We are living through a democratic as well as economic crisis. This crisis has resulted in Oxfam today reporting that the richest 85 people in the world have the same wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion.
This is not a sign of system that just needs tweaking but of one that has gone very very wrong. These failings are a sign of a democratic deficit as much as our economic one.
If global economic policy was set with the will of the majority in mind would we see 3.5 billion people holding the same wealth as 85? Of course not.
These symptoms only exist due to a democratic failing.
We need, now more than ever, a global democracy that can keep up with the times – the global commerce, the international wars, and of course, global inequality.
Our current global governance is a joke – The World Bank, the UN and IMF (to give just 3 examples) have consistently failed. Why? Because the powerful minority have never entrusted true democratic principles into global governance.
The UN Security Council, to give just one example, gives 5 of its nation state members a veto. Can you imagine a national parliament that gave 5 of its 200 or so members a permanent veto?
Ask yourself the question (as part of the global 5% elite who has access to a computer) – do you feel empowered to influence any of these bodies, the UN, the IMF or the World Bank? Assuming not, then imagine how a rural farmer in Thailand or a street cleaner in Kenya must feel.
We are collectively devoid of democracy. Only by building a true democracy we can we begin to show the failings of our current system.
This is why I so strongly believe that we need a world parliament. One citizen, one vote.
Such a radical suggestion has radical consequences – the good people of China would have 1.3 billion votes while the good people of the UK would have around 70 million.
But that’s fine. That’s democracy.
The people who are currently struggling to make ends meet might vote for a huge wave of fossil fuel sponsored energy generation to kick start failing economies but future generations lives at risk through runaway climate change. But that’s the risk of democracy.
Even with these dangers, I find it hard to believe that we could do much worse than we currently are:
- Billions trapped in poverty
- Millions killed by the hands of other men
- Billions going hungry
- Climate change threatening not just future generations but centuries to come.
With this sort of track record isn’t it time we at least tried to implement a true democracy?
Suggested further reading:
George Monbiot’s book ‘Manifesto for a new world order’.