I’m interested in Albert Einstein’s project of an elected global parliament; an activist for such a world parliament contacted me through my weblog and suggested I read his book.  I’ve thought of writing a book on world federation cosmopolitan anti-nationalism, and have searched for a good book on global federation and an all-human nation, so …
" /> Jason Holborn | Cybercarnet/Weblog - SUMMARY: Democratic World Government through a Global Referendum by Jim Stark

SUMMARY: Democratic World Government through a Global Referendum by Jim Stark

I’m interested in Albert Einstein’s project of an elected global parliament; an activist for such a world parliament contacted me through my weblog and suggested I read his book.  I’ve thought of writing a book on world federation cosmopolitan anti-nationalism, and have searched for a good book on global federation and an all-human nation, so I downloaded it right away.  Surprise referendums are another keen interest of mine, so his call for a global one to show governments that a majority of humans desire a global layer of government intrigued me.

It’s a long book.  Here I present a summary of Jim Stark’s original 169 page book:

Democratic World Government through a Global Referendum
by Jim Stark

“There is no salvation for civilization, or even the human race, other than the creation of a world government.”
– Albert Einstein

“It is important to realize that in many respects, we already have world government. The problem is that the global agencies that perform functions that really ought to be the responsibility and the job of a DWG—the World Trade Organization, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the UN—are not democratic at present … nor do they even pretend to be democratic … nor are they ever likely or expected to become democratic through any process of internal reform.”
– Jim Stark

Stark opens his book suggesting that humanity faces grand environmental challenges together, and, must urgently coordinate efforts to reduce warfare and promote peace, before arguing for a global referendum on creating a world parliament and government.


We will never get this “crisis” under control unless we also build a democratic world government.

The only conceivable way to do that is to construct a new centre of political gravity, a new trustee of people-power that is truly global in scope but, unlike the UN, is directly elected, and democratic—an institution that is accountable to the people of planet Earth, and not to national governments.

If we are to create a truly democratic world government (the acronym is “DWG”), the first thing we need to face is the fact that national governments will never do it.

“We appeal, as human beings to human beings: Remember your humanity and forget the rest. If you can do so, the way lies open to a new Paradise; if you cannot, there lies before you the risk of universal death.”
– Albert Einstein (in his last signed public statement)

Even terrorists should see the DWG as a positive step, in that they would have a new planetary forum in which to air their grievances, a new global legal order in which all legitimate grievances should and must be effectively redressed.

Compelling the establishment of a DWG will require the activation of people-power on a scale that has never before been seen, the global scale, and the weight and force of this unprecedented mobilization must be brought to bear on all national governments and on every other entity that argues for business as usual.

“We have been engaged in a civil war of humanity for millennia. We have … killed each other over religion, tribe, ethnicity and nationality. In all these battles we allow our secondary identities, our national identity, our religious identity, our tribal identity and others to overcome our primary identity, our human identity. In short we lose our humanity. Our existing political systems have blinded us to our humanity by imprisoning us in a conceptual paradigm in which only national political goals are imaginable.”
– Lyndon Storey (from his summary of his book, Humanity or Sovereignty)

National governments, individually and collectively, have shown themselves largely unable to rise above perceived self-interests in their quest for national security and unsustainable prosperity. The only serious option is for the people of the world to literally compel the creation of a democratic world government, and then make it work.

Can ordinary people have a decisive effect on the way the world is run or structured?

At Vote World Government, we are trying to mobilize that latent support, harness it, empower it, focus it and build it into a formal global mandate.

Given the chance to vote and access to coherent information, we think that a majority of informed people in the global village will vote in favour of the DWG.

Such a global mandate must not only be proven to exist, it has to be collected. Even assuming we can do that, we will still have to find effective but non-violent ways of converting this robust public demand into reality.  Also, we need to find ways to guarantee that a world government would never fall victim to the corruption that so frequently infects governments—including democratic governments—at the national, provincial and local levels, because at the global level, such corruption may well be fatal.

“So long as there are sovereign nations possessing great power, war is inevitable. That is not an attempt to say when it will come, but only that it is sure to come. That was true before the atomic bomb was made.  What has been changed is the destructiveness of war.”
– Albert Einstein

“Unless we establish some form of world government, it will not be possible for us to avert a World War III in the future.”
– Winston Churchill

We have arrived at a moment in history when humanity must choose between cooperation and death.

More precisely, the choice we have is between a governed world and a global free-for-all, where victory usually goes to the meanest, the biggest or the sneakiest. …We have to choose between government and anarchy.

“We have before us the opportunity to forge for ourselves and for future generations a new world order—a world where the rule of law, not the law of the jungle, governs the conduct of nations.”
– George Herbert Walker Bush, US President

Within our nations, all people want and need security, … things that cannot be done well or done at all if some people run around killing other people with guns or blowing things up—or blowing themselves up, for that matter. There is only one reliable, proven way to minimize violence within a nation, and that is law (law with justice, of course).

