The Philosophy of Planetary Crisis
and Human Liberation
Glen T. Martin
Institute for Economic Democracy Publishers
Practical and Revolutionary Implications of the
Constitution for the Federation of Earth
It took hundreds of centuries for man simply to people the earth and cover it with a first network: and further thousands of years to build up, as chance circumstances allowed, solid nuclei of civilizations within this fluctuating envelope. Today, these elements have multiplied and grown; they have packed themselves closer together and forced themselves against one another – to the point where an over-all unity, of no matter what nature, has become economically and psychologically inevitable. Mankind, in coming of age, has begun to be subject to the necessity and to feel the urgency of forming one single body coextensive with itself....
Either a single nation will succeed in destroying and absorbing all the others: or all nations will come together in one common soul, that they may be more human.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
The development of technology and of the implements of war has brought about something akin to the shrinking of our planet. Economic interlinking has made the destinies of nations interdependent to a degree far greater than in previous years. The available weapons of destruction are of a kind such that no place on earth is safeguarded against sudden total destruction. The only hope for protection lies in the securing of peace in a supranational way. World government must be created which is able to solve conflicts between nations by judicial decision. This government must be based on a clear-cut constitution which is approved by the governments and the nations.
Either a single nation will succeed in destroying and absorbing all the others: or all nations will come together in one common soul, that they may be more human." These prophetic words today ring of literal truth as one nation works to militarize space in order to control the entire world from what it terms "the ultimate high ground." Advocates of world government have understood the profound thought of Einstein, Teilhard de Chardin, and others as far back as World War One when it became clear that humans had immense potential to create weapons of mass destruction and stockpile them for use in every one of their "wars to end all wars."
A number of groups and movements developed that worked toward democratic world government through much of the twentieth century. But as we saw in Chapter Nine, they were working to spread clarity of thought and action around the world in the face of an immense propaganda system dedicated to preserving the unquestioned assumptions of the nation-state system and monopoly capitalism. The world had to wait for the militarization of space, endless proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, uncontrollable global warming, environmental collapse, massive species extinction, food supply collapse, and accelerating global poverty and misery before the need to unite behind the principle of unity-in-diversity became absolutely clear. At the dawn of the twenty-first century more and more people are recognizing that "a clear cut constitution" is our only option.
1. The Struggle for Democratic World Government
In general, all of the movements for world government understand that the system of sovereign territorial nation-states is not natural, rational, or moral. However, among the several organizations working for world government, there are vast differences in orientation, strategy, and world-view. The World Federalist Movement (WFM), for example, has done much good work for the past five decades in promoting the idea of global citizenship and educating humanity about the urgent need for viable federal world government, which is in all likelihood is the only route to ending the scourge of war forever (see Harris, 1999, pp. 183-196). The limitations of this association (and the several other associations working toward world government), I believe, center around the twin poles of naivete and timidity.
It naively assumes the world will eventually listen to reason (and the reasons for democratic world government are compelling, urgent, and decisive) and eventually call a constitutional convention or reform the U.N. in the direction of democratic world government. However, in the light of our discussions in this book, it should be clear that the unimaginable power of the dominant global institutions will forever subvert these possibilities in spite of the compelling reasons given. What we need is revolutionary, transformative action directed toward a new world. Rational arguments given to members of Congress or some parliament, themselves up to their eyeballs in this twisted social and economic system, amount to little but timidity compounded by naivete.
Second, many world federalists lack a critical perspective into the institutional structures of monopoly capitalism and therefore are sanguine as to the power of reason to effect change in people’s attitudes, while they do not see the need for basic changes in the global economic system. Similarly, world federalists often do not see the ways in which the system of sovereign nations is manipulated by global capitalism in its own interests and are naive about the ability of nations (or their representatives to the U.N.) to listen to reason. The world cannot be made to evolve toward a more rational system because, we have seen, the very foundation of the institutions now controlling the world is irrational power and greed.
The only option is revolutionary change in existing institutions arising from the impoverished masses of the world and those who stand in solidarity with them. But this revolutionary change need not be limited to a country by country socialist revolution, a scenario consciously defeated and prepared for by the imperialist nations and their corporate allies. It can, however, be effected though a global mass movement for a non-military, democratic constitution for the Earth, an excellent example of which already exists and is promoted by the World Constitution and Parliament Association (WCPA) and its sister organizations, the Global Ratification and Elections Network (GREN), the Graduate School of World Problems (GSWP), and the Institute On World Problems (IOWP).
This combined effort is also known as the Earth Federation Movement (EFM). A new beginning can and must be made through the simple, basic structural change of adopting the Constitution for the Federation of Earth that limits the control of irrational power and greed and places democratic authority in all the citizens of the Earth, the only place where this authority is legitimate and rational.
The constitutions of many nations today claim that sovereignty resides with their people. They claim that people have universal human rights that are expressed in these constitutions. But the truth is that all nations are territory-based, not people-based. This notion of sovereignty residing in the people has a long history in Western thought, going all the way back to Greek and Roman times, which finally found preliminary concrete embodiment in the democratic revolutions of the eighteenth century (Hinsley, 1986). However, the ideal of the genuine sovereignty of people has never yet been fully realized, for it cannot be realized apart from the sovereignty of all the citizens of Earth.
Emery Reeves understood this principle as early as 1946. In the Anatomy of Peace he writes:
The great proclamations of universal human sovereignty and human rights from the eighteenth century to the present affirm a universal ideal but tacitly assume sovereignty is limited and territorial, not people-based. Countries worldwide are concerned to defend their "sovereign territory," not the primacy of human beings and their rights. And territory-based assumptions ignore the reality of imperialism, as well as veil the active complicity between global capital and the dominant world powers who use the territorial system for their advantage.
Citizens within various "sovereign" territories may be powerless to act on their duty to ensure that their respective governments protect their human rights, since their rights are ultimately being violated by foreign sovereign territories or multinational corporations over which they have little or no control. And if citizens’s rights are generally respected within a world imperialist center, as in the United States before the Patriot Act of 2001, what is the obligation of its citizens with respect to their country’s violation of other peoples’ rights? I have cited the facts of these violations several places in this book. As long as nations are territories that operate as sovereign, this system itself tends to deny the equality, rights, and sovereignty of all those outside their territorial boundaries.
The only viable hope for humanity is social and spiritual revolution involving the de-legitimizing of these institutions and the establishment of new institutions premised on the sovereignty of the people of the Earth, and the dignity, rights, and responsibilities of every person who lives on the Earth. We have seen in this volume that the present institutions cannot be reformed and extended since their very nature denies these principles. Most world federalists fail to grasp this insight despite their well-intentioned and energetic efforts to create a decent world within which future generations can live. The United Nations cannot even begin to deal with either of these problems, first, because it does not have the power of making law, second, because it is not democratic, and third, because it is premised on the very principle (of territorial sovereignty) that is at core of the most fundamental global problems.
At present no such thing as genuine "international law" exists, if one means by "law" the legitimate, enforceable legislation of principles of conduct to which citizens, groups, and nations must conform. The U.N. is premised in its Charter on the sovereign rights of territorially independent nation-states that, by definition in its charter, cannot be regulated under any superior law (see Harris, 1993, Ch. 5). All agreements by member states of the U.N. have only the status of "treaties" voluntarily followed and from which nation-states may withdraw at any time.
The International Court of Justice or "World Court" in the Hague does not have mandatory jurisdiction over alleged violations of international law or other disputes between nations. It can only decide cases if all parties to the dispute agree ahead of time to submit to the court’s jurisdiction, and even then the parties might refuse to abide if they do not like the outcome, as happened when the U.S. refused to pay the several billion dollars in damages assessed by the court in 1986 for its aggression against Nicaragua during the early 1980s. Further, it deals with disputes between nations only, while the real issue involves creating a court system to try individuals. Nations do not break laws, individuals do. We need a fully developed system of courts for the world if we are ever to have the rule of law on Earth.
The newly created International Criminal Court by the Assembly of States Parties (strongly opposed by the United States) represents a positive step toward the development of world law. Yet the Rome Statute of this Criminal Court is hamstrung by the system of sovereign nations. It does not have the authority (of a real court) to order arrests, to subpoena witnesses, demand information, or force individuals to stand trial for their crimes. It can only "request" these things from sovereign nations within which suspected criminals are living.
The General Assembly of the U.N., with one representative from every nation, big or small, is in no way representative of the peoples of the Earth. Not only are vast numbers of people grossly under-represented (for example, China or India with their huge populations), but the ambassadors represent only nation-states, not people, and many of the nation-states in the U.N. are undemocratic in the extreme, oppressors, not representatives of their people. In addition, the existence of the Security Council defeats even the slightest pretense to a democratic U.N. in that no resolutions, agreements, or treaties can be passed by the U.N., no matter how universally they are assented to by nearly all the nations of the world, if these are vetoed by any of the five permanent members of the Security Council.
This situation has happened repeatedly in the history of the U.N., where a large majority of the world’s nations have passed a resolution only to have it vetoed by the United States or one of the other permanent members of the Security Council. The General Assembly, for example, has repeatedly passed near-unanimous resolutions calling for an end to the U.S. economic blockade of Cuba, only to have the U.S. veto the resolutions in the Security Council. Finally, the budget of the U.N. is woefully inadequate to the global crises we face. Payment of dues is voluntary and dependent on the good will of participating nations. Payment can be withdrawn (as in the case of the U.S.) if sovereign territorial nations do not perceive the U.N. as acting sufficiently in their self-interest.
