Monday, April 30, 2012

what kind of culture is needed to supports billions of people living on Earth?

How many people can the good ship earth carry in comfort? The answer depends upon beliefs about optimal life-styles.

If the world's population had the productivity of the Swiss, the consumption habits of the Chinese, the egalitarian instincts of the Swedes, and the social discipline of the Japanese, then the planet could support many times its current population without privation for anyone. On the other hand, if the world's population had the productivity of Chad, the consumption habits of the United States, the egalitarian instincts of India, and the social discipline of Yugoslavia, then the planet could not support anywhere near its current numbers. Unfortunately most humans seem to fall in the America-India-Chad-Yugoslavia category.
If we want the planet to be a livable place, we need to promote social virtues, including trust and respect.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

world government: War Court to prevent the use of war

What would the world government do?

I see two key functions: 1) prevent war and 2) shame governments and other institutions into behaving.

If the people in power were behaving, there's nothing particularly inadequate about the existing institutions. (Some of the international financial institutions and trade agreements need... reform, but most of what we have is decent if the people in power behaved themselves.)

How is this government going to prevent war?

It's going to primarily be a court system.

The War Court (working title) is going to be above the UN Security Council and national governments. For a government (or other human organization, including non-state actors and corporations) to use lethal force beyond its territorial jurisdiction, it must go to the War Court and prove that it has exercised all remedies short of using deadly force. The provocation cannot be addressed by an remedy short of deadly force and that the provocation rises to the level of requiring deadly force. The party pleading for the prerogative of going to war must also write the war resolution as narrowly as possible. Also, the war resolution has to be approved through the UN Security Council.

Imposing these reasonable requirements would make it pretty hard to go to war.

What are the consequences of violating the War Court's rulings and going to war anyways?

The people who violate the law will be criminals and subject to prosecution: from heads of state down to soldiers and including diplomats, legislators and judges who went along. For the rest of their lives, they will be criminals or fugitives. When history is written, they will be labeled what they are: murderers and war criminals.

I'll write more about shaming later.

worldwide government based on trust and respect

Right now we have a society that doesn't work particularly well. It is getting more coercive and oppressive. The economy is growing sluggishly. A small elite gets richer while most families lose ground from decade to decade.

The system is not working. Liberals make policy recommendations that are "go slowly" but not a change of direction.

I would like to begin the process of creating a constitution for a worldwide government with limited powers.

Here's the first draft statement:

We wish to live in a world where the values of trust and respect are the highest priority of government.

We expect that we should be able to trust institutions to do their duties.

We expect these institutions to treat individuals with respect.

We have lost confidence in existing institutions. Existing institutions have failed to deliver on basic expectations.

War, domestic spying and oppressive policies have become prominent tools of social control.

We, the people of the world, assert the right to create a worldwide government.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Hunger Games: how immoral does society need to be to justify revolution?

Hunger Games are a metaphor for any tool of social control that leaves young people worse off.

While the Hunger Games are the central concept of the book and trilogy (Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay) by Suzanne Collins, one concept does not a (good) book make.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Right Wingers want government to punish the wicked and reward the righteous

Chris Mooney is the author of The Republican Brain: The Science of Why They Deny Science--and Reality, which is being hype at the usual places: Washington Post and Daily Kos.

While Mooney cites academic research, his analysis is significantly wrong. Mooney sees "Conservatives" as opposing change. This seems inconsistent with the observed behavior of "Conservative" (Republican) politicians and their supporters. My more accurate description of the psychology of Republicans and other Right Wingers (including "Libertarians") is below.