“The world no longer has a choice between force and law; if civilization is to survive, it must choose the rule of law.”
– Dwight D. Eisenhower, US President

The foundation of law rests on its acceptance by the majority of people, and a general recognition that any weaknesses in the law can be addressed and must be addressed within the political arena.

“We must create worldwide law and law enforcement as we outlaw worldwide war and weapons.”
– John F. Kennedy

Even in the 21st century, in this age of overkill weaponry, every national government is expected to provide security to its people against all external threats, including military attacks from nuclear-armed foreign countries and global threats such as climate change or pandemics. Although there are no effective military responses to most of these threats, national governments are simply not ready to implement institutional responses, like world law. [In fairness, however, during the latter part of the twentieth century, national governments significantly expanded the body of international law, articulated numerous fundamental legal principles and recognized significant inalienable rights of individuals, so there is now a widely recognized written foundation on which to build. What is lacking is a widespread willingness by governments to abide by all those fine words, and a credible system of enforcement.]

A GlobeScan poll (Appendix #1), conducted in 2004, is good evidence that most people now support the establishment of a democratic world government (or “UN parliament,” as the poll described it) to create and enforce a body of world law.  [This is not the same as international law. World law, like national, provincial and municipal law, applies (inter alia) to individuals. International law amounts to treaties, applies to the governments of nations, and is largely unenforceable. (Well, it is more complicated than this, but that’s the essential difference.)]  An average of 63% of all the respondents from 18 nations were in favour, while only 20% were opposed (17% neither favoured it nor opposed it, or they answered “don’t know,” or gave no answer). That’s more than three to one in favour (75%+) among those who expressed an opinion.

“It will be just as easy for nations to get along in a republic of the world as it is for you to get along in the republic of the United States.  Now when Kansas and Colorado have a quarrel over the water in the Arkansas River, they don’t call out the National Guard in each state and go to war over it. They bring suit in the Supreme Court of the United States and abide by the decision. There isn’t a reason in the world why we can’t do that internationally.”
Harry S. Truman, June 28, 1945, on receiving an honorary degree from the University of Kansas City

“There is every reason to believe and expect that people can live within world law as comfortably as they now live within national or provincial or municipal law. Once we have world law, any suggestion that we abandon it will seem as ridiculous as the suggestion today that we do away with these other levels or layers of law. The only way peace can be achieved is through world government.”
Jawaharlal Nehru, 1st prime minister of the Republic of India

Although law is often maddeningly slow to change, it is not intended to just maintain the status quo. It is meant to evolve non-violently, and it is the proven way of managing human relations without violence. Law is the means by which we avoid pitched battles between and among neighbours or cities or provinces. …If informal negotiations do not work, our system of law is the final arbiter. We must learn to manage all differences, including those between and among nation states, without violence, and especially without the reality of war or even the threat of war.

Whenever people have been allowed to decide the kind of government they wanted, they have invariably decided on a form of democracy.

“Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.”
– Reinhold Niebuhr

“Peace requires Justice; Justice requires Law; Law requires Government, not
only within Nations, but equally between Nations.”
– William Penn, American Quaker, political theorist, 1693

To create a world government, there are many particulars to be worked out, and the dilemma is how to decide those details. Some of the problems involved are unique, without parallel or precedent in history.  ….  No violent process will work at the global level; not in a world filled with weapons of mass destruction. We must create a world government quickly, and we must do it right, meaning non-violently and democratically.

“I’m very supportive of what you are putting together … I wish you the best …
keep me posted.”
-Walter Cronkite (October 5, 2004, in response to my inquiry)

There are certain principles that must be accepted as essential, such as the equality of all people before the law, or defined limits on the mandate of the DWG, and of course democratically elected representatives. But we do not need to sort out every detail before asking people to support the general goal as defined on the referendum ballot. And while the global mandate is under construction, the work on a draft constitution can begin.

It should also be remembered that there are quite a large number of documents (such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) and other principles that have been developed by the United Nations, and these can be adopted entirely or in part by the DWG (some perhaps as elements of the proposed world constitution, others in some other manner). Such documents or principles would surely stand a much better chance of being implemented under the DWG than they did when they were the product of the UN, since aDWG is not subject to any vetoes by the Security Council, and can’t be second-guessed by the national interests that often compelthe delegates at the UN to vote this way or that—quite frequently against the interests of their own compatriots.

“People do not make wars; governments do.”
– Ronald Reagan, US President

We needed the devastation of nineteen million deaths in WWI to force us to establish the League of Nations. It took the Second World War, with 38 million more deaths, to prompt us to create the United Nations … and we got it wrong again. …Unfortunately, our worthy forebears did not make the UN into a directly-elected, democratic body, and as a result, it did not become, and can surely never become, the kind of democratic world government we need.

The UN has only a limited ability to prevent wars or deal with the injustices and cruelties that give rise to war, largely a result of the longstanding principle of non-interference in the “internal” affairs of another nation state (this is now slowly changing in cases where a national government doesn’t or cannot provide security for its own citizens)

“Democratic World Government is the only imaginable positive future for humanity.”
– Timothy Roscoe Carter, US lawyer, “basic income” advocate

To provide a sketch of what the democratic world government might look like and how it may function … we (Vote World Government) suggest that 700 DWG constituencies will be needed to include and to adequately represent all of the world’s people. The world population is expected to be about seven billion in 2018…, so that would work out to about ten million people per DWG constituency.