As we saw in Chapter Eleven, in the 1950s, a group of world citizens realized time was running out for the planet in the facing of the ever increasing severity of the global problems of population explosion, increasing poverty and misery, environmental degradation threatening the very ecostructure of the planet, rampant militarism, and the threat of nuclear annihilation. These visionaries and pioneers, under the leadership of Philip and Margaret Isely, Dr. Terence Amerasinghe, Dr. Reinhart Ruge, Ms. Eugenia Almand, Mr. Sarwar Alam, and others, may or may not have had the critical insight into the intractability of the present global institutions. However, they had a crucial insight into the naivete of waiting for a global constitutional convention or the futility of trying to reform the U.N. that is predicated squarely on the principles of sovereign national territories and the power of the dominant world nations to control everything done by the U.N. through their veto on the Security Council.
This group of global citizens, working with many others, collectively created the Constitution for the Federation of Earth over a period of several decades and formed the above named organizations to promote the ratification and adoption of this constitution as the basis for non-military, democratic federal world government. This constitution is a brilliant document with deep insight into the nature of democracy, the principle of the sovereignty of people, not territories, and the rights of all people to a real and visible measure of equality, freedom, dignity, and justice. This movement signals that we have "come of age," as Teilhard de Chardin asserts in the quote at the head of this chapter. Peoples all over the Earth are beginning to face the "necessity and to feel the urgency of forming one single body," one united Earth, "that they may be more human."
2. The Constitution for the Federation of Earth
The Constitution for the Federation of Earth is not socialist in the sense of government ownership of the means of production, nor does it specifically envision the practical utopia required for a fulfilled human community. In our present historical situation, however, this Earth Constitution provides the only immediately viable framework that can make a fulfilled human community even possible for future generations. It abolishes the spurious notion of territorial sovereignty and establishes the sovereignty of the people of the Earth. All actions taken by the world government are responsible to the people of the Earth. This fundamental and guiding principle effectively ends the anti-democratic notion that territorial nations can be responsible to a portion of the people of the Earth while denying or ignoring the rights and dignity of those outside their territories.
Second, it establishes the sovereignty of the people of the Earth, through their representatives in the world parliament, over the central resources of the Earth necessary to providing a decent life to all citizens of the planet and to preserving the global environment for future generations. A market economic system is accepted by the Constitution (as are some socialist principles) as part of the right of individual nations within the federation to determine their social and economic arrangements within the limits of protection for human rights and the environment.
However, the power of global monopoly capitalism to hide behind the system of sovereign territorial nations and to use its massive accumulations of private wealth and power for private gain regardless of consequences to the environment or peoples’ lives is broken by this principle of the sovereignty of all the Earth’s people. The universal human rights defined by this constitution, the power of eminent domain over key resources, ecosystems, and the oceans by the people of the Earth, and the mandatory demilitarization of all aspects of the world system, effectively break the power of sovereign nations and global corporations to destroy the Earth as they are now doing.
This process of a revolutionary change in the world-order from the limited and antiquated territorial nation-state system to global democracy itself can and must be done democratically, through popular participation, although it requires on the part of citizens a massive campaign to de-legitimize the current oppressive territorial system. The Constitution for the Federation of Earth, like all constitutions that establish a new system, has a set of clauses that are to be used only once, the clauses that provide a mechanism for democratic ratification and legitimation of the constitution. The Constitution will have three stages of implementation and ratification, granting increasing authority and democratic powers at each stage.
Each stage provides some options in the ratification process depending on whether nation-states themselves, or the independently acting citizens of the Earth, or a combination of both, satisfy the specified criteria for ratification. At present, several related organizations are working to coordinate and promote this process as we have seen. The transition to non-military democratic world government can be accomplished with a minimum of disorder. The present world condition of disorder could hardly get worse, since the current anarchic system maximizes disorder in the form of human and animal suffering and global destruction of the environment.
The first step is clearly to de-legitimize the sovereign nation-state system, transferring sovereignty to the people of the Earth where it belongs, and to retain the nation-states as political units within the democratic world government. Within this role they can protect the cultural diversity and identities of their respective peoples, promote local self-determination for their citizens, and perhaps begin to play a positive and constructive role within the world system. Once this step is accomplished, and it must be accomplished soon if the planetary ecosystem and its ability to support higher forms of life is to be salvaged, then people would be free to work toward realization of the second step: the building of institutions that make possible a free process of growth toward human ethical-spiritual maturity and the realization of a fulfilled community.
Step two would involve efforts to de-legitimize exploitative human relationships, especially those institutionalized within the capitalist system. But this step in the revolution toward a truly human world-order can be done with even less disorder than the first step of ending the rule of the parts and initiating the rule of the whole (the sovereignty of the people of Earth). For within the framework of a constitution that asserts the rights of every citizen of Earth to a life of dignity and to economic-social-political conditions that make possible a life of education, creativity, and free self-fulfillment, the stage is set for creating economic institutions that actually allow the emergence of a fulfilled human community.
While our very survival depends on the first step, the possibility of a fully human world-order depends on the second. The democratic world government promoted by the World Constitution and Parliament Association under the Constitution for the Federation of Earth is something that should be advocated and actively supported by democratic socialists as well as by all people of compassion and good will. It is essential to viable revolutionary praxis in our historical moment at the dawn of the twenty-first century, and is essential to the very survival of the planetary ecostructure and its ability to sustain higher forms of life. There are many good reasons to support such a democratic world government, some of them independent of socialist values.
These reasons for supporting democratic world government can be divided into four broad categories. First, the multifaceted global crisis we are facing in the early twenty-first century is utterly beyond the capability of any individual nation, socialist or not, to handle. Such vast problems such as destruction of the oceans and fisheries, ozone depletion, global warming, world deforestation, widespread destruction of agricultural lands, diminishing fresh water supplies, rapidly growing desertification, population explosion, world militarism, world repression of freedom and human rights, lack of clean water and sanitation for the majority, and world-wide poverty and starvation can only be dealt with on a global level with democratic planetary forms of enforceable legislation.
Second, the notions of the sovereignty and human rights at the heart of democratic theory (whether bourgeois or socialist) point, as we have seen, beyond the idea of limited national sovereignties to the sovereignty of the people of the Earth and universal principles applicable to all. Third, I am arguing that the proposed democratic constitution would promote a transition to world democratic socialism (the only option for a truly just and compassionate world) far more effectively than revolutionary changes within individual nation-states could do. Finally, only democratic world government can make possible the ascent to planetary maturity.
The words of the greatest scientific genius of the twentieth century apply directly to our situation at the dawn of the twenty-first century and to the Earth Constitution. In Chapter Two we saw Einstein expressing the cosmic consciousness of planetary maturity. No other option exists today. The so-called "political right wing" offers us no option beyond more of the same nightmare. The so-called "political left" offers no clear vision of the future, only endless resistance to everything the right stands for. In the epigram at the head of this chapter, Einstein writes, "world government must be created which is able to solve conflicts between nations by judicial decision. This government must be based on a clear-cut constitution which is approved by the governments and the nations." We know the solution (the rule of law and judicial decision) and we have this clear cut constitution. It is time for all those who embody some degree of compassion, critical theory, or nonviolence to act for a decent world order.
3. Socialist Values and the Earth Constitution
Socialists within most sovereign nation-states today, especially those of the first world, most often find themselves working not for a revolutionary transformation of the economic-social-political system (since this is not even remotely a viable immediate option) but for organizing, educating, and implementing progressive resistance in defense of the oppressed, whether this be human beings or the environment. They work for labor rights, progressive taxation, defense of civil liberties, war resistance, campaign reform, universal health care rights, environmental legislation, defense of the poor and homeless, prison reform, abolition of nuclear weapons, and so on.
The battle is Quixotic because such legislation, reform, or protest will in no way endanger the global system that produces these very injustices and oppressions. Socialists struggle defensively within the framework of unjust class society without much immediate hope of creating a class-free society. The more success progressives have in reforming this system to protect labor, the poor, or the environment, the more the system is legitimized in the eyes of the population as being "not so bad." We have a catch-twenty-two situation. The capitalist system has overwhelming power in its hands, including the power of the state that it largely controls. As Jürgen Habermas points out, entitlement legislation, such as welfare for the poor, social services, or environmental legislation, serves the greatest need of the system at this juncture in history, which is "legitimation" in the eyes of the population (Habermas, 1975, Ch. 6).
In the face of this apparently hopeless situation, it can only be of benefit to socialists to examine the possibility of an alternative route to labor rights, protection of liberty, the ending of war, universal health care, protection of the environment, and the ending of poverty. A much more viable option for creating a class-free society would be to first legitimate a federal world government that is constitutionally mandated not only to protect labor rights, liberty, and the environment but to create universal health care, education, and social security.
From this set of constitutional mandates, socialists could for the first time begin to effectively work for genuine worldwide democratic socialism. If their progressive energy were transferred at least in part from defensive local struggles, which are not likely in the long run to overturn the system itself, to the creation of a progressive democratic world government, they might well enlist as their allies the disenfranchised peoples of the world who are tangential to the capitalist system and facing starvation and/or oppression in their local situations.
