Weekly Summary 8 (January 6 - 20 2003)
Internal and External Organization of a WP
[1st summary, Topic 3]
This first summary of topic 3 looks at the organization of a WP. A WP might be the place to implement real direct democracy, for instance by having citizens of the world voting (through universal suffrage) for (and against) ideas rather than for individuals or parties (representatives). Among the scenarios drawn up for direct democracy, Andreu Junoy's might be a good start, with a mechanism implying a period of universal consultation for the elaboration, study and voting of programs. Another inspiring document is the Constitution for the Federation of the Earth. The organization of an entity such as a WP is an evolving process. Evolving democratic constitutions are subject to review, often by referendums, and other moves towards more involvement of people (voters and taxpayers) in policy decisions affecting them. Given that parties are inevitable, the internal organization of a WP would be better served by a multi-party system. Finally, we take a look at the creation a world financial institution capable of managing the allotment of money to individual states and to a World Parliament.
This will be the first synthesis for the third topic of the forum that will look at the internal and external organization of a World Parliament. This topic deals with things such as where and how often a world parliament should meet; who should participate; whether and how it will include local and regional assemblies, preparatory meetings, and organizing processes; what its mandate could be; and how it will interact with other bodies or agencies of governance.
As we look at the actual organization of a WP, the debate moves quickly from general and theoretical considerations to practical matters. This abrupt move may be the reason why we registered a slowdown in the inflow of messages. In any case, there were a sufficient number of ideas put to the floor to jumpstart the debate.
Discussing the organization of a World Parliament this early in the game may seem to some like putting the cart before the horse. On the other hand, taking things from this perspective may also serve to add some clarity to our embryonic vision of a WP. Given that this forum serves as a preparatory process for the creation of a WP, debating on these matters is an important part of the discussion. Obviously, each individual contribution on this topic is determined by one's anticipation of what a WP might do and how it might fit into the whole scheme of a restructuring of global governance.
One of the central debates of democracy has centered on the whole idea of direct and indirect democracy, in effect representation. Modern democracy as it has evolved since the late 18th century is largely built on systems of representation that made sense when communication was somewhat primitive and elections and referendums were difficult to organize. With the progress made by information technology and by modern communications, it might be time to rethink about democracy so as to bring it back to the people. With time, democratic institutions have too often served to reinforce a closed minded political elite bent on ruling without the people, whose support they only seek at the time of the election. In consequence, one is all too often faced with choices that barely represent the aspirations of a majority, let alone of minority groups.
Thus, a World Parliament might be a fertile ground for the practice of direct democracy. One way to do this might be for each citizen to be able to vote (through universal suffrage) for (and against) ideas rather than for individuals or parties (representatives). Through a multiple vote where each voter could, for instance be able to vote on ten positive propositions and two negative ones. Then, with the result of the vote in, the WP would be in charge of appointing teams of competent individuals in charge of following through on the propositions that were voted. The work of these teams would be constantly reassessed to make sure that they act in the manner that they were told. With the focus on ideas rather than people, the democratic process, by being more direct, would go back to the roots of democracy by re-empowering the people. With technology, the number of people who could participate in voting on a global scale could be a significant one.
Many scenarios of how direct democracy might work have been drawn out in the past and one could easily apply some of the mechanisms to a WP. One example (based on Andreu Junoy's * Aesthetic State * ) of such mechanisms would imply a period of universal consultation for the elaboration, study and voting of programs. The elaboration would be granted publicly to free teams of people (that is to say, not organized in political parties) that would leave their jobs during that time and would get paid for this during some months. These people would be self-organized in teams of study and management. During those months they would prepare their various programs for the next four years, in essence non-ideological and better technically adapted to serving society. The teams would be helped in their elaboration by a * productive sector of information and communication * that would work permanently to their service and that of the whole society, in upgrading data related to all kinds of changes and the dynamic evolution of society. Then, there would be a universal period of consultation in which everybody would get a leave of absence from their work and would get compensation to study those program that were previously presented to society. At the end of this time they would be voted by universal suffrage in two turns. Thus, the team that has prepared the most popular (by vote) program would become responsible for governing during four years.
