the you-know-what knocked out of us in the Gulf states, but is there any hue and cry in Congress or the Executive Branch to stop global warming? Nope. They're just focused on remedying what has already happened.

Our planet can shake us off like a dog shakes off water after a bath, but we continue to devote time, money and lives to taking up arms in a country far removed from us. We still don't get it--we don't need wars to wipe each other out; nature does it just fine. We could devote our resources to preserving and improving our lives, but we don't do it. How much money will be devoted to the development of a vaccine to combat Avian (bird) flu, and how does it compare to the hundreds of billions of dollars that have been poured into Iraq?


moif
Paladin Elspeth and Dingo

Human life is cheap, especially in the eyes of those who run this planet as we've seen myriad examples of, both in the now and in the before. I think it was Josef Stalin who once made the statement that to kill one man is murder, whilst to kill a million is a statistic.

I agree with what PE said earlier, that the larger a power structure, the more dangerous it becomes since the possible consequences of the inevitable rot that will set in, are far greater. In other words, though a large country is not more likely to succumb to the temptation of misusing power than a small country, the consequences of it happening are far greater the larger the country is.

Also, larger countries are more dangerous to their smaller neighbours as China, Russia and the USA demonstrate quite well. Once a big country is involved the smaller countries lose political power over their own destiny.

If peace and harmony are ever to comfort the human race, then it will only happen as a result of power being shifted downwards, away from large power structures towards local government.

In such an event, the UN could provide a role as a forum for international agreements, but never as a global government.

The same goes for large companies which grow to dominate markets and stifle free competetion. Look at Rupert Murdoch's media empire or the near global monopoly on sugered water run by a hand full of US corporations. The fact that every soft drink in the freezer in my local corner shop is manufactured by a US company tells me that local companies cannot compete. There is no freedom.

This principle is universal. It applies just as readily to the US political system for example as it does to the soft drinks industry. The more power is accumulated at the top of the pyramid, the more difficult (impossible?) it becomes for any competition to change the status quo.

And this is what conservatism is really about. The word even means, to conserve the status quo. For as long as so many people support the existing power structures, then the world will not change and we will continue to eat our way into oblivion.


editted to clarify a point
Dingo
QUOTE
Moif. larger countries are more dangerous to their smaller neighbours as China, Russia and the USA demonstrate quite well. Once a big country is involved the smaller countries lose political power over their own destiny.

If peace and harmony are ever to comfort the human race, then it will only happen as a result of power being shifted downwards, away from large power structures towards local government.

In such an event, the UN could provide a role as a forum for international agreements, but never as a global government.


And who pray tell is going to enforce those agreements? What are the agencies that are going to arrest and try the Milosevitches of this world?

This continued description of a world government as a facsimile of a gigantic nation-state really amazes me. Talk about expanding the UN powers to perform functions that are not performable by individual states and you get terror stories about some goliath that is going to monopolize all the sugar water presumably. A WORLD GOVERNMENT IS NOTHING LIKE A NATION-STATE. It is a vehicle for all the nation states. As such it is subject to the dictates of a consensus or vast majority of those states. Let me put it another way. It has no independent agenda. It doesn't have an economic or territorial interest. It isn't in the coup business. It is a vehicle for a broad spectrum of countries. It won't have its own WMDs but it certainly can and must be useful in helping to plan and facilitate their removal.

I have no problem with power being shifted downward but there are bottom line issues that are inherently international in character and some form of infrastructure needs to be in place to deal with these issues. It seems to me manifestly unavoidable but perhaps I'm the only one on this board who sees that.

Hmmm, I'm already feeling closer to eternity. innocent.gif
carlitoswhey
QUOTE(Dingo @ Oct 19 2005, 06:36 PM)
Pretty simple. As in the case of the ICC (Sorry about my inaccurate definition) the code is presented and the various countries discuss it and create alterations and additions until it meets their satisfaction. Then they all agree to abide by it. I am sure if you got a definition of what constitutes "Crimes against humanity" it would have just as precise a legal definition as any of the other laws that we take for granted. Obviously they are talking about collective violations, not individual ones that are left to the countries. My guess is countries would choose to focus on crimes that had a spill over affect. I doubt the excesses of Sharia would be high on their agenda although they would be free to exercise noncoercive moral influence.
For guidance about noncoercive moral influence, it might be useful to see how Israel is treated by the United Nations. The vast majority of anti-Israeli condemnations, censure, etc., are voted on by a large Arab / Muslim bloc of nations and only blocked by the USA's veto vote on the Security Council. I guess this is an indication of checks & balances of world government, but it's hard to call it effective. Something like 100 censures of Israel have passed the Security Council, vs. only a handful of condemnations of Arab states, who nonetheless make war and terrorism a full-time job.