With the collapse of so-called "actually existing socialism" as a real alternative to the nightmare of monopoly capitalism, the left has floundered without a vision and without being able to articulate a genuine alternative. They have ignored the one real option available to the world that is more easily created than endless "resistance" that in the end changes little as it is repressed, disappeared, bombed, or jailed by the ever-expanding world "security" apparatus. Nearly all the values the left claims to cherish are embodied in the Earth Constitution. Without challenging fundamental assumptions, resistance within the Neanderthal framework of the present world-order of monopoly capitalism and territorial nation-states is utterly self-defeating. The institutions themselves prevent progressive change, no matter how many noble minded individuals die in Colombian torture chambers or languish in United States federal prisons or perish in the Pentagon’s Iraqi concentration camps.
The overwhelming majority of human beings, the disenfranchised of the world, have nothing to lose and everything to gain from democratic world government where their rights are constitutionally recognized. Such a constitutional federal system would level the playing field tremendously and provide them with constitutional grounds to pursue their rights to a life of dignity, freedom, and opportunity. A federal world government under the World Constitution would not provide a panacea or magical solution to the problem of exploitative institutional relationships, but it would make success possible (whereas success in the present situation hardly appears possible) through the ability to use the World Courts, the World Ombudsmus, the World Parliament, the World Executive branch, and the World District Attorneys in the struggle for the protection and progressive implementation of a just, socialist world order.
Article I of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth lists the six most basic primary functions of the Federation. Let us examine them in turn. (1) "To prevent war, secure disarmament, and resolve territorial and other disputes which endanger peace and human rights." No longer could the "cycle of violence" exist where rebellions because of the structural violence of extreme poverty meet with repression from third-world governments financed and supported by first-world governments or with "interventions" by first world military to prevent progressive social change from occurring. Nation-states, like the federal government, would be disarmed by law, and the process of changing the structural violence of poverty would be open to non-violent methods of conflict resolution such as the courts, demonstrations, social organizing, creative economic policies, and so on.
(2) The second primary function of the federation will be "To protect universal human rights, including life, liberty, security, democracy, and equal opportunities in life." Again, the very foundations of the world federal government would allow the progressive transformation of institutionalized violence and exploitation, protecting the "security" of those who militate for change, and allowing them to legally base their claim for just economic and social institutions on the right to "equal opportunities in life" (an idea that is a bold-faced lie under the capitalist system).
(3) "To obtain for all people on Earth the conditions required for equitable economic and social development and for diminishing social differences." The constitution specifies its affirmation of cultural diversity and local autonomy in other places (for example, Article XIII-16), but here we see concern to diminish the "social differences" of the present system of wealth and power versus the poor and exploited. The mandate of the world government, stated repeatedly in the Constitution, is "equal opportunity for useful employment for everyone, with wages or remuneration sufficient to assure human dignity" (Article XIII-1), in other words, to end the extremes of poverty and wealth worldwide as we know them.
The remaining three "broad functions" of the Federation would again work in favor of the socialist struggle for a fully realized human community: (4) "To regulate world trade," (5) "To protect the environment and the ecological fabric of life from all damage," (6) "To devise and implement solutions to all problems which are beyond the capability of national governments, or which are now or may become of global or international concern or consequence." World trade would no longer easily interfere with the rights of every person to a life of dignity with a home, security, health care, and opportunity (Article XIII, numbers 4-7 and 11-13). The exploitation of the poor by multinational corporations would be brought to a rapid end with the regulation of world trade, and the destruction of the global environment though multinational exploitation of resources would be quickly ended (and can only be quickly ended) through the power of the Earth Federation.
For the first time, a consistent set of worldwide laws regarding the environment, enforced by the world police armed only with weapons sufficient to apprehend individuals, could be enacted.("World Police shall be armed only with weapons appropriate for the apprehension of individuals responsible for the violation of world law" (Article 10-C-5).) No longer would the poor nations have to sacrifice their environmental standards to attract rapacious corporations to their resources. International debt will be assumed by the Federation and rapidly paid off (see Chapter Thirteen), and a government concerned with global prosperity within the framework of environmental sustainability would be initiated for the first time in history.
These articles also give the world government the means to raise capital to be used for the global common good through taxes, fees, and other ways of generating federal income. The present system of capitalism unregulated by enforceable world laws cannot create investment capital capable of promoting the common good, whether within nations or globally, with any effectiveness. For competition (which is directed to private advantage) will always force private investment capital in the direction of a high enough rate of return to (1) stay in business and (2) make a profit for the private benefit of the wealthy investors. The pressure of the market also mandates (3) continual growth, for as technology and competitors evolve and the rate of return drops, without a continual eye to growth businesses will tend to fail.
Sustainable development is not likely under this system, for the incentive is to neglect, for example, the impact of production on the environment or communities in order to maximize growth and protect the rate of profit (Daly, 1996). World government, on the other hand, will be free of this irrational and destructive pressure now compromising corporations and territorial nation-states. It will be able to invest directly in the common good (the good that makes possible the survival and flourishing of all the parts of the whole) (Martin, 2003).
On the planetary level, the "common good" has taken on a deeper meaning than within nation-states where it rarely has the seriousness of survival itself. Many global problems, including global wealth and poverty, global militarism and lawlessness, and global environmental preservation, are "beyond the capacity of national governments" to address. The World Constitution provides the only viable hope for humanity to move in the direction of non-military democratic world of justice and peace.
Study of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth shows the proposed democratic world government would specifically possess or actively work for many features we associate with socialism (or with any decent, equitable society). Article IV, number 12, and article XIII, numbers 4, 5, 6, and 11, give it the goal and authority to provide free and adequate education, health care, housing, food, water, and social security to everyone on the planet. Individual nations, no matter what their economic system, would be required to tax the rich and/or legally appropriate enough of their resources to provide, probably with the help of the global federal government, adequate education, health care, housing, food, water, and social security to all their citizens. Profits will no longer be funneled to off-shore bank accounts to avoid the taxes that contribute to the common good.
By law, no longer could nations exist (as in most of today’s world) where five or ten percent of the population controls ninety percent of the land, wealth, and power. In all likelihood, the educational systems of most nations would encourage study of the World Constitution and the assimilation of its values of universal equality and dignity. People would study the supreme law of the world as they now study the constitutions of their respective territorial nation-states, and this could in turn contribute to the successful implementation of a more just and equitable world order, one more and more beginning to take on democratic socialist features.
Article IV, number 14, of the Constitution gives the world federal government the power to regulate all transnational corporations, finances, and industry. Just as territorial nation-states now have the legal power to regulate corporations, finances, and industry, so would the world government. But currently transnational corporations hold their governments hostage with the threat to move their resources and productive facilities to other nations if they are not given favorable tax breaks or environmental liberties. In addition, given the inadequate forms of democracy in territorial nations, large corporations at present buy, control, and manipulate politicians and other people with the authority to regulate them.
Under democratic world government, their ability to use these tactics would be seriously limited. The Earth Constitution is designed with multifaceted checks, balances, and institutional mechanisms to deter the corruption of those in power and ensure the realization of the common good. Even private corporations, finance, and industry would be required to be more responsible to the public domain and less secret and totalitarian in their operations and methods. Individuals would regain their right to privacy (today destroyed in the so-called war on terrorism). Corporations would have to assume public accountability.
Article IV, numbers 23, 27, 28, and 30, effectively mundialize the Earth’s oceans and sea beds, all transnational power systems, all essential natural resources, and all fossil fuel production in the world. These actions are necessary if the constitutional goal of a decent life for all planetary citizens is ever to be realized, along with the constitutional goal of preserving the planetary environment. The ecological and human harm done by the big oil corporations during the twentieth century defies imagination, including the extensive destruction of rain forests, ecosystems, and the lives of people living in these regions, including substantial complicity with murderers and torturers in places such as Brazil, Indonesia, or Nigeria.
In addition, the burning of fossil fuel promoted by these corporations has been a major cause of global warming and the on-going collapse of the planetary ecosystem. It is absolutely essential to take these domains out of secretive private hands and place them in hands democratically responsible for the people of the Earth and future generations. These measures are therefore significant and necessary features of democracy and good world government. But they also point in the direction of socialism insofar as this is understood as a system in which essential resources and production are placed under democratic control for the common good.
4. Bureaucracy and the Common Good
Would these functions of world government require the development of a large federal bureaucracy that would entangle petitioners in an interminable bureaucratic labyrinth? Bureaucracy, yes, interminable labyrinth, not likely. Go to the web site of any state government within the United States and examine the number of agencies necessary to the functioning of complex society even at this level. In this regard the proposed constitution deserves careful study, for it outlines in detail much of the structure of the world federal bureaucracy.
The bureaucracy is not hinted at or covered up, but is there for us to see. There would necessarily be a federal bureaucracy. The world is a large and very complex place. However, there would be significant differences from, for example, the U.S. federal bureaucracy that has proved to be a nightmare for the poor and powerless (while the rich negotiate it fairly easily through their corporate lawyers and other connections). When government actually represents the people, bureaucracy will function to their benefit.
First, if there are going to be fair global elections using fair campaign practices and proportionate representation, there must be a federal system to allow democracy to function at the global level. Second, no doubt exists any longer that our world is one ecosystem and its maintenance necessarily requires many qualified people in an executive branch who can monitor atmosphere, oceans, fisheries, forests, rain cycles, natural resources, arable land, erosion patterns, pollution trends, quality of water, air, sanitation, spread of disease, population trends, transportation, trade, human rights protection, and so on. For our planet must be coordinated to maintain sustainability, ecological balance, and social justice.