[George Monbiot, the author of The Age of Consent, suggested there could be perhaps 600 constituencies of 10 million people each in an article he wrote for the New Internationalist (Jan/Feb 2002), “A parliament for the planet.” That was based on the then-current human population of 6 billion or so. The same formula of 10 million per constituencyleads to 700 constituencies if the world population is 7 billion, as it likely will be by 2018.]

Some U.S. Senators now have constituencies of ten million citizens, so this is not some absurd number. The number of constituencies can of course be increased or decreased later by the DWG. This number, 700, is suggested simply as a reasonable figure, so it is possible to get things started.

We must ensure that existing governments are not unduly disturbed by what they may see as “unwelcome intrusions” into their traditional areas of competence and responsibility, just as national governments are very well advised to stay out of areas that are clearly in the jurisdictions of provinces or municipalities (even if it is not always possible). … Clear-cut separations between their respective jurisdictions [to be articulated in a constitution for the Earth (See Chapter 12.)] will facilitate such an evolution in attitudes.

Finally, although it may be necessary for our survival to have a reliable military capability at the global level, there is always the danger that it could be abused. That simply must not happen …ever. Although the potential misuse of military power at the global level is certainly not the only reason for conducting a super-clean political operation, it is a sufficient reason on its own for the permanent and full “corruption-proofing” of the DWG. Once we realize that such corruption-proofing simply has to be done, it is reassuring to realize that it can be done

The short-term and long-term political fix is the creation of a democratic world government. There have been non-governmental organizations promoting that goal for more than half a century, and there have been books written about it since the 1940s (see the bibliography). However, in spite of a flood of finely-crafted words and great efforts, a world government does not exist… How can we get it? Since our national governments will not do it, can we ordinary people authorize, empower and actually create a democratic world government?


“A world government with powers adequate to guarantee security is not a remote ideal for the distant future. It is an urgent necessity if our civilization is to survive.”
-Albert Einstein

“World government is not only possible, it is inevitable, and when it comes, it will appeal to patriotism in its truest sense, in its only sense, the patriotism of
men [and women] who love their national heritages so deeply that they wish to preserve them in safety for the common good.”
Sir Peter Ustinov, British-born actor, Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF, president of the World Federalist Movement in 1991

As a first reaction, we expect most national governments (not all) to be loudly dismissive towards the idea of a democratic world government. We must therefore determine whether we can get the job done in the absence of their support, or maybe even in spite of their opposition. We have good reason to think we can achieve our goal no matter what governments say, primarily because we believe that a strong majority of all
people will see the sense of this proposal, and demand that it be supported and carried out. At Vote World Government, our aim (as you know from the book cover) is to conduct a global referendum to authorize (assuming it passes) the creation of a democratic world government, or “DWG.”

“As in science, so it was in world politics for Einstein: he sought a unified set of principles that could create order out of anarchy. A system based on sovereign nations with their own military forces, competing ideologies and conflicting national interests would inevitably produce more wars. So he regarded a world authority as realistic rather than idealistic, as practical rather than naïve. For the remaining ten years of his life, his passion for advocating a unified governing structure for the globe would rival that for finding a unified field theory that could govern all the forces of nature.”
– Walter Isaacson, Einstein, His Life and Universe, in a chapter called “One
Worlder,” page 488

National governments should respond to the idea of democratic world government favourably. With a DWG, national governments will end up with far more money for domestic programs, and their citizens will have far greater security, and this improved national security will cost less than what each country now pays for its own military defence.

“There is only one path to peace and security: the path of supranational organization. One-sided armament on a national basis only heightens the general uncertainly and confusion without being an effective protection.”
– Albert Einstein

If every city and town had to staff and finance its own local military establishment [As was the case a few thousand years ago almost everywhere on Earth.] in order to protect against all possible invasions or attacks from all neighbouring cities or towns, it is easy to see that municipal taxes would go through the roof, and the actual security of all these municipalities would be a whole lot lower. The creation of a higher-level government (in this example, a national government) that takes responsibility for security spares municipalities most of the cost of their own security, while increasing the actual security of municipalities.

With the advent of the nation, cities and towns stopped attacking each other, and thus they no longer have to worry about potential attacks from other cities or towns—a state of affairs that appears to please everyone. This same general process, carried out on the global level (the advent of a global legal order established through a democratic world government), should have an identical effect on the attitudes of national governments and on the real security of all nations.

The first requirement for making real progress is to obtain a mandate from a majority of adult human beings.

It is possible, by using the Internet, to collect the global mandate in a manner that does not depend on the cooperation of our national governments. In fact, it gives us a way to complete the global referendum even in the face of opposition from all our national governments.

