The Evolution of Human Consciousness and the Earth Constitution: A Necessary Integration of Ends and Means

Glen T. Martin

June 2019

 

What is the role of the Earth Constitution in the evolution of human consciousness?  This is a question that comes up repeatedly in discussions of the meaning and significance of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth. In addressing questions as to why we should be active supporters of the Earth Constitution, I find myself continually coming back to its role in the evolution of our consciousness. It serves not only as the end or goal that we strive for (planetary peace, justice, and sustainability) but also as the necessary means to make this happen. In this paper, I hope to explain more fully what we mean when we connect this Constitution, as both ends and means, with the process of moral and spiritual growth.

Current Literature on the Evolution of Consciousness

In the past 50 years, many psychologists, philosophers, and spiritual thinkers have addressed the question of the evolution of consciousness.  There is a broad consensus that our general human orientation grows and can grow through several stages that apply universally to human beings. (Hence, they are not culture dependent.)  If we integrate the thought of Lawrence Kohlberg (1984), Carol Gilligan (1982), James Fowler (1981), Eric Fromm (1996), Jürgen Habermas (1979), Ken Wilber (2007), and Abraham Maslow (2014), we can come up with a picture of human growth that looks something like the following.

We begin life with an egoistic orientation that is centered on our perceived self and its needs. In many people this orientation may become more refined and sophisticated as we grow older but remains the basic characteristic of our world view and behavioral model. Many people modify this egoistic orientation when they become socialized by their cultural group and the larger society.  The shift takes place from primarily egoistic focus to group focus and acceptance of own’s culture has knowing the “right way of doing things,” making the cultures of others appear to be ignorant and misguided. Our orientation becomes ethnocentric. This also often functions as a new mode of egoism: collective egoism.

Proper human growth moves beyond ethnocentrism into a worldcentric orientation (see Wilber 2007).  We now see that “truth” transcends the ways it is appropriated in any particular culture and world view. This is true in values as in religion and spirituality (Fowler 1981, Agnivesh 2015). We see that all cultures share or participate in the truth to a certain extent and that there is no culture that is self-evidently superior to the rest, as ethnocentrists often believe of their own culture, or of the world system as deriving from their cultural traditions (e.g., “Western” or “Eastern” culture). The worldcentric perspective now sees human civilization and all human beings as one great evolutionary movement that supersedes and dwarfs any of its component parts.

The emergence of a worldcentric orientation opens a person or group to a larger, more dynamic, multidimensional set of options and orientations. Truth takes on depths and heights largely unknown at the earlier levels. Kohlberg (1984) stresses autonomy.  At this level, one’s ideas are not simply believed because the group believes them but are subjected to critical self-examination in the light of coherence, consistency, and rational, intersubjective grounding. He identifies two sublevels within the range of autonomy, showing that the process of growth continues within each main level. We can continue to grow in rationality, autonomy, and worldcentric maturity throughout our adult lives. In his 1784 essay “What is Enlightenment?” Immanuel Kant was clearly speaking of this level of maturity by defining “enlightenment” as the condition of finding out for oneself and not passively taking one’s beliefs from another (Kant 1957).

GENERIC STAGES OF GROWTH TOWARD MATURITY
Egocentric (egoistic)—the obsessive self-regarding orientation of childhood, immature adults, and collective group identifications.

 

Ethnocentric—thinking that (often unconsciously) gives ontological priority to one’s own culture, religion, or nation, or that takes the ontological status of sovereign nation-states as an authentic reality.

 

Worldcentric—developing intellectual autonomy along with compassion, care, and universal rational principles applying to all humanity (and often to all life on Earth). Living from the unity and diversity at the foundation of both the cosmos and human existence.

 

Cosmocentric-Integral—harmonizing masculine and feminine elements within the whole of one’s being, integrating a dynamic cosmic consciousness of unity in diversity within our historical and personal lives, living with ever-greater direct awareness of the holistic, ineffable depths of existence.

 

 

 

The worldcentric level also helps open a person to cosmic awareness, that is to cosmocentric and integral levels of growth. This often begins with the astonishment that anything at all exists, with astonishment that the world exists (as Wittgenstein put this in his 1929 “Lecture on Ethics”). Similarly, in his Critique of Practical Reason, Kant (1956) speaks of being filled with wonder and awe at “the starry skies above and the moral law within.” This awakening can deepen with the kind of questioning indicated in the mid-twentieth century work of Martin Heidegger who posited (following Leibniz) the most fundamental philosophical question as “Why is there something rather than nothing?”  Meditation and mindfulness deepen this awareness, and people begin to come upon the Cosmic Consciousness described by mystics of every persuasion and tradition, a consciousness that itself contains levels of ascent into higher stages of awareness (cf. Wilber 2007).

In this extensive literature on the evolution of consciousness, distinctions are often made among a variety of ways in which human beings can grow through these or other, similarly identified stages.  Ken Wilber refers to the diagram of these patterns of growth as a “Psychograph” (2007, p. 25). One can grow with respect to any of these dimensions: cognitive, emotional, interpersonal, psychosexual, moral, and spiritual. Generally (but not necessarily) growth follows a consistent pattern through each area: a cosmocentric consciousness will embrace corresponding moral, emotional, cognitive, etc., levels of growth.

The same kind of development characterizes human civilization across subjective, cultural, scientific, and organizational dimensions.  Wilber charts this development in a graph that he calls AQUAL (All quadrants, all levels). In my recent book Global Democracy and Human Self-Transcendence (2018), I adapted Wilber’s chart in order to express my own concerns about the impediments to human evolutionary development presented by the capitalist economic system and the global sovereign state political system.

In the chart below you can see a reflection of the broad literature on the evolution of human consciousness and corresponding developments for culture, governmental systems, and scientific processes. I characterize the evolving human self (in the upper left quadrant) as having moved from a primitive stage of “magic” through an egocentric self, a mythic self, an achiever self, toward a “maturing human self” and finally a “holistic self.”  Similar developmental patterns are shown in the lower left quadrant depicting human culture, the upper right depicting the development of science, and the lower right depicting economic and governmental systems.

In the lower right, the organizational stages can be identified as moving from ethnic tribes, to God-king dynasties, to feudal empires, to sovereign territorial states, to “maturing of human institutions,” to “Earth Federation under the Earth Constitution.”  However, as the chart shows, at our current level of sovereign territorial states dominated by global capitalism, these institutions serve as active impediments to further growth in all four quadrants.  These institutions block human subjective maturity by exacerbating hate, fear, and insecurity. They block civilizational cultural maturity in the same way (for example, with their war and “terrorism” propaganda). They colonize science into war research and production, and clearly, they prevent the maturing of human institutions beyond the egoism of capitalism and the ethnocentrism of sovereign nation-states.

chart

Human beings are currently living through a very difficult period of impasse, of blockage, akin to the blockage of a storm-system spoken of by climate scientists (see Romm 2018, p. 44).  A storm can get “stuck” and significantly worsen the damage that it does. Today, instead of moving forward in our civilizational and spiritual development, we are blocked by a capitalism and militarized nation-state system that threaten our very existence on this planet.

Thinkers about the dynamics of human history from Hegel to Marx to Marcuse, have pointed out the relationship between human consciousness and the institutional structures within which we live. The structures foster a certain consciousness in people. In the case of capitalism and the system of sovereign nation-states, there is a great tendency to produce egocentric (greedy, selfish) and ethnocentric (nationalistic, fixated on borders and exclusion) forms of personality. Psychologist and social thinker Eric Fromm describes this dialectical relationship as follows:

The physical survival of the human race depends on a radical change in the human heart…. And a change in the human heart is possible only to the extent that drastic economic and social changes occur that give the human heart the chance for change and the courage and vision to achieve it (1996, p. 9-10)

The evolution of human consciousness is directly linked to the institutions within which we live. Hence, the promotion of cognitive, moral, and spiritual maturity is directly related to our promotion of fundamental institutional changes. If the current system is blocking our growth, then the quest to change that system is also the quest to further evolve human consciousness. If we ratify the Constitution for the Federation of Earth, people sometimes ask, “will it then be taken over by the same ignorant tyrants who now dominate the Earth?” Not likely, because to change the system also changes people.  Fromm writes: “It follows that man will obtain the full capacity for objectivity and reason only when a society of man is established above all particular divisions of the human race, when loyalty to the human race and it its ideals is considered the prime loyalty that exists” (1950, p. 58).

When people live within a framework that recognizes them all as world citizens first, prior to their race, religion, or nationality, and demands of them global civic responsibilities, then their worldcentric consciousness will rapidly emerge, along with a hitherto unrealized capacity for objectivity and reason. Working for ratification of the Earth Constitution, therefore, is both a means and an end. The very fact of working for it and talking about it raises people’s consciousness, and its ratification would be nothing short of transformative.

Another classic expression of the process of spiritual growth comes from the pioneering work of Clare Graves that was developed and articulated in a systematic and compelling manner by Don Beck and Christopher Cowan in their book Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership, and Change (2006). The process of growth is not linear but can be likened to a spiral movement along which we can identify certain landmarks or “MEMES” in the ascent. Beck and Cowan designate certain colors to represent the MEMEs, the most primitive being Beige, then Purple designating early tribal groups, Red for the level of empires and power-based relationships, Blue for purpose-based systems and personalities (perhaps characterizing medieval social and personal characteristics).

At the Orange level, the spiral moves into a more contemporary form, representing an achievement orientation that emphasizes autonomy and strategic planning. Beyond this people can move into the Green MEME characterized by pluralism, egalitarianism, willingness to innovate and experiment, and tolerance for broad diversity. The qualities represented by these color codes are not mutually exclusive and earlier tendencies can emerge and recede as we move up the spiral.

The highest levels in Beck and Cowan’s system of spiral dynamics are Yellow and Turquoise. At these levels, we move beyond “First Tier” thinking that cannot transcend the old paradigm and remains mired to a great extent in the apparent determinism of history and society. Second Tier thinking makes real transformation possible, since it sees the dynamics of the whole process and the integral nature of breakthroughs, paradigm-shifts, and awakenings in human development. Second Tier thinking arises at the Yellow and Turquoise levels. Here “quantum change” becomes possible and people can become “spiritual wizards” because they rise above the apparent causal conditioning and entrapped thinking associated with the First Tier paradigm.

These levels broadly correspond to the worldcentric and emerging cosmocentric levels defined by Ken Wilber and others, summarized above. The Yellow MEME activates insight into broad patterns of social, cultural, spiritual and organizational phenomena and enhances the process of integration from a worldcentric point of view. The Purple MEME emphasizes a spiritual awakening into an integral harmony in which the One and the many merge in dynamic unity in diversity. Things are seen differently. The oneness behind diversity emerges clearly into awareness and the old paradigm, mired in an apparently irredeemable fragmentation, is understood to be an illusion. (See Chap. 5 of my 2005 book Millennium Dawn for a study of this “integrative mysticism.”)

World Federalism exhibiting various levels of Worldcentric Awareness

 

World federalism can, of course, mean different things to different people. There is a tendency, especially in North America, to associate “federalism” with states’ rights, that is, with the degree of autonomy the subordinate units have vis-à-vis the central government. Nevertheless, as a worldwide movement, world federalism exhibits a broad conceptual coherence centering on the idea of the need for a world government, especially a democratic world government, to bring law, order, justice, and freedom to our beleaguered planet.  Nations are not abolished but become states within the world federal system.

World federalism clearly manifests aspects of a worldcentric consciousness, emphasizing, as it does, the need for humanity to unite under one world government and the rule of law. However, it is important to reflect on why the world federalist movement has not triumphed in human affairs. Why has humanity not moved into a worldcentric level of maturity in which the need for democratic world law appears self-evident? Perhaps the movement behind world federalism itself has not been representative of a fully developed worldcentric consciousness, and perhaps, as indicated above, the present world system blocks further growth.

Many of its proponents appear to have remained at the level of the Green MEME which emphasizes pluralism and tolerance in ways that undermine revolutionary ascent to a clear unity in diversity of humankind. Pluralists often have trouble discerning certain perspectives as clearly truer and better than others. They often think that they are being “democratic” when we give equal time to nonsense, regressive ideas, and lower level expressions of immaturity. They give equal air-time to the neo-Nazi demagogue and the advocate of world peace as if this were the democratic and morally right thing to do.

They work toward a world federal government through these kinds of “democratic” processes, not realizing that this pluralistic and relativistic conception of democracy hinders and defeats human ascent to our true destiny in higher levels of awakening and maturity. However, the world federalist idea of one world under the rule of enforceable democratically legislated law is not just “one more perspective” within an egalitarian pluralistic field of ideas. Nor is it just one option among a range of options to be given fair expression and “equal opportunity.” The Neo-Nazi is wrong; the Chicago school of globalized neo-liberal economics is wrong (see Klein 2008); the UN treaty system of militarized sovereign nation states loosely affiliated under the UN Charter is wrong. Real world federalism has a backbone and stands for what is right. It stands for a human maturity higher than that comprehended by many within the pluralistic Green MEME.

One of the first explicit conceptualizers of this idea as non-negotiable and morally right was Immanuel Kant. In the late 18th century, he understood that the global political system of sovereign nation-states was inherently a war-system and, as such, was immoral. This system is immoral, for Kant, because the fundamental imperative of morality (the “Categorical Imperative”) demands that human beings relate to one another as free, equal, and responsible citizens under universal laws, never as lawless combatants attempting to determine what is right through the force of arms. Might does not make right, however much the pluralist might want to give this concept equal time.

If we are to achieve real world peace, Kant argued in his 1795 essay on “Perpetual Peace” (1957), we need to make every state democratic and simultaneously unite all the states in a federation under “a republican constitution similar to a national constitution.”  This theoretical framework remains foundational for world federalism. Insofar as human beings are morally required to live under universal laws protecting the freedom, equality and liberty of each person, we are also morally required to establish world government for our planet. Kant’s demand was unequivocal, but far ahead of its time. As a broad political movement, world federalism did not begin until World War I when some leaders of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom realized that this horrific global war was not a matter of “good versus evil nations,” but rather was a consequence of the system itself of militarized sovereign nation-states.

The movement continued to grow and flourish between the wars and became very widespread after World War II. It produced a powerful literature ranging from Emery Reves’ The Anatomy of Peace (1946) to Albert Camus’ Neither Victims Nor Executioners (1986), both first published in 1946. From some of the directions the movement took in the late 1940s and early 50s, we can begin to discern various levels of consciousness within the movement. There were many world federalist groups at that time, large and small, but there developed four main emphases of the movement that reflected differing levels of awareness and understanding. These modes of awareness form part of the dynamics of human spiritual evolution.

The first direction included many world federalists who immediately began trying to reform the UN as soon as it was founded in 1945. They wanted the UN, of course, to be more democratic, to be more like a government (with some authority), and to have some mechanisms for enforcing peace and disarming the nations. They also wanted to eliminate the veto power of the five permanent members (see Martin 2010).

However, they lacked the level of a developed worldcentric perspective that understands the failed nature of capitalism and the self-contradictory nature of the system of sovereign nation-states.  That is, a “sovereign” nation takes its stand on its government being the ultimate legal authority within its territory while at the same time denying that it should itself submit to any authority of the rule of law. In its foreign policy, every nation is a defacto anarchist, refusing to admit the legitimacy of any law above itself. Its very claim to legal sovereignty and authority undercuts the possibility of world law. The attempt to reform the UN often accepts this UN system of militarized, sovereign territorial nation-states as legitimate (or somewhat legitimate) while attempting to improve it and make it “more democratic.” This appears as the Green MEME in operation.

Similarly, capitalism (integral to the UN system from very early on) had already been exposed by Karl Marx as based on a number of fundamental structural contradictions. These structural contradictions meant that the system is immoral and needs to be replaced by a morally grounded economics. However, the Green MEME is never revolutionary. It wants to compromise and make incremental improvements, never true structural transformation. What is necessary, of course, is not simply abolishing the UN, but rather replacing its flawed Charter. The UN, as a collection of worthwhile agencies (such as the World Health Organization, WHO), could and should be preserved. But the self-contradictory UN Charter must be replaced by a real constitution for governing the Earth. This group of world federalists did not fully understand these fundamental principles.

They repeatedly tried to make small changes to the UN, for example, toward giving the International Court of Justice (ICJ) more binding authority. This group, and their successors, have worked in vain from then until now without achieving any significant reform of the UN. They have contributed little success to the movement toward real world government, except, perhaps, by illustrating the principle that the UN cannot be reformed. The consciousness of this group of world federalists has not yet fully transcended the ethnocentric perspective, even when their thought has grown beyond dogmatism to an international pluralism. Their perspective believes there is some substantial reality or value in the system of sovereign nations. They believe we need to dialogue with the nations to make incremental improvements, such as fewer wars, or fewer deaths from starvation, or fewer violations of human rights. The need for the oneness of true integration, that is, fundamental system change, eludes them.

