A very small overview...
A very small overview...
In this ideal world parliament, the representation of the citizens would take place along the parallels. Supranational electoral districts would be created over the entire surface of the globe. By degree of latitude. Roughly equivalent to south-north land strips of 111 kilometers: one degree. In principle one degree, because obviously, in order to preserve the value of each vote, each parallel zone would have an equal number of voters.
For example, if a planetary population of eight billion people in 2023 were to have one representative in equal increments of 50 million, its world parliament would initially have 160 members. This number of deputies would, of course, vary according to the rhythm of the planet's demography.
At the most populated latitudes, around 1/4 of a degree, a strip of land south-north of about 28 kilometers would be enough to count 50 million people. At the most depopulated latitudes, in the extreme North and South, a few tens of degrees would be necessary to count 50 million people.
As an illustration, on a complete degree taking for center the 30th parallel North (111 kms) you find the cities of Houston in Texas, Cairo in Egypt and Lhasa in Tibet for a total of approximately 200 M inhabitants. It would therefore take about a quarter of a degree in this area to reach the target of 50 M people. Satellite geopositioning technology would allow for a surgical caesura of the electoral zones.
And all this is possible today, because we have more and more precise information on the distribution of populations on the surface of the globe. From databases such as the Socioeconomic Data and Application Center, an appendage of NASA, tools such as those developed by Engaging Data or Andersen Global eloquently demonstrate the progress of this knowledge.
The main reason for preferring the latitude representation rather than the meridian/longitude representation (which also guarantees impartiality) is motivated by a search for diversity. If you try the same exercise, but using longitude, you will soon realize that many nations are isolated on their meridian. The representation would then lose its universalist objective. The old nationalistic reflexes would dominate in these areas, with little possibility of changing.
Another justification: even if the main objective of the proposal is to deconstruct nationalism, for the system to work, humans being human, the populations will have to appropriate it: develop a feeling of belonging to their new electoral zone.
This would be facilitated by the fact that people living in the same latitudes often have much in common despite their ethnic and linguistic differences. Much more than those living under the same longitudes.
Scandinavian, Icelandic, Alaskan, Russian or Canadian peoples, from the Baltic countries, from the north of Kazakhstan, from Mongolia or Japan share the same culture of winter, of the changes of seasons and of light. This influences their environments, economies, languages, cultures and characters. On what defines them, in fact. Much more than we might think, at first glance. A Canadian from Manitoba would probably have more in common with a Russian from Khakassia than with an American from Arizona.
Similarly, desert or forest areas (temperate, Mediterranean, flooded, tropical, etc.) are found in the same parallels. The three largest forests in the world (Amazon (South America), Congo Basin (Africa) and New Guinea (Asia)) grow at the same latitudes. The people who live "IN", "NEAR" and "FROM" these forests (as well as the farmers who, living on the outskirts of deserts, share the same reality of accelerating desertification of arable land on all continents) would benefit from working together to find sustainable solutions to common threats and challenges; to be represented by unique and strong voices in a global parliament.
Representation by latitude therefore allows for a better mix of cultures, enhanced by a more fertile ground for the growth of a sense of belonging to the zone. Catchy zone names could also contribute to the development of this sense of belonging: the parallel zone of the snow people, the residents of the center of the world (the most densely populated zone), the lungs of the earth, the people of rice, wine, coffee or chocolate, the fringe of the deserts, the heirs of the monsoon, etc.
It would of course be up to the citizens living in these areas to choose and name themselves what unites and characterizes them the most.
What do Rome, Chicago, Istanbul and Barcelona have in common?
These metropolises are all located on the same parallel. The 41st North.
Sydney in Australia, Cape Town in South Africa and Santiago in Chile are on the 33rd parallel south.
Ciudad Juarez in Mexico, Marrakech in Morocco, Alexandria in Egypt, Jerusalem in Israel, Kandahar in Afghanistan and Shanghai in China are located on the 31st parallel north.