If the population of the Earth returns to three or four billion, the limit currently sustainable, this number of people necessarily has a tremendous impact on the environment beyond what can be monitored and assessed locally (Cohen, 1996). And if there is to be international trade, more equitable distribution of key world resources, sufficient non-destructive power systems of sun, wind, water, and magnetic fields, or the monitoring of Earth’s population with well-constructed incentives for its control, an executive bureaucracy will be necessary. There is no reason why it cannot be efficient and economical.
Third, there will continue to be disputes between cultures, individuals, groups, or corporations at the international level. Human beings are far from perfect and will have many conflicts among themselves. A federal judiciary and their support persons will be necessary. The Constitution mandates eight benches of the Supreme Court for human rights, criminal cases, civil cases, constitutional cases, international conflicts, and so on. Fourth, if there are going to be violations of world human rights, environmental or other world laws, there will need to be world attorneys general, police, and their support persons.
Finally, if there is going to be careful monitoring of human rights implementation and protection worldwide, including remedies addressing any violations by the police or federal bureaucracy itself, there will have to be a world ombudsmus and staff of qualified support persons. I have just described the four independent branches of the federal government provided by the Constitution plus the mechanism necessary for the World Parliament to function. The Earth has become a tiny place, a planetary spaceship, and no matter how insulated a culture may wish to be, there is no more any possibility of independence from the whole.
Yet the principles behind this federal bureaucracy would be different. First, the Constitution makes ample provision for removing corrupt or incompetent people from office, while protecting their rights. Second, the premise of the bureaucracy would be the authority delegated by the Parliament (representatives of the peoples and nations of the Earth), and the mandate would be to serve the people faithfully through the spirit and letter of the World Constitution. Unlike national bureaucracies (which are controlled by wealth and power and to which the poor or middle classes are often helpless petitioners who are often insulted and degraded by the red tape and attitude of the bureaucrats) the federal world government would be instituted on entirely different premises. Third, the executive branch of world government (like the other independent branches) would be directly responsible to Parliament and would not have nearly the power (and corresponding arrogance) that, for example, the executive branch of the United States government has presently.
Finally, one independent branch of world government would be the "World Ombudsmus," functioning as a watchdog and advocate for the peoples of the Earth with respect to the protection or neglect of human rights and to "promote the welfare" of all peoples "by seeking to assure conditions of social justice and of minimizing disparities are achieved in the implementation and administration of world legislation and world law" (Article XI-4). This organization would have the power to initiate legal action in defense of individuals or groups and is mandated "to protect the People of Earth and all individuals against violations of this World Constitution by any official or agency of the World Government, including elected and appointed officials or public employees regardless or organ, department, office, agency, or rank" (XI-2). Of the eleven separate powers and functions listed for the World Ombudsmus, one is directly concerned with bureaucracy: "To ascertain that the administration of otherwise proper laws, ordinances and procedures of the World Government do not result in unforeseen injustices or inequities, or become stultified in bureaucracy or details of administration" (XI-6).
Bureaucracy is necessary at this stage of history since the planet is too small, too fragile, and too complex not to require a single legal system and a system of careful monitoring of environmental and social factors, as well as trained professionals in the various agencies of government whose specializations include concern for the good of the whole. The World Constitution does everything possible to see that this works to peoples’ benefit and does not become a hindrance to the freedom, peace, and justice that are among its fundamental principles.
None of these features of the world bureaucracy need become entangled in prolonged paper trails or endless levels of rote approval-seeking, or hopeless confusion concerning information and details. The information technology revolution of the last several decades has given human beings the tools to eliminate all these features of former bureaucracies, whether on the model of the oppressive U.S. welfare system or bureaucratic decision-making in the former Soviet Union.
Supercomputers that can process a trillion or more bits of information per second can be interfaced with PCs and other computers at every level of the world government and of society itself, making a truly democratic and responsive government (as well as effective socialist economic management) possible for the first time in history (see Pollack, 1997). An effective federal bureaucracy using the immense information processing capabilities of today’s computers (currently used by the rich to become more rich and by governments to create military machines to destroy yet more people) will be able to monitor very complex environmental and social factors, be responsive to human and environmental needs worldwide, and create effective, fair, and speedy electoral procedures for the global population.
The Constitution for the Federation of Earth institutionalizes neither capitalism nor socialism, although we saw that its protection for basic human economic rights requires it to go a long way in the direction of socialism. Article XIV, number 2, gives each nation the right to determine its own internal economic and social system consistent with human rights and dignity. The federal world government could not interfere with nations wishing to go even farther in the direction of socialism in their internal affairs. Here is the place for the internal struggle within nations for true democratic socialism: under conditions of democratic dialogue and debate, with guaranteed rights of assembly, protest, and petition, not in the guerilla battlefield or in a war of propaganda slogans.
Some nations could be shining examples to the others in the extent to which they had realized a truly compassionate and fulfilled human community. Once the principles of democratic participation, freedom, and human rights have been established through the World Constitution, it would remain for revolutionaries to demonstrate socialism as inseparable from true democracy. For these reasons, adoption of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth is as practical as it is revolutionary.
Habermas, like Marx, argues that the universal cannot be separated from the particular in terms of metaphysical theory or social-political application. Concrete persons, for Habermas, whose identities have been formed through specific cultural traditions and communities, have the moral right to demand an equality not negating those very traditions and differences that have participated in the formation of their identities. Equality must be equality of particular persons whose individuality is nurtured through specific influences and who engage in discourse in the political arena precisely from the perspective of this situatedness. As Habermas puts it, "we ascribe to the bearers of individual rights an identity that is conceived intersubjectively.... A correctly understood theory of rights requires a politics of recognition that protects the integrity of the individual in the life contexts in which his or her identity is formed" (1994, p. 113).
Habermas suggests true legitimacy in any social order can only rest on authentic democracy, on the autonomy of its citizens who feel the legislation enacted in their name is self-generated legislation (see also Coicaud, 2002). I have shown that under the present system of sovereign nations such democratic autonomy is impossible in at least two fundamental ways. First, the separation of the political sphere of citizenship from the civil sphere of accumulated private property and other massive social and political forces necessarily makes much legislation result from the influence of these non-democratic forces and not the enactment of a discursively formed collective will among equal citizen participants. As Antonio Gramsci pointed out, the cultural hegemony of the capitalist class generates a self-legitimating ideology ensuring that legislation will protect the interests of this class (Forgacs, 2000).
Second, the fact of other nation-states in a so-called "world order" existing outside of all democratic and procedural frameworks for the possibility of democratic decision making confronts citizens within each nation with pressing factors beyond any possible democratic control: international economic rivalry, massive poverty and injustice, military threats and arms-trading, the global destruction of the environment, the need for a national security state independent of citizen scrutiny, economic exploitation of the poorest nations by the rich, and so on. In neither case within the present world order can the democratic-socialist value of the fullness of life of a person within a community be realized. On both these grounds, the current system of sovereign nation-states is illegitimate.
The federal bureaucracy outlined by the Constitution for the Federation of Earth is designed to implement the equality, freedom, and prosperity for the entire planet and to end the present system of exploitation and domination of nation by nation and class by class. It is designed for accountability on the part of government officials and with carefully thought-out checks and balances among government agencies. Without such a bureaucracy the domination of larger nation-states and/or the domination of the rich cannot be prevented. Insofar as the Constitution has socialist features, it is designed to protect equality, freedom, and the common good. Without a carefully designed federal bureaucracy, such a goal would be unrealizable.
5. Sovereignty of the People of Earth
One might almost say that the most fundamental issue is not that of capitalism versus socialism but the question as to who is to be sovereign. Are we to have democracy that treats every person as an end-in-herself within community, or are we to have some form of illegitimate power determination for our lives, the empty form of democracy without authentic content? The government of Cuba, despite its democratic socialist ideals, attributes its restrictions on freedom of speech to self-defense against the imperialist designs of the United States. Above we saw Emery Reeves underline this dilemma. One cannot create democracy and liberty premised on the sovereignty of the people at the same time that sovereignty is based on a multiplicity of territorial nation-states.
Only the true sovereignty of the whole can affirm the particularity of each one of us instead of leaving us prey to a chaos of forces that dehumanize, manipulate, and devalue our humanity. And no territorial nation-state can truly represent the whole and take its constitutional stand on the right to live and flourish for every human being. The only legitimate sovereignty is that of the whole of humankind, and only such an affirmation of wholeness can fully affirm the freedom and individuality within community of each person. For this reason, the affirmation of wholeness in the World Constitution is the crucial factor in the transition to a world-order where the capitalist division between private self-interest and our common humanity is overcome.
The affirmation of the human community as sovereign makes possible creating a world in which every individual on the planet has sufficiency of goods, dignity, security, health-care, and education. This represents a key paradigm-shift, the internal logic of which will lead to a future worldwide democratic socialism in which the community affirms the individual and the individual, in turn, enriches and supports the community. The principle of unity-in-diversity affirms the sovereign community (the whole of humankind) and the dignity and freedom of every individual. In Chapter Seven, I quoted Mortimer Adler’s crucial insight: "‘All’ – when what is meant is all without exception – is the most radical and, perhaps, also the most revolutionary term in the lexicon of political thought" (1991, p. 90). For the first time in human history, the Earth Constitution applies the values of democracy, human rights, and freedom to all.