You say that "crimes against humanity" would have a clear definition, but I again ask - how can so many nations with so many cultural perspectives ever agree on this? Example - The UN has agreed on this - countries can't keep territory acquired via war. Despite this, China has annexed Tibet, Israel still has parts of the West Bank, India and Pakistan can't resolve Kashmir... How has this clear definition helped resolve these issues?

QUOTE(Dingo)
As for there being a slippery slope causing the world government to assume more and more invasive power, I just can't picture that.

Based on what evidence? Look at the EU, where French and Italian artisan cheeses are going away because of regulation adopted by a central body (Brussels) that answers effectively to NO ONE, but is nominally elected "by the member states." The European Council is two steps removed from the people, and they keep pushing an agenda that is not even sent to "the people" to approve. (Or in the case of the EU constitution the Council admits that it will keep sending it to the people until they give "the right answer" and pass it). The EU seems to me the closest functional parallel with a world government - sovereign nations but with a super-government bureaucracy overseeing regulation of those nations and thus suffocating their sovereignty.

QUOTE(Dingo)
Remember the world government is sanctioned by the individual states. That pretty much precludes this world government from accreting local power against the wishes of its members.
Please give us one example of any bureaucracy, government or otherwise, that did not seek to acquire additional power over time.
Amlord
Dingo seems to be advocating a federalist type world government, which oversees autonomous states. This is similar to how the US was set up by the Constitution.

However, as the history of the US shows us, power tends to gravitate towards those that want it. Power tries to consolidate power. The US was still essentially a federalist republic until a central crisis (in our case, the Great Depression) provided an excuse for taking power away from local governments and consolidating it on the federal level.

The same will happen with a world government, in my estimation. It may begin as a type of international law body and law enforcement which with minimal interference on the affairs of individual states. However, as other have said, without an enforcement arm, an independent enforcement arm, such a government would be powerless. Therefore they would need to have a standing enforcement mechanism (army). Eventually, there would be a conflict between the world government and a powerful individual state. Thus, the enforcement arm would need to be stronger than the strongest state army.

Frictions between a state that wants autonomy and the world government would be almost inevitable, especially if said nation feels it was given short shrift on a issue.

So not only do we still have the potential of state-to-state conflict, we add in the real possibility of state-to-overstate conflict.

Just as the US shows us, in order for this situation to have any long-term chance at success, the overall state must trump the individual states in all matters. The world government's rule must be absolute (just as it is in the US).

The problem then, becomes one of alternatives. What does a state do if it feels it is being wronged by the status quo? Can it opt out? Can it do so peacefully? I doubt it. Allowing states to opt out effectively removes the overall control I was talking about. It would also remove the moniker "world government". It would be a super-regional government, ala the EU.

No, I don't feel confident that a single world government is the way to go.
jaellon
We can take the own government of the USA as a type of what we would see if a world government were adopted, no matter how limited in power it began.

A quick read of the Constitution makes you wonder how the U.S. government got to be the behemoth that it is. In the beginning, it had very limited powers. It had the power to protect basic human rights. It had the power to mint coin and regulate interstate commerce. It united the States against real and potential aggressors. And a handful of other specifically-enumerated powers.

Now there is virtually nothing that it cannot do. In the short space of 200 years, it has become a body that has unlimited powers, so long as it can find a majority to relinquish those powers, or silver-tongued politicians and judges to wrench the Constitution to whatever meaning suits them. The States and People, more and more, are being left with whatever powers the federal government does not care to take. Clauses such as "general welfare", "interstate commerce", and "public use" have been given new meanings.

Dingo, can you tell me that a world government would be any different? Can you honestly say that its powers will not slowly and gradually increase, even over the course of 200 years, no matter how specific its Constitution begins? I am absolutely against a world government for that reason. You dismiss it as merely a slippery slope fallacy. I consider it a very real risk, even more so if we don't get the World Constitution right.

Like others have mentioned, we have other tools at our disposal for dealing with world problems, such as economic sanctions.
Mrs. Pigpen
QUOTE(Dingo @ Oct 19 2005, 07:34 PM)
QUOTE(Mrs. Pigpen @ Oct 19 2005, 05:00 PM)
Milosevic was turned over by the Serbian government (following the use of force, I might add). Pinochet was apprehended in Spain after he left office. There are serious drawbacks to arresting visiting heads of state for allegations of this type. It opens the door to arbitrary and frivolous charges, and could halt diplomatic relations and negotiations before they even begin. We have diplomatic immunity for this reason.