And the future of the planet will increasingly be shaped by its major cities. According to a United Nations report, 66 per cent of the world's population will be urban by 2050. This proportion was only 4% in 1800.
Metropolises have always been and still are bastions for the most educated, progressive and cosmopolitan populations. Under the influence of this type of citizen, the world's major cities are increasingly opposing certain backward-looking legislation in their respective national capitals. In various areas, including those related to climate change, large cities are demanding more power for their governance. Cities in the same electoral district could act together on some issues.
The reason we proposed earlier that electoral zones of 50 million people should have a parliament of 160 members, rather than, for example, a "parliament of miles" with 1,000 elected members for constituencies of 8 million citizens, is to preserve the unity of cities. This unity within the areas would also promote the development of a sense of belonging among the voters.
Planet Republyk hopes that outstanding candidates will run for office in their respective areas. Models of humanism, internationally recognized for their commitment, courage and selflessness. To cite only three examples, let's think of the Congolese Kino, Denis Mukwege; the Indian, Vandana Shiva or the young Swedish Greta Thunberg.
Planet Republyk dares to believe that this type of candidacy can stir the cosmopolitan fiber of the voters; can incite them to give their vote rather than to candidates, certainly of their nationality, but nevertheless less inspiring.
Logically, in the interest of neutrality and independence, the seat of this world parliament should be erected at latitude 0° 00′ 00″; longitude 0° 00′ 00″. According to current data, it would sit, in the open sea, in the South Atlantic, a few kilometers off the coast of Gabon.
But as the zero meridian was imposed, at the end of the nineteenth century by Great Britain, superpower of the time, on Greenwich, a district of its capital; the new world parliament could consider reinitializing the zero meridian to an apolitical and scientific longitude such as the easternmost point of the Mediterranean Sea, which traditionally defines where the Levant, thus the East, begins.
Thus, the Americas (minus Alaska), Africa and almost all of Europe would be part of the Western Hemisphere. The hemispheres would then correspond better to the conception that humanity has of the West and the East.
According to this hypothesis, the new world capital would be built on the shores of the great Lake Victoria, near Lamuria, Kenya, in Africa, the cradle of humanity.
A timetable should be set for various considerations including the motivation of the troops. The year 2045, the 100th anniversary of the United Nations, seems to be a coherent target for the establishment of a permanent structure of world parliament.
This would constitute year 0 of the new era calendar. The date could well be the day of the March equinox, declared in 2007 "World Citizens and World Unity Day" by the Peoples Congress.
Eventually, billions of people will have to vote: a complex and expensive exercise. A nine-year, non-renewable parliamentary and presidential term would make the election process more manageable. Half of the parliamentarians would be elected every 54 months. World citizens would also be able to propose, ratify or repeal measures and laws by referendum if a request to do so received the assent of a minimum number, to be determined, of world citizens.
Similarly, world citizens should have a constitutional mechanism to remove their region's representative by referendum at any time during his or her term if they are dissatisfied. World citizens should be able to do the same for their ministers and president. For example, this process could be automatically triggered if 1% of the voters in the district (or the globe for presidents and ministers) sign a formal petition to that effect.
The parliamentary deputation should always be composed of an equal number of women and men. One way to achieve this would be to make it mandatory for candidates to alternate between the sexes in each constituency. In the first world election, from north to south, the world's districts would alternate female and male candidates. In the next election, the candidates would be of the opposite sex. Alternation should be written into the constitution for the presidency as well.
The first election could take place in 2027, on October 24 (the anniversary of the entry into force of the United Nations Charter). At the beginning, the representation will of course only be symbolic, but given the slow but undeniable progress of democracy and technology in the world, there will come a time when more than 50% of the populations of the parallel zones will be able to vote according to the electoral norms of the United Nations.
We will then be able to speak, more and more, of legitimate representation.
If you want to learn more, you can buy the book in E-Book version (PDF) or read or listen to chapters/episodes (18-19-20) of the podcast on PlanetRepublyk.org
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Image: Courtesy of Marie-Hélène Fournier