A second contingent of world federalists at the close of the Second World War at first seemed to exhibit a somewhat wider and deeper awareness arising from a worldcentric perspective.  They decided to promote the regional integration of Europe, thereby perhaps laying the groundwork for regional integrations elsewhere and some possible integration of all regions in the future in the form of a world government. As we know, they were partly successful, creating a European Union with some significant authority but, sadly, retaining the military of each member state of the Union (and hence its sovereignty), and retaining a capitalist-based banking and monetary arrangement that continues the financial debt-system under which each of the sovereign nations is enslaved to gigantic, privately funded banking cartels (see Brown 2007).

The recent fates of Greece and Ireland illustrate the latter point and show the overwhelming weakness of this “union.” Not only do the world federalists promoting European union often fail to recognize the absolute imperative for the unity in diversity of humanity as a whole, their unity-project has now become a new ethnocentrism in which Europe functions as a military, economic, and power block among other international players within a fragmented human situation. The worldcentrism of this group remains precarious and tentative, and, to a certain extent, as ethnocentric as the previous group.

A third direction that world federalists took after World War II was to look forward to creating a widespread collection of world citizens to be elected as delegates for an eventual constituent assembly that would then draft a constitution for the Earth through a slow, pragmatic, and politically practical, developmental process.  Some in this group did not share the same naivete concerning the UN as the first group above apparently did.  Also, some in this group did not share the inflated expectations for the effect a European Union would have on the world-historical movement towards One Earth under a single constitution.

Nevertheless, the central assumptions of this third group place them in the lower ranges of those exhibiting a worldcentric perspective. These groups and individuals, perhaps best described as “social evolutionaries,” fail to ascend to a worldcentrism free of the old, ethnocentric, structurally fragmented system. They cannot manage to liberate their comprehension fully from the atomized world system of sovereign nation-states and globalized economics. As Errol E. Harris (2000) puts it, they fail to move from the fragmented early-modern paradigm (under which today’s world system was born) to the holistic contemporary paradigm. They labor under the illusion that this system can be reformed, and, like the first two groups, lack the higher worldcentric orientation awakened to the fact that this system itself is mired in egocentric, ethnocentric, and pluralistic assumptions that cannot be evolved or reformed but must be transcended.

The World Federalist Party today, for example, still attempts to reform and evolve the failed world system in the name of an improved future that eliminates some of the worst features of today’s territorial, war, and exploitation system. A recent section of their manifesto reads as follows:

 

THE WORLD FEDERALIST PARTY MANIFESTO

         The World Federalist Party seeks to work with existing parties in the UK (Labour, Liberal Democrat, SNP, Plaid Cymru, Green etc.) and with Green and Federalist parties globally, but also calls for a World Constitutional Conference to be sponsored by as many of the world’s people, parliaments and governments as possible, and aimed at producing an instrument for federal democratic world governance that builds on the supranational democracy of international unions such as the EU, and that is fit to replace the UN with a federal democratic global body capable of making and enforcing laws to control MNCs, arms production and the use of arms by nation-states, and to protect humanity from global pollution, climate change and extremes of inequality, and from nationalist and religious fanatics, while facilitating the devolution and localisation of all other aspects of government.  (see www.federalunion.org.uk and www.wfm.org/)

This paragraph is typical of many world federalist organizations. The movement apparently thinks that a coalition of parties within the current world system can someday call a constituent assembly, at which time they will struggle to write a world constitution acceptable to the powers that be, that undoubtedly will be compromising with opposing views in an international democratic process directed toward controlling weapons, multinational corporations, pollution, religious fanatics, etc. Their vague ideals have no concrete expression stating that THIS is what the world needs, but rather express a hope that some cooperative process might work to improve the world in the direction of these abstract ideals. It should be clear that this document is an expression of a truly weak and hopelessly compromised set of First Tier, Green MEME, ideals that have not encountered the fundamental paradigm-shift that lifts persons and groups to Second Tier integral, creative, and transformative action. Nor does it evidence awareness of the dialectical character of human social history.

Moving through the levels of human development involves reorienting assumptions at each level, transcending and leaving behind previous, more immature levels. In the process of growth (as in the process of scientific paradigm-shifts as described by Thomas Kuhn, 1962), many incremental little steps and discontinuities can culminate in a reorientation of the whole and awakening to a new way of thinking and being. At a certain point in the process of moving through developmental stages, one becomes aware of the entire process and becomes free to use the process in the service of further growth. We move from social evolutionaries to become creative non-violent revolutionaries, which is what, for example, was achieved by Mahatma Gandhi. That is why he was called “great soul” (Mahatma). He lived from the unity in diversity at the heart of the cosmos, not from some practical and pragmatic patterns of compromise and perpetually delayed action.

The World Federalist Party, as represented by this quote, has not yet grasped the dialectical relation between institutions and human consciousness. They believe they can evolve a fragmented world system toward unity, when in fact that very fragmentation (sovereign nation-states within global capitalism) fights against its own transformation. Fromm asks “how can man become so profoundly transformed that the values he has hitherto only recognized ideologically, become compelling motives for his personality and his action?” (1996, p. 95). The answer requires simultaneous institutional and personal transformative action. Passion and action for ratifying the Earth Constitution in the here and now embodies authentic transformative action. Patiently trying to organize some future “constitutive assembly” does not.

Beck and Cowen identify this transformative freedom with breakthrough to the “Second Tier” in the process of awakening and growth (moving beyond Green to Yellow and then Turquoise stages). This World Federalist Party Manifesto reveals this same pluralist, First Tier, evolutionary thinking. They cannot take their stand on the true unity in diversity of the human situation here and now, but forever want to postpone, to gradually realize some ideal rather than demanding what needs to be affirmed here and now. Their ideologically held values have not yet become
“compelling motives for personality and action.” They do not live from the One: Unity-in-Diversity prior to mere ideals. None of the three groupings described above exhibit Second Tier characteristics. They refuse to seize “the tide” of growth and awakening in human affairs, but rather, as in the words of Shakespeare, remain “bound in shallows and in miseries” associated with a dominant world system that cannot be reformed but must be transcended.

Those who have broken through to a more fully developed world consciousness and have likely begun the ascent into a cosmic consciousness are often no longer content with a slow, contingent, hesitant process of social evolution leading eventually to One World (we hope). They understand revolutionary changes in consciousness; they understand fundamental paradigm-shifts; they understand the process of “deconstruction and breakthrough” that I described in my 1991 essay on this topic. They also understand that human beings are facing extinction through run-away climate change or nuclear war or both. Yet the World Federalist Party cannot bring itself to true, non-violent revolutionary action. They affirm (as far away) what needs to be affirmed and actualized NOW. How much more developmentally advanced is the viewpoint expressed by Professor Errol E. Harris in his groundbreaking book Earth Federation Now! Tomorrow is Too Late (2014). The title itself expresses his truly worldcentric level of awareness.

This demand, arising from a moral and spiritual awakening to the ONE of unity in diversity at the heart of existence and our human situation, is also found in the writings of Swami Agnivesh who serves as a Distinguished Advisor to the World Constitution and Parliament Association (WCPA):

Spirituality is the sphere of ever-expanding responsibility. That is why it is also the medium of mankind’s on-going evolution. Spirituality is a vision that insists that one’s welfare is coterminous with the welfare of society. This is because spirituality presupposes a holistic vision in which all the parts dwell organically within the whole and the whole dwells in the parts…. We must integrate correct words with creative deeds and so unleash the spiritual power that would liberate the people and transform societies (2015, 13-14, 25).

Consciousness of the ONE that emerges as we incorporate our worldcentric understanding into a cosmocentric depth-awareness requires that we take revolutionary action through “correct words and creative deeds” demanding transformation, and opening people to the higher spiritual realizations that are the true source of human liberation. This NOW needs to impact those caught within a Green MEME (do nothing) pluralism as well as those imbedded in the Orange MEME personal achievement and autonomy orientation, awakening them to the possibility of liberating growth and action. The future belongs to the visionaries and transformers, not to those trapped in First Tier determinism with its dogma of slow, evolutionary development.

Not coincidentally, the same kind of demand for immediate realization and transformation permeates the words and actions of Jesus Christ as depicted by the four Gospels of Christianity. Jesus denies the legitimacy of postponement, the “practical” evasion of what is right and what is demanded here and now. He has no truck with the pragmatic authorities, nor with the violent rebels against that order. Jesus teaches a revolutionary transformation of that order through our decision to ascend to a fulfilled and transformed consciousness—to agape, revolutionary love. Jesus teaches an integral holism in which God’s agape and our human agape are one and the same, demanding actualization in the living present moment. This is the same kind of imperative implicit within the Constitution for the Federation of Earth (see Martin 2018, Chap. 5).

Creation of the Earth Constitution as an expression of Second Tier Consciousness

The above three groups all persist into our 21st century, for newer generations of younger people themselves absorb these truncated forms of worldcentric consciousness, stuck largely in the Green MEME with its limited awareness of the reality of integrative holism. On the other hand, the fourth main group coming out of the world federalist movement after the Second World War, at least for some of its leaders, had a much more cohesive, powerful, and integrated worldcentric consciousness. They understood that the world required a democratic Constitution for the Federation of Earth, and that it was needed NOW, not in some vague, evolved, contingent future.

Among these visionaries (five of whom the present writer knew personally) were Philip Isely of the USA, Dr. Terence P. Amerasinghe of Sri Lanka, Dr. Reinhart Ruge of Mexico, Swami Yogi Shanti of India, Dr. Suchart Kosolkitiwong of Thailand (later known as monk Ariyawanso Bhikku), and A.B. Patel (General Secretary and Treasurer of World Union International Center, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, India).  World Union, of course, came out of the work of Sri Aurobindo, another awakened human being living and acting from the ONE truth at the heart of our human situation.

Sri Aurobindo understood that the “the universe and the individual are necessary to each other in their ascent.” The divine, therefore, “creates in itself a self-conscious concentration of the All through which it can aspire” (1973, p.49). Aurobindo acted to make all humanity aware of this demand through the creation of World Union, an organization dedicated to creating world government. A.B. Patel was also the first Co-president of the World Constitution and Parliament Association (WCPA). He understood the Earth Constitution as fulfilling that role, as an institution through which human beings can aspire to the All.

Under the leadership of these six (and others such as Dr. Rashmi Mayur, 1996), world citizens from around the planet were organized into a movement to write the Constitution for the Federation of Earth. They met in several preliminary conferences and in four primary constituent assemblies in Interlaken, Switzerland in 1968, Innsbruck, Austria in 1977, Colombo, Sri Lanka in 1979, and Troia, Portugal in 1991.  At Troia, Portugal, they declared the Earth Constitution finished and ready for ratification under the democratic procedures specified in its Article 17.  The people of Earth had an imperative, a living culminating document, a template for moving fully to the worldcentric mode of existence, and a dynamic means for liberating their potential for further moral and spiritual growth toward cosmic awareness.

Although other constitutions have been written for the Earth, none have been created through this dynamic process of multiple constituent assemblies, and few rival the integral worldcentric consciousness evidenced in every feature of the Earth Federation government established by the Constitution. Clearly the movement of humanity to spiritual, intellectual, and moral awakening will not happen through a single document, and no particular document is essential to this process. Nevertheless, affirmation of this transformative and awakened master document should clearly be a priority for people at the Second Tier of spiritual development who understand the imperative for paradigm-shift, breakthrough, and transformative awakening.

The Earth Constitution establishes the means for further human development by eliminating the terrible political and economic impediments to human development as depicted in the above chart. Its Preamble expresses precisely the disjunction between the old paradigm (that has brought human beings to “the brink of extinction”) and the new holistic paradigm of unity in diversity, demanding that we act NOW to actualize this paradigm. The above described groups of world federalists, still wallowing in the Green MEME of undiscriminating pluralism and historically contingent social evolutionism, may read this Preamble and declare: “Well, it’s just another perspective. Let us give it equal time with the Neo-Nazis and the Conservative Party.”

But those with a more fully actualized worldcentric consciousness may well declare that just this must be affirmed, demanded, and ratified, here and now.  That is the significance of the Earth Constitution. Here is a transformative model for setting human affairs right and the means for bringing much of humanity into a worldcentric awareness. It represents the awakened heart and soul of world federalism, and the revolutionary paradigm-shift that follows from this breakthrough.

In its 19 Articles following the Preamble, everything about the Earth Constitution establishes government on the principles of unity in diversity and dynamic, integrated, organizational integrity.  It sets up a vital third house in the World Parliament.  Along with the House of Peoples (constituted from 1000 electoral districts worldwide) and the House of Nations (with 1, 2, or 3 reps from each nation depending on population), it constitutes a House of Counselors (some 200 people from around the planet chosen for their expertise and wisdom).  How do we get wise people into government, some of whom will undoubtedly think and act from the Yellow or Turquoise levels of awakening? The Constitution provides a coherent method for making this happen.

The Earth Constitution pulls all the continents of the Earth together—all the countries, religions, and cultures in a dynamic unity in diversity that embraces the many organizations, agencies, and leadership roles outlined by the Constitution. The leadership of the three houses of Parliament as well as all the main agencies of the government all involve presidiums of 5 or more persons, at least one from each continental division of the Earth.  No person has unchallengeable personal power, and multiple checks and balances keep all agencies working for the central mission of the government as outlined in Article One: ending war, disarming the nations, protecting human rights, creating just and equitable social relations, and protecting the global environment.

The Constitution’s two bills of human rights (Articles 12 and 13) spell out the entire range of human rights and add to these the right to peace and to a protected planetary environment. The agency of the World Ombudsmus is tasked to protect and promote these rights and to act as a watchdog on the rest of the world government to ensure that these rights are not violated. The World Financial Administration is empowered to create global, debt-free public banking and to finance all sustainable socially and environmentally valuable projects without requiring collateral or other features of the current oligarchic and elitist world financial system.

The Earth Constitution as a whole provides a template for a transformed world system. It is clearly a product of spiritually and morally awakened Second Tier consciousness and thought. That is why the organizational sponsor of the Constitution, the World Constitution and Parliament Association (WCPA), is at the forefront of the worldwide federalist movement.  The Earth Constitution embodies the highest worldcentric maturity, in terms of which the unity in diversity of humanity and our planetary home serves as the reality from which we live and act.

As Richard Heinberg shows in his recent book The End of Growth (2011), if we are to survive, the future Earth will very soon need to be characterized by decentralized, innovative, cooperative local communities. Sustainability requires that globalized trade and growth economics be replaced by local production units organized for sustainable living, focusing on the quality of life, not on ever-more consumption. The Earth Constitution, which connects the global dimension with the local communities around the world (for the first time in human history), is uniquely suited to make this happen. WCPA for years now has been promoting local cooperatives and grass-roots empowerment to complement a global framework ensuring the peace, stability, and cooperative protection for all communities on our planet.  The following chart indicates this process.

chart 2

 

NGOs, cooperatives, and citizens working to improve the lives of local communities and convert them to sustainability have an ally in the Earth Federation Government whose mandate is to protect everyone equally, end war, and ensure the development of locally organized sustainable communities that make the Earth “a safe and happy home for humanity.” As so many people at the grassroots level have reminded us (people who are not interested in ideas about the evolution of human consciousness): “what good is talk about a future united world without a concrete document in the present to make it a living possibility?”

Either approach (spiritual evolution or pragmatic actualization of this concrete document) requires that we work to ratify the Earth Constitution now, that we begin the sustainable communities now, and it requires that we support the development of Provisional World Government under the authority of the Earth Constitution, here and now.  World thinker Jürgen Moltmann declared that with the nuclear bombings of 1945, human beings entered the “end time” (2012, p. 46). With on-going climate collapse, we are facing another horrific form of the “end time” (Romm 2018). No other plan, postponed into an indeterminate future, can possibly save the Earth from climate disaster and/or nuclear war.

No more should human beings compromise with the tired, fruitless, and failed system of waring, militarized nation states and global economic domination and exploitation. We need fundamental system change that integrates the planetary dimension with the grassroots. We cannot and should not try to evolve what must be transcended through awakening and paradigm-shift. The process of democratic ratification is clear and transparent in Article 17, and Article 19 authorizes the creation of the central features of the Earth Federation here and now.

No more postponement and evasion as practiced by many world federalists from their truncated levels of worldcentric consciousness. The Earth Constitution demands the next step in our spiritual self-actualization and awakening. It is both a culmination of our human aspiration for a worldcentric planetary civilization, and the necessary means for achieving this. It demands that we actualize our potential for mature world centrism here and now. It is our clarion call to a new enlightened fulfillment and self-realization. Now is the time—tomorrow is indeed too late.

 

 

Works Cited:

Agnivesh, Swami (2015). Applied Spirituality: A Spiritual Vision for the Dialogue of Religions. New York: Harper Element Books.

Aurobindo, Sri (1973). The Essential Aurobindo. Robert A. McDermott, ed. New York: Schocken Books.