The fact that the proposed World Constitution explicitly affirms the principle of unity-in-diversity in relation to the sovereignty of humanity shows, I believe, that it was written with an awareness of the principles I have attempted to articulate in this chapter. It mandates "the Earth’s total resources shall be used equitably for human welfare," thereby institutionalizing a goal for world government that must inevitably lead to a transformed world-order. "Unity-in-diversity" implies nothing less. Contemporary Japanese philosopher Masao Abe affirms similar principles with his call to recognize the sovereignty of humankind. He writes, "a human community which has overcome...the existence of the nation-state...serves mankind by transcending distinctions between races and between people" (1985, p. 256).
Yet by the very token of overcoming these distinctions among people in the awareness of the unity of humankind, Abe is able to continue with the assertion that "sovereignty which is established therein, takes self-negation as a basic principle and encompasses all races and all peoples in their respective particularity." Sameness and difference, wholeness and particularity, coextensively arise as the roots of authentic sovereignty. The Preamble to the Constitution for the Federation of Earth, quoted above, specifies "the principle of unity-in-diversity is the basis for a new age," and so on. In the light of this chapter, we see this "new age" is not merely a pious ideal, but a genuine possibility embodied in this Constitution. This genuine possibility is premised on a clear seeing of the human situation.
A Paradigm Shift to Universal Peace,
Freedom, and Prosperity
Saint Paul spoke of "madness" (1 Cor. 1:18-2:16): that which is absurd for the prevailing morality. For the dominant, present rationality, which dictates the true and the false (as does Karl Popper in the Open Society and Its Enemies), the construction of the new Jerusalem is the absolute evil (because it calls in question the current system in its totality).... The poor set out on their journey. They pass beyond Egypt’s frontier, they transcend the horizon of the system, they cross the barrier of death. Now there is nothing to follow, no one to heed, but the Lord. They have now embarked on the nothing-of-the-system, the non-being of the prevailing morality. They are on the road to the "wilderness"....
Praxis, as an action and a relationship of the members of the community, of a people that has transcended the morality of sin (as Nicaragua, after its 1979 revolution, became a "new land" – an earthly one, it is true, but nevertheless a historical "new land"), is utopian, meaningless, absurd, mad, subversive, destructive, dangerous, for the system left behind, left in the past: "But they cried out the more: Crucify him!" (Matt. 27:23).... The practices of the liberators, those complying with ethical demands, have no meaning for the system.... The Israelites, however, who have moved out into the wilderness, know that God is with them.
The vision of "what should be" – independent though it may sometimes appear of personal will – is yet inseparable from a critical and fundamental relationship to the existing condition of humanity. All suffering under a social order prepares the soul for vision and what the soul receives in this vision strengthens and deepens its insight into the perversity of what is perverted.
3. Immediate Economic Prosperity under the Earth Constitution
The Constitution, as a framework predicated on the common good, making possible the growth of human beings toward planetary maturity, must provide for a transitional economics directed toward universal peace and prosperity. The central principle of the transitional economics will be to begin the process of restoring and protecting the global commons in land, technology, money creation, and information (Smith, 2003a). The economics of absolute property rights that now dominates the world through monopolies on land, technology, money creation, and information will be transformed over time to an economics of conditional property rights (derived, among others, from the principles of American economist Henry George (1946)) in which the common good and prosperity of the diverse peoples of the Earth will be ensured. The first steps in this process (the initial economics of the Earth Federation) will involve only a few, simple, common-sense changes in current economic practices.
At the founding ratification convention, it will be necessary for perhaps twenty-five nations to simultaneously ratify the Constitution and initiate federal world government immediately among themselves. For under the current global system of domination, any individual nation making a break for freedom by ratifying the Constitution would almost certainly be economically punished by the powers now managing the system (see Isely, 2000). One or two nations attempting to begin the Earth Federation would experience the devaluation of their currencies, withdrawal of investments, foreclosure of loans, economic sanctions, or blockades. As with Cuba, which attempted to make a break for freedom in 1959, economic penalties would be implemented ensuring the enterprise was largely unsuccessful.
However, twenty-five nations ratifying the Constitution together at a founding ratification convention will have among themselves sufficient resources, capacity for trade among themselves, productive strength, collective prestige, and capability to publicize the significance of their actions to the world at large to make them together fairly independent of the current world system of control and domination. Almost certainly they will achieve an immediate economic prosperity unimagined by the majority of the world’s poor nations. They will have the poor nations of the world knocking at the door to join the Federation. Naturally, the Earth Federation is for all nations and none willing to ratify and submit to the Constitution of the Federation of Earth would be excluded. Poor nations under the current world order have nothing to lose and everything to gain by joining the Earth Federation.
The first twenty-five or so nations who join together to simultaneously ratify the Earth Constitution will immediately achieve prosperity and an economic well-being undreamed of under the nation-state-monopoly-capitalist systems of the past five centuries. Achieving prosperity is not the difficult part, as we will see in this section. The difficult part is overcoming the economic myths and lies ingrained in the minds of the world’s citizens for centuries. These myths and lies are the core of the propaganda spewed forth by the dominant super-wealthy class controlling the world-order: from the World Bank, IMF, and WTO, the multinational corporations, the corporate owned mass media, the first-world imperialist governments, the CIA, and other national propaganda machines (see Smith, 2003b, ch. 3).
The new federated world government created at a founding ratification convention by an initial twenty-five or so nations will immediately act to make these nations economically autonomous from the present global system of domination and exploitation. Among themselves they will possess the technology, the resources, and the labor power to create healthy local and regional markets very rapidly through the assistance and guidance of the federal government. (Cuba’s wonderful progress toward food independence and food security over the past few years should be carefully studied in this regard (Koont, 2004).) Multinational corporations operating within the new federation can cooperate in the drive toward universal prosperity or they can risk being mundialized by the Federation or nationalized by the nations within the federation.
The federal government will immediately supply substantial lines of credit to all peaceful enterprises and all governments within the Federation to activate the available technology, resources, and labor power. Through the inflow of substantial credit, the economic multiplier factor at the heart of every healthy economy will rapidly create a substantial prosperity impossible under the development model now controlled by the world’s wealthy classes through the World Bank, the IMF, and other institutions. From the wealth created by activation of regional and local economies, the principal borrowed through these lines of credit will be repaid along with only a small administrative fee. Exploitative interest on loans leading to massive international debt will be immediately abolished (Isely, 2000).
One role the federal government must assume in this process of rapid economic development is to ensure the process does not further destroy the local and global environments. The government must facilitate the progress of rapid economic development while carefully monitoring and regulating the process to ensure the costs of production are not externalized into hidden social costs for the environment, society, and future generations (Daly and Cobb, 1994). The Constitution for the Federation of Earth is carefully designed to play both roles. It is the vehicle for a truly transformative praxis with regard to development and sustainability.
The Earth Federation will assume the former international debt of its member nations and begin payment on this debt at reasonable rates of return. Seeing the rapidly-developing prosperity of the new Earth Federation, other nations (of the world’s poor majority) will rapidly join until the Federation comprises the overwhelming majority of nations and people. People within the former imperialist nations will soon recognize the liberated nature of the federated nations. The propaganda machine owned by the wealthy in the imperialist nations will not be able to hide the healthy, non-militarized enterprises, protection for universal human rights, and new spirit of global peace and community within the Federation. Citizens of these nations will also soon clamor to become part of the Federation. Lastly, the governments of these first-world nations, which represent the tiny minority of human beings who profit from global exploitation, will be forced to take their place within the democratic Federation of Earth.
Neither corporations nor individuals will lose their accumulated private wealth. The economics of the initial Earth Federation is not about mandating equality of wealth, but about creating prosperity for all. The rich will retain their personal wealth (which may suffice them and their children for generations to come). The rich will lose only the means of continuing their exploitation into the future. The system of exploitation itself will be rapidly transformed to the point where the power of those who own but do not work to exploit those who work but do not own will be brought to an end.
The World Parliament of the Earth Federation will take a few practical steps to foster global liberty, equality, and fraternity in the economic sphere. In doing this, as discussed in Chapter Seven, it will be making possible not only universal human prosperity but also the emergence of greater human maturity. These practical steps do not change the present economic system in any radical way. (Eventually, an emergent human maturity may almost certainly evolve substantially new economic forms.) These steps use the authority of government to universalize the opportunities for development and to break what economist J.W. Smith calls the "subtle-monopolies" of domination masquerading under the ideology of "global free trade" (2003a). In taking these steps, however, the Earth Parliament will be using self-conscious social foresight. It will be taking the first steps away from the repressed self-consciousness of monopoly capitalism.
There are at least six simple economic principles that must be adopted by the Federation to rapidly create universal prosperity. As we will see, these six principles oppose six mythologies (sets of lies) perpetuated by the wealthy nations and financial institutions in today’s world. I will list these principles here, then discuss each of them below. (1) Create vast lines of credit available for development on the basis of people’s ability to work and produce goods and services. (2) Eliminate the bizarre legal fiction of corporations having the rights of persons, and restore to democratic government the power to regulate them for the common good. (3) Eliminate the absolute right of corporations over so-called "intellectual property," so technology and productive techniques can spread rapidly throughout the world.
(4) Eliminate the corporate monopoly on media (radio, television, news publications, and so on), thereby effectively ending the propaganda system controlled by the wealthy. This will make many of the airwaves available for public health and development education. This will also activate real democratic dialogue and debate within the Earth Federation. (5) Write into law the principle of equal pay for equally productive work for all people. This will immediately end much of corporate domination over governments and regions while providing workers with the cash to buy goods and services. (6) Break the present global monopoly over land and resources through restoring a multiplicity of local land-owners and converting land ownership rights to conditional rather than absolute rights. All of these steps together will activate the "multiplier factor" at the heart of any prosperous economy.