This does not mean we will all speak one language, share the same religion or blend everything we value into a kind of cultural stew—only that we can be united in our need to prevent World War III, and in our determination to create a democratic world government to ban war from the human agenda and to begin the repair of the planet’s environment (among many other things). We can put the global referendum ballot “out there” electronically, and promote it for as long as it takes to reach a point where the majority of adults are factually known and proven to be in support of the creation of a democratic world government.

If two billion adults vote for something, it is a safe bet that the thing they voted for is going to happen.

“There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come.”
Victor Hugo, 19th-century French author, statesman,
human rights campaigner (Other translations exist.)

There will never be a democratic world government in the absence of consent from the human population of Earth.  As the results of the global referendum on DWG roll in, and assuming an emerging robust win for the “yes” side, we will have the authority to set up a World Electoral Commission [How we choose representatives to the Commission is discussed in Chapter 8.] to settle (for now) all disputes over the boundaries of DWG constituencies, decide on the minimum voting age, on nomination
eligibility, on voting methodologies and a few other practical issues. This World Electoral Commission would then have to take whatever decisions are required to allow the human race to conduct a first worldwide general election, where adults can vote for their official representative to the democratic world government.

DWG will have the power to carry out its mandate, which should include the following matters as priorities:

1 Outlaw war and address its root causes;

2 Create and execute a rescue plan for the Earth’s environment, and ensure a sustainable future for the planet;

3 Establish the judicial system that will be required to ensure the full observance of its laws and the resolution of disputes in areas under its

4 Develop and promulgate the laws necessary to protect the rights of persons as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
and other globally binding instruments; and

5 Establish, train and equip a modest military peace force to ensure the full implementation of DWG policies and judicial orders in all
situations where the “enforcement” of world law is clearly the only way to resolve a dispute.

(Any use of force by the DWG must be limited to the minimum needed to prevail in a situation where a peaceful settlement cannot be negotiated with the government or governments involved, or where a government cannot or will not comply with its obligations under world law.)


The technological tool required for ordinary people to conduct the global referendum on democratic world government is, of course, the Internet.

“There is an increasing awareness of the need for some form of global government.”
– Mikhail Gorbachev, last leader of the USSR (Soviet Union)

The administrators of the Internet-based global referendum effort will do all they can do to make sure no one votes more than once.  However, to provide this assurance clearly means, perhaps unfortunately, that people will not have the luxury of a secret ballot in the first stage of this process. To vote for or against the creation of the DWG, voters will have to say who they are and how they voted (“yes” or “no” to the proposition—see the wording in Chapter 6), and that information will be posted on our website (though only the first name of each voter plus his or her country of residence will be publicly visible).  There appears to be no practical way around this, but when you think about it, we stand up for lesser things all the time as a part of being free.  People who really want a DWG will have to stand up for this goal publicly, and just overcome any fear they may have of reprisals from those who do not want to give up their right (or their country’s right) to make war, or who simply do not care about saving the world for all future generations.  However, when the time comes to hold the first global election of the DWG, it will have to be set up using voter lists and a secret ballot.

The Internet makes it possible for the human race to speak as one, to interconnect, communicate, organize and act on a global basis … and to publicly demand and get what it is that we need most—a lawful end to the international state of anarchy and a new institution of democratic global governance that is directly elected and so transparent as to be completely “corruption-free”.

At what point can we say we have the required mandate? One third of all people alive today are children under the age of 16, so from the current population of about 6 billion worldwide, 4 billion are adults (16 or older), so if every adult votes, half-plus-one of all adults, 2 billion and one, would have to vote “yes” to say we have the required mandate. However, there is no election or referendum anyplace where 100% of all eligible voters actually vote, so let’s take a moment to recalibrate. On such a serious matter as this, the half-plus-one formula normally associated with referendums is just not sufficient. To be called a truly compelling global mandate, we should have significantly more than 50% of all votes in the “yes” column, and the total turnout should be as high as possible.


“To reduce corruption effectively, some features that lead to greater transparency and accountability need to be consciously built into the design.”
– Subhash Bhatnagar, when working with the World Bank

All types and levels of governments have at one time or another proven to be corruptible, and the last thing we need is a corrupt world government.

It is possible that the global referendum held to authorize the creation of the democratic world government may not get enough “yes” votes to pass unless voters are assured that the new body will be completely transparent and therefore free of corruption from day one, verifiably so, and that it will remain that way for all time. That’s a mighty tall order. Can we achieve and guarantee such a high standard in the new global political structure? And in perpetuity? Can we make ourselves that promise? And could we keep such a promise to ourselves?

Most diplomats and politicians are in favour of transparency for otherpeople, but not so much for themselves. If we are to have a corruption-free DWG, transparency must be hoisted from its current status (a bit of a joke) to the top of our priority list. And any person who cannot stand that kind of heat should “stay out of the kitchen,” as the saying has it.

“There is no end in sight to the misuse of power by those in public office…. There is a worldwide corruption crisis.”
Peter Eigen, then-Chairperson of Transparency International announcing the Corruption Perceptions Index 2001

No company would allow employees to hide vital information from the boss, and in a democratic nation, province or city, “we, the people” are supposed to be the boss.