Beck, Don Edward and Christopher C. Cowan (2006). Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership, and Change. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

Brown, Ellen Hodgson (2007). Web of Debt: The Shocking Truth about Our Money System. Revised Edition. Baton Rouge, LA: Third Millennium Press.

Camus, Albert (1986). Neither Victims Nor Executioners. Philadelphia: New Society Publishers.

Constitution for the Federation of Earth (1991). Found on-line in many places and languages such as: www.earth-constitution.orgwww.worldparliament-gov.orgwww.worldproblems.net.

Fromm, Eric (1996). To Have or To Be. New York: Continuum Publishers.

Gilligan, Carol (1982). In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Habermas, Jurgen (1979). Communication and the Evolution of Society. Thomas McCarthy, trans. Boston: Beacon Press.

Harris, Errol E. (2000). Apocalypse and Paradigm: Science and Everyday Thinking. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.

Harris, Errol E. (2014). Earth Federation Now! Tomorrow is Too Late. Second Edition. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press.

Heinberg, Richard (2011). The End of Growth: Adapting to Our New Economic Reality. Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers.

Kant, Immanuel (1956). Critique of Practical Reason. Lewis White Beck, trans. New York: Bobbs-Merrill, Inc.

Kant, Immanuel (1957). Perpetual Peace and Other Writings on Politics, Peace, and History. Ed. Pauline Kleingeld. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Klein, Naomi (2008). The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. New York: Henry Holt & Company.

Kohlberg, Lawrence (1984). The Psychology of Moral Development, Volume Two: The Nature and Validity of Moral Stages. San Francisco: Harper & Row.

Kuhn, Thomas (1962). The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Martin, Glen T. (1991). “Deconstruction and Breakthrough in Nietzsche and Nāgārjuna,” article in the volume Nietzsche and Asian Thought, Graham Parkes, ed., University of Chicago Press, pp. 91-111.

Martin, Glen T. (2005). Millennium Dawn: The Philosophy of Planetary Crisis and Human Liberation. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Democracy Press.

Martin, Glen T. (2010). Constitution for the Federation of Earth. With Historical Introduction, Commentary, and Conclusion. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press.

Martin, Glen T. (2018). Global Democracy and Human Self-Transcendence: The Power of the Future for Planetary Transformation. London: Cambridge Scholars Publishers.

Maslow, Abraham (2014). Toward a Psychology of Being. Floyd, VA: Sublime Books.

Mayur, Rashmi, ed. (1996). Earth, Man, and Future. Mumbai, India: International Institute for Sustainable Future.

Moltmann, Jürgen (2012). Ethics of Hope. Trans. Margaret Kohl. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

Reves, Emery (1946). The Anatomy of Peace. New York: Harper & Brothers.

Romm, Joseph (2018). Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wilber, Ken (1996). Eye to Eye: The Quest of a New Paradigm. Boston: Shambala Books.

Wilber, Ken (2007). Integral Spirituality: A Startling New Role for Religion in the Modern and Postmodern World. Boston: Integral Books.

Wittgenstein, Ludwig (1929). “Lecture on Ethics” found at http://sackett.net/WittgensteinEthics.pdf

Climate Change: What Everyone Needs to Know by Joseph Romm A Book Review by Glen T. Martin

Dr. Joseph Romm has mastered the scientific research on Climate Change. He has worked, studied, and written within the domain of climate science for many years. This book synthesizes his substantial knowledge and systematically describes our human situation in the light of the devastating future into which we are headed if we do not make drastic, immediate, worldwide reductions in the vast amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) we are pouring daily into the atmosphere.

 

I will lay out below some of the conclusions about our human situation in the light of climate science that Romm reviews in this book. They are absolutely important to all of us who care about humanity and its future.  Then I will take note of the narrowness and ideological character of Dr. Romm’s background assumptions. These assumptions condition his ideas about how we can and must respond to the present and rapidly growing climate crisis within the same narrow framework that caused the crisis in the first place.

 

Romm worked for 15 years at the US Department of Energy advising businesses on how to become more energy efficient and reduce their carbon footprint. As of the year 2017, when he published the second edition of this book, he was working at the Center for American Progress which states on its website that it is a “nonpartisan policy institute” working “to improve the lives of all Americans.” In recent years he has been science advisor to the TV documentary “Years of Living Dangerously,” the first US documentary series on climate change. I will write more below about the narrow (and dangerous) set of assumptions that this work history implies. Success within the dominant US system, often requires that one spend one’s lifetime wearing a set of narrow ideological blinders.

 

Part One: Climate Change is Real and Serious

 

Climate science is a major, worldwide branch of science with many subdisciplines. Some climate scientists specialize in the oceans, others in meteorology. Other scientists specialize in ice fields and the polar regions. Still others are experts is atmospheric gases like CO2, hydrogen, and methane. Others study geology in relation to climate, or biology in relation to species extinction and the planetary environments necessary to support life. Some study astronomy in relation to climate, including the sun, the Earth’s orbit, and other external factors influencing climate. Still others are climate paleontologists who study the historical climate record over millions of years. Some climate scientists specialize in computer modeling of likely future climate conditions in relation to the CO2 concentrations and other gases in the atmosphere, the oceans, and on land.

 

Climate science embraces many thousands of scientific experts and institutes worldwide. It also includes a number of international organizations, like the huge UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC: https://www.ipcc.ch/),  dedicated to coordinating and synthesizing the results of the research going on in all these areas. Its Fifth Assessment Report, which appeared in 2014, summarizing our worldwide knowledge of climate change to that date, paints a truly frightening picture of our future if we maintain business as usual. The fact is that we human beings possess a deep understanding of climate dynamics in terms of the paleontological record, worldwide symptoms in the present, and the range of possible futures. We also possess a deeply credible and scientifically corroborated knowledge of the ways that human activity since the industrial revolution is causing climate change.

 

In addition, we possess lesser known but easily available knowledge of the narrow political and economic forces (such as the big oil and fossil fuel companies) that have worked to cast doubt on the results of climate science by spending many millions of dollars funding misleading articles and propaganda designed to discredit the important knowledge that climate science has accumulated over multiple decades of systematic research. Like the tobacco companies, who knew that smoking causes lung cancer but promoted propaganda designed to cast doubt on this scientific knowledge, so the big fossil fuel companies have long known about the devastation they are causing but continue to engender doubt so as to maximize their short-term profits.

 

Human beings and most life on Earth are in great danger. We are already condemned to a drastically changed world in which our creativity and adaptability will be severely challenged within the next few decades as things get seriously worse and worse. But every year that we wait to take drastic CO2 reduction measures (that is, stop burning fossil fuels), determines a future which is significantly more horrible by magnitudes of destruction. It is not an incremental worsening.  Every year that we delay now means increasing magnitudes of suffering and horror for our children and future generations.

 

This is because climate is very sensitive to a number of positive (amplifying) feedback mechanisms (with no known counteracting negative or seriously diminishing feedback loops). A central positive feedback mechanism for warming is the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (predominately CO2).  From the preindustrial average of 280 parts per million (ppm) we are now at the level of about 412 ppm and steadily climbing year after year at about 2 ppm per year. This in turn generates hotter, dryer summers (droughts, desertification), ever more superstorms (because warm air holds more water and warm-moist air is a key ingredient in the generating thunderstorms, hurricanes, and cyclones), the melting of the polar caps and glaciers, the acidification of the oceans, etc.

 

We have been passing “tipping points” (irreversible points of no return) in which additional positive (amplifying) feedbacks kick in.  For example, melting of sea ice (which reflects nearly all of the sunlight that falls on it back into space) becomes dark blue ocean water (which absorbs nearly all the sunlight hitting it, thereby becoming another irreversible source of warming). The more sea ice that melts, the more the planet absorbs the sun’s heat.

 

Another example is the melting of permafrost in northern regions from Canada to northern Europe to Siberia, constituting vast tracts of land. Permafrost (which has remained frozen throughout recorded human history) is now melting at unprecedented rates, releasing not only CO2 but great quantities of methane into the atmosphere. Methane (CO4) is 34 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2, (p. 85). As with melted sea ice, this passes an irreversible tipping point: it is impossible to refreeze the permafrost.  Therefore, continued warming is unstoppable. The only question we face is: how much can we do to mitigate the disasters ahead?

 

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in its 2009 report, stated that “the climate change that is taking place because of increases of C02 concentration is largely irreversible for 1000 years after emissions stop…. Among illustrative irreversible impacts that should be expected if atmospheric CO2 concentrations increase from current levels … are irreversible dry-season rainfall reductions in several regions comparable to those of the “dust bowl” era and inexorable sea level rise” (in Romm, p. 29).

 

Romm’s book describes in detail these and more consequences of global warming.  All of these will happen and are unstoppable. What human beings can do is mitigate these effects. If we take serious action now (worldwide), we can limit warming to 2 degrees centigrade and thereby mitigate these consequences to the point of making life tolerable and possible through the next century and beyond.

 

This means keeping CO2 concentrations well below 450 ppm from the year 2050 through the end of the century and beyond. If we continue with business as usual in the burning of fossil fuels, and fail to limit the rise in temperature before the year 2100 to 2 degrees centigrade, we will be making life a hell on Earth for subsequent generations, with massive starvation, disease, and death for the majority of people on the planet and for its other living creatures. Here is a list of some of the main consequences of climate change described by Joseph Romm.

 

  1. Dust-bowl conditions and disappearance of agricultural lands. From the southwest of the US to sub-Sahara Africa to the breadbasket regions of China and India, global warming will be ending productive agriculture in these areas and turning them into uninhabitable deserts. Already in the last few decades the world has experienced extreme prolonged droughts in these areas that have led to massive crop failures. Based on scientific studies, Romm concludes: “the coming multidecadal megadroughts will be worse than anything seen within the last 2000 years…. They will be the kind of megadroughts that in the past destroyed entire civilizations” (p. 103). Areas where there are now forests will dry out to the extent that forest fires will regularly ravage them, adding even more carbon to the atmosphere. Again, forest fires have become more frequent and widespread in the past few decades.

 

  1. Sea level rise and flooding of coastal lands. Much of the increased heating of the Earth is absorbed by the oceans. Heat expands the volume of water thereby inducing sea-level rise. Secondly the melting of the world’s glaciers (happening rapidly everywhere) is adding vast amounts of water to the oceans. There are also massive amounts of water stored in the Greenland ice sheet (two miles thick) and vastly more water stored on the Antarctic continent (again, some two miles thick).  Both the Greenland ice sheet and portions of the Antarctic ice sheet are considered “unstable” are have been found to be melting at unprecedented rates.

 

As of 2015 scientists have been predicting a best case scenario of 3 to 5 feet increase in ocean levels by the year 2100.  This alone will mean that many major coastal cities will have to be moved or abandoned on every continent. A business as usual scenario (without drastic reduction of the use of fossil fuels) could mean a 1 foot per decade rise in sea level through the year 2100, which would put much of the habitable, coastal areas of the Earth under water. Billions of people would be displaced and a great portion of the world’s agricultural lands would be submerged or ruined because of ever-increasing salt-water intrusion (p. 100).

 

  1. Acidification of oceans and death of fisheries. “The oceans are now acidifying faster than they ever have in the last 300 million years, during which time there were four major extinctions driven by natural bursts of carbon” (p. 123). Most of the carbon we are emitting into the atmosphere gets absorbed in the oceans. Since ocean creatures are evolved in connection with certain “normal” carbon concentrations, this acidification accelerates massive extinctions and die offs.

 

This carbon can deplete the amount of oxygen dissolved in ocean and suffocate many species, creating so-called “dead zones” like the huge area in the Gulf of Mexico where few creatures can live. Today a large portion of humanity receives a substantial amount of their food from the oceans.  As agricultural lands disappear because of rising oceans, so the source of the oceans as food diminishes. Our CO2 emissions are killing the oceans as well as the lands.

 

  1. Disappearance of agricultural lands. Agricultural lands are disappearing through rising oceans, salt-water intrusion into crop lands, and also through the process of desertification caused by the heating up of the land. Much of the agricultural land worldwide is drying out due to lack of moisture and rainfall, is experiencing  serious droughts, and is destined to become useless as a major source of food for human beings. All the while the Earth’s population continues to soar well beyond 7 billion people. This is happening today, and the best we can do is make radical changes in our emissions of CO2 in order to mitigate these disastrous consequences, which will surely include starvation for a good portion of humanity.

 

  1. Uninhabitable regions of the world. The world of the past five decades has been experiencing a series of unprecedented heat waves that have resulted in the heat related deaths of many people and the destruction of crops. These include the terrible waves in France in 2003, Moscow in 2010, and Texas in 2011 (p. 43). These of course are related to droughts and the general warming of the globe. One team of researchers found that “absent strong climate action, we are headed toward levels of warming by 2100 that will expose as much as three fourths of the world’s population to a deadly combination of temperature and humidity for at least 20 days a year” (pp. 109-10). As the warming patterns settle in, there will regions of the Earth that are so hot as to be uninhabitable. People will not be able to be outdoors without special protective gear.

 

  1. The unprecedented spread of insect pests and tropical-like human diseases. Because of warmer, shorter winters, for example, the forests of the US and Canada have lost some 70,000 square miles of trees to the Bark Beetle and the Pine Beetle, destructive insects whose spread is no longer controlled by harsh winter conditions (p. 49). Similarly, diseases like Zika virus and Dengue fever are on the rise in the world in part because of warmer conditions everywhere (p. 112).

 

  1. Massive extinctions of existing species. We are already living in a period of unprecedented species extinction. The United Kingdom Royal Society (Academy of Sciences) wrote in 2010: “There are very strong indications that the current rate of species extinctions far exceeds anything in the fossil record” (in Romm, p. 126). Since all life on Earth is an interconnected web, extensive die-off of species reduces the long-term chances of survival for those that remain (p. 128). Anthropogenic global warming is devastating the rich web of life that evolved on the Earth for the past 3.8 billion years.

 

Even though “new technologies and strategies make it easier for humans to protect endangered species” (p. 128), the key to preserving as many species as possible requires drastic measures to limit CO2 emissions and the global warming process. As Errol E. Harris points out, what a paradox it is that one species on our planet, supposedly the most intelligent, becomes the source of the possible destruction of nearly all life, including its own. (Harris, 2014, Chap. 1).

 

  1. More frequent and devastating superstorms. All around the world, there will be massive flooding, devastating winds, and billions of dollars in damages on a regular basis. Life will be much less predictable and secure everywhere on Earth.  Warmer oceans with moisture-laden atmosphere form the breeding grounds for hurricanes, cyclones, and other extreme weather events.  Warming induced changes in the jet stream and other factors produce “blocking patterns” in which storms get stuck in a single location rather than moving on. This greatly magnifies the wind and flooding damage from the storm. Coastal lands and cities, already subject to devastating storm surges due to rising ocean levels, will suffer even greater damages from frequent superstorms.

 

These conclusions are all the result of an overwhelming consensus on the part of scientists and scientific societies and institutions worldwide. It is both an absolute moral and practical imperative that we make radical immediate changes in the way we live and use energy. Romm recognizes this. Yet his narrow ideological framework skews the immense potential that human beings have for effectively dealing with climate change through addressing the entire nexus of human problems by way of fundamental system change.

 

Part Two: Climate Change or System Change

 

Without ever making an argument for his “market-based framework,” Romm simply assumes that all solutions to global climate change must be market based. Do human beings have a right to a decent, life supporting environment?  Do other species have a right to exist?  Romm places the need for “free market” solutions prior to these rights. Hence, the entire world may be destroyed if global warming cannot be mitigated through the market.  For Romm, this appears to be our only option.

 

Hence, for Romm, it is “consumers” who need to be convinced of the seriousness of climate change and alter their buying habits accordingly. Any innovations in efficiency or development of climate preserving technology needs to be economically marketable. Businesses need to be profitable. Innovations must be inexpensive enough to be competitive.  Indeed, this is happening now with solar panels as well as with wind power, but not with hydrogen fuel cell cars (p. 274).

 

The marketable solar panels and windmills, of course, are a good thing and give us hope. But what is strange here is that if there is a technology that could make a substantial difference for the well-being of future generations, that well-being must be sacrificed if the technology is not marketable.  What appears to come first as an inviolable framework (like the law of gravity) is the market, even if this means the destruction of civilization.

 

Governments (which he recognizes as absolutely essential for any credible future) apparently have only the ability to regulate inviolable markets. They cannot solve our problems by imposing climate saving measures that are not marketable.  Romm primarily considers two main initiatives that governments can take (and have taken): a carbon tax on fossil fuels and a cap and trade system. Carbon taxes have been used in a number of countries or regions (Sweden, Norway, Australia, British Columbia) with some success at reducing fossil fuel consumption (p. 177).

 

In a cap-and-trade system, a cap is a limit set on the amount of pollutant (such as carbon-based fuel emissions). Companies coming under their quota or cap can sell their permits to other companies (p. 178).  “A cap-and-trade system lets the market set the price for carbon dioxide, whereas in a tax, the government sets the price” (p. 179). The cap-and-trade has been the most popular option for businesses and has been widely used.

