Mon 6 Oct 2014 9:19PM

What benefits would a global democracy bring?

MT Matthew Taylor Public Seen by 92

Along with nuclear weapons and global warming, regional conflicts are one of the most pressing problems the world faces. Israel/Palestine, for example, is a conflict that takes place within a relatively small tract of land, yet affects hundreds of millions of people, either directly or indirectly. 9/11 happened, in part, because of U.S. funding of Israeli occupation and oppression of Palestinians. The India/Pakistan/Kashmir conflict is another regional conflict with global implications. How would one global democracy work to resolve and transform regional conflicts, in contrast to the failures of the UN to resolve these conflicts?


Peter Schurman Sat 8 Nov 2014 4:52AM

In situations like the two examples you mentioned, people live under the threat of annihilation, because no entity is fully guaranteeing their security. The local national governments aren't capable of it, in large part due to the (disputed) borders that separate them.

By contrast, when borders are not as much of a factor, say, within the US, we don't allow that kind of danger to basic survival and the related compromises to human rights. We arrest and prosecute criminals, even if they are government officials. (There's room for improvement here, of course.)

A democracy that includes everyone would likely decide to include guarantees of everyone's safety. World public opinion polling shows that people everywhere support guarantees of fundamental human rights.

So it would protect people in conflict zones, and those living under dicatorships, much better than they are protected today.

A global democracy would also remove obstacles to joint action to solve key global problems such as climate change, wealth inequality, and human trafficking, to name just a few examples. These are now among the greatest challenges faced by people everywhere.

The U.N. has not been capable of handling these challenges, because it is accountable to national governments, rather than to people, so it can not transcend the limitations of nation-states. We have to do better.


David Rodriguez Sat 8 Nov 2014 8:34PM

I think the change starts with each of us. One global democracy is more of a symptom of a more evolved race. We are still fighting over the silliest of things like religion. When we have a better grasp on compassion, humility, love and patience then we will start seeing the fruits of our more evolved culture, Give us a couple thousand years and it will all come into place.


Peter Schurman Sat 8 Nov 2014 8:44PM

Thanks, David. Is it in our power to choose compassion, love, and acceptance?


David Silva Sat 8 Nov 2014 9:47PM

This is an incredibly complex subject. just what exactly is global democracy? "A democracy that includes everyone would likely decide to include guarantees of everyone’s safety.: Sounds like pie-in-the-sky. You have the UN, which does not work all that well. There are other global governing bodies. How well do they work. How does global democracy differ form existing structures?


David Elsbree Jr. Sat 8 Nov 2014 10:23PM

I agree with David that a single global democracy requires an evolution of the human race away from an "us and them" or "me first" mentality to one that shows compassion for all humans, animals, and the planet itself. That said, I definitely think this is worth pursuing. If we could pool the Western democracies into a single nation, I think that would create great momentum.


Jordan Parker Sat 8 Nov 2014 10:32PM

I believe global democracy could handle very large scale matters, like natural disasters, conflict, and natural resources. In an ideal world, we would have thriving micro level communities across the world that collaborate and support each other while still maintaining their culture and autonomy. These micro level communities would appoint and inform the representatives of a global democracy to handle issues that they cannot on their own.


Peter Schurman Sun 9 Nov 2014 12:37AM

David Silva - Yes, it's complex. In my view, the difference between a global democracy and the U.N. etc. is that today's structures are accountable to countries, but not to people. It's as if the U.S. Senate were still elected by state legislatures (as it was until 1913) rather than directly by voters.

But, as you point out, "what exactly is a global democracy?" is still a huge question. I'd like to see us all envision what we'd like it to mean. For example: Should a global democracy be representative or direct? What should the unit of representation be: countries? states? counties? congressional districts? More contiguous population blocs (See: http://bit.ly/1gcpFLD)? Let's talk about that, over here: https://www.loomio.org/d/a5FsmjBw/what-could-a-single-global-democracy-look-like-how-would-it-work

David Elsbree - Yes, that's one possible path, and how to get there is such an important question in its own right, I've set up a new thread, "How could we get there?", and taken the liberty of copying your suggestion here into the top of that one:

Jordan - Yes, those are some of the main benefits I see too.

Thank you all for jumping in!


Lawrence Grodeska Sun 9 Nov 2014 1:43AM

This is not directly related to regional conflicts, but another benefit of one global democracy would be the opportunity for greater resource efficiency at global scale, a la Buckminster Fuller's concept of the Global Energy Grid: