To achieve world peace, one has to focus on international, national, local, and personal issues. The three most important goals in achieving world peace are egalitarianism, ecological wisdom, and emotional maturity. Participatory and consensus democracy and the reduction of hierarchy in government and in the workplace are integral components in attaining egalitarianism.
Considering the rapid growth of world population, environmental degradation, the vast disparity between the rich and poor nations, the dangers of nuclear energy and weapons, and the effects of corporatocracy — it is necessary to view the world as one organism, even if that is not what it is. Take the healthy human body. The heart, lungs, brain, and kidneys do not compete. They cooperate.
The ecosystem is being overloaded by unsustainable growth, species are becoming extinct at an alarming rate, drilling for oil easily is reaching its peak, and global injustice and inequality are on the increase. Ross Jackson in his book Occupy World Street: A Global Roadmap for Radical Economic and Political Reform presents evidence that the planet is under siege and our civilization is already in the middle of a global collapse. Though he does not recommend a democratic world government based on instant run-off voting or a system of proportional representation as I do, his solutions are worth exploring. But any workable solution will be a hard sell to the millionaires who have invested in transnational corporations. Therefore, we the people must become empowered to save the world and the planet before it’s too late.
Through imperialism, the imposition of slavery, advanced military technology, and sheer greed, some nations have forged ahead of others. But that certainly does not make them morally superior. Why can’t the unique resources of each nation be harnessed for the betterment of all? With the proper support, most nations could become largely self-sufficient in the production of organic food.
Egalitarianism could mean that no individual earns more than five times what the lowest paid individual makes. If there is back-breaking, monotonous, repetitious, or undesirable work that must be done, why not give the people who do those jobs a living wage. The so-called free market has never been free or fair in deciding what a decent wage is. Try buying health insurance when you make today’s minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
To reduce hierarchy, a public school, for example, can be controlled by the neighbors who live within the geographic boundaries of that particular school. Neighbors would then be forced to work together to achieve common dreams. The expense and control by federal, state, county, and township educational bureaucracies would be greatly reduced. Each school could have its own school board. Using the funds allotted to the particular school based on the number of students, the school board might choose to hire residents who live in the school district to work as teaching assistants or tutors.
Regarding health care, Medicare could be extended to cover all citizens, not just the elderly. Another option could be Single Payer Health Care. The federal government would be the single payer, and it would eliminate the enormous profits and expenses of the many private insurance companies. Health care should be a not-for-profit endeavor.
With so many private banks and rich bankers, why not eliminate them and promote local public credit unions, so that the local investments can enrich the local community? And if the Federal Reserve has no reserves and is controlled by private bankers, then why not eliminate it and give Congress that responsibility as stipulated in the US Constitution? Why should the Federal Reserve be allowed to create so much fiat money, money created out of thin air, which pumps more money into the system, which then causes the prices of goods and services to be inflated? Banks should only lend money if they actually have it.
The annual budgets of Congress should be balanced with no deficit spending. With a progressive income tax up to 90%, the national debt can be paid off in 10 years, after military spending is reduced 70%.
If a small business grows and starts employing 7 or more individuals, workplace democracy should become a requirement. At that point, the employees and owner would vote to elect the board of directors. Corporate charters granted by a state government would need the county government’s endorsement as well.
It is okay if people take a certain amount of pride in their country, but considering the security and ecology of the planet, it is necessary, now more than ever, to have a global or international focus. If we the people do not do it, then the world’s richest individuals and the world’s most powerful corporations will do it for us, and they will create their own version of a New World Order.
But if a democratic world government is achieved, it must be built from the bottom-up, not from the top-down, from the voluntary neighborhood block club, to the precinct, the township, the county, the state, the nation, and ultimately the world council. Though built from the bottom-up, higher governing bodies could overrule the decisions of lower governing bodies. But local self-determination can be maximized, whenever possible, and representatives from lower governing units should be able to recall or remove the representative they send to a higher governing unit, if at any time there is a 60% vote of no confidence.
Regarding the organization of state governments in the United States, there is a way to make democracy more participatory. Each precinct (which might consist of about 600 adult voters) could elect a representative to serve on the township board. Through democratic decision making, each township board could vote among the township board members to send a representative to the county board. The township board members could also replace her at any time, if she stopped representing the interests of that township. Through face-to-face decision making, each county board could vote among county board members to send a representative to the state governing board, which could replace the current senate and house representatives of bicameral state legislatures.
The legislators from the county and state governments could be responsible for selecting trained individuals for executive and judicial functions in their jurisdictions. This seems wiser than having citizens vote a straight ticket for 30 different local offices for people they know nothing about. However, if a particular legislator emerged to a higher government position from a particular precinct, township, or county–then any of the lower governing bodies from which she emerged could vote her out at any time with a 60% vote of no confidence.
At the national level, there only needs to be a unicameral body of legislators, and it should be based on a system of proportional representation. To achieve this, it would take a new Twenty-Eighth Amendment that shows how we can have a constitutional convention in a fair, safe, and orderly way to totally rewrite the US Constitution. I have written such an amendment and the Third Constitution of the United States which shows one way how our current constitution can be updated and improved. Federal and state constitutions should be much easier to amend and to abolish. Jefferson believed each new generation should have a new constitution.