 

Mainstream economists often say that the best way to deal with fossil fuel reduction is to include the costs (to the public and the environment) in the price of the commodity, whereas traditionally these costs were externalized into the air, water, and land, and not included in the cost of doing business. But some environmentalists, like Romm, appear to lack awareness that there was a reason why capitalism polluted the environment so badly: the system is based on maximizing profits through exploitation of workers, consumers, and the environment (Chase-Dunn 1998). If you take away these methods of maximizing profits for the few at the expense of the many, you also take way capitalism as we have always known it. You cannot possibly save the planet for future generations by embracing a system based solely on profit maximization (Kovel 2007).

 

If you really want to include true costs for a commodity in the cost of doing business, then you have to bring in values: the value of protecting the environment or of not exploiting workers or of not ripping off the consumer. If you bring values into market relationships, then you have some form of market socialism, not capitalism. Market socialism understands that producing food, clothing, shelter, and a decent environment include a morally based set of activities, and if this is the case, the reduction of fossil fuel use and other necessary changes do not pose insurmountable problems. Within an institutionalized profit-maximizing framework, you can never prevent climate destruction, for the system itself promotes externalization and exploitation.  That is precisely why so many companies fund climate denial propaganda as well as circumvent environmental regulations (for example, by moving their production to countries with lax environmental standards).

 

Romm does urge us to base our consumption patterns on values.  We should be willing to sacrifice some things for the benefit of future generations, but for businesses it can only be “marketability,” since businesses need to make a profit, and there needs to be (Romm assumes) continual economic “growth.” But you cannot have perpetual growth on a finite planet. The law of entropy (a true natural law) prohibits this. Neither profit maximization, nor growth, are inviolable laws of economics. They are human designed institutions and need to change.

 

We are going to need markets where things are produced according to the following three principles: (1) they are produced as necessities (not billions of tons of useless, extraneous junk); (2) all things must be built to be recycled (no more single use plastics or throw away cheap crap), and (3) things must be made for durability (no more made to fail one week after the short warranty period expires, in other words, designed to break down and be thrown away). Romm never mentions these three absolute requirements for addressing the climate crisis, perhaps because they each require ending profit maximization and producing for use-value and true human welfare, something the ideology of pure capitalism prohibits.

 

Romm ends his book by citing the value-based appeal of Pope Francis: “We must regain the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for ourselves and the world, and that being good and decent are worth it” (p. 282). But he is not willing to examine the immoral and sociopathic nature of the capitalist system based on maximizing profit for its own sake, regardless of its consequences for society or nature. This makes him a perfect employee for the US government and a natural fit for a think tank like the Center for American Progress, both institutions religiously devoted to the dogmas of profit maximization.

 

Legitimate government is and should be based on values. A constitution for any legitimate government should specify rights for citizens, and it should protect them through due process of law. It should base itself on freedom, dignity, equality, and justice, not on the domination of the rich, or the military, or some king or a dictator. Government regulates business and the market for the common good, and today this necessarily includes conversion away from fossil fuels. Rights are moral principles deriving from human dignity. They form the basis for both legitimate government and decent economics.

 

By contrast, the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights is an ideal only, not part of a binding constitution, and the UN itself is merely a treaty of sovereign nations, not a government in any way, shape, or form. The world today is a fragmented collection of militarized, sovereign states, and many of its governments are either “failed states” or undemocratic in the extreme. How are they going to unite to protect our right to a healthy environment?

 

The Constitution for the Federation of Earth (written by hundreds of world citizens working together from 1968 to 1991) correctly asserts that every human being has the right to clean air, water, food, and a healthy environment in which to live (Martin 2010a). The Earth Federation Government has the authority, the mandate, the economic and technical knowhow, and the worldwide scope to regulate business and human interactions to achieve these moral ends. It is this system change alone that can truly address the climate crisis (Martin 2013).

 

Nor should it be left up to some legislature to decide whether to pursue climate mitigation. The Republican Party in the US (many of whose representatives in Congress are climate deniers) has no right to condemn the people of Earth to perdition by blocking effective climate legislation. Neither does US President Trump have this right. This is not “democracy,” for in a democracy government acts for the common good.

 

If some technical invention (for example, hydrogen fuel cell cars) is deemed essential to climate preservation, then these need to be produced, and the Earth Federation government would most certainly do so, using its unlimited public banking and money creation functions. Our future and our survival should not and cannot be dependent on the whims of the stock market, nor the consumer market, nor on the whims of political parties or oligarchs. The Earth Constitution makes a protected environment a framework right, not a contingent political issue.

 

The Center for “American” progress?  Not global progress, global human rights, or global integrity, not world citizenship, not Earth Federation?  Here we come to the second contradiction in Romm’s set of assumptions. Everywhere he recognizes that the world needs to be addressing climate change in a unified and coordinated way because our collective future depends on this. Yet his unspoken assumption is a system of sovereign nation states toward which, as with his view of capitalism, Romm shows little or no critical awareness. This fragmented framework of some 193 sovereign nations appears as what we must accept as a fait accompli. Like capitalism, it is assumed as an unchangeable fact of nature, not as the flawed and arbitrary human creation that it is.

 

He says that climate change endangers “national security.”  Not human security, planetary security, or universal personal security, but national security. He quotes the US Department of Defense which declares “Climate change . . . poses immediate risks to US national security” (p. 133).  It becomes clear that although the fate of humanity is threatened by climate change, the bottom line will be protecting Americans as the world descends ever further into calamity and chaos.  All the world must work together closely to address the crisis of climate change, but, when push comes to shove, the Department of Defense will ensure that Americans emerge better off than the rest of humanity.

 

As with capitalism, Romm appears oblivious to the inability of sovereign nation-states to work together holistically to deal with the climate crisis.  Any nation can withdraw from climate treaties at any time.  Various nations are in perpetual conflict and struggle with their neighbors.  Big nations have imperial ambitions. The US has invaded or overthrown dozens of countries since World War Two and continues to interfere around the globe, today threatening or occupying Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Venezuela, and North Korea, as well as calling Russia and China its “enemies,” much of this in violation of international laws.

 

Romm never mentions the fact, citied by a number of sources, that the US military is the single largest organization in the world in terms of polluting the environment. He never mentions that not only is its immense fossil fuel machinery a major source of global warming emissions, but the production and deployment of its bombs, missiles, and military equipment is a toxic nightmare for our planet (Sanders and Davis, 2009).  He never considers that you cannot fly B52s, or power huge warships with solar or wind power.

 

A green military would mean little or no military, something that can only happen under an Earth Federation served by the Earth Constitution.  Romm never mentions the fact that the nations of the world spend three quarters of a trillion annually on weapons and war, an immense financial resource that could effectively address the climate crisis if it were directed there. He never links mitigating climate crisis with ending wars and militarism.

 

Without ending the system of sovereign nation-states and the world’s war system, the results of on-going climate destruction will mean death and misery for populations of the poor and weak countries of the world, and the grabbing of the Earth’s remaining resources and survivable areas by the rich and powerful countries (see Martin 2010b, Part Two). It is just pie in the sky naiveté to think it will be any different. Romm wants to whole world to work together to deal with climate destruction, but the spoils will to go to the USA and not to the poor who also help to save the planet.

 

One final flaw in Romm’s circumscribed world view is his view of population.  He takes it as given that the Earth’s population will continue to explode, requiring a future planet to feed 9 or 10 billion people with diminished agricultural lands and depleted fisheries. Why assume this?  If we are capable of the serious changes necessary to eliminate fossil fuel emissions, why are we not capable of curtailing the global population? In fact, many environmentalists, such as Errol E. Harris (2014, Chap. 1) point to population curtailment and reduction and a fundamental key to dealing with global climate change.  Fewer people need fewer resources and produce fewer emissions and waste products.  It is as simple as that.

 

Romm is excellent on the science of climate change and the serious challenges that humanity faces today and everyday from the present moment to at least through the end of this century. But his narrow ideological assumptions allow him to propose no credible solutions.  We need worldwide efforts to educate women and provide them with the options for birth control that, if only this is done, will seriously reduce the population explosion and make a major contribution to mitigating the effects of global warming.

 

Second, we need to overcome the capitalist dogma that human beings can only economically relate to one another through a profit-maximizing set of institutions. This is simply naive, and climate change is much more easily addressed through a market socialism in which values (supervised by government representing the common good) determine much of investment and funding, not unmitigated greed.

 

Finally, climate change can only be effectively addressed by ratifying the Constitution for the Federation of Earth and ending the insane military competition among sovereign nation-states.  This will truly unite the world and allow everyone, not just the rich and the powerful, to bear the burdens and reap the benefits of ending fossil fuel emissions and creating a sustainable, just and fulfilling world system. Everything necessary to effectively deal with the climate crisis is built into the Earth Constitution. Ratifying that Constitution is the most effective thing we can do to save our planet’s environment.

 

 

Works Cited:

 

Chase-Dunn, Christopher (1998). Global Formation: Structures of World Economy. Updated Edition. New York: Rowman & Littlefield.

Constitution for the Federation of Earth.  Found on-line in multiple languages and many websites such as: www.earth-constitution.org,   www.worldproblems.net,  and www.worldparliament-gov.org.

Harris, Errol E. (2014). Earth Federation Now! Tomorrow is Too Late. Second Edition. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press.

Kovel, Joel (2007). The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World? London: Zed Books.

Martin, Glen T., ed. (2010a). A Constitution for the Federation of Earth. With Historical Introduction, Commentary and Conclusion. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press.

Martin, Glen T. (2010b). Triumph of Civilization: Democracy, Nonviolence, and the Piloting of Spaceship Earth. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press.

Martin, Glen T. (2013). The Anatomy of a Sustainable World: Our Choice Between Climate Change or System Change. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press.

Sanders, Barry and Mike Davis (2009). The Green Zone: The Environmental Costs of Militarism. Oakland, CA: AK Press.

Romm, Joseph (2018). Climate Change: What Everybody Needs to Know. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

 

The Logic of Disarmament and the Tragedy of the Commons

Glen T. Martin

(For meetings of the World Intellectual Forum, Hyderabad, India, June 2019)

There are times which are not ordinary, and in such times it is not enough to follow the road. It is necessary to know where it leads, and, if it leads nowhere, to follow another…. But the practical thing for a traveler who is uncertain of his path is not to proceed with the utmost rapidity in the wrong direction: it is to consider how to find the right one.            R.H. Tawney

Abstract. This article reviews the economic principle called the “Tragedy of the Commons” that is commonly applied to environmental analyses and planetary population issues. It then shows how the principle applies to our global political commons, and how it bears on the problems of peace and disarmament. It reviews the concept of national sovereignty, which, like the capitalist concept of self-interest, predicates an atomistic self-interest that is at the root of the tragedy of the commons. Finally, the article shows how the Constitution for the Federation of Earth overcomes this dilemma through embodying the new scientific paradigm of holism. It then reviews the work of the Provisional World Parliament as a functional developmental praxis directed toward overcoming the tragedy of the commons as this applies to peace and disarmament.

The idea of the tragedy of the commons has become fundamental to the contemporary conceptual repertoire of those concerned with global issues. The idea was first formulated by economist William Forster Lloyd in 1833 and became a well-known hypothesis after the publication of Garrett Hardin’s famous article by that name in 1968 (see Hardin 1980). Most fundamentally to date, the idea has been used with respect to economics, ecology, population issues, and environmental science.

A tragedy of the commons, in its standard version, happens when a common resource is freely open to users operating out of “rational self-interest.” The value of using the commons (for example, grazing cattle on public lands or fishing in international waters) is direct to the individual users, but the depletion or degradation of the commons (diminishing of the grazing lands through over-grazing or depletion of fish stocks through over-fishing) is born somewhat equally by all the users.  Hence, the negative value of the degradation process to individual users is considerably less than the immediate positive value of unlimited usage. Until, of course, the grazing land becomes so degraded as to be useless or the fishery collapses because overfishing has destroyed the regenerative capacity of the fish in the ocean. An unrestricted, freely used commons invites tragedy.

Garrett Hardin applies this principle to the population of the Earth. He decries the UN’s 1967 affirmation that the decision regarding the number of children to have is the right of each family. Hardin argues that overpopulation of the Earth is rapidly leading to a planetary tragedy of the global commons. Since this concept entered the common consciousness, there have been a host of studies showing ways that this general thesis needs modification. For example, some cooperative communities, including indigenous cultures, actually do operate successfully with regard to a commons based on principles of the common good and sharing rather than exclusive “rational self-interest.” The idea that people act out of rational self-interest, is of course, a dogma of capitalism and fundamental to the so-called “economic rationality” of free markets.

Garrett Hardin argues that we cannot effectively appeal to conscience (and hence voluntary restraint in the use of a commons), but rather need to legally regulate the uses of commons according to some standard of justice that governs who uses and the behavior of those who use. This principle has become very important in contemporary debates concerning the need for sustainability in all its dimensions, from overuse of land, to extraction of resources, to pollution of air, soil, and water. However, few have drawn out implications of this principle regarding the system of sovereign nation-states and the corresponding global problems of war, peace, and disarmament.

Both the capitalist system and the system of sovereign nation-states developed out of the early-modern paradigm that began to be solidified by the 17th century. During this century the works of Francis Bacon argued that science and its stepchild technology placed human beings in the position of being able to conquer nature on behalf of their own self-interest. Similarly, in 1648, the ruling powers of Europe came together after the Thirty Years War to formulate the foundations of today’s world political system.  Every nation was to have absolute territorial boundaries within which its governmental authorities would be supreme.  These same authorities would be independent in their relation to other governments, that is, autonomous in their foreign policies. The traditional concept of “sovereignty” was redefined to fit this new, atomistic model (see Harris 2008, Chap. 1).

The consequence, as many thinkers from the 17th century to the present have noted, was that a “war-system” had been created in which self-interested national fragments would complete with one another economically, politically, and culturally in a system that today encompasses the entire planet. Beyond the borders of these territorial islands of legally enforced peace, Thomas Hobbes declared in the 17th century, the nation-states confront one another as “gladiators.” The system imperative is war and armaments, and not peace or disarmament. It militates against any notion of a planetary common good.

In his 1795 essay on “Perpetual Peace,” Immanuel Kant called this system of militarized sovereign nation-states “savage and barbaric” for the same reason: the system created by these islands of law placed their respective governments into a global fragmentation in which there was no effective law or government over these autonomous nation-state islands. Kant declared that only world federation could establish peace in the world. Nation-states must give up their “lawless” freedom (the so-called ‘right’ to make war) and find peace under the lawful constraints of enforceable world law (Kant 1957).  In the 19th century, Hegel observed this same phenomenon—that when there is a clash of “wills” represented by the heads of states, the ultimate resolution could only be settled by war (1991, pars. 331, 333-334).

In his 2008 book, Twenty-first Century Democratic Renaissance, philosopher Errol E. Harris agrees with this traditional assessment:

That enmity and war between sovereign states is inevitable has been recognized by political theorists from Hobbes to Hegel and, as we have seen, several more contemporary writers…. This parlous situation is the direct consequence of the claim to sovereignty of the nations of the world, a claim that admits no law superior to its own, and which gives unquestioning priority to national interests, especially those regarded as “vital,” namely, first and foremost, security from foreign aggression, and secondly economic prosperity…. Neither International Law nor the United Nations can ameliorate this state of affairs. International law lays down as its first principle that its sole subjects are sovereign states, and then defines sovereign states as those which acknowledge no legislation superior to their own, thus annulling its own authority. (2008, 122-23)

In the 20th century we entered into what German thinker Jürgen Moltmann called “the end-time” (2012, 46). After two world wars of horrifying destruction of life and property around the globe, the world entered into the era of nuclear weapons, placing the fate of humanity into tremendous danger that continues through today. Just as nations can enter in, or withdraw from, climate treaties according to their arbitrary will, so they can enter into, or withdraw from, disarmament treaties according to their will. In 2018, for example, the United States withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty signed with Russia in 1987.

Under the present world system, the United States had the legal right to withdraw from the Disarmament Treaty, just as it had the legal right to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord of 2015. The U.N. Sustainable Development Goals, passed by the General Assembly in 2015, are predicated on this fragmented paradigm of sovereign states that is at the heart of our tragedy. Item 18 states that, “We reaffirm that every State has, and shall freely exercise, full permanent sovereignty over all its wealth, natural resources and economic activity.” This means that Brazil, for example, acting as all nations do out of economic self-interest, has the legal right to cut down and destroy “the lungs of the Earth,” even though the Amazon basin is an integral component of our planetary climate system. The system legalizing the self-interest of each nation inevitably functions to destroy the common good of all humanity.

Nations operate according to perceived self-interest and recognize no binding laws above themselves. The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs, established in 1998, has only the authority to “promote” disarmament through persuasion directed to the relevant sovereign-state powers. Sovereign nations will never recognize any UN agency as having binding authority, since the UN itself is merely a treaty of sovereign nations and not a government. So-called “international laws” are themselves merely treaties signed by sovereign states who can ignore the treaty, withdraw from it, or interpret it in their own prejudicial favor, at any time.