“Secrecy is a form of corruption … lack of transparency is a threat to democracy as lethal as stealing public funds.”
Oscar Arias, president of Costa
Rica and winner of the 1987 Nobel Peace Prize

Elected DWG representatives (or global politicians) and senior DWG civil servants should lead recorded lives, meaning they would be “wired” during working hours, and prohibited from discussing DWG business when off-duty (and not wired). In other words, while on duty, they would have to “wear” a voice-activated tape recorder—or, more precisely, the digital equivalent of same.
[See “Total recall,” by Clive Thompson, in the Ottawa Citizen, March 1, 2007, about Gordon Bell, who has totally archived the last seven years of his life. Bell works for Microsoft, and his software is called “MyLifeBits.”]

All these “while-on-duty” recordings (probably thousands of hours of “tape” every day) would then be copied and permanently archived at two separate physical locations. They would be made digitally available to the public from an independent security service charged with transcribing and posting the spoken words on the Internet, as a transcript or in audio form.  Transcripts of all recordings should be translated into all major languages on an on-demand basis.

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important affairs.”
– Albert Einstein

In these ways, all the activities of DWG officials would be 100% transparent. As well, human nature being what it is, we can know in advance that millions of people and thousands of watchdog organizations will be listening to every minute of recorded audio and poring over all the transcribed words in a search for lies, contradictions, equivocations or even the slightest indication of something scandalous or illegal.  There is no government at any level (that I am aware of) that is clean enough or sufficiently immune from corruption to serve as a model for the DWG. The governmental traditions of the past and present seem to dictate that everything is (or may be) kept secret unless there is a very good reason to make it public. There must be a new tradition at the DWG, such that everything is public unless there is a compelling reason as to why it should be kept private…

Anything said or done in the public interest must be public. Anything not public is likely not in the public’s interest.

“Corruption can destroy the strongest democracy if it is not dealt with, so fight it.”
– Former U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell

We cannot afford “politics as usual” at the world level, and this is the price our DWG representatives will have to pay…. We simply must manage our global affairs effectively, and we must manage them in a way that deserves to be called “completely open.” The penalty for not doing that may well be that we lose the chance to manage our world at all. We are confident that people will readily adapt to and embrace this kind of complete openness at the DWG.

In financial matters, the same level of transparency is needed. Every dollar received or spent by the DWG must be posted on the Internet for any amateur sleuth or any forensic accountant to analyze or question. The accounts must show how much money was spent or received, the persons involved in every transaction, and the reasons for the transfer of funds. Every dollar coming in to or going out of the DWG will be “out there,” on the Internet. This way it would be virtually impossible for the DWG to get into any financial scandal, and that is what we need at the global level, the cleanest government there could ever be—100% clean. And if science can ever perfect lie-detection, our ability to corruption-proof the DWG would be further enhanced.

If a person doesn’t want this level of transparency applied to his or her professional life, he or she should surely decide not to work for the DWG. No one is being forced to work under such conditions, but these conditions are necessary at the DWG, for the sake of all.

“Corruption hurts the poor disproportionately by diverting funds intended for development, undermining a government’s ability to provide basic services, feeding inequality and injustice, and discouraging foreign investment and aid.”
Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General, in his statement on the adoption by the General Assembly of the United Nations Convention against Corruption

We need to remember that scare tactics and a very well-financed campaign of disinformation effectively prevented the public from accepting the science behind global warming for decades, and the same kinds of dirty, dishonest tricks will likely be used to discredit the movement for democratic world government.

It is long past time that we used technology to help achieve the goal of squeaky-clean honesty in government. We can’t afford a world government, no matter how democratic it is on paper, if it is vulnerable to the corruption that infects all national, provincial (or state) and local governments upon occasion.

When you enter many government or corporate buildings, you must sign in, and whether you know it or not, your photograph is taken by security cameras, without your consent. Are they treating you like a felon, or assuming that you are a terrorist until you can prove otherwise?

“Institutions such as a world parliament and a world government would go a long way in eliminating the exclusivism based on race, region, religion and language.”
Indian Justice P.B. Sawant, President of the WAPC (World Association of Press Councils), 2004

“Nationalism is an infantile sickness. It is the measles of the human race … As a citizen of Germany [before WWII], I saw how excessive nationalism can
spread like a disease, bringing tragedy to millions … I [have no] special attachment to any state or national entity whatsoever.”
Albert Einstein


For some people, the term “world government” might imply an emphasis on executive powers (as those exercised by the president of a republic), but “democratic world government” does not have that implication, for the good reason that democracy (as stated elsewhere) means governance by and for the people. The directly-elected parliament would have the final authority over all government policies, agencies or departments. While it may be that a Secretary General and an executive are desirable things to have in a DWG, they would be under the ultimate control of the global parliament. Nations will likely always exist, since they have many positive qualities. But national governments are the problem by virtue of their claim to be the “top-of-the-food-chain” in power.