The orgy of greed and destruction convulsing the world since the last half of the twentieth century can only come to an end through the advent of a democratic world government acting on these or similar principles. Under the nation-state system, we saw, the tiny elites controlling wealth and finance through their agents in the World Bank and elsewhere act to enrich themselves and the already wealthy elites in the countries whose resources and export economic potential is targeted. Catherine Caufield, in Masters of Illusion: The World Bank and the Poverty of Nations, describes the result of this system:
Only federal world government, representing, for the first time in history, all the world’s citizens, could possibly have the authority to end this system now controlling individual governments, the mass media, and the world’s gigantic financial institutions. Bruce Rich, in Mortgaging the Earth. The World Bank, Environmental Impoverishment, and the Crisis of Development, describes the environmental consequences of the global system of greed and exploitation centered on "development" as engineered by the World Bank and the IMF:
A world of unmitigated and unregulated diversity without any true political, social, or economic unity is a world in the process of self-destruction. Only the power of federal government under a quality document empowering the Earth’s people (such as the Constitution for the Federation of Earth) can turn around the disastrous course the wealthy and powerful have chosen for our planet. The Provisional World Parliament and other organizations working on behalf of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth have worked out a clear, common sense economics based on human realities instead of lies designed to accumulate further wealth for the already powerful. The principles of this economics are described below. The first of these global economic myths that must be overcome is underlined by Michel Chossudovsky in The Globalization of Poverty: Impacts of IMF and World Bank Reforms:
The central myth is the grand lie of money and loan-creation.On this lie the entire system of global economic domination and exploitation is predicated. This lie is exposed in Immediate Economic Benefits of World Government (2000) by Philip Isely and in Economic Democracy: The Political Struggle of the Twenty-first Century (2003a) by J. W. Smith. The lie states that only governments or banks with wealth can create or print money, and only financial institutions with wealth can lend money. The lie asserts that accumulated capital is necessary for creating or lending money.
Under this system, when poor governments try to print money to activate their economies, their money is devalued by world financial institutions until practically worthless. In Ghana, in the summer of 2002, my colleagues and I had to fill plastic shopping bags with bundles of paper money at the bank to pay our modest hotel bill because the national money of that country was so worthless. Simultaneously, these poor governments are offered loans in convertible first-world currencies from already wealthy financial institutions with interest rates making a profit on the loan for the wealthy lenders. Those who have stolen the world’s wealth for five centuries, now use the wealth they stole from the world’s poor to increase their own wealth by offering to lend what they have stolen back to their third world victims.
All genuine wealth is created through a productive combination of capital, labor, and natural resources (Smith, 2003a). Wealth is created from resources through human productivity. A government does not need preexisting funds to create money or lines of credit. It can create these (for loans as capital investment) on the basis of the ability of people to use this credit, along with labor and natural resources, to produce goods and services. These loans can be repaid to the government from the wealth produced at a nominal additional cost for the administration of the loan. The Earth Federation does not have to bow to the Lords of the Earth to achieve rapid prosperity. All that is required is the political will of the initial group of ratifying nations.
The world federal government will also necessarily be a major employer itself as it activates agencies for fundamental economic conversion to sustainable energy uses, for reforestation of our denuded planet, reclamation of degraded agricultural land, restoration of fisheries, development of sustainable technologies, development of energy sources, transportation systems, and for the systematic demilitarization of the nations within the Federation. There is no danger of loss of employment for the many now engaged in military-related production and deployment.
The number of jobs required to restore our planet to ecological, social, productive, and cultural health will be immense. Large numbers of scientists (now engaged in the horrific work of designing ever more effective machines of death and destruction) will be required for developing sustainable engineering designs for housing, industry, transportation, sustainable sources of energy, and the restoration of integrity to our planetary environment. The "brain drain" will be reversed, as scientists from non-federation countries flee their nightmarish war-related jobs for employment within the Earth Federation using their skills for peaceful and productive purposes. People will work with energy and a sense of fulfillment, since they will be engaged in the project of saving the Earth and creating democracy for our planet for the first time in history.
When twenty-five or so nations simultaneously ratify the Constitution for the Federation of Earth, they will create a common currency (call it "Earth Currency") and will immediately be able to receive ample lines of credit for rapid development based on their productive capability, resources, and labor supply. Twenty-five or so nations combined together as the initial Earth Federation will have plenty of all three and will be able to eliminate money scarcity and devalued currency immediately. Their economies will be regional, emphasizing local, autonomous development and activating the economic multiplier factor that is the key to every healthy economy. And their economy within the Earth Federation as a whole will be large enough to function independently of the financial centers of control of the present world-system.
The economic multiplier factor means that goods produced make a profit for the local producers that is reinvested in the local economy. It requires good pay for workers who can then afford the products they produced and circulate their money through consumption of more goods and services. When this happens, all local consumers and services prosper because the money is spread widely among the population and re-circulated throughout the regional economy. There is a "take off" in which capital, labor, and resources, activated locally and regionally into production, enrich the region and reinvest the wealth produced back into the same region. Millions of new jobs are created in the private sector and in the governmental sector responsible for converting the emerging productive capacity to ever more sustainable forms.
This is exactly what is prevented by the globalized so-called "free trade" economy. In this economy, the already poor are in debt to the already rich and are forced to sell off their natural resources and cheap labor to wealthy foreign corporations (through structural adjustment programs) who then drain the profits (and resources) from the poor regions into the coffers of the already wealthy. Barriers are maintained between nations and regions protecting accumulated wealth in certain nations and regions who do business in the exploited nations. There is no one to tax or regulate the process of exploitation. The nation-state system makes a decent economic world-order impossible.
In this process, the poor of the world are in competition with one another for the business of the rich and must continually lower labor wages and the price of natural resources to try to attract business and stay afloat in their international indebtedness. There is a race to the bottom in which the multiplier factor can never operate since wages are never enough to allow the population to consume the goods they produce and since the wealth is siphoned into the coffers of first-world multinational corporations. If wages in Indonesia are lower than those in Central America, corporations will demand lowering wages in Central America or they will follow the "free market" and switch production to Indonesia.
Resources are sold off ever more cheaply as poor nations compete with one another to earn convertible currencies to pay off their international debt to stay afloat. Resources and services are privatized and purchased by the rich for a fraction of their value. The poor are paid starvation and dehumanizing wages. The IMF and World Bank, backed by massive first-world military capability, ensure the maintenance and continuity of this nightmarish system. Environmental destruction and militarism continue unabated.
We saw that it is imperative for the initial Earth Federation assume the international debt of all joining nations immediately, to be paid off at a reasonable rate of interest by the Federation. The Federation will be careful not to throw the non-ratifying nations into economic turmoil, only to show them by example how much they would benefit from joining the Federation. The principle behind the Earth Constitution is the good of all humanity, not the initiation of a new competition between the Federation and non-Federation nations in the early stages of world government.
Simultaneously with the assumption of the international debt of member nations, the Federation will issue ample lines of credit to activate the economies of its members. Trade outside the Federation would have to be done in Earth Currency, the value of which would not be regulated by present global financial institutions. Trade outside the Federation would not depend on offering concessions to exploitative corporations, since the Federation would be self-sufficient and economically independent. Investment within the Federation from outside would have to be done in Earth Currency and follow Federation laws. The global system of exploitation would immediately be transformed. Other poor nations would begin joining the Federation in great numbers upon seeing the freedom and prosperity activated by the Federation.
Is this "socialism"? Or is it "cooperative capitalism," so-called by J. W. Smith (2003b)? Or should we term it the initial stages of "economic democracy"? We have seen that "socialism" most basically means institutions predicated on human beings as ends-in-themselves, not the exploitation of human beings by others. Why quibble over words or slogans when what we all want is peace, freedom, prosperity, education, health care, and social security for human beings everywhere on the planet? This can be done easily through democratizing the global economy and empowering regions to activate local economies to produce and exchange services, whenever possible, at the local level.
As J. W. Smith points out, a mere forty billion dollars a year "would provide clean water and sanitation, care for women’s reproductive health, basic health and nutrition, and basic education for all the world’s citizens," while the world now spends an astonishing $800 billion a year on militarism (2002, p. 2). Activating local and regional economies can easily produce the equivalent of forty billion per year to provide these necessities to all persons, especially since all nations within the Federation will no longer be spending money on militarism. Global trade can be reserved for those commodities and resources not available within the industrially developed, healthy, local and regional economies.
The Earth Federation will have no trouble fulfilling these guaranteed economic and social rights (Article XIII), since it will activate a prosperous economy while eliminating all costs formerly dedicated to war and militarism. Under the present system of domination (nation-state-monopoly-capitalism), there is no intention of creating a prosperous world economy. Trade, like militarism and everything else, is directed toward preserving the system (see Chomsky, 1996a, pp. 7-28). Twenty percent of the world population benefit while the other eighty percent remain in perpetual poverty as the exploited source of wealth for the few.