Just as our global commons is experiencing the tragedy of the commons through climate collapse, so the world is threatened continually with global wars or nuclear holocaust.  Another tragedy of the commons perpetually happening and threatening the existence of us all. Our planetary commons constitutes our global political space, populated by human civilization everywhere on the planet, and (as Kant again put it) the fact that the planet is a sphere and equally the common home for everyone. The common good of the planet requires the ending of war and disarmament, yet the political structure of the planet inevitably destroys that common good through the threat of total war, and the waste of trillions of dollars in resources that need to be used to address the climate crisis and other global problems. The institutionalized imperative of the system is war and armaments, and disarmament is impossible without changing the system.

As Garrett Hardin points out, neither morality nor education can be seriously effective in preventing the tragedy of the commons. Only enforceable legislation that protects the commons and the common good can prevent this tragedy. Human beings have known that we live on a common, planetary home at least since the 17th century, the same century that produced the false early-modern paradigm. This paradigm was based on atomism, mechanism, and determinism as well as an ideology positing a human and social atomism in which operating out of “self-interest” was considered the essence of rationality.

The paradigm developed by the 20th century has been holism, a holism in which atomism and fragmentation are understood to be false conceptions. This holism is the key to both sustainability and peace. Yet neither our economics nor our politics of sovereign nations have converted to this new paradigm. The new paradigm demands a World Parliament and enforceable democratic world law. The actualization of a global community that, as philosopher of law John Finnis shows, necessarily requires planetary government (1980, 129-30).

The Constitution for the Federation of Earth establishes an Earth Federation for our planet with binding legal authority over every person, corporation, and nation. If we want to establish peace and disarm the nations, ratification of this Constitution must be our first priority. The Earth Federation established by the Constitution is itself non-military. It ultimately requires the nations joining the federation to (1) immediately abandon any weapons of mass destruction and (2) by the second level of formation of the Earth Federation (under Article 17), begin the process of disarmament.

However, even during the first stage of Federation (prior to mandatory disarmament), the nations joining will have given up the irrational claim to absolute sovereignty. They will have recognized the people of Earth as sovereign (now represented by the World Parliament in which they participate). Their retention of military organization, therefore, will be strongly tempered by the fact that they no longer have the legal right to use their military forces indiscriminately, as they see fit. They are now legally bound within a whole that supersedes the perceived self-interest of the parts.

Even before ratification is completed under Article 17, Article 19 of the Constitution provides for a process of conversion of the early-modern planetary paradigm toward one of life under a democratic world system that can legally enforce proper uses of the commons and prevent the tragedy that is inevitable under the outdated paradigm. Under Article 19, the people of Earth are empowered to begin the Earth Federation now as provisional world government. The central way this has been done to date has been through holding sessions of the Provisional World Parliament that legislate World Legislative Acts (WLAs) under the authority of the Earth Constitution. 14 sessions of the Parliament have been held between 1982 and 2015.

Article 19 may be considered a “functionalist” approach to the problem of disarmament. In his 1994 book, Confronting War: An Examination of Humanities Most Pressing Problem, Professor Ronald J. Glossop describes the functionalist approach as follows:

Functionalists believe that the best way to change the international system is to continue to create more and more such agencies to work on the various problems facing humanity. In the long run, they claim, this approach is more and more likely to lead to a gradual limiting of national sovereignty than is an effort to try to get the various national governments to agree explicitly to limit their sovereignty.  If functional agencies are created, this approach is much more likely to lead to a gradual limiting of national sovereignty than is an effort to try to get the various national governments to agree explicitly to limit their sovereignty. (1994, 355)

This conclusion by Professor Glossop is both relevant and not relevant to our effort to ratify the Earth Constitution. It is not relevant because, like the UN, it appears based on the assumption that nation-states are the primary agents whose consent is necessary to end war and create an Earth Federation. However, the Earth Constitution correctly recognizes the people of Earth as sovereign and provides an option for direct ratification of the Constitution by the people. The option for nation-states becoming signatory to the Constitution exists, and would be simpler in practice, but, as Glossop points out, sovereign nations are loath to do anything for humanity (as a whole) rather than their own perceived self-interest.

This is precisely why the nations are not a necessary requirement to ratify the Earth Constitution, because they are all, politically speaking, illegitimate (as Errol E. Harris also points out). They are illegitimate because no sovereign government can serve the common good of its population, which clearly includes preservation of the planetary environment, universal disarmament, and the institutionalizing of world peace (2008, 132). As in the present essay, Harris also links our planetary tragedy with the sovereignty of nations: “Hence the problems of maintaining world peace and of conserving the global ecological system are interlinked and are both rendered insoluble as long as the nations remain and claim to be sovereign and independent” (ibid. 130).

The above statement by Ronald J. Glossop is relevant, however, to the work of Provisional World Government that is currently in the business of establishing the key institutions of government, developing within the framework of the old world order to be sure, but without requiring the consent of the lawless nation-states. Many of the 67 World Legislative Acts (WLAs) passed by the Provisional World Parliament to date bear on the development of world peace (see works cited below). Here I will point to four of these that bear perhaps most directly on the process of disarmament. These include World Legislative Acts numbers 1, 13, 33, and 34.  WLA 1 prohibits weapons of mass destruction for all nations and establishes the World Disarmament Agency (WDA). It links the emerging Board of Trustees of the WDA to the ratification process for the Earth Constitution, so that nations ratifying the Constitution may each name a member to the Board.

WLA 13, called the World Peace Act, reaffirms the prohibition of WMDs but extends the prohibition to include any form of financing, managing, or transporting these weapons. It links the violation of these prohibitions to various degrees of felony culpability and specifies punishments upon conviction. It lists a progressively implemented system of culpability, illustrating a functional principle as suggested by Professor Glossop. As the agencies and laws developed under the Provisional World Government become more elaborated, more well-known, and respected, they will carry more functional weight. In this way, the beginnings of true enforceability can be initiated.

The Provisional World Parliament, under Article 19, has already passed enabling legislation for the Collegium of World Judges and the World Court System. It has also appointed officers to the Executive Branch of the Provisional World Government. In doing so, the infrastructure for enforceability is functionally developing without requiring the consent of the sovereign fragments who, by refusing to give up the illegitimate aspect of sovereignty, tacitly give their consent to the system endangering the future of humanity. Article 33 bans the production of all fissile materials that could be used in the manufacture of bombs or other nuclear explosive devices. It gives detailed specifications as to what constitutes these materials, who is responsible for obeying the law, punishments that correlate with violation, agencies responsible for inspection, enforcement, etc.

WLA 33 is complemented by WLA 34 that legislates a “nuclear weapons dismantling procedure.”  The procedures required by law for revealing nuclear weapons, conforming to the prohibitions on financing or transporting them, are here also extended to the processes and methods for dismantling them. This nexus of legal factors in these four World Legislative Acts invites and encourages the development of the agencies directed to enforcement.  To the extent that the Provisional World Parliament continues to grow and develop the resources and reach of its agencies, the process of disarmament is also extended and solidified.

This functionalist approach in turn reinforces both the process and the need to ratify the Constitution for the Federation of Earth that will ultimately be the only practically effective instrument for disarming the nations and preventing the tragedy of our planetary commons now represented by the lawless system of militarized sovereign states. This functionalist approach will have more authority than any comparable UN disarmament project, for the UN is based on the sovereign nation-state paradigm and hence undercuts its own authority. The Provisional World Parliament system is based on the new holistic paradigm carrying binding authority under the Earth Constitution.

 Beginning with the second stage of ratification (commencing when 50% of the world’s nations, that include at least 50% of the world’s population have ratified), the nations will have long since abandoned the false, illegitimate aspect of sovereignty that supposedly gives them the “right” to do what they please regardless of the common good of the people of Earth. The nations will then have legitimate sovereignty over their internal affairs, but the Earth Federation government will have enforceable authority to disarm the nations and institute the rule of enforceable law over all peoples and nations. By this point (stage two), the rest of the world’s population will surely be clambering to join the Earth Federation—for all will by then be fully aware of the need for holism, the benefits of the rule of law, and the tremendous significance of a global public authority directed to the common good and eliminating the threat of planetary tragedy.

These benefits are outlined in Article 1 of the Constitution. They include ending war and disarming the nations, protecting universal human rights, eliminating extreme poverty from the Earth, and protecting the planetary environment. The planetary tragedy of the commons, today horrific and staring us directly in the face, will finally be averted for good through the only truly rational option available to humanity—ratification and implementation of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth.

 

Works Cited:

Glossop, Ronald J. (1994). Confronting War: An Examination of Humanity’s Most Pressing Problem. Third Edition. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company.

Finnis, John. 1980. Natural Law and Natural Rights. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Harris, Errol E. (2008). Twenty-first Century Democratic Renaissance: From Plato to Neoliberalism to Planetary Democracy. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press.

Hegel, G. W. F. (1991). Elements of the Philosophy of Right. Alan Wood, ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Garrett Hardin (1980). “Tragedy of the Commons,” in Economics, Ecology, Ethics: Essays Toward a Steady-State Economy. Ed. Herman E. Daly. San Francisco: W.H. Freeman and Company, pp. 100-114.

Kant, Immanuel (1957). Perpetual Peace. Ed. Lewis White Beck. New York: Macmillan.

Martin, Glen T., ed. (2016). Constitution for the Federation of Earth. The Constitution is also on-line at www.earth-constitution.org. It is available there and elsewhere in many languages.

Moltmann, Jürgen (2012). Ethics of Hope. Trans. Margaret Kohl. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press.

Tawney, R.H. (2017). The Acquisitive Society. A Public Domain Book. ISBN 9781544682877, pp. 1-2.

UN Sustainable Development Goals at: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/

World Legislative Acts of the Provisional World Parliament at:

http://www.worldproblems.net/english/legislation/summaries_en/world_legislation_contents.html#pwp_14_2015

 

This Changes Nothing A review of Naomi Klein’s book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate

Glen T. Martin

Naomi Klein spent five years researching this book. She travelled to many places around the world where environmental struggles were taking place between the dominant economic model of “dirty extractivism” and people struggling to protect their land, water, and air from the onslaughts of the capitalist exploitation model. She interviewed hundreds of people (indigenous leaders, climate activists, climate deniers, scientists, journalists, political leaders, UN officials, heads of major environmental groups) to give us a book that is brimming with interesting, thought provoking, facts, ideas, and descriptions of local struggles and their global implications.

As such, this book is a gold mine of perspectives and insights into the struggle to save our planetary environment. It lays out the broad landscape of climate controversy and responses, from business as usual, to “free-market” solutions, to geoengineering, to truly transformative visions. She argues that we must overcome the worldview associated with capitalism, with its assumptions about innate human greed and selfishness, and begin to understand our human project as a communal, democratic, planetary endeavor premised on the common good of both humanity and nature. This book is well worth reading.

Yet my review is entitled “This Changes Nothing.” I will try to show why Naomi Klein’s proposal for addressing the climate crisis is entirely inadequate, appallingly vague, and deeply naïve. Her sincerity is not at issue, but rather her failure to recognize and deal with the deeper paradigm on which the destruction of our planetary climate is based. The book is full of valuable information, but it is not where we should turn if we want to envision a sustainable future on this planet. She is clear that capitalism is the problem, but she misses the fact that capitalism is only part of a world system that needs transformation in its entirety.

As Klein makes clear, dirty extractivism is not only raping the Earth, from the jungles of Ecuador and Brazil to the Niger Delta, from the Tar Pits of Alberta to the fracking frenzy in Pennsylvania and Texas. This destructive extractivism mines fossil fuels that are then burned to pollute our planet’s atmosphere, oceans, forests, and agricultural lands. The planet is heating up with major destructive consequences everywhere we look. We now find ourselves at “Decade Zero.” There is no more time for delays, detours, or half-hearted compromises with the neoliberal free-market ideology that is rapidly losing credibility worldwide (although, she says, that still retains immense economic and political power).  She writes:

John Kerry has likened the threat of climate change to a “weapon of mass destruction,” and it’s a fair analogy. But if climate change poses risks on par with nuclear war, then why are we not responding with the seriousness that the comparison implies? Why aren’t we ordering companies to stop putting our future at risk, instead of bribing and cajoling them? Why are we gambling? (225)

Klein attended meetings of the climate deniers (who receive major funding from the big fossil fuel companies). In chapter one on why “The Right is Right” she describes the climate denier think tanks, such as the Heartland Institute in the USA, as ‘right’ because they truly understand the implications and the seriousness of the climate crisis. Many others who are not convinced may be on the border of this or that need for serious changes and commitments, but the climate deniers understand what is at stake—total change of their ideology and their way of life—and they want none of it.

She has a chapter on the “free trade” agreements, like NAFTA, that themselves constitute disaster for the environment, giving rise to an international fossil fuel economy where everything from food to useless consumer goods are transported around the planet while burning fossil fuels. Under such trade deals, corporations have the legal power to bring lawsuits against governments whose environmental or labor laws cut into their profit margins. The anti-human features of global capitalism are identical with its anti-nature features: private profit accumulated through exploitation and destruction: “The same logic that is willing to work laborers to the bone for pennies a day will burn mountains of dirty coal while spending next to nothing for pollution controls because it’s the cheapest way to produce. So when factories moved to China, they also got markedly dirtier” (81).

Klein develops, throughout the book, a picture of the world view behind the climate crisis. Coming out of Francis Bacon’s 17th century predictions that the new sciences could lead to human domination over the natural world, the emerging capitalist ideology included both colonialism and slavery. Profit and power were the fundamentals allowing dominators to extract from colonial subjects and from slaves as much profit as possible, treating their human victims as negligible.

She points out that Adam’s Smith’s Wealth of Nations was published in 1776, the same year that James Watt’s steam engine was invented. The steam engine was touted as the invention that could at last free the producer from dependence on nature. It could be moved anywhere and operated any time using the fossil fuel coal. Man’s dependence on nature was now nearly eliminated and his capacity for domination and exploitation of nature nearly unlimited. But this attitude spells disaster. She quotes one political scientist to the effect that “facing truths about climate change ‘means recognizing that the power relation between humans and the earth is the reverse of the one we have assumed for three centuries’” (175). She agrees:

We know that we are trapped within an economic system that has it backward; it behaves as if there is no end to what is actually finite (clean water, fossil fuels, and the atmospheric space to absorb their emissions) while insisting that there are strict and immovable limits to what is actually quite flexible: the financial resources that human institutions manufacture and that, if managed differently, could build the kind of caring society we need. (347)

Then there are the geoengineers, the “mad scientists” as she calls them, who envision putting trillions of sulfur dioxide particles into the atmosphere or reflective mirrors into space or “cloud brightening” agents into the cloud cover. Klein describes their arguments and proposals in some detail. She sees this clearly as the climax of the false relation to nature initiated by Francis Bacon and the early-modern paradigm of the 17th century. Instead of changing our world view and our ways of relating to nature, our arrogance now leads us to envision engineering the entire planet in ways that are both untested and untestable, with unknown consequences that could be catastrophic. She points out the broad resistance to geoengineering among climate scientists and biologists, and the striking lack of “humility before nature” exhibited by the geoengineers (267).

It is not all that different with the big environmental organizations such as the Nature Conservancy, the Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International, and the World Resources Institute. Their millions of dollars in funding resources comes from either big oil, big corporations (like Walmart), or big corporate foundations (like the Ford or Rockefeller foundations).  Their environmental advocacy, in return, emphasizes corporate friendly “solutions,” such as carbon trading, green investment, self-regulation by corporations, and other options that never even get close to addressing the roots of our environmental crisis. The Nature Conservancy even maintains its own oil well in Texas, pumping its own fossil fuel, and reaping its own profits through pollution (192-94), and Conservation International has partnerships with some of the worst polluters on the planet, such as Walmart, Monsanto, Shell, Chevron, McDonalds, and BP (196).

Klein does not see much hope for a sustainable world coming from this quarter.  Like the mad scientists of the geoengineering movement, many of the big green organizations are staffed by people still operating under the capitalist paradigm ostensibly requiring nothing more than proper “market solutions” to address climate change. The most promising and inspiring encounters from her five year’s of travel and research come from “Blockadia.” This term refers to the legal, spiritual, activist, economic, and civil disobedient resistance growing rapidly worldwide to the extractivist projects of the big corporations: blocking their mining, their pipelines, that transport systems, and their supposed legal right to rape the land and destroy the environment.

The Blockadia movement has brought together traditionally unlikely bedfellows, for example, local ranchers in Montana with local indigenous groups who assert their treaty rights to an environment that allows them to flourish with clean water, soil, and air.  The Northern Cheyenne have broken legal ground by arguing that the 1977 Clean Air Act in the USA includes their right to breathe clean air (390). Klein chronicles that legal challenges being made by indigenous peoples around the world to the invasion of their lands and environments by the dirty extractors. However, this global struggle is more than a resistance movement, it now embraces a self-conscious worldwide struggle to save our planet.