With proportional representation, voters in the United States would vote for a national political party. Hypothetically, the unicameral national legislature could consist of the following: Republican Party, 25%; Democratic Party, 25%; Libertarian Party, 15%; Green Party, 15%; Socialist Party, 10%; Communist Party, 5%; and Constitution Party, 5%.
The world map could be divided into 500 rectangles based on equal population, and a democratic world government could be achieved using the instant run-off voting method for each district. The world council could prevent the imperialistic designs of any nation, and it could prevent environmental destruction by corporations and countries. International law and the International Bill of Rights would be respected. While maximizing the self-determination of localities, whenever possible, there could be more diversity in the world, and there could be unity in diversity–justice and peace on Earth.
With instant run-off voting, voters could rank 9 candidates from the 9 largest political parties. If no candidate gets a 51% majority, then the 9th candidate, who got the fewest number of votes, is dropped from the list before a second round of voting begins. If during the second round of voting, no candidate gets a 51% majority, then the 8th candidate, who got the fewest number of votes, is dropped from the list before the 3rd round of voting takes place. This process of eliminating the candidate who got the fewest number of votes before the next round of voting occurs continues until a candidate eventually receives a 51% majority. Once new political parties develop international worldviews, an international system of proportional representation could also be considered. The world council of legislators would select judicial and executive officials.
Global warming or climate change may be considered a hoax by some in the United States, especially those who have become rich from fossil fuels, and who are able to pay corrupt politicians to do their bidding. But the rest of the world largely considers climate change a serious problem. Through community decision making, solar energy and other alternative fuels could be given financial incentives, while the use of nuclear and fossil fuels could be greatly reduced or eliminated for the betterment of all.
Today factory farming, genetically-modified and irradiated foods, foods grown with excessive artificial chemicals, and the exorbitant consumption of beef (which requires large quantities of water)—are destroying our health and the sustainability of the planet.
In the United States, large corporations control the mainstream media and the government. Many people believe, as a result, that if they can just buy more and own more, they will be happier. In the mainstream media, there is a very limited range of political ideas that they will tolerate. All radical ideas are marginalized and made to look stupid by the talk show pundits. Money should not be allowed to influence political decision-making in any way.
Increased worker productivity has not been commensurate with increased worker pay in the last 30 years because desperate workers have been exploited by owners, managers, and CEOs. When not exhausted from stress and dehumanization in the workplace, Americans, are preoccupied with sports, electronic gadgets, TV shows, movies, and restaurants. They are not very interested in philosophical or intellectual discussions. But if we give all third parties an equal voice and take all money out of politics, then civics will become more important than consumerism to the American people.
It is not important whether a person adheres to Eastern or Western religions, atheism, agnosticism, humanism, or existentialism. What is needed is more people who are emotionally mature. To be mature, individuals must be self-aware of ego-defense mechanisms (like projection, rationalization, and denial), and they must have good coping skills. Mature people are assertive, not passive or aggressive. They are patient, kind, and long-suffering when dealing with other people who are less mature. They can admit mistakes and are capable of asking for forgiveness. They are humble, not full of false pride.
Mature people work to achieve reconciliation, not their own adversarial aggrandizement. They are selfless rather than selfish. They play fair. They are open, honest, vulnerable, and even transparent, for the good of all. They think globally and act locally. Choosing a lifestyle of voluntary simplicity, they live simply, so others can simply live. What they are on the inside is more important than what they have on the outside. They love words, ideas, and people more than they love things. But according to psychologist Maslow’s hierarchy, lower, physical needs must be met first before people can develop their highest and fullest intellectual potentials, skills, and aptitudes. It is then that they become self-actualized or self -fulfilled people.
Throughout history, kingdoms, empires, and nations commanded and unified large geographical areas to guard against revolution from within and rapacious attack from outside the region. But order was accomplished through bureaucratic, top-down control and chains of command. Those same elements of hierarchy are still with us today in the military, the government, in the public schools, and in the workplace. With more face-to face, consensus decision-making among equals in the workplace and in government, a nonhierarchical society can develop. Hierarchy has characterized human civilizations over the last 5,000 years, but it is not irrevocably entrenched in our human nature. Hierarchy may be better than anarchy, but it is not better than democracy among well-informed citizens.
In the United States, the rich are getting richer, as the middle class is being utterly wiped out, since the implementation of Reagonomics. Without a strong middle class, democracy cannot exist. But the ideal is to not only empower the middle class, but to create a classless, egalitarian society and world. It can be achieved without violence, if more people have emotional maturity and moral decency, and they are brave enough to share the vision.
Roger Copple retired from teaching third grade in a public school in Indianapolis in May 2010, at the age of 60. He currently lives in Sarasota. Interested in political theory, he has tried to integrate the best of Libertarian, Green, Socialist, and Anarchist viewpoints.