Nations can no longer be permitted the freedom to use force to get what they want. That is one “freedom” the DWG must take away from them (just as the creation of “the nation” took the freedom to go to war away from provinces, cities and individuals). If we are to abolish war, we have to negotiate or arbitrate final solutions to all international disputes, and nothing short of a DWG will ensure that that takes place

“There is no first step to world government; world government is the first step.”
– Emery Reves, The Anatomy of Peace, 1945


“Am I going to get stuck with yet another tax bill every year?”
Governments are financed by taxes, so the answer is yes. The DWG will need to raise money to operate, and one way or another those dollars (or yen or roubles, etc.) are going to come out of the pockets of individuals. The DWG will need the power to levy taxes in order to function and do its very important work. And because those who elect members of the global parliament are individual humans (not national governments, corporations or other entities), it is entirely appropriate that we should be taxed directly.

However, there is also some good news that will come as a pleasant surprise. Once you are paying world taxes and the DWG is doing its job, your overall tax bill should decrease rather than increase.

Collective security through a DWG will cost only a fraction of what it now costs for each sovereign nation to try independently to achieve actual security against all potential attacks from all other nations.

A grab-what-you-can free-for-all is how life really was when every individual was, in effect, sovereign. In nature, before tools and civilization, the rule was the so-called law of the jungle, meaning “every man (or woman or family or tribe) for himself (or herself or itself), and the devil (or a predator, more likely) take the hindmost.”

And throughout history, it was through the restriction of individual sovereignty that security was achieved.

In spite of the loss of some freedoms (the freedom to murder all those who annoy you, for example), our real safety and overall freedoms were expanded and assured under the collective security arrangements that were established within our cities and nations. No one today would seriously recommend that we turn back the clock and revert to “every man for himself” within all our nations.

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”
– Dwight D. Eisenhower

It would not surprise me if, after the DWG has been in operation for a few years, the overall tax load on the average person will be reduced by five percent or more as a direct result of the collective security provided to all of us by the DWG. War would be against world law, banned and abolished, and a start would be made in reducing the ability of nations to make war, which in every way is far more valuable than any amount of saved money. The money now used up by nations to pay for its soldiers and military tools should amount to a huge peace dividend for national governments and populations, which could be used to benefit the national population either as a tax reduction, service improvements or as some combination of the two.

“Unless some effective world supergovernment for the purpose of preventing war can be set up … the prospects for peace and human progress are dark…. If … it is found possible to build a world organization of irresistible force and inviolable authority for the purpose of securing peace, there are no limits to the blessings which all men [and women] enjoy and share.”
– Winston Churchill, 1947

To reduce bureaucracy, all DWG taxes should be collected by national governments in the same way as they collect their national taxes, and such monies would be remitted to the DWG (perhaps with interest on accounts over 30 days late). All monies “collected for the DWG” are never the property of the national government that collected them.

In regions of deep poverty, a reasonable head tax might be established and paid to the DWG out of the proceeds from the sale of export licenses to purchasers of the nation’s natural resources. For special projects (or as a general rule), a DWG should be free to accept no-strings-attached financial donations from governments, corporations, NGOs, charities or individuals… as long as such gifts are subject to all of the transparency or corruption-proofing rules and procedures of the DWG.


“The only way to escape our dilemma is to put world law above the national governments, and to make a parliament to create such world law, we need to
constitute this world parliament by way of global elections in which all people will vote.”
– Albert Camus

Before the first general election of Members of the Global Parliament (MGPs) can take place, the geographic areas of the DWG constituencies will have to be defined, or at least tentatively decided upon, as fairly and reasonably as possible. Because we are talking about the architecture of a democratic world parliament, the basis for political representation within the DWG must be by population—or “rep by pop,” as the saying has it. No other basis affirms the political equality of all people, and because that principle is so important for all true democrats, no other basis is needed.

Before there is a world parliament, then, we have to establish a World Electoral Commission to prepare for and to manage the first global general election of representatives (MGPs) to the DWG (among other duties), and we must create a world constitution to serve as the foundation, the primary world law upon which all else is built.

The World Electoral Commission is a precursor to the DWG, so let’s assume it should therefore have as many members as the world parliament would have MGPs (Members of the Global Parliament). This produces a theoretical World Electoral Commission of 700 (or so) persons. That un-elected body must approve (by majority vote) the constituency boundary decisions coming from the smaller group of electoral commissioners in a given country. any nation’s commissioners would be members of the World Electoral Commission and since the World Electoral Commission must deal with issues such as voter eligibility, minimum age, scrutineering (the observation of a voting process to assure fairness and prevent duplicate votes), the Chief Electoral Officer of that nation (or of any provinces or cities within that nation) can certainly advise on these and other related matters.

This World Electoral Commission exists for only two purposes—to get constituency boundaries settled worldwide, and to be sure the first global election of MGPs goes ahead smoothly.