The Blockadia global resistance movement has realized that resistance is not enough. We must actively convert our local economies to sustainable, renewable, fossil fuel free community systems, working with nature’s rhythms and requirements rather than extracting and dominating. These new systems “working synergistically” with the Earth “require a humility that is the antithesis of damming a river, blasting bedrock for gas, or harnessing the power of the atom” (394).  “There is no more potent weapon in the battle against fossil fuels than the creation of real alternatives. Just the glimpse of another kind of economy can energize the fight against the old one…. It must be accompanied by a power correction in which the old injustices that plague our societies are righted once and for all. That is how you build an army of solar warriors” (397-99)

The army of solar warriors who envision another kind of economy will require planning, but climate planning will be of a “different sort entirely” from traditional kinds of planning. People at the grassroots level will need “the tools and the power to build a better life for themselves” (133). Planning must be decentralized as much as possible but still integrated into a global “Marshall Plan for the Earth.” There apparently must be planetary coordination and vision along with decentralized planning and control. However, “the failure of our political leaders to even attempt to ensure a safe future for us represents a crisis of legitimacy of almost unfathomable proportions” (364). Where, we may ask, will this new legitimate authority for planetary coordination and vision come from?

There is also hope, she argues, in the fact that history is full of sudden changes of thought and attitude, many of these changes arising from values, and from those who based their resistance of humanitarian values, not from merely economic or resource demands. She cites the end of colonialism, the ending of slavery, and the civil rights movement in the United States. It can happen suddenly, she insists, one day we are a lone, morally indignant voice crying in the wilderness, then suddenly we find that everyone is speaking the same message (see Martin 2018).

The massive planetary change, she says, needs to be “democratic,” by which she seems to mean grassroots, bottom up, and concerned with the common good and not elite privileges. We need to delegitimatize the dominant extractivist-capitalist world view, with its “stifling free-market ideology” and create “a Marshall Plan for the Earth” (458-60). It cannot be simply the elimination of the fossil fuel economy but must be a new understanding that the Earth is there for us all to live upon and for future generations to enjoy: “the climate challenge will be fruitless unless it is understood as part of a much broader battle of worldviews, a process of rebuilding and reinventing  the very idea of the collective, the communal, the commons, the civil, and the civic after so many decades of attack and neglect” (460).

Klein’s Marshall Plan for the Earth includes a “universal social safety net” and a guaranteed annual income for everyone on our planet. Such a revisioning of the purpose of economics as directed toward the common good, rather than private profit, “opens up a space for a full-throated debate about values—about what we owe to one another based on our shared humanity, and what it is that we collectively value more than economic growth and corporate profits” (461).  If people have a guaranteed income, then they will no longer be forced by economic necessity to compromise values in order to earn a living. A planetary debate about who and what we are as human beings, and the values we share, could then become a living reality.

Yet, as I said above, this changes nothing. Naomi Klein, like so many environmentalists who lack a truly penetrating critical analysis, does not discern that the capitalist paradigm and the sovereign nation-state paradigm come out of the same early-modern set of assumptions. Francis Bacon’s Novum Organum was published in 1620. The Treaty of Westphalia, at which scholars say the modern system of nation-states was founded, took place in 1648. Like capitalism, which fragments humanity into a competitive system of self-interested units, the system of sovereign nation-states fragments humanity into absolute territorial units, independent of one another and recognizing no enforceable laws above one another. Like capitalism, this system has no notion of a planetary common good and is structurally incapable of embracing such a good. Klein recognizes a crisis of legitimacy of “almost unfathomable proportions,” yet offers no alternative to the system currently in power.

World Systems Scholars, for the past half century, have pointed out that these two systems (global capitalism and sovereign nation-states) are intricately related, reinforcing one another (Boswell and Chase-Dunn 2000). The capitalists have colonized the governments of these nation-states, and the nations themselves act from their own perceived self-interest and not for the common good of humanity. Neither genuine democracy, nor action toward planetary common good, nor protection of our universal human rights can flourish within this divisive system. It is this system as a whole that has caused the climate crisis. The very examples that Klein cites regarding domination and extractivism have just as much to do with militarized, territorially based nations as with capitalism: colonization, imperialism, endless wars, exclusivism regarding immigration, racism, free-trade agreements, off-shore bank accounts, and legal protections for corporate domination and exploitation.

That is why this book, informative as it is, ‘changes nothing.’ Klein argues that we need greater democracy, yet where can such greater democracy come from under the system of sovereign nations colonized by capitalism?  She argues that we need a “global Marshall Plan,” yet she says nothing about the immense imperialism still rampant in the 21st century, nor the interstate military, endless wars, and economic rivalry among the big nations that is concerned with anything and everything except a true global climate plan that changes the way everyone does business. Where would such a Marshall Plan come from if not from democratic world government?   She largely ignores the threat of nuclear holocaust.

She argues that we need a morality revolution in which our shared human values inform our global relationships, yet sovereign nations are institutionally driven to operate on a war, security, mistrust, and competition model, not on shared humanistic values. The world spends nearly two trillion dollars per year on weapons and wars, funds that could and should be used to transform our planet into a sustainable, life-affirming garden of peace with justice. Without transforming this system of militarized, sovereign nation-states, there is little hope that humankind can survive the next century.

The only really credible, value-based, and pragmatically effective response to the climate crisis is to ratify the  Constitution for the Federation of Earth. A universal value base, premised on our common humanity, is already built into the Constitution, and the World Parliament that it creates is mandated to continue the discussion of how we can equitably and compassionately translate these values into concrete environmentally sustainable economic and social practices. The World Parliament is primarily elected by the grassroots of humanity, from 1000 electoral districts worldwide. The Constitution contains many features to ensure actualization of its mandate to preserve the Earth and create a sustainable, peaceful planetary civilization.  A Marshall Plan for the Earth is already built into the Earth Constitution.

 What environmentalists often fail to realize is that the complete change necessary to create a sustainable world civilization requires more than culture, more than values, more than endless resistance; it requires systemic (institutional) transformation as well. The capitalist system destroys human lives as well as the environment. But the world’s political system does the same. They are both anti-life, anti-holism, anti-love. The Earth Constitution gives us comprehensive system change to complement cultural and moral change. All three are necessary parts of the holism of our planetary biosphere and the human situation.

 And surely “democracy” is necessarily more than the ‘populism’ advocated by Naomi Klein. Authentic democracy necessarily institutionalizes equality, liberty, and community, and that is why it is incompatible with capitalism, which is institutionalized inequality (Leech 2012). Democracy is also incompatible with militarized sovereign nation-states, for all war making, interstate rivalry, national security systems, spying, and interstate competitive struggle necessarily destroys democracy both within and between nations.

The Earth Constitution establishes authentic democracy for the Earth, an essential condition for climate sustainability. Article 13 guarantees a number of environmental rights to clean water, air, nourishing food, etc. The Constitution restores the legitimacy of the nation-states by limiting their sovereignty to internal affairs and integrating them as one component of our planetary human community. For the first time in history, the common good of the people of Earth will be represented in the World Parliament, which will not be dominated by sovereign nations (as is the UN), nor by corporations and the wealthy. The people of Earth will have a global public authority, explicitly mandated to serve their common good, disarm the nations, and protect the global environment. The Constitution creates a global public banking system that can easily finance all these transformations.

The kind of planning Klein envisions will then be possible. Local decentralized control can be integrated into planetary coordination, monitoring, and dialogue. Democracy becomes more than mere populism; it must be institutionalized so that the grassroots of the planet are drawn into a system of planetary responsibility and global awareness, exactly what is needed for planetary regeneration and sustainability. Coordination, and the dissemination of knowledge and techniques for sustainable agriculture, transportation, energy, economics, and finance must be worldwide and not based on intellectual property rights, corporate greed, national secrecy, or local exclusivism. All this is already embedded within the Earth Constitution.

Not only this, but under the authority of the Constitution, the Provisional World Parliament has already passed a World Legislative Act (WLA) for a guaranteed annual income for everyone on the planet (WLA #22). It boggles the mind that environmentalists struggle worldwide against overwhelming odds when they could simply choose the one route that would make transformation to a global, value-based system, as smooth, comprehensive, and painless as possible. Naomi Klein’s recommendations truly “change nothing,” for they recommend transforming the global capitalist system without defanging its militarized ally: the lawless system of nation-states. Unless we transform the whole to a democratic, values-based system, institutionalized to represent the common good of humanity and our natural world, we have no credible future to look forward to.

Naomi Klein’s book is deeply informative, but not transformative. It is deeply passionate without any practical means to translate that passion into action. It is deeply caring but lacks the knowledgeable analysis of our world system that can generate a practical plan for transformative action. It is deeply democratic without any viable means to translate the democratic spirit into institutionalized action.  It lacks any mention of the absolute need to ratify the Constitution for the Federation of Earth.

 

References

 

Boswell, Terry and Christopher Chase-Dunn (2000). The Spiral of Capitalism and Socialism: Toward Global Democracy. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Klein, Naomi (2014). This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Leech, Garry (2012). Capitalism: A Structural Genocide. London: Zed Books.

Legislative Acts of the Provisional World Parliament on-line at:

http://worldproblems.net/english/legislation/summaries_en/world_legislation_contents.html#pwp_14_2015

Martin, Glen T. (2010). The Constitution for the Federation of Earth: With Historical Introduction, Commentary, and Conclusion. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press.  Also found on-line at www.earth-constitution.org

Martin, Glen T. (2018). Global Democracy and Human Self-Transcendence: The Power of the Future for Planetary Transformation. London: Cambridge Scholars Publishers.

What is Socialism?

Glen T. Marin

The basic ideas of socialism go back to the roots of the great world religions and to the conceptions of justice and community envisioned by many ancient thinkers and religious texts. These basic ideas did not come from the critiques of capitalism that emerged with the works of Karl Marx and other thinkers critical of capitalism in the 19th century. For socialism means, most basically, social justice, human moral decency, institutions and social practices based on love and compassion.

 

In An Interpretation of Religion, scholar of religions John Hick characterizes the rise of all the post-Axial religions as concerned with “progressively freeing us from ego-concern and for love and compassion for others” (2004, 26). He quotes the ancient texts to confirm this generalization (ibid. Chap. 18):

 

He has compassion toward all creatures and no greed.  (Bhagavad Gita)

As a mother cares for her son, all her days, so toward all living things a man’s mind should be all-embracing. (Gautama Buddha, Sutta Nipata)

It is affirmed that universal mutual love throughout the country will lead to its happy order, and that mutual hatred leads to confusion. (Neo-Confucian: Mo Tzu: Universal Love; in Sterba, 1998, p. 356)

You shall not enter Paradise until you believe; and you shall not believe till you love one another.

(Islam: Al-Hadis of Miskat-ul-Masibih, I:226)

Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees…to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor.  (Judaism: Isaiah 10:1-2)

Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  (Jesus the Christ: Matthew 22:39)

 

Fourth century Christian thinker, St. John Chrysostom, wrote: “The rich are in possession of the goods of the poor, even if they have acquired them honestly or inherited them legally.” Twelfth century Christian thinker St. Thomas Aquinas wrote: “Do not say, ‘I am using what belongs to me.’ You are using what belongs to others. All the wealth of the world belongs to you and to the others in common, as the sun, air, earth, and all the rest” (in Cort 1988, 45).

 

The very first fundamental principle of socialism, therefore, is the principle that all human beings are one family who inherit our precious Earth in common, and that we should be living in such a way that we share with one another in love and justice.  In the modern world, however, the understanding of this principle has expanded due to what Hick calls our emerging “sociological consciousness.”  Today we understand that human institutions, not simply individuals, can be just or unjust:

 

In its social analysis this movement has drawn attention to the structural, as distinguished from the purely individual, evils of the world: the capitalist system…. Liberation has come to mean the freeing of whole populations from these large-scale and long-lived structural forms of oppression…. Structural evil is a recent development in the history of human consciousness…. The modern world has produced a growing number of political saints whose agape/karuna is directed to changing the structures of human life” (2004, 304-5).

 

In the modern world, “socialism” has become the self-aware understanding that there are vast institutions of injustice and exploitation that alienate us from our true mission of human brotherhood, love, justice, and peace with one another. The second fundamental principle of socialism is that the traditional moral principles of love and justice should inform human institutions just as much as personal relationships. This is why socialism in the modern world has developed in opposition to capitalism. Capitalism claims to be a neutral set of economic principles that operate independently of human moral concerns. It claims to be based on the private “rational self-interest” of individuals and businesses competing for goods and services within a “free market” that is not designed on any moral principles but is simply an institution for economic exchange.

 

The resulting global economic institutions have become a worldwide “structural genocide,” according to Garry Leech in his book on capitalism. He quotes Marx who wrote: “It makes an accumulation of misery a necessary condition, corresponding to the accumulation of wealth. An accumulation of wealth at one pole is, therefore, at the same time an accumulation of misery, the torment of labor, slavery, ignorance, brutalization and moral degradation at the opposite pole” (2012, 41).  He also quotes Iśtvan Mészáros: “Structurally enforced inequality is the all-important defining characteristic of the capitalist system” (Ibid.).

 

Capitalism is a system of wealth production that proports to be value free. It is money not simply for purposes of exchange, but money used for purposes of accumulation. It is entirely independent of moral value and contains only the function of a perpetually increasing economic value. Marx writes:

 

Thus, growing wealthy is an end in itself…. Fixed as wealth, as the general form of wealth, as value which counts as value, it is therefore the constant drive to go beyond its quantitative limit: an endless process. Its own animation consists exclusively in that: it preserves itself as a self-validated exchange value distinct from a use-value only by constantly multiplying itself. (1973, 270).

 

The fundamental moral principle coming from ancient sources is equality through love and justice: love thy neighbor as thyself. The defining characteristic of capitalism is inequality: institutionalized through private property rights and legally enforced by militarized sovereign nation-states. This contradicts the fundamental moral principle, which is equality and dignity. As 20th century philosopher Leonard Nelson affirms: “We have already learned that the moral law commands us to respect the dignity of the person; now we can define that law more closely as the command of justice, or as the law that commands us to safeguard the equality of persons. The command of justice may be formulated as follows: Each person per se has equal dignity with every other person” (1956, 98, 110).

 

The third fundamental principle of socialism is the equality and dignity of all persons. There have been many different institutional systems proposed for achieving this, from nationalization of the means of production (as in the Soviet Union), to state run capitalism (as in China today), to Israeli Kibbutzim, to cooperatives at the grass-roots level (as in today’s Venezuela), to alternative communities like Auroville in India or Damanhur in Italy, to systems of worker-based ownership (as advocated today by economist Richard D. Wolff: 2012), to various forms of market-socialism (advocated by Michael Harrington: 1989). Some, but not all, of these proposed systems have turned out to be undemocratic in practice.

 

It should be clear that socialism is not identical with any of these proposed institutional systems. Its most basic meaning is that human relationships and institutions should be based on moral principles, not on power, greed, violence, or exploitation. Scholars have pointed out that Karl Marx’s entire critique was morally based (Miranda 1986). Other scholars have agreed that his work was focused on freedom (Brenkert 1983). Twentieth century political philosopher Robert A. Dahl argues that capitalism embodies a “freedom” that is necessary to democracy, but at the same time, he declares, with capitalism “the moral foundation of democracy, political equality among citizens, is seriously violated” (2015, 178). However, true freedom embraces moral principles. The so-called “freedom” of unlimited accumulation, with its power to exploit and dominate others, is a perversion of true freedom.

 

Similarly, socialist thinkers like economist R.H. Tawney in 1920 affirmed that a decent society must be based on moral purposes (which presuppose freedom), not on property and private profit as ends in themselves. Today, social scientists Boswell and Chase-Dunn sum up socialism as follows:

 

Our definition of socialism is a theory and a practice of progress toward the goals of steadily raising the living standards, and ensuring the basic needs of the working class, expanding the public sphere and community life, and eliminating all forms of oppression and exploitation. Global democracy assumes a democratic and collective rationality that promotes greater equality between as well as within countries, greater international cooperation and an end to war, and a more sustainable relationship to the biosphere…. Undemocratic socialism is simply not socialism regardless of the good intentions of its creators.  (2000, 6).

 

Notice that their definition does not specify any specific types of ownership or institutions as “socialist.” Their definition sees socialism as all encompassing and holistic, as raising living standards for ordinary people, as enhancing community life, ending exploitation, ending war, and protecting the biosphere. This is a correct definition because if institutions are based on the moral principles of dignity and equality, holistically realized, all these consequences follow.

