What is World Federalism?
What is the Binding Triad?
World federalism means the development of joint human organization on the global as well as national and local levels.
Federalism means multi-level organization of governance. It aims for the organization on each level to be tasked with the problems that are best dealt with on its level.
Federation -- a system where the organization on each level has in fact developed capabilities commensurate with the problems its citizens face on its level.
Federal Democracy -- Confederations are run by representatives of the countries that join them. Modern federations are run by representatives elected both by the people and countries that join.
World federation -- a system where humans have developed capabilities on the global level commensurate with their common problems as humanity.
As yet international organizations fall far short of being commensurate with the problems humanity faces together, although global organizations and regional and other organizations helpfully supplement each other in filling in some of the gaps.
It is natural that there is a lag between the need to organize together and the achievement. It is natural that the lag will with time be overcome. It is all too natural that the span of the time lag creates major risks for humanity.
The Binding Triad
The Binding Triad was worked out by CWPS as the largest step forward likely to be feasible in this era toward making the UN commensurate with its tasks. Taking account of the complex diversity of the world, it would give the UN a compromise voting system. In this system, a vote would need to pass three majorities: 1/2 the member states as at present, plus 2/3 of the world's population, plus countries with 2/3 of global GDP. This would provide clearer checks and balances over UN decisions, and at the same time, more efficient decision-making. Decisions would be made without national vetoes when all three "legs" of the Triad support the measure, and each of the main parties of the world, North, South, and small states, would have full power to protect its own vital interests through the need for its consent in the leg of the Triad where it predominates. This would make the UN a more flexible and effective global confederacy than it is at present.
The Binding Triad is thus less than a world federation as defined above (one commensurate with the global challenges of humanity), but more than the present degree of joint human organization. This makes it a form of the general genus of world federalism.
The Binding Triad also helps us correct our ideas of what a World Federation will someday be like. Many people think of World Federation as a homogenous world where seven billion people simply elect a world government. In fact a World Federation will be formed by carefully negotiated compromises. The most important compromise will be on the voting system, just as when the American Constitution was being designed. The system will be agreed to by the countries of the world only if it is carefully balanced, and the Binding Triad provides the inescapable template for doing this.
We Americans know this in our bones. We all know how the adoption of the US Constitution required the Connecticut Compromise between big and small states. Every new federation since then has had to adapt this compromise for its own conditions and incorporate it into its own constitution. The Binding Triad is the adaptation of the compromise for the complex diversity of the global condition.
Inevitable or Impossible?
A world federation is a tremendous opportunity opened up for our species by the advances in communications. It is also a necessity if our species is to survive in face of its ever-greater powers of self-destruction.
Communicating with one another about our joint opportunities and needs has already led humans to organize together in myriad ways, social and government. Humanity has made tremendous progress in governing itself over the millennia, from tribes to city states to national states to national federations to the first international unions barely a hundred years ago. World federation will be the culmination of this process.
The loosely confederated American states of the 1780s found in themselves the unexpected capacity to form the Constitutional federation of the United States, enabling them finally to be up to the task of coping with the full scope of the joint issues they faced. Today the loosely confederated countries of the world must find in themselves the same unexpected capacity, which is certainly there but will require some cultivating, to establish the more perfect union that we need to address the joint problems of the world.
CWPS and Humanity's Evolutionary Challenge
The capacity of people and cultures to evolve as time passes and their environment changes provides the basis for this progress. The American federation was itself such an advance in the evolution of government and democracy.
The America Constitution made a greater success of both democracy and federalism than ever before. In keeping with the logic of evolutionary contagion, it inspired people on other continents to once again aspire to both freedom and federation. This was noticed by the evolutionary theorist John Fiske, an American whom Darwin called the most lucid thinker and expositor on evolution that he had read. He saw that the American Union had laid a basis for the further evolutionary development of federal government around the world. This development had begun in his time by incorporating many of America's constitutional innovations into the federal structures adopted by Switzerland, Canada, and Australia. He foresaw that federalism was likely to expand further in the next centuries by rising onto the international level, with continental and intercontinental unions, a process destined to culminate in a world federation.
This indicates that world federation is really a question of when not whether: sooner or later, not impossibility or inevitability. It also makes it a question of doing it right, by thinking it through and carrying it out by agreement, instead of waiting for a catastrophe that might drive people to it without the proper forethought.
CWPS and the Challenge of the Human Future
The growing dangers to survival add urgency to this evolution. There is the development of ever more destructive technological capabilities. There is the failure to stabilize the advance in human rights that occurred at the end of the cold war. There is the deterioration in critical areas of human security including health, climate, and control over destructive technological potentialities. This makes the mission of CWPS essential to the survival of humankind.
The process of social evolution proceeds through the medium of human efforts, not by evolution as an abstract theory. It belongs to us to make that effort. Evolution can be sped or slowed; the choice depends on the effort we make.
Our effort at CWPS is to advance it in the natural way, by discussing it, and thinking through together how it can be moved forward. Where there is a way there is a will. Fortunately viable ways have been found, such as triadic voting. By discussing them together we form the will together.
The evolutionary perspective makes international federalism the opposite of a mere utopia. Rather, it is a guidepost for the direction in which progress can be made. It makes the mission of CWPS an essential and realistic mission for the survival of humankind.
Our instruments to achieve our mission are the small ones that lie at the core of the power of the human being: thought, speech, and dialogue. We appeal for your joining in commitment to this vision so that the world can evolve past its 21st Century crises.