Separate Countries are Killing America

Until now, one of the main objections to One Global Democracy has been an assumption that America is better off on its own.

Are we?


America as we know it is now scheduled to end in 10 weeks, with the inauguration of Donald Trump as President on January 20th.

Our statue of liberty says “I lift my lamp beside the golden door”; Trump has promised a wall. Our Constitution defines checks and balances, such as equal protection, that Trump has vowed to ignore. Republicans have defied their constitutional duty to fill the vacant Supreme Court seat and will now lock up that all-powerful institution for another generation with right-wing justices, while also controlling both other branches of the federal government. Our supposedly nonpartisan FBI threw the election to Trump, yet will likely face no consequences.

Our planet’s survival, and with it our country’s, is directly threatened by Trump’s climate denial.

What drove Trump’s victory? Many factors, all having to do with our antiquated attachment to separate countries as our fundamental frame of reference.

Poor and middle-class white people have been hurting economically for decades. The financial benefits of technology, globalization, tax breaks and bailouts have gone to wealthy elites, leaving Trump’s voters to fight with progressives over scraps.

These elites have consolidated their economic privilege, and their attendant, outsized political power, in large part by hiding money overseas, where it can’t be taxed. They have evaded paying their fair share, then exploited their financial advantage by securing ever-more advantageous tax policies (e.g. the repeal of the estate tax), bailouts for bankers with zero accountability for defrauding people out of their homes, and locking in their power over our politics through Citizens United and related cases, through a corrupt approach and defying a bipartisan consensus.

Trump has managed to misdirect the rage of American voters, turning it against our neighbors in other countries, and against people who come here in search of a better life, as all of our own families once did.

Trade agreements have sent jobs overseas, without economic benefit for most Americans. They have allowed capital to move freely while otherwise maintaining borders that strip us of our rights when we cross them. In practice, wealthy elites can go almost anywhere and generally do as they please. But borders prevent the rest of us from traveling freely in search of work. Trump has correctly assailed these lopsided trade agreements, while falsely branding people in other countries who have benefited as our enemies. Yet his policies will likely make matters worse, not better, for American workers, while further magnifying elite privilege.

Russia has played a shocking role in supporting Trump’s campaign. Russia hacked the DNC, and Russian individuals allegedly financed both Trump himself and one of his top campaign advisors. (Although this money was ostensibly private, the biggest private Russian fortunes were originally acquired by well-connected insiders who gained control of major state assets at the collapse of the Soviet Union.) So Trump has been funded and otherwise supported largely by a foreign country.

With both our planet and American democracy in crisis, there are many reasons to consider an alternative to the antiquated system of separate countries we’re used to: One Global Democracy.

First, we can more effectively confront climate change together, rather than separately.

Second, we can finally deal with inequality by enacting a global tax on wealth. Nothing less will work. (And surprisingly enough, if the world’s wealth were redistributed equally among everyone, most Americans would be better off than they are today, because wealth is now so concentrated at the top. The combined wealth of everyone in the world is $241 trillion. If it were evenly distributed, each person in the world would have $51,600.-. That’s more than the median net worth of an American today: $44,911.-)

Third, we can also unlock tremendous economic growth, doubling the size of the world’s economy, simply by allowing people everywhere to move where their work is best rewarded.

We could dispense with the electoral college and other broken anachronisms of representative democracy and instead enable everyone to participate at will, through a new model called liquid democracy, at a global scale. We can do this online, and securely, on a blockchain (the technology behind bitcoin). We’ll be able to include everyone, worldwide, as the digital divide closes.

Brevity prevents this short piece from covering every detail, but there are many reasons to take the idea of One Global Democracy seriously. It merits a conversation.

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