 

Their definition also points out that socialism is equivalent to democracy. The French Revolution of 1789 broadly defined democracy as the quest for “equality, liberty, and fraternity.” This is exactly what socialism is about—equality, liberty, and community for all people (not just for the rich and powerful). These social scientists also point out that it must be a global democratic-socialist revolution: “Basic needs, sustainable development, social justice, and peace are the goals. Global democracy is both a means and goal” (ibid., 8). It cannot be rich nations protecting their wealth and power against poor nations. It cannot be militarized sovereign nations. The only viable democratic socialism requires world-wide institutions based on the moral principles of love, justice, equality, and dignity.

 

The fourth fundamental principle of socialism is holism. Socialism means that love, justice, equality, and dignity holistically permeate all aspects of human life and human institutions. Just as democracy is a way of life that is intrinsic to all humanity (arising from what Marx called our species-being) so socialism means that we have actualized the deeper oneness of our common humanity in a transformed world order (Martin 2018). It means that growth and accumulation are no longer the determinants of human behavior but rather the quality of our lives and relationships becomes fundamental. Holism also means that we integrate our economic system into the ecologically integrated holism of the biosphere, that economics, like human moral values, becomes kosmocentric in harmony with the holism of the universe and nature. Philosopher Joel Kovel writes that our socialism must therefore be called “ecosocialism”:

 

As alienation and exploitation are overcome, therefore, we would not expect human life to expand, but rather to develop ever more subtle, interrelated, mutually recognizing, beautiful, and spiritually fulfilled ways of being. We should not seek to become larger within socialism, but more realized…. So it would be expected for an ecocentric society, where the ideal of growth as such simply needs to be scrapped. Sufficiency makes more sense, building a world where nobody is hungry or cold or lacks healthcare or succor in old age. This can be done at a fraction of the current world output, and would create the ground for ecological realization. (2007, 228)

 

Socialism therefore arises from the integrated wholeness of human beings, the planetary biosphere, and the cosmos. True socialism embraces culture, politics, and economics, all of which must manifest love and justice, based on human equality and dignity, that must become holistically embodied in our human institutions and relationships. It is the self-actualization of our higher human potential. Twentieth century Indian sage Sri Aurobindo declared that we embody the Oneness at the heart of cosmos, which “creates in itself a self-conscious concentration of the ALL through which it can aspire” (1973, 49). Philosopher of Science Errol E. Harris affirmed: “holism should be the dominating concept in all our thinking” (2000, 90).

 

This is why the Constitution for the Federation of Earth is a democratic-socialist document. It sets up a holistic world system based on the legally recognized equality and dignity for every person on Earth. Its two bills of human rights (Articles 12 and 13) list a multitude of rights that are “inalienable” for all persons as well as explicit goals for the Earth Federation government to enhance and protect. These goals include ecological harmony with the biosphere of our planet. The Constitution designs a democratic system based on fundamental ecological and moral principles. It directs the World Parliament to further elaborate social and economic institutions that holistically embody these principles.

 

The “broad functions” of the Earth Federation government specified in Article 1 include ending war and disarming the nations, protecting universal human rights, diminishing social differences (inequality), and protecting the “ecological fabric of life.”  As in the definition of socialism (and democracy) above, all these consequences and functions derive from the fact that the Earth Constitution is based on the holistic moral principles that should be foundational in human institutions: love, justice, equality, freedom, and dignity. All these concepts demand increased quality, not quantity. They demand realization for the whole of humanity, including our relationship with nature.

 

This is why socialism is universal and can only legitimately be global. It is not something that some countries can choose while other countries choose capitalism, for the capitalist system (based on power and greed, not on moral principles) will always imperialistically destroy attempts to establish socialism in individual countries, just as it is doing today against Venezuela and Cuba. The capitalist system dominates our planet and is not separate from the imperialism of the system of so-called “sovereign nations.” Christopher Chase-Dunn writes:

 

The state and the interstate system are not separate from capitalism, but rather are the main institutional supports of capitalist production relations. The system of unequally powerful and competing nation states is part of the competitive struggle of capitalism, and thus wars and geopolitics are a systematic part of capitalist dynamics, not exogenous forces. (1998, 61)

 

The Constitution for the Federation of Earth does not contain the words “socialism” or “capitalism.” It makes “private property” a right and encourages “free trade.”  However, like all systems of democratic law, the World Parliament will legislate laws defining “private property.”  There are many ways it can be defined, regulated, and limited so as to prove beneficial to human beings and ecological systems, whereas as currently defined, it is largely destructive of both.  The same applies to “free trade.” All trade requires regulation of some sort, even under capitalism. But real free trade will not exploit, nor corrupt with bribes and monopolies, nor destroy the environment. Real free trade will be fair trade, holistically seeking to benefit all concerned and to integrate with the Earth’s ecosystems. Only enforceable democratic world law can make this happen.

 

In 2005, I published a book called World Revolution through World Law. The title is appropriate to our effort to ratify the Earth Constitution. We need fundamental change in our global capitalist and sovereign state institutions. But that change can only come about through the force of morally based democratic laws that include holistic and morally based definitions of “private property” and “free trade.” Real democracy, like real socialism, is revolutionary and must be embodied in our planetary institutions.

 

The World Constitution and Parliament Association (WCPA) is not a power-based institution. It is based on the holistic moral principles of love, justice, equality, and dignity.  Our tools are love and persuasion along with emerging governmental authority under the Provisional World Parliament.  We must get the people of Earth to see that a decent world system respecting their equality and dignity can only happen if they ratify the Earth Constitution under the democratic criteria specified in its Article 17.

 

We do not command armies or capitalist power-blocks. But we do draw from the power of holistic universal moral principles that come to us from all the ancient scriptures as well as from our intrinsic human rationality. This law of love and justice is objective and real and has the authority to awaken human beings to their true destiny.  Our true destiny is to live sustainably, peacefully, and justly, without war or exploitation, in harmony with our beautiful planet Earth.  Our true destiny is to ratify the Constitution for the Federation of Earth.

 

Works Cited:

Aurobindo, Sri (1973). The Essential Aurobindo. Ed. Robert A. McDermott. New York: Schocken Books.

Boswell, Terry and Christopher Chase-Dunn (2000). The Spiral of Capitalism and Socialism: Toward Global Democracy. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

Brenkert, George G. (1983). Marx’s Ethics of Freedom. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Chase-Dunn, Christopher (1998). Global Formation: Structures of World Economy. New York: Rowman & Littlefield.

Constitution for the Federation of Earth. Found on-line at www.earth-constitution.org and www.worldparliament-gov.org.

Cort, John (1988). Christian Socialism. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.

Dahl, Robert A. (2015). On Democracy: Second Edition. With Ian Shapiro. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Harrington, Michael (1989). Socialism: Past and Future. The Classic Text on the Role of Socialism in Modern Society. New York: Arcade Publishing.

Harris, Errol E. (2000). Apocalypse and Paradigm: Science and Everyday Thinking. London: Praeger Publishers.

Hick, John. 2004. An Interpretation of Religion: Human Responses to the Transcendent. Second Edition. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Kovel, Joel (2007). The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World. London: Zed Books.

Leech, Garry (2012). Capitalism: A Structural Genocide. London: Zed Books.

Martin, Glen T. (2005). World Revolution through World Law: Basic Documents of the Emerging Earth Federation. Appomattox, VA: Institute for Economic Democracy Press.

Martin, Glen T. (2018). Global Democracy and Human Self-Transcendence: The Power of the Future for Planetary Transformation. London: Cambridge Scholars Publishers.

Marx, Karl (1993). Grundrisse. Trans. Martin Nicolaus. Penguin Books.

Miranda, José. 1986. Marx Against the Marxists: The Christian Humanism of Karl Marx. Trans. John Drury. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.

Nelson, Leonard. 1956. System of Ethics. Trans. Norbert Guterman. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Sterba, James P. (1998). Social and Political Philosophy. New York: Wadsworth Publishers.

Tawney, R.H. (n.d.) The Acquisitive Society. (Publisher not listed). ISBN 9781544682877.

Wolff, Richard (2012). Democracy at Work: A Cure of Capitalism. Chicago: Haymarket Books.

World Constitution and Parliament Association (WCPA) found at: www.earth-constitution.org and www.worldparliament-gov.org and www.wcpaindia.info.

What is the Purpose?

Glen T. Martin

April 2019

In his famous 1920 essay critical of the irrationality of capitalism, British economist R.H. Tawney shows that the system of profit for profit’s sake is not only irrational but disastrous. He declares: “The essential thing is that men should fix their minds upon the idea of purpose, and give that idea pre-eminence over all subsidiary issues….as long as it does not conflict with some still more important purpose” (p.59).

For Tawney, by making profit an end in itself, modern capitalist society has made a disastrous mistake. Marx had understood that the purpose of production, of work, should be to create use-values for the sake of living a good life. Production was for the purpose of a good life, not an end in itself. But modern capitalism has made the ownership of property, and the profit that can be derived from this ownership, the end in itself. Not the creation of useful things, not support for the goods and services needed for life, not justice, truth, or beauty, but profit for profit’s sake.

There need be no purpose beyond this, we were told, because the “invisible hand” would take care of all the rest. The immense suffering of the majority of humanity for the past several centuries has testified to efficacy of this “invisible hand,” as does the destruction of our planetary environment, which may soon become beyond repair (Klein 2014). If there is no credible purpose, then the only recourse is appeal to some “invisible hand,” or some “inscrutable will of God,” or some mysterious karma accounting for the failure of our purposes in the present.

Let us then consider our purposes. Human beings are first and foremost temporal creatures who synthesize our remembered past within an ever-moving dynamic present and project a future that seeks to transcend that past and present by intending to create a better future. We also understand that our purposes, directed toward creating a better future, are necessarily social. We are connected with others in ever-widening circles. Our better future and their better futures are interdependent and interconnected. Ultimately, it is all of us, or there will be none of us left (Martin 2018).

With the advent of contemporary global issues and global crises, we have begun to see ever-more clearly that all human beings are in this situation together, and that, unless we unite under universal common purposes (which include the prevention of nuclear holocaust and devastating climate collapse), we do not have a future at all. Purposes are about the future, and they invariably give meaning to the present. Indeed, even the meaning of the unalterable past can be transformed depending on the quality and intensity of our purposes for the future.

A negative past of suffering and confusion can be reinterpreted as the precondition for our enlightenment and joy as we move into a transformed future. An unintelligent past, when our purposes were nothing better than private profit for its own sake while appealing to an “invisible hand,” can be redeemed as we reclaim an intelligent future based on authentic, inspiring and credible purposes. We can wake up, have a moral conversion, or become enlightened.

The great world religions have all formulated answers to the question of purpose. What is the ultimate purpose?  Yet the answers emerging from the history of these religions may only serve to deepen the mystery of the ultimate purpose, or even whether these may be an ultimate purpose. Every religion has had sages claiming there are levels of understanding to the depths of the revelation or the depths of meditative experience, and that what may look like the purpose at one level may not appear as the purpose at deeper levels.

Similarly, every religion has had both theologians and mystics, and sometimes both are joined in a single sage or movement. The truths conveyed may appear contradictory. Some theologians speak of God’s purposes in history, and the power of the three Abrahamic religions draws greatly from this image. However, mystics of all religions, and especially in the East, appear to discover an unsayable dimension beyond all purpose, a dharmakaya that is imageless, nameless, and purposeless.

In the name of Hinduism, Swami Vivekananda declared in 1893 that “we can no more think about anything without a mental image than we can live without breathing.” While the ultimate ground of being, he affirmed, is beyond any and all mental images (2006, 17). Meister Eckhart, the 14th century German Christian thinker, declared of God that “you should love him as he is a non-God, a non-spirit, a nonperson, a non-image, but as he is a pure unmixed bright ‘One,’ separated from all duality” (1981, 208). If the Godhead is a non-God and non-person, how can there be divine purposes? What is the relation between this depth dimension and our human purposes?

Initiates in Buddhism being guided toward enlightenment are often drawn upwards through a meditative process beyond the sambhogakaya level of images to the nameless and purposeless fulness-emptiness of sunyata. In Zen and the Art of Archery, professor Eugen Herrigel describes his experience of studying with a Zen master in Japan as he is taught to become one with the depths of the universe in the act of releasing the arrow. At one point, Herrigel cries out in frustration to the master: “How can I become purposeless on purpose?” However, despite Herrigel’s dilemma, purpose and so-called “purposeless” may be intimately related.

We know today that the world has evolved through a 13.8 billion year history since the Big Bang. Physicists have formulated “the Anthropic Principle” arguing that the emergence of self-conscious, rational creatures was inherent within the very structure of the universe from its earliest origins through an astonishing integration and coherence that has continued as the universe has expanded to its present vast dimensions (Harris 1991). It would appear that human life emerges from some mysterious cosmic purpose.

Contemporary physics has also discovered that the universe, with its immense, deep systemic coherence and consistency, can be characterized as “mind” just as much as “matter” (Laszlo 2014; Katatos and Nadeau 1990). In fact, this duality between mind and matter has substantially disappeared in recent physics, since the distinction is based on mere sensory experience, leaving out the depth dimensions. As cosmologist and interpreter of science Ervin Laszlo summarizes:

A mature science recognizes that the world is far greater and deeper than our sensory experience of it, just as a mature religion recognizes that the higher or deeper intelligence its doctrines suggest is the real core of the cosmos. A mature science is spiritual, and a mature religion is scientific. They are built on the same experience, and they reach basically the same conclusion. (2014, 93)

As physicist Henry P. Stapp expresses this, science gives us the image of a self “not as an isolated automaton but rather as a nonlocalizable integrated aspect of the creative impulse of the universe” (in Kitchener 1988, 57). Our minds participate in the depth dimension of the cosmos, an insight that should surely impact our sense of purpose. As Laszlo expresses this:

Consciousness can extend the range of our freedom. If we adopt consciously envisaged worldviews, and bring consciously envisaged goals and values to bear upon our life, our freedom acquires an additional goal-oriented dimension. And if we allow not only the sensory information that connects us with the manifest world to penetrate to our consciousness but also the more subtle insights and intuitions that reach us from the A-dimension [depth dimension], we further extend the range of our freedom. (2014, 63)

What goals and purposes emerge from this wisdom?  “Life,” he says, is clearly the fundamental value. This universe has produced conscious life, a reality that appears to have incalculable value and that translates into the idea that human beings possess the inherent dignity claimed by thinkers such as Immanuel Kant and documents such as the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This seemingly miraculous phenomenon of a self-conscious creature with the freedom to create and live by values has been produced, Laszlo affirms, through the immense coherence of the universe that is also grounded in the “supercoherence” of the quantum dimension (ibid. 66-67). Nevertheless:

The great exception to this rule is the human species. In the last few hundred years, and especially in the last decades, human societies have become progressively incoherent both with respect to each other and with their environment. They have become internally divisive and ecologically disruptive…. We can now say what is truly good in this crucial epoch. It is to regain our internal and external coherence: our supercoherence. This is not a utopian aspiration, it can be achieved. But it calls for major changes in the way we think and act. (ibid. 67)

Our purpose is coherence, harmony, unity in diversity, the uniting of all men and women within world union. Philosopher Errol E. Harris summarizes this: “the whole of humankind has become a single community, the common good of which is necessarily implicated in the good of every individual and every society. Contemporary politics as well as contemporary ethics should therefore be global.” (2000, 106).

Just as modern economics has left out purpose with its bizarre theories of the “free market” and the “invisible hand,” so the modern system of nation-states has left out purpose from the political organization of our planet. The Westphalian system of autonomous, sovereign nation-states was created in 1648 only for the purpose of ending the Thirty Years War, not with any intent for the future of society or the good of humanity. The result, as Laszlo affirms, is that nations have “become progressively incoherent both with respect to each other and with their environment.”

As Tawney expresses this: “nationalism, like individualism, lays its emphasis on the rights of separate units, not on their subordination to common obligations” (p. 35). Just as money as an end-in-itself violates our human capacity for intelligent purposes, so sovereign nation-states as ends-in-themselves violate our common human intelligence that requires common human, planetary purposes.

However, the “invisible hand” of the nation-state system has perhaps been more apparent than that of the economic system. For that invisible hand had been characterized by perpetual war. By definition, war is the breakdown of civilized relationships in an anarchy of violence and destruction. Like capitalism, in which the purpose is not a common good or the production of use-values but simply property and profit for their own sake, the system of sovereign nation-states has no stated purpose beyond “sovereignty” itself.  That is, in some mysterious way, the purpose of being a nation-state is to maintain, strengthen, and protect its own “sovereignty.”

This, of course, is another word for autonomy and independence in defiance of the reality of our interdependent humanity and the coherence of both ecology and human civilization. It is another word for perpetuating what many thinkers, including Kant, have called the “war-system,” a system of “savage and barbaric” lawless freedom that refuses to accept a “rational freedom” characterized by the rule of law, order, justice, and civility for the whole of humankind (1957). Like the system of private property and profit that is tearing humanity apart because it has no purpose beyond itself, the sovereign nation-state, now sporting nuclear weapons, threatens to exterminate all of humanity in the service of a “sovereignty” that has no purpose beyond itself.

