A World Parliament: Governance and Democracy in the 21st Century

A World Parliament: Governance and Democracy in the 21st Century

A World Parliament: Governance and Democracy in the 21st Century

A World Parliament: Governance and Democracy in the 21st Century


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More than at any time in history, all the people in the world are linked together in a shared civilization, encompassing the entire planet. Their multiple interconnections generate mutual dependencies and affinities. Humanity now has a common destiny. Global challenges such as war, poverty, inequality, climate change and environmental destruction are overwhelming nation-states and today’s international institutions. Doing the right thing requires more than having the right policies; it requires having the right political structures to implement them.

Following the emergence of democracy in the ancient Greek city states and its expansion to the modern territorial states in the 18th century, the next step is now imminent. Achieving a peaceful, just and sustainable world requires an evolutionary leap forward to a federal global government. The creation of a democratic world parliament is the centrepiece of this project. Against the backdrop of the problem of modernity, this book sheds light on the history, contemporary relevance and future implementation of this monumental idea.

The authors’ longstanding commitment to building a democratic world order guided the extensive research that went into the preparation of the book. The first part explores the philosophical foundations of cosmopolitanism and a world parliament since ancient times and fills a gap by tracing the history of the idea and of the attempts to bring it about from the French Revolution to the present day. The second part sets the issue in the context of global challenges such as climate change and planetary boundaries, the management of public goods, the stability of the financial system, combating tax evasion, terrorism and organized crime, disarmament, and protecting human rights. The construction of global democracy also plays a decisive role in combating hunger, poverty and inequality and in global water policy. Rapid developments in the fields of bio- and nanotechnology, robotics and artificial intelligence are giving rise to fundamental questions that humanity is not institutionally prepared for.

There is an overarching narrative that describes the dysfunctions and failings of today’s international order. At the same time, the alternative of a democratic world order and its underlying principles is presented in detail. The authors stress that there is a right to democracy that applies not only to the national but also to the global level. Against the backdrop of the power structures of the transnational elite, the book argues for the implementation of a new global class compromise and traces the long-term development of a planetary consciousness and global solidarity.

Lastly, the third part discusses a possible path and scenarios towards the realization of a world parliament and the transition to a democratic world order.

‘This outstanding and comprehensive study is the new standard work on the idea of a world parliament, one that has been lacking for a long time.’ —Frank Biermann, Professor of Global Sustainability Governance at the University of Utrecht

‘A seminal contribution to the discussion on a world parliament and world governance.’ —Andrew Strauss, Dean and Professor of Law at the University of Dayton School of Law

‘A bold, articulate, competent and courageous view on the evolution of world politics and, more importantly, what is needed to achieve humane governance.’ —Daniele Archibugi, Italian National Research Council, Rome, and Birkbeck College, University of London

‘This timely book outlines a logical roadmap towards a framework for global dialogue, deliberation, and decision-making which is now more urgent than ever.’ —Tim Murithi, Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, Cape Town

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783942282130
Publisher: Democracy Without Borders
Publication date: 04/11/2018
Pages: 424
Sales rank: 813,520
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.86(d)

About the Author

Jo Leinen has been a member of the European Parliament since 1999. He was chair of the parliament's environmental committee and of its committee on constitutional affairs. From 2011 to 2017 he was president of the European Movement, an international umbrella organization that is advocating for a democratic and enlarged European Union. From 1997 to 2005 he was presiding the Union of European Federalists that is dedicated to the promotion of European political unity. From 1985 to 1994 he was minister of the environment in the German state of Saarland. He graduated in law and was born in Bisten, Germany, in 1948.

Andreas Bummel is co-founder and director of Democracy Without Borders and of the international Campaign for a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly that was launched in 2007. He has dedicated his career to the promotion of global democracy and world federalism. Since 1998 he has been a Council member of the World Federalist Movement, an international NGO that promotes the rule of law, world peace, federalism and democracy. He was trained in business administration, studied law and worked at a management consultancy firm. He was born in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1976.

Table of Contents


PART I: The idea of a world parliament: its history and pioneers

1. From the Stoics to Kant: cosmopolitanism, natural law, and the idea of a contract

2. The 18th century: enlightenment, revolutions, and parliamentarism

3. From Vienna to The Hague: the dynamics of integration and the inter-parliamentary movement

4. World War and the League of Nations

5. The Second World War and the atomic bomb: World Federalism in the early days of the UN 50

6. Bloc confrontation and the rise of the NGOs

7. The end of the Cold War: the democratization wave, and the revitalization of the debate 79

8. Democracy in the era of globalization

9. The 'War on Terror', the role of the IPU, and the Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly

PART II: Governance and democracy in the 21st century

10. The Anthropocene, planetary boundaries, and the tragedy of the commons

11. Overshoot, the 'Great Transformation', and a global eco-social market economy

12. Turbo-capitalism, the financial crisis, and countering global deregulation

13. A world currency, global taxation, and fiscal federalism

14. World domestic policy, trans-sovereign problems, and complex interdependence

15. The fragility of world civilization, existential risks, and human evolution

16. The threat of nuclear weapons, disarmament, and collective security

17. Fighting terrorism, 'blowback', and data protection

18. A world law enforcement system, criminal prosecution, and the post-American era

19. Global food security and the political economy of hunger

20. Global water policy

21. The elimination of poverty, and basic social security for all

22. Global class formation, the 'super class', and global inequality

23. The debate on world government, the age of entropy, and federalism

24. The third democratic transformation and the global democratic deficit

25. The development of a planetary consciousness, and a new global enlightenment

PART III: Shaping the future: the design and realization of world democracy

26. Building a world parliament

27. Creating world law

28. The necessary conditions for the transformation


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