“A federation of all humanity, together with a sufficient measure of social justice to ensure health, education, and a rough equality of
opportunity, would mean such a release and increase of human energy as to open up a new phase in human history.”
– H.G. Wells, The Outline of History, 1922

If the world constitution is not ratified as the result of this vote, it must be remembered that humanity has still decided to create the DWG, so the MGPs that are elected would still have to go to work, but instead of diving into the real global issues (banning war and protecting the environment), they will have to figure out why the draft constitution failed, and prepare a second draft constitution for voters to consider at a later date. Although this scenario would result in a very significant delay, it is a price we must be prepared to pay to maintain the principles of democracy.

To adequately cover a constituency of say 9 million people (this translates to 6 million adults, or eligible voters, assuming that the minimum voting age is 16) would require a sizeable team of monitors and technical experts, as well as locally-enlisted scrutineers.
There is no sense denying that the logistics and costs of this effort are daunting, and for that reason alone, every effort will be made to get national governments to not only permit the DWG general election to take place in tandem with national elections, but to foot the bill for it as well. If ordinary people and civil society are getting the global referendum done at a pace that says it will be completed in a few years, national governments will sense that this represents a “sea change,” or a political “paradigm shift” that will change everything, forever.

Or maybe the first major infusion of capital to the DWG (which could perhaps be paid to the UN in trust) will come from ordinary people who decide to start paying their DWG taxes before they are required to do that. This kind of altruistic behaviour doesn’t sound like many of the people you know at the moment, I’m sure, but if the deep sense of urgency that drove this initiative spreads to the folks who live on “Main Street, Earth,” we may discover that millions of people are willing to pull together and make financial sacrifices for the protection of their actual “homeland,” Earth.

Just as us individuals prosper best in disarmed neighbourhoods, nations will have a lot more real sovereignty, real security and real prosperity after the establishment of the DWG, compared with what they had before. But there is simply no way around the stark fact that some restrictions on national sovereignty are going to be part of the “package” by which humans finally achieve world sovereignty and world security. There will be clarion calls for caution, and there will be lots of serious fear-mongering, but by the time those noises die down, we will be left with the same equations, and the same choices. Theoretically, it should become increasingly hard to sell any rationalization for any war based on traditional fears as humanity moves away from the “jungle mentality” and embraces “civilization” to the fullest.

The addition of a democratic world government to the planet’s political landscape does not negate national sovereignty—except insofar as nation states will no longer be allowed to make war or destroy the environment.

“… this planet must to some degree be brought under unified control. Our task, our duty, is to attempt to institute this unified control in a democratic way …”
– Emery Reves, The Anatomy of Peace, 1945


“The United Nations is an extremely important and useful institution provided the peoples and governments of the world realize that it is merely a transitional system toward the final goal, which is the establishment of a supranational authority vested with sufficient legislative and executive powers to keep the peace.”
Albert Einstein
[Einstein could have added “judicial” to his list of powers, of course. This was likely nothing more than an oversight (even a genius can have those).]

However, what we should ask of the UN directly in the short term are these three things:

1)  The General Assembly of the UN should help humanity get the global referendum done by passing a resolution calling on every UN member state to conduct a national referendum (on the establishment of a DWG) in conjunction with its next national election (see draft UN resolution in Appendix #2; we can ignore the fact that some governments will likely never do it, since we can fall back on Internet voting in such cases).

2)  UN ambassadors and their staff should help the (pre-DWG) World Electoral Commission make optimal boundary decisions for DWG constituencies within their respective nations.

3)  Each UN mission should draw up a list of suggestions with regard to the construction of a world constitution (an effort that should soon be underway— see Chapter 12).


The authority or effect of the mandate that would derive from such a planetary effort will no doubt be challenged by many existing powers. Referendums are ordinarily conducted under the authority of a national, provincial (state) or municipal government, in accordance with laws or resolutions that those various governments enact. Because we are considering a global referendum, and since no global government exists at this time, we cannot claim that kind of authoritative sanction for it. There are, however, many analogous precedents and legal principles to support both the process and the binding effect of such a global referendum.  In past centuries, governments and nations have been created, if not directly by “the people,” at least with their basic support or acquiescence.  Constitutions creating a higher level of government were written and ratified by the victors in revolutions and wars, or by the leaders of “lesser” states wishing (or forced) to unite to form a much stronger state to defeat an internal or external threat. These founding documents are often not ratified directly by the people involved, but gain their credibility and authority indirectly, through subsequent support of their drafters, and/or a willing adherence to their terms by the people affected.

A “universal” right or power, residing in the individual, can’t be constrained by national boundaries. It is universally recognized that the “will of the people” is the basis of all political power and authority and, accordingly, it follows that a clear expression of that “will” must be given effect to by all national governments.

There must be a significant majority voting in favour for the DWG’s authority to be respected enough for its laws to be enforceable.

We, the people of the Earth, have a fundamental human right to delegate the exercise of one more aspect of our sovereignty to a democratic world government, if that is what we deem to be in our self-interest.


The distinction between surrendering aspects or elements of our personal sovereignty and delegating them is important.

When humans delegate some of their individual sovereignty to a municipal government, it is not a loss. Indeed, it is a gigantic net gain… (garbage pick-up, public parks, snow removal, public libraries, policing, sewage systems, water delivery, some social services, and an economic environment suitable to companies that employ some of the people in our area, etc.).