Under the Earth Federation, personal private property is protected by law, and, within limits imposed by preserving the environment and the good of all, the quest for private accumulation within reasonable bounds is retained. The government does not own all business and industry, nor are decisions made in a "command economy" fashion. The goal of government is to activate regional and local economies and coordinate use of resources and development so no nation or group benefits at the expense of others. Only a planetary government can achieve this, since individual nations under the present system are subject to economic forces over which their governments have little or no control. And under the present system, nation-states promote their own economic interests at the expense of all others.
The transition toward economic democracy, therefore, will not mean transition to government ownership but to economic systems where the least labor and least waste is expended so all may live reasonably well (sustainably) and get on with valuable and meaningful living. Economist J. W. Smith predicts that once prosperity is rapidly achieved, efficient economic production with prosperity for everyone will result in a work week of two or three days for most people on Earth (2003a). Our planet is extremely rich in resources (even after half a century of diminishing resources under monopoly capitalism). And the technology for conversion to renewable or alternative resources already exists (Daly, 1996, chs. 5-9; Brown 2001). We can create reasonable prosperity for everyone if we begin to democratically and self-consciously organize the economy under a democratic world government mandated for this goal.
The transformation of the Earth’s globalized economy will not mean massive economic dislocation such as we have witnessed from the "structural adjustment" programs of the World Bank and IMF that have taken the land from millions of poor people in order to convert it to gigantic export crop operations or in order to create massive dam and irrigation projects (see Caufield, 1996). The changes needed are as simple as they are fundamental. Former World Bank economist David C. Korten, in The Post-Corporate World: Life After Capitalism, presents a list of some of needed changes closely related to the ones proposed here:
Curing the capitalist cancer to restore democracy, the market, and our human rights and freedoms will require virtually eliminating the institution of the limited-liability for-profit public corporation as we know it to create a post-corporate world through actions such as the following:
1. End the legal fiction that corporations are entitled to the rights of persons and exclude corporations from political participation;
2. Implement serious political campaign reform to reduce the influence of money on politics;
3. Eliminate corporate welfare by eliminating direct subsidies and recovering other externalized costs through fees and taxes;
4. Implement mechanisms to regulate international corporations and finance; and
5. Use fiscal and regulatory policy to make financial speculation unprofitable and to give an economic advantage to human-scale, stakeholder-owned enterprises. (1999, p. 15)
The Earth Federation, predicated for the first time in history on the welfare of all rather than the benefit of particular nations or classes, will also found its economic and political system free of the other lies or mythologies now serving global domination. The list offered by Korten expresses the same insight as the list I offered above. The global economy must be democratized. The power of exploitation and domination must be taken from the transnational corporations and imperialist governments protecting them. There is no force in the world capable of this other than the legitimate sovereignty of the people of Earth expressed in federal world government.
These practical steps are nearly impossible to implement under the current world-order. No amount of "world social forums," international people’s movements, or guerrilla insurgencies can overcome the power of those who now control the world-order. On the other hand, these common sense changes would be easy for the Earth Federation to implement and enforce. Under the Earth Federation, people would no longer be trapped within a global economy beyond the power of individual governments. The corporations could no longer prevent government from enacting simple laws to democratize economics and ensure sustainability. For the first time in history, the Earth would have a federal government representing all people, directed toward creating universal prosperity as well as ensuring the sustainability of the Earth for future generations.
As soon as corporations are stripped of the fiction of being legal persons with all the rights of legal persons, they can be regulated by government in a sensible fashion, as Korten recommends. The question of the "absolute right of private property" for corporations can then be debated and modified as necessary by the World Parliament. But in a federated world, corporations will no longer be able to blackmail nations by threatening to move elsewhere if environmental laws and labor laws are not weakened to their satisfaction.
For the first time in history, businesses would assume their rightful place as contributors to the common good of society through the production of needed goods and services. There is nothing wrong with corporations or businesses in themselves. The world needs intelligent, inventive, and creative business persons. What is wrong is the current system that forces our business persons to sacrifice the common good in order to survive and flourish. What is wrong is the current system that encourages profit achieved through externalizing and transferring the true costs of production to society, the environment, and future generations. Sustainable production is sensible and possible (see Brown 2001).
In addition to the lie of money-creation and the lie of corporations having legal human rights, there is a third lie now promoted by the wealthy of the world. The lie of "intellectual property rights" is directly connected to their claim that corporations are legal persons. This mythology asserts their absolute right to control patents and their "intellectual property" as if they were human persons like authors, inventors, or artists. It asserts their right to use technology and ideas for corporate gain at the expense of the common good. Rapid development cannot take place for the poor of the world until this falsehood is fundamentally changed.
A slight change in the present patent laws, now favoring the rich and powerful at the expense of the poor, will end the monopoly on technology now enforced through the World Trade Organization by its system of global patents (intellectual property rights). As Vandana Siva (1997; 2000), David Korten (2001), Michel Chossudovsky (1999), and others have shown, the global patent system prevents technology from disseminating, prevents poor countries from developing, and serves a system of domination creating starvation and misery for millions. Under the Earth Federation, a simple system of allowing any patented ideas to be used by any enterprise for a reasonable royalty fee would give everyone access to needed technological innovations.
The fourth myth, the lie of a "free press" through the corporate mass media, could easily be overcome under the Earth Federation by encouraging a multiplicity of media voices and not allowing media monopolies to be concentrated in the hands of the rich as they are today (McChesney, 1997; Edwards, 1996; Chomsky, 1994). Breaking the monopoly on information held by the dominant nations and classes is essential for activating genuine democratic dialogue and debate within the Earth Federation. Korten’s related point above is fundamental to activating real democracy within the Earth Federation. The Federation must "implement serious political campaign reform to reduce the influence of money on politics." The Constitution is already written to significantly reduce this danger.
The Earth Federation provides the same campaign possibilities for all candidates for office. Privately funded public relations campaigns now masquerading as a "political process" are eliminated. However, the initial World Parliament must take the further step of ending the corporate monopoly on information, and other forms of corporate influence on politicians. If the information monopoly can manipulate public opinion as it easily does today, then eliminating private campaign funding is not sufficient. Honest, decent journalism must be promoted. The election of representatives to the House of Nations, the House of Counselors, and the House of Peoples cannot be democratic as long as such media monopolies exist.
If the airwaves are repossessed by the people instead of given away to the corporate monopolies, the immense potential of radio and television for public education, heath education, economic development, and free expression of ideas is activated. The corporate propaganda hold over the public mind will be broken. The common good of all (as ends-in-themselves) becomes the criterion for leasing the airwaves to a multiplicity of individuals and organizations. Education and skills for a prosperous economy are free to all and widely disseminated. Education is no longer the private privilege of the rich who can afford to pay tuition, room, and board at some university. It is available to all the world’s citizens for free over numerous public radio, television, and computer systems provided to enrich life and foster sustainable development.
The fifth myth now promulgated by the Lords of the Earth, that wages must be determined by the "free market" just as the price of ham hocks and pork bellies are so determined, can easily be eradicated by the Earth Federation on the simple, common sense principle of "equal pay for equally productive work." On this principle, and with a Federation government concerned to maximize the economic multiplier factor through good wages allowing money to circulate freely through the economy, the exploitation of poor countries by wealthier countries comes to an end. In Economic Democracy, economist Smith describes the effect of today’s wage differentials between nations:
The Earth Federation’s first goal is to create a global economy promoting prosperity for all. Under the lie of "free market" determined wage levels, exponential rates of exploitation are maintained and the economic multiplier factor is circumvented in poor countries. How to create economic prosperity through the multiplier effect is well known. All that is required is an Earth Federation dedicated to this principle and premised on the welfare of all. Equal pay for equally productive work is the fifth key to the initial transformation of the economic world order. Within the Earth Federation, the ability of businesses to move to poorer regions to exploit cheaper labor would be eliminated. Their ability to funnel their funds to off-shore tax-free accounts would be eliminated. Their ability to blackmail governments would be eliminated. The exponential rate of exploitation described by Smith would be eliminated.
Sixth, the mythology of the absolute "natural right to private property" is promoted world-wide through the media monopolies owned by the global corporations in cooperation with imperial nation-states. This is pure seventeenth-century and eighteenth century mythology taken from the social contract theory of John Locke and others who wrote to justify the legitimacy of the rising bourgeois class of property owners against the king and the declining aristocratic class. The World Parliament will enact carefully crafted laws to promote world-wide land reform so that the land and its wealth can be returned to the people of Earth. Under the present system of global absolute property rights, corporations can own huge tracts of land everywhere on the planet that are effectively out of the control of national and local governments (since property rights are considered absolute). Governments attempting land reform are overthrown or economically punished by the military might of the imperial governments in order to protect this system of absolute property rights.
Everywhere, the dominators have demonized attempts at land reform in the service of the common good as "communism" and have bombed, overthrown, or economically blockaded all attempts at breaking the concept of absolute property rights. This suppression of the move to conditional property rights was a key factor in dozens of imperial interventions and wars. Among these are the overthrow of democracy in Iran in 1953, in Guatemala in 1954, and the economic punishment of Cuba, North Korea, and Libya for many years. This brutal history includes the destruction of Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos in the 1960s and 1970s, the overthrow of Sukarno in Indonesia in 1965, in the destruction of democracy in Chile in 1973, the wars against Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala in the 1980s, the bombing destruction of Iraq in 1991, the wars against the people of Columbia since the 1980s, the military attack on Yugoslavia in 1998, the recent invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the sabotage and destruction of the economies of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe during this entire period.