A look at the constitution for the Federation of the Earth
Since the idea of creating a World Parliament did not occur in a vacuum, one way to go about it might be to look at other initiatives conducted in regards to transforming the architecture of global governance. The World Constitution is an interesting document that could work as an inspiration for the organization of a WP. Following are a couple of the main ideas behind it, including article 5, which deals specifically with the World Parliament.
The World Constitution begins with long lists of both the Broad Powers and Specific Functions of the World Government. It also includes provisions for: 1. The World Parliament. 2. The World Executive. 3. The World Administration. 4. The Integrative Complex. 5. The World Judiciary. 6. The Enforcement System. 7. The World Ombudsmus. The World Constitution expressly limits the authority and powers of the World Government to * problems and affairs which transcend national boundaries, leaving to national governments jurisdiction over the internal affairs of the respective nations but consistent with the authority of the World Government to protect universal human rights as defined in this World Constitution. *
The basic direct electoral and administrative units are called World Electoral and Administrative Districts. There shall be up to 1000 of them roughly equal in population. Contiguous World Electoral and Administrative Districts would be combined to create a total of twenty World Electoral and Administrative Regions, which would elect or appoint certain world government officials; provide administrative services; and for the Judiciary, Enforcement System, and the Ombudsmus, etc.
Article 5 - The World Parliament. The House of Peoples would be composed of the peoples delegates directly elected in proportion to population from the World Electoral and Administrative Districts. The House of Nations would be composed of national delegates elected or appointed by procedures to be determined by each national government on the following basis: 1. One national delegate from each nation of a population of at least 100,000, but less than 10,000,000. 2. Two national delegates from each nation of a population of at least 10,000,000, but less than 100,000,000. 3. Three national delegates from each nation of a population of 100,000,000 or more. The House of Counsellors would be composed of 200 counsellors chosen in equal numbers from nominations submitted from the twenty World Electoral and Administrative Regions and elected by the members of the other two houses of the World Parliament from the particular region. Any legislative measure or action may be initiated in either House of Peoples or House of Nations or both concurrently, and shall become effective when passed by a simple majority vote of both the House of Peoples and of the House of Nations.
Evolving democracy and multi-party systems
The organization of an entity such as a WP is an evolving process. While democracy requires some degree of hierarchical organization, the organization of democracy can be better achieved than by just copying patterns of existing federations or the European Union. Evolving democratic constitutions are subject to review, often by referendums, and other moves towards more involvement of people (voters and taxpayers) in policy decisions affecting them. There are established and proven effective, efficient and fair ways to do this (you can ask for example Doug Everingham about his paper * World Democracy * presented at the 2002 conference of the International Institute for Public ethics). In general a democratizing administration should be a continuing process at all levels of social organization.
In terms of internal organization, a multi-party system is the best one can do, given that parties are inevitable in a society that allows freedom of association. The centralization of political office-holding arrangements to produce one-part or two-party rule are in the interests of minority elites more than alternatives like multi-party governments such as can be found in Switzerland. Major parties have succeeded in convincing most of us into thinking that two-party systems are better to obtain government stability and continuity, yet these virtues disappear when the opposition replaces the government at election time.
Monetary organization of a WP
It seems desirable that voters would have a say in the amount of money they would allot to a WP, relative to the percentage they give to individual states. Thus, the world should create a central, transnational and independent financial organization (for example, a Transnational Observatory of Monetary Flow (TOMF). Such an organization would first determine the amount of circulating currency, including the amount available to individual states and to the WP (through for example central banks and a parliamentary bank). Then, the TOMF should be able to ensure that its directives have been followed by states and by central banks. Finally, it should be able to control that the money allotted to the WP has been used in a coherent and justified manner.