Humanity is free to authorize yet another “layer” of governance, and a positive vote from a global referendum would be the obvious and the most democratic way to legally authorize such a choice.

If the human race is “a people” in the legal definition of the term, then it can be argued cogently that the human race is legally entitled to govern itself globally.

That is a right I claim, a human right that I think all people really do have, and should now claim, out loud. And if this legal basis is rejected, we can still fall back on the politics of the situation as described above—complete the global referendum, then dare anyone to tell the entire human race to get stuffed.

“We prefer world law in the age of self-determination to world war in the age of mass extermination.”
– John F. Kennedy, in a speech to the UN General Assembly, 1961


A democratic world government should exist not to represent the 194 nations of the world, but to represent the human race as a whole (although every elected MGP is also there to represent all the citizens who live in his or her DWG constituency).  National governments can help us generate a draft world constitution, but they must not bully other participants in the drafting process in the way they traditionally bully each other. Keeping national governments at arm’s length is necessary because of their failure at the two pivotal m oments in history when the League of Nations and the UN were designed. Humanity cannot afford to make the same mistakes a third time.

As the Robert Hutchins’ group said back in 1948 (see Appendix #7), “World government is necessary, therefore it is possible.”

By now you might be wondering, “It all seems so simple. Why wasn’t this done before?” Well, it isn’t exactly simple, but I hope by now you are convinced it can be done … if you and I and our friends and relatives and their acquaintances are able and willing to take a few minutes to vote, and urge others to do likewise. To NGO or CSO leaders I say this. Although the constitutional framing process will require huge resources that (likely) only states can provide, getting the global referendum to a point where it has “Big Mo” (“momentum”) will take little of your time and virtually no money. Do themath. The mandate of your organization will be far easier to realize with a DWG in place than it is now. Please ask your organization to join in with the “Friends of Democratic World Government,” and ask other NGOs or CSOs to do likewise.

“L’ONU doit aller vers un gouvernement mondial.
The UN must evolve towards a world government.”
Jacques Delors

“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved through understanding.”
– Albert Einstein


“To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.”
– Winston Churchill

Democratic government may be a messy business, but it is surely always preferable to war, or to a non-democratic government, or to an absence of political structure where there is an obvious need for governance, as is the case right now at the global level. It is difficult (if not impossible) to argue convincingly that things would get worse than they are now if we were to build a new political body at the global level.

“A great wind is blowing and that gives you either imagination or a headache.”
– Catherine the Great

The struggle to outlaw war and rid ourselves of terror is not going to be won by any one nation, or even a group of nations. Violence-for-gain in all its forms has to be banned by the people, by the human race, by our species as a whole, and not by sending national armies into another nation to do regime change, but rather through a variety of pressures and incentives from a new people’s parliament, meaning a democratic world government. In a few years, the era of the armed-and-war-capable nation state must end too, because that is a precondition for the survival of humanity, as Albert Einstein (and many others) have said. The creation of a directly-elected, representative and democratic world government is surely the only realistic foundation on which we can tackle all of the other supranational problems that bedevil us—racism, climate change, pollution, HIV/AIDS, overpopulation, poverty, and more. A global referendum appears to be the only democratic instrument through which the human race could insist upon and authorize the construction and permanent operation of such an institution.

“A world under law is realistic and attainable.”
– Former UN Secretary-General U Thant

Those who want democratic global governance must remember that democracy rests upon and requires the consent of the people, the consent of the governed. That principle applies globally as well as nationally or locally. Before trying to create a world parliament, we must get the necessary consent in hand so we know we are not imposing something on the human race that it does not want. We can easily reduce the goal to a simple ballot question such as: “Do you support the creation of a directly-elected, representative and democratic world government?” The Internet allows us to at least kick-start a global referendum on whether we ought to create such a new world body. The job of finishing a global referendum may well require the passage of a UN resolution and some participation by national governments, but that level of cooperation is unlikely to emerge until we have a “people-power parade” marching down the main street in every city and town in the world—figuratively speaking, anyway—a “yes” campaign that appears to be winning in all nations. Opinion polls are not enough (as mentioned earlier), but if the numbers in such opinion polls are favourable to our cause, they can help us prove our point and acquire allies.

Humanity is ready for a change in direction, and we expect that a powerful species-wide mandate (66.7%+) exists for the creation of a democratic world government.

It is time for people to decide whether they are for democracy or not. If we are for it, then we must surely be “for it” at the global level, and we have to improve it with whatever corruption-proofing or “transparency” measures and technologies are available to us. And if we are for democracy at the global level, we must face the disturbing fact that we don’t have it yet, and recognize that we now know exactly what we have to do to get it.

If you haven’t done this yet, please go now to www.voteworldgovernment.org and cast your vote in the global referendum on democratic world government, then contact your friends and family and ask them to do likewise.

Rescue Plan for Planet Earth
Democratic World Government through a Global Referendum

Jim Stark
Founder, NGO Vote World Government (now called Vote
World Parliament)


2008 Jim Stark