Both contemporary science and the deep insights of the world’s religions have shown that we live in one, coherent world system arising from unsayable depths (as the dharmakaya in Buddhist language or the quantum plenum in scientific language). In either case the unity and deep coherence of the cosmos is emphasized. From any whole that is simultaneously temporal in its existence, the intrinsic coherence will give rise to a teleological end—a movement toward the self-actualization and completion of the whole. Philosopher of cosmology Errol E. Harris writes:

It is the immanence of the principle of order in the parts of a structured whole that constitutes its teleology…. In the case of a dynamic movement or a genetic process, subjection of the phases to the governance of the principle of wholeness will determine the end, which is typically the completion of some whole; thus a teleological process is one of genesis of a whole, and if the process is consciously directed it is purposive…. The goal of purposive activity is not merely…its terminal stage. The aim of a musician composing a symphony is not the final chord but the symphonic whole…. As Aristotle rightly perceived, “not that which is last deserves the name of end, but that which is most perfect.” (1991, 168)

The very fact of systemic coherence, Harris tells us, implies purpose in at all levels of nature and human life. The purpose of the supercoherence of the cosmos, Laszlo asserts, is “life”—as consciousness, freedom, and actualization of the good. The wholeness of the cosmos, Harris likewise affirms, is the teleological actualization of ever-greater coherence, harmony, consciousness, and freedom. These purposes, inherent in the universe (whether conscious or not) also inform human life. Theologian and philosopher Teilhard de Chardin summarizes this process:

The flame that for thousands of years has been rising up below the horizon is now, at a strictly localized point, about to burst forth: thought has been born. Beings endowed with self-awareness become, precisely in virtue of that bending back upon themselves, immediately capable of rising to a new level of existence: in truth another world is born. (1969, 102)

The evolutionary thrust of the universe has come to consciousness in us and a new level of existence has been born. The human mind, Harris concludes, embodies the organizing principle of the whole, now conscious in us, “For what ought to be done is what promotes health, unity, and harmony, as well in the biosphere as in human society” (2000, 262). Laszlo also concludes that the good is life and what made it possible: the coherence and supercoherence of the cosmos (2014, 66-67). It is here that we begin to integrate the conflicting claims of the world’s religions between a cosmic purpose and an intuition of cosmic purposelessness.

The matrix of coherence and supercoherence has given rise to conscious beings who may comprehend and live from that wholeness. The conscious purposes of our lives need to foster coherence, harmony, peace, and sustainability but, in any teleological system, the ultimate goal is not simply a temporal end point but what Aristotle called “perfection”—the living of the ecstatic fullness of life in each moment as we continue to live in terms of legitimate purposes of greater or lesser scope.

The greater scope of our purposes necessarily includes planetary peace, justice, and sustainability for all people on our planet. The purpose of the symphony of life is the perfection and harmony of the whole, a temporalized progression in which the end point includes within itself the very process of self-actualization. Both the system of private profit and the system of sovereign nation-states violate and impede the self-actualization our common human purpose.

In his book The Fate of Man in the Modern World, Christian-Russian philosopher Nicolas Berdyaev declares:

The problem of man takes precedence over that of society and of culture, and here man is to be considered, not in his inner spiritual life, not as an abstract spiritual being, but as an integral being, as a being social and cosmic as well…. But the true and final renaissance will probably begin in the world only after the elementary, everyday problems of human existence are solved for all peoples and nations, after bitter human need and the economic slavery of man have been finally conquered. (1969, 130-31)

The problem of man is that of fragmentation, our inability to solve our most elementary problems such as the means of survival for citizens of the Earth. Our first purpose, and the first necessary result of our quest for wholeness, needs to be addressing the horrific suffering of at least 50% of humanity who are victims of our planetary economic and political chaos. Before the fullness and ecstasy of life can arise for all people, we need food, clothing, shelter, and security for all people. Our lack of compassion and action on their behalf impairs our holistic purposes all around.

The Constitution for the Federation of Earth draws all these purposes together within a common sense blueprint for their actualization. It overcomes the incoherence of a global economic system that has no legitimate purposes, as well as the irrationality of a system of sovereign nation-states with no purpose beyond fragmentation, irrational sovereignty, and defiance of the wholeness of humanity. The Earth Constitution is founded on legitimate ultimate purposes from the very beginning: on the unified sovereignty of the people of Earth with their natural and coherent purposes to end war, disarm the nations, establish universal human rights, diminish social differences, and protect our planetary environment.

Without expressing any religious or scientific conclusions, the Earth Constitution nevertheless presents a beautifully designed holistic world system to actualize our higher human purposes for peace, harmony, and coherence that derive from the very foundations of the cosmos. It overcomes the irrational fragmentation of both today’s economics and the system of sovereign nation-states, joining human beings together to cooperatively solve our horrific economic and governance problems of planet Earth.

No option is more important. None is more fundamental. Ratifying the Constitution for the Federation of Earth needs to be integral to our most fundamental purpose. It is an expression of both the holism of humanity and the cosmic holism that informs the very ground of Existence.

Works Cited:

Constitution for the Federation of Earth, on-line at www.earth-constitution.org or www.worldparliament-gov.org.

Eckhart, Meister (1981). Meister Eckhart: The Essential Sermons, Commentaries, Treatises, and Defense. Ed. Bernard McGinn. Mahway, NJ: Paulist Press.

Harris, Errol E. (1991). Cosmos and Anthropos: A Philosophical Interpretation of the Anthropic Cosmological Principle. New Jersey: Humanities Press International.

Harris Errol E. (2000a). Apocalypse and Paradigm. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.

Harris, Errol E. (2000b). The Restitution of Metaphysics. Amherst, NY: Humanities Press.

Herrigel, Eugen (1971). Zen in the Art of Archery. New York: Vintage Books.

Kafatos, Means and Robert Nadeau (1990). The Conscious Universe: Part and Whole in Modern Physical Theory. London: Springer-Verlag.

Klein, Naomi (2014). This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Kant, Immanuel (1957). Perpetual Peace. Ed. Lewis White Beck. New York: Macmillan.

Kitchener, Richard F., ed. (1988). The World View of Contemporary Physics: Does it Need a New Metaphysics? Albany: State University of New York Press.

Laszlo, Ervin (2014). The Self-Actualizing Cosmos: The Akasha Revolution in Science and Human Consciousness. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions.

Martin, Glen T. (2018). Global Democracy and Human Self-Transcendence: The Power of the Future for Planetary Transformation. London: Cambridge Scholars.

Tawney, R.H. (n.d.). The Acquisitive Society. (Publisher not listed). ISBN 9781544682877.

Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre (1969). Hymn of the Universe. New York: Harper Colophon.

Vivekananda, Swami (2006). The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda. Volume 1. Kolkata: Advaita Ashrama Publisher.

 

The Immense Significance of Article 19 of the Earth Constitution

Glen T. Martin

April 2019

 

The World Constitution and Parliament Association (WCPA) supports the ratification of the Constitution for the Federation of Earth under the criteria outlined in Article 17. The 4th Constituent Assembly, meeting in Troia, Portugal, in 1991 determined that the Constitution was a completed document ready for ratification. The Constitution sets up a parliamentary system for the world in which the 3 Houses of the World Parliament make democratic laws for the Earth regarding all those global problems beyond the scope of nation-states: ending war, protecting universal human rights, eliminating extreme poverty, and protecting the planetary environment. All this is in the future, a future that activists for WCPA are helping to create.

 

But Article 19 opens up an additional perspective. Article 19, named “Provisional World Government,” gives human beings the right and duty to begin world government here and now. It lays out concrete steps that can be taken now under the authority of the Earth Constitution to actually begin the world government.  The justification for this, as the Preamble to the Earth Constitution declares, is that the world is in crisis, in danger both of nuclear holocaust and in the throes of ongoing climate collapse. What are we waiting for?

 

As the Second Constituent Assembly declared in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 1979: The people of Earth have the right and responsibility to create world government since every one of the world’s nation-states, without exception, have abdicated their duty in this regard.  The only credible solution for these crises is democratic world law uniting humanity to effectively deal with these lethal threats to human existence. It is all of us or none, a phrase that Albert Einstein first used when he called for democratic world government, and that, following Einstein, Errol E. Harris used as the title for his 1993 book about why we need to ratify the Earth Constitution.  Hence, article 19 says that we have the right and duty to start it now.

 

Article 19 outlines the emergence of provisional world government through a framework of steps that should be taken to develop the organizations necessary for the Earth Federation to come into its final form.  It calls for the formation of “preparatory commissions” that address the multiple initiatives necessary: a Ratification Commission, a World Elections Commission, a World Problems Commission, a Finance Commission, etc. These commissions are organized and promoted through the Provisional World Parliament (PWP), which is taken to be the primary organ within the emerging Earth Federation government.

 

The Provisional World Parliament will elect its own Presidium and be responsible for the formation of the Provisional World Executive with its Executive Cabinet. Together these shall begin programs dealing with the most urgent world problems (Article 19.5.1).  In the light of this, Article 19.5.4 states that “insofar as consider appropriate and feasible, the Provisional World Parliament and Provisional World Executive may undertake some of the actions specified under Article 17, section 3.12, for the first operative stage of World Government.”

 

Article 17.3.12. The World Parliament shall proceed to work upon solutions to world problems. The World Parliament and World Executive working together shall institute through the several organs, departments and agencies of the World Government whatever means shall seem appropriate and feasible to accomplish the implementation and enforcement of world legislation, world law and the World Constitution; and in particular shall take certain decisive actions for the welfare of all people on Earth, applicable throughout the world, including but not limited to the following:

17.3.12.1.  Expedite the organization and work of an Emergency Earth Rescue Administration, concerned with all aspects of climate change and climate crises….

 

Any feature, agency, or aspect of the Earth Constitution can be started as part of the Provisional World Government initiative. Our worldwide organization, WCPA, sponsor of the Constitution, has however been limited by both resources and by forces that do not want us to succeed. (I’m sure it is easy for you to imagine whom these forces might be.)  In spite of the limited availability resources and personnel, we have already initiated several features of Provisional World Government, under the authority of Article 19, representing an immense accomplishment of WCPA from the early 1980s to the present.

 

The most basic initiative has been the creation of the Provisional World Parliament (PWP) itself, the sessions of which over time, have become increasingly professionalized and up to the highest standards of legislative expertise. This has largely been due to the hard work of Dr. Eugenia Almand, who has remained Secretary of the Parliament and Chair of the Legislative Review Commission for some time.  We have held 14 sessions of the Provisional World Parliament to date in cities and countries around the world and have passed some 67 World Legislative Acts that the provisional world government could be implementing to the limit of its organizational and financial resources. These include the Emergency Earth Rescue Administration mentioned in Article 17.3.12.1 that was established as World Legislative Act # 6 in New Delhi in 1985. We will see below that we have already taken a first step toward the actualization of the work of the EERA.

 

The first session of the Parliament was held at the famous Royal Pavilion in Brighton, England in 1982. The second session was opened at the renowned Constitution Club in New Delhi, India, by the then President of India. The third session was in Miami Beach, Florida, USA; the fourth session in Barcelona, Spain; the fifth on the island of Malta; the sixth in Bangkok, Thailand, etc. The 14th session was held at the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture in Kolkata, India, in 2014.  These 14 sessions have passed a substantial body of provisional world law that illuminates the kind of world that can be created under the authority of the Earth Constitution.   (https://www.radford.edu/gmartin/PWP.legis.acts.list.htm)

 

These sessions constitute the World Parliament in action, in rudimentary form to be sure, without a secretariat and significant resources, but provisional world government nevertheless. The implications couldn’t be greater: we have started it. It is on-going. It needs, of course, to be built upon and nurtured. But the key to a decent human future is not simply an imagined future that does not yet exist, but this living reality in embryotic form. As many of you know, we are now looking for a venue and host for the next session of Parliament that recognizes its great world-historical significance and that magnifies it in the ways that this phenomenal development in human history deserves. Those of us who attend such a Parliament, either as delegates or officers, thereby become government officials, and no longer simply WCPA members.

 

As stated above, Article 19 does not limit what can be created now to the World Parliament, which is our first accomplishment in the direction of provisional world government. The World Executive should also be created with any of its ministries. The World Judiciary, the World Attorney’s General, the World Police, or the World Ombudsmus all can be established now, under the authority of Articles 19 and 17.3.12. We need people of integrity and stature to head these burgeoning agencies and make it clear to the world that world law under the Earth Constitution is actually happening.  The PWP in fact has a number of standing commissions, however, these are not active right now for lack of resources and personnel to staff them.

 

Nevertheless, the provisional world judiciary was started with the passage of WLA 48, the Collegium of World Judges Act, passed in 2010, which is our second accomplishment and initiative. This act activates provisional Collegium of World Judges (modelled on the Collegium outlined in Article 9 of the Constitution) to develop the world court system and begin a process of adjudicating and dispensing judgments under the authority of the Earth Constitution. High court justices from various countries, both sitting and retired, have signed up as members of the Collegium.  From the Collegium, once we have enough membership and resources, the first Bench of the World Supreme Court System can then be created.

 

Our third accomplishment with respect to Article 19 involves the burgeoning development of the World Parliament University (WPU).  The Earth Constitution calls for a World University System, and Article 19 empowers us to begin that system. The Education Act of the Provisional World Parliament (World Legislative Act # 26, passed in 2004) describes the broad requirements for all educational institutions receiving funding or support from the Earth Federation government. The World Parliament University is close to the point where we will be offering courses on-line, some of which will follow the syllabi for global education worked out in this world legislative act. Its legal precursor was the Graduate School of World Problems established, under World Legislative Act # 4, at the very first session of the PWP in Brighton, England in 1982. Both WCPA and the WPU are funded and supported by the Earth Federation Institute (EFI) based in Virginia, USA (www.worldproblems.net)

 

Fourth, we have begun the World Executive Branch by appointing a leading environmentalist as Environmental Minister for the Provisional World Government. This person is directing in a vast project for planting trees as part of our strategy to slow down global warming and restore forested lands. The trees are being planted in the name of Provisional World Government by the World Environmental Minister, under the authority of the EERA (World Legislative Act #6) and Article 19 of the Earth Constitution. What is needed, of course, is a global program unifying all nations and peoples to combat climate collapse. That is what the Earth Emergency Rescue Administration intends. We are proud to say that the world already has an active Environmental Minister. This can serve not only to publicize our work, but also as an incentive for the people of Earth to join together under the Earth Constitution before it is too late. The EERA needs funding and resources to expand such environmental measures worldwide.

 

The text of the Constitution does not mention its sponsor, the WCPA, and the officials empowered by the Constitution are normally those originating with the Provisional World Parliament. (The WCPA By-laws, on the other hand, do mandate its Trustees to activate the Provisional World Parliament and corresponding Provisional World Government.) Article 19 states that all past delegates to sessions of the PWP remain official delegates for future sessions. From the 14th session, for example, we have Indian Gandhian activist E.P. Menon and leading Malaysian lawyer Puan Saraswathy Devi who remain recognized as governmental law makers.

 

Also, of course, original signatories to the Earth Constitution such as Dr. Roger Kotila and Dr. Dauji Gupta (both Vice-Presidents of WCPA) remain recognized lawmakers. The elected President of the last session of the Parliament was Dr. Glen T. Martin and the Executive Secretary for the Parliament was Dr. Eugenia Almand. Hence, the appointment to the post of Environmental Minister was in terms of our governmental roles as members of the Provisional World Parliament and not simply as leaders of WCPA. Nevertheless, WCPA is a global non-governmental organization (NGO) specifically created to sponsor and promote the Constitution for the Federation of Earth, with a considerable mandate to do so.

 

The key principles to focus on here are that provisional world government is already in operation, and that this process can actualize the kind of institutions and actions so badly needed by the people of Earth before it is too late. WCPA chapters and members can and should be starting up as many aspects of the Earth Federation government as possible, beginning with the elaboration of commissions and infrastructure for the Parliament itself.

 

The Parliament needs a Secretariat and funding. And it needs leading persons to staff and guide its commissions. The first step in the process of becoming a representative of the Provisional World Government is to sign the Pledge of Allegiance to the Earth Constitution: http://earth-constitution.org/support/pledge/   This is the essential precondition for becoming a member of the Provisional World Parliament or holding any position within the government. There is a new environmental activist organization called “Extinction Rebellion” that has been committing civil disobedience in France and England, raging against the very real prospect of human extinction. Our WCPA membership should be just as passionate. We too are fighting tooth and nail against the prospect of human extinction.

 

We are not merely visionaries but doers. All manner of useful work at the local level can be done in the name of the emerging World Government, thereby giving special incentive and vision to people everywhere. We need to awaken to the significance of our own work and to the power and responsibilities given to us by the Constitution for the Federation of Earth. Together, with both pride and courage, we must move forward rapidly to empower the Provisional World Parliament to grow the provisional Earth Federation into the final Earth Federation under a ratified Earth Constitution. The entire future of our planet hangs in the balance; it depends on what we do today.