Three sentences from the Introduction succinctly summarize the message of this book. “For the first time in history, all the people in the world are linked together in a shared civilization which reaches around the entire Earth.” “The benefits of globalization and growing productivity must be fairly distributed within individual societies and around the world. Achieving all this requires more than having the right policies; rather, it is an issue of having the right political structures that allow for their implementation.”
The well-documented text is appropriately divided into three parts. Part I presents the history and pioneers of the idea of cosmopolitanism and a global community. Part II tells us about “governance and democracy in the 21st century.” Part III shifts to the future: the design and future realization of world democracy. Thus this book provides us with a great overview of the past, present, and hope for future of “democracy without borders” while simultaneously informing us about historical/philosophical details of that struggle.
This book is not narrowly confined to reviewing historical incidents but is obviously focused on examining the desirability and practicality of a world federation as the way to bring peace and justice to the whole global community. For example, part of the title of chapter 5 is “World Federalism in the early days of the UN.” Chapter 13 is about “a world currency, global taxation, and fiscal federalism.” The first part of the title for chapter 18 is “A world law enforcement system.” Chapter 23 is titled “The debate on world government, the age of entropy, and federalism.” The title of Chapter 27 is “Creating world law.” An examination of world federation is a central part of this book.
Chapter 18 whose first section is titled “The need for world police law and a supra-national police authority” is for me one of the most persuasive with regard to the urgent need for a world parliament. The authors show how the world community needs a global police authority to deal with terrorism, the marketing of illegal drugs, cybercrimes, money laundering and other international financial crimes, plus others. With regard to law enforcement in any community “what counts is not the implementation of sanctions or the use of military force against states that violate the law, but the targeted enforcement of world law against individuals by the police or through legal action.” (p. 224). A world parliament could work with the International Criminal Court to declare and define exactly what is a crime and what is not so that the laws can be fairly enforced.
Chapters 19-22 show how a democratic world parliament is needed to promote the greater political equality necessary to deal with the global problems of hunger, water security, poverty, and the growing gap between rich and poor. Chapters 23-25 form the climactic argumentative and most persuasive and inspirational portion of the book. Thus a good way to end this review is with a quotation from page 366 at the end of Part II.
“Under planetary modernity, a world parliament is the principal institution for the preservation and improvement of democracy as a form of government. At the same time, it is the focal point of the new global Enlightenment which, following a period of uncertainty and disorientation, goes together with the third democratic transformation. The new global Enlightenment does not have to be proclaimed. With advancing human cognitive and moral development and the spread of a planetary consciousness, it is taking place already. A large proportion of the world’s population has understood that humanity has to take responsibility for the actions of the human race in order for life on Earth and humanity itself to have any future.”
Part III shows how the European Parliament provides a good model for development of a World Parliament and how civil society organizations are critical for making it happen as was the case also in the creation of the International Criminal Court.