Under the system of nation-states, genuine land-reform is impossible not only because of imperial military domination of the world in the service of private monopoly wealth but because no nation attempting an alternative economics could succeed within an economic world-order predicated on absolute property rights and monopoly capital principles. The only force capable of creating an economics of sustainability and universal prosperity is federal world government. As we have seen, the initial economics of the Earth Federation is not "communism" but a mixed economics predicated on unity (recognition of the common good and the vital need for a sustainable future) and diversity (recognition of self-interest, rewarding individual initiative, and a multiplicity of forms of ownership).
The first step the Earth Federation must take will be to purchase (or appropriate from uncooperative corporations) unused land or large concentrations of land at its tax value. Corporate and other forms of land monopolies can be broken up by law, with due compensation to the owners. Much of this land will be transferred to the poor using lines of credit charging only an accounting fee. In some cases, huge private plantations with workers living in poverty upon them must be converted in stages to cooperatives, the workers becoming co-owners who share in the profits produced from their labor. Eventually today’s system of monopolistic private ownership to the exclusion of the well-being of others will disappear. Society will collect the land-rent from all people, as Economist Henry George suggested (1935). Land and resource ownership will be converted to conditional ownership, for the most fundamental imperative of the Federation will be the common good of the Earth, all its citizens, and the welfare of future generations.
Programs will be initiated for the hundreds of millions of Earth’s citizens now unemployed or underemployed to integrate them into their newly activated local and regional economies. The Earth Federation itself would employ millions of the currently unemployed in replanting the forests of the Earth and the hundreds of other environmental tasks necessary to restore the integrity of our planetary ecosystem. George understood that conditional property rights (rather than absolute property rights) would place the good of the planet and society at the heart of property law. Laws would be enacted (along with massive education) protecting sustainable development and prohibiting business, industry, and farming from externalizing costs to society, nature, or future generations.
On these six principles alone, the twenty-five or so nations in the initial Earth Federation will be liberated to rapidly create universal prosperity and democracy for themselves. Money-creation can and must be premised on the wealth that ample lines of credit for peaceful productive purposes can bring to the entire Federation. Eliminating military spending will provide an immediate influx of funds within the initial Federation. Private property, including intellectual property, would be a limited right of persons, and it would be carefully regulated for the common good, as in any truly democratic society.
There must be sharing of developmental technology and knowledge through a rational system of intellectual property rights predicated on the good of all, not the monopoly of the multinational corporations. There must be true freedom of information and dialogue through a media system not in the hands of media monopolies. There must be equal pay for equally productive work world-wide. And there must be meaningful land reform under a new, socially responsible, conception of property. On the basis of these six, simple principles, the economic multiplier effect will produce rapid development and virtually universal prosperity. The Earth Federation must encourage this process, monitor it for equatability and sustainability, and employ millions of citizens in the task of reversing the environmental destruction proceeding everywhere on Earth.
A truly efficient planetary system of production could provide enough for all (food, clothing, housing, education, health care, social security) within a sustainable system of production with a work week of two or three days distributed equitably among the Earth’s adult working population (Smith, 2003a). There is no mystery about this. "Human nature" does not have to be drastically changed. It is only necessary to found planetary institutions under the Earth Federation premised on this goal. None of these simple changes can be implemented on a planetary scale without the authority of democratic world government. None could be implemented among the initial twenty-five or so nations unless they federated under the Earth Constitution. This simple paradigm shift results in practical action for a new world order.
4. The Transition to Planetary Maturity
As I stressed throughout Part Four, the Constitution for the Federation of Earth supplies the framework making possible the practical utopia of planetary maturity through moving toward a new level of human existence. It cannot do this until the global system benefiting the few has been eliminated and genuine prosperity for all has been achieved. As a framework, the Constitution is absolutely essential to activate a process of rapid sustainable, development. The basic needs of all must be met before we can begin to talk seriously about a more mature consciousness for the majority. The Constitution does not enforce any vision of "utopia" on the citizens of Earth. It provides a framework through which basic needs can be met and the free quest for planetary maturity can be activated.
The economic principles outlined in the previous section are derived from the work of Michael Chossudovsky, Herman Daly, Henry George, Michael Hudson, Philip Isely, David Korten, Dada Maheshvaranda,Vandana Siva, J.W. Smith, and others. All these thinkers agree that global poverty can only be eliminated though democratizing the world’s economic operating principles. None of these thinkers assume that a fundamental change in human consciousness or so-called "human nature" is necessary. The "immediate economic benefits of world government" (Isely) require only the formation of the Earth Federation and initiation of freedom for sustainable development through eliminating the present global monopolies on money creation, corporate "human" rights, information dissemination, technology, wage levels, and land. This is as it should be, since the Earth Federation will make possible further transformation of consciousness. It does not require transformation in any substantial way prior to ratification and initiation of a fundamentally democratic political and economic order.
At the moment our goal must be the immediate elimination of poverty, militarism, imperialism, environmental destruction, human rights abuses, and control of population growth. Transformation to practical utopia will likely come speedily once we have dealt with our planetary crises. Errol E. Harris confirms our most immediate need:
The creation of world government under the Constitution’s guiding principle of unity-in-diversity will soon lead to a different conception of economics. The principles of Chossudovsky, Daly, George, Hudson, Isely, Korten, Maheshvaranda, Siva, and Smith will be further "socialized" so worker participation in productive decision making will increase and the concept of production itself will increasingly focus on what is needed and how to contribute to the common good instead of private accumulation of wealth regardless of what is needed for the common good. Harris describes this development in the following way:
The conception of profit will quite likely be further "socialized" as human consciousness adopts ever more fully the principle of unity-in-diversity. Once universal prosperity and efficient sustainability are achieved, and under the Earth Federation this would not take many decades, people will likely begin to lose interest in spending their lives grubbing for money. Mature people will want to spend their time with other, more serious, and important pursuits. Eventually, practical utopia will emerge on planet Earth. Once the Constitution for the Federation of Earth is ratified and the Earth Federation has brought our planetary crises under control, transformative praxis will act to bring about planetary maturity.
The obsession with material wealth and domination will probably disappear from our planet. The nihilism now dominating intellectual life will disappear in with a new sense of fulfillment and joy in living. In previous chapters, we examined the intellectual and spiritual poverty of positivism, post-modern relativism, scientism, and fundamentalism. All of these ignore or distort the paradigm shift at the heart of twentieth-century science, theology, and philosophy. The fulness of life will soon come flooding back into existence soon after we have founded the Earth Federation and overcome the global crises threatening our existence on Earth.
In Fashionable Nihilism – A Critique of Analytic Philosophy, Bruce Wilshire frames this issue in terms of our present intellectual nihilism and the alternative of a fulfilled and meaningful existence as mature human beings:
What passes as education is not the educing (educare) of our needs, yearnings, questionings as beings who must develop ourselves or rot in boredom.... But it is rather instruction in data and methods for amassing more of it: instruere, structuring into....
For William James....all meaning and truth are a species of goodness, and this is the fruitful building out of the past into the present and future. Meaning-making and truth are essential features of being vitally alive and centered, of fully being, and philosophy is meant to nurture and feed us – we who are ecstatic body-minds. (2002, pp. 6 and 35)
Philosophers such as John Dewey, Errol Harris, William James, Alfred North Whitehead, and Bruce Wilshire understand the need for a fundamental paradigm shift beyond fragmentation to an integrated fullness of "our thinking-feeling-evaluating selves." This change will be made possible by the simple mechanism of ratifying the Earth Constitution and institutionalizing the principle of unity-in-diversity politically and economically for our planet.
In Chapter Five, we saw Henry David Thoreau express this principle of planetary maturity:
The evolution of the economic system under the Constitution for the Federation of Earth may take on entirely unexpected forms once global and equitable prosperity has been achieved. We cannot predict, but can surely imagine, a beautiful system such as was envisioned by Karl Marx. We can imagine a transformation of our entire experience of life attendant upon an equitable and planetary economy based on human dignity and sustainable efficiency. Marx writes:
The possibilities for humanization of our being, for transformation of our being toward planetary maturity are immense. For Marx, they included a liberation of the senses to the point where the meaning and richness of existence flows into human lives through an awakened and living sensitivity to the inexhaustible depth and beauty of our precious Earth.
Marx writes of the liberation of our senses. He intuits their constricted nature under capitalism. Similarly, in The Listening Self: Personal Growth, Social Change, and the Closure of Metaphysics (1989), David Michael Levin finds that the modern "hegemony of vision" constricts and delimits our deep possibilities for listening and attunement with being. In Chapter Three, we saw Jean-Paul Sartre describe our world system as an institutionalized "structure of scarcity." Once the Earth Federation has eliminated the "structure of scarcity" dominating our thinking-feeling-willing selves, the possibilities for a transformed mode of being in the world are immense.
These possibilities cannot be realized under the present world-order of nation-state-monopoly-capitalism. For the perpetuation of exploitation and domination require that people be kept in a state of childish adolescence. These possibilities can only be realized within true economic democracy for our entire planet. Transformative praxis acts to make this happen. We need a planetary framework premised on the political and economic unity-in-diversity of all people, nations, and cultures.
We need practical, simple steps like those outlined here to create economic prosperity for all the world’s citizens. Peace, freedom, and prosperity are relatively easy to create once the institutions preventing their emergence have been transformed. The ratification of the Earth Constitution, plus these simple, common sense, economic steps implicit in the Constitution, is all that is required to make possible the realization of our higher divine-human destiny on this planet.