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World Federation Through the Gradual Accession of Willing States

World Federation Through The Gradual Accession of Willing States
Summary of a presentation by Alec Neilly, Board of Directors of the Young World Federalists, to the Toronto Branch of the World Federalist Movement of Canada Sept 11, 2022

Watch the recording of the Zoom event

The gradual formation of a world-wide federation is better than trying to arrange simultaneous agreement of all countries to the formation of a World Federation. The end objective is still a proper worldwide federation.

Three existing groupings of countries are instructive:

• The European Union - created powerful economic development incentives for membership – a key element of its attractiveness to new countries.

• The UN - came together quickly through the post WWII excitement and the obvious need to create peace. It quickly became obvious that non-membership would not be feasible for any country. Both conditions can be important drivers to inspire membership in an emerging federation.

• East African Federation - the newest economic union, amongst 7 countries aiming to be a full federal union in the next 10-20 years.

Not all countries are likely to be inspired to join a World Federation simultaneously, with some changing their minds while waiting for others to join. Smaller steps, with a few countries at a time, can be more manageable. There would be an open invitation for all countries to join, when they are ready.

The initial federation should not be dominated by either western countries or developing countries. A balance is needed to have the economic strength and opportunities that create development activities, incentivizing further members. There should also be geographic and cultural balance, with land connections amongst groups of members to facilitate infrastructure development.

Incentives to membership arise from the regulation of global corporations, to protect weaker countries, and to open doors to global companies’ participation in economic development. Possible loss of jobs in rich countries would be a disincentive that may be addressed by a global minimum wage system. Global tax regimes would re-distribute wealth to poorer countries, in the form of development projects. Funding of infrastructure projects from within the union would increase interdependence and cooperation amongst nations.

The federation should allow non-democratic countries to join, but require their federation representatives to be democratically elected. Demonstration of democracy within the federation could aid nation-state transition
to some form of local democracy.

The EU’s development has shown that requiring unanimous consent would make expansion difficult. Also the initial union may be narrow in scope, until members are comfortable with the mechanisms, broadening the scope over time. However the terms of the full federation must be agreed at the outset.

Start with non-aligned countries giving them a voice on the world stage and avoid great power conflicts. Initially include wealthy countries that grasp the importance of global wealth re-distribution, and seek opportunities for global development and disarmament.

Next steps for WFMC: Target specific audiences that could be receptive, planting as many seeds as possible. Use celebrities, thought leaders, cultural leaders and publications (ancient and new) that speak to the unity of
humankind. Inspire people to learn for themselves through debates. Target regions of the world most ripe for initial membership (e.g. India), not the whole world.

New points arising during the Question & Answer period:

• Representation at the federation must be proportional to population of each country, in order to reflect the equality of all humans.

• The federation needs central fiscal control with taxing, financing and spending powers. Taxation could retain common western progressive elements, and avoid regressive elements like sales taxes.

• All countries should be invited to join initial design discussions, to ensure it does not just look like another EU, for example, which may be foreign to many.

• Pursing a World Federation through UN reform is a good way to go, but not every country will want to reform the UN. So start where we can with some countries forming an economic union.

For comments or discussion with Alec:
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