Milosevic was turned over due to international pressure. I think the opportunity to join the European Union was an influencing factor. International pressure influences national policy on a matter having to do with "Crimes against humanity." That is nothing but a big plus. Pinochet's arrest was a shot across the bow to future political leaders that your crimes will follow you out of office, another big plus. I don't see anything arbitrary or frivolous about an international judicial body taking evidence on crimes of serious stature by major players in the world of politics. Ending the anarchy of the lawlessness of the powerful is one important reason that this commitment to international justice is a good idea.


Milosevic (and the Serbs) never would have come to the bargaining table without the NATO intervention. The UN peacekeepers were overrun in their established safe-havens. The measures taken by NATO to bring in Milosevic could be construed as "crimes against humanity". In point of fact, Yugoslavia did issue an arrest warrant for Clinton, Madeleine Albright and Defense Secretary William Cohen, French President Jacque Chirac and Premier Lionel Jospin, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and foreign and defense ministers. Both former and present NATO secretary-generals, Javier Solana and George Robertson, and the former NATO supreme commander in Europe, Gen. Wesley Clark) for crimes against humanity. Should they have been abducted in some country that would be so willing (Greece probably would have done it at the time) and confined in the international prison system? That's what I mean by arbitrary and frivolous. Such courts would become the dumping ground for political grievances. Should we arrest and confine Putin for Chechnya, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon for actions against the Palestinians (both of which could qualify as either self-defense or crimes against humanity depending on whom you ask). The Belgium anti-attrocity law, which passed unanimously, has been amended twice because it attracted a score of lawsuits accusing world leaders of all sorts of abuses. You can't necessarily expect a world commity to come to an agreement on what one nation determines to be justifiable defense. I'd say such agreement is more the exception than the rule. A policy of kidnapping heads of state for "crimes against humanity" when they participate in actions such as Kosovo will place us closer to Armagedon than the way things stand today. I'd say it's a major stepping stone towards total annihilation. No Prime Minister or President will be able to act in best interest of its nation's defense without fearing imprisonment.

Per the economic boycott, it can be effective, true. Of course we already have this measure without a "powerful" world government. Here is a list of all the countries the UN has boycotted: Afghanistan, Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia and Eritrea, Haiti, Iraq, Liberia, Libya, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Southern Rhodesia, Sudan and the former Yugoslavia. Notice no large countries are on that list for human rights abuses, nor is North Korea for that matter. It is nearly impossible to have universal agreement on which countries to boycott with the exception of tiny countries that few nations benefit from in any way. This measure is not, and cannot via committee, be enforced equally.

QUOTE
It is curious to me that since world cooperation is so manifestly necessary if the human race is to have a future that folks would keep desperately fishing around for reasons to sabotage the idea. If you want cooperation you need an infrastructure to carry it out. Anybody got an alternative to some sort of world government?

Because I believe you are proposing a "cure" that is even worse than the disease. How about working with what we have now?
Julian
1. Is it possible to have a global governing body with real power?

Certainly it's possible. All kinds of people have imagined world governments, ranging from the utopian (as in Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek which even extends to other planets and species) to the rather more dystopian (as in Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers where the government is pretty much a fascist dictatorship held together by perpetual interplanetary war).

2. Would it be beneficial for the majority of the human race to have such a governing body?
Well, I think that this depends very much on what the nature and extent of the "real power" in question one is. Like other here, I tend to think that, unless very firm steps can be taken to scrictly limit such power, the "world government" will gradually creep in scope until pretty mcuh everything is in their remit.

The US Constitution is about the toughest in existence in limiting the powers of national government and, as other have shown, this has not stoped them from such scope creep, so any world government remit would have to be even more severely limited for it to be much use.

3. If such a government is possible, what would be the best structure for such a government? -- i.e. how many branches; if representatives are to be elected, how are they elected, per region or per ethinic group, etc..

I tend to think that we should not be thinking in terms of an international government - certainly not an executive branch.

We should have international laws, which implies a legislative branch. With some reform, particularly of the security council (which, rather than removing national vetos, would extend them to every verifiable democracy?), the UN could act as the legislature. This in turn would encourage democratisation - if national voices could not be heard without democracy, the obvious thing to do is to become more democratic. Of course, it'll never happen, as China (who currently have a veto) would have to vote themselves out of any real international power. Turkeys do not generally vote for Christmas.

We also need a judiciary, and (again, with necessary reforms), the ICC could theoretically act in this capacity.

But a reformed UN should be constituted in such a way that no executive branch can ever emerge. Without this, a global government will not be able to emerge either.
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