This is a living document and will evolve over the coming months.
What can be found below is not a prescription or demand. It’s an invitation.
It’s an invitation to accept responsibility for our world, to heed the call to leadership, to embark on a collective quest to bring about the changes our planet and people so desperately need, and create the future we all know is possible.
It’s an invitation to unite under one banner — as Global Citizens — to create a digital country (AKA network state), a country where all are welcome.
There are hundreds of millions — if not billions — of global citizens in the world, people who see themselves more as part of a global collective than a single nation. We are raising a flag around which global citizens can unite, to come together to work on addressing the dire crises that define our era and create a foundation for humanity for the centuries to come.
We seek to reform the existing international system of sovereign nation-states that has repeatedly proven incapable of addressing the existential threats we face, a system that has failed to bridge the vast chasm of global inequality, leaving billions behind to suffer in poverty and incapable of benefiting from the wonders of our time.
By creating a new global entity with citizens that span the entire globe, we can take the first steps towards building a truly planetary society, where all human beings live dignified lives in harmony with the natural world free from the shadows cast by existential threats.
Our aspirations include:
Preserving and regenerate the biosphere through local action and global coordination
Attainting membership of the UN and a seat on the UN Security Council
Creating digital infrastructure and services to secure human rights and promote freedom
Ensuring internet access for all
Catalysing global wealth redistribution
Establishing a World Federation
The project and our aims may seem absurd, infeasible, ridiculous, radical.
It’s an idea fit for the state of our times.
The purpose of this proposal is to bring together those that know that a radical change in the way we operate globally is necessary, and to collectively explore, collaborate, and co-create solutions together.
The change the planet and its people need will not come from our existing structures. As global citizens united, we can begin building the future we yearn for, the future that should be.
Permission is not necessary.
Accept this invitation to help write the next chapter of the Human story.
We stand at a unique turning point in history. The actions we take as a species in the coming years will determine whether or not the tree of life will flourish beyond imagination with humanity as its custodians, or wither and collapse under the immense weight of our collective actions. This could be the most important century in the history of our species.
Billions of us have capabilities and opportunities that surpass the wildest dreams of Kings born just centuries ago. We now can harness the energy locked within the building blocks of the universe, access the library of the world through a pane of glass the size of our palms, and the stars who have beckoned to us for millennia are nearly within reach.
We have the power of Gods. These capacities, poorly wielded, come with dire consequences.
Blinded by the allure of unfaltering progress and driven by unrelenting greed, our species is warping the womb from which we’ve sprung. The engine of capitalism, while delivering billions of people from poverty and providing many of us with lives of abundance and opportunity, is smothering Earth, choking it with its untrammelled methods and filthy byproducts.
Earth is adapting in response to this desecration. Extreme weather events flood our newsfeeds, each picture and video a word in the story of destruction. Fires scorch continents only to be extinguished by torrential downpours and floods. Island-countries are beginning to sink beneath the rising tides. Coral reefs, homes to tremendous biodiversity are turning into lifeless bleached skeletons. Insects around the world, crucial pillars of ecosystems, are threatened with extinction, and the countless animals that rely upon them will soon follow.
Our planet is experiencing a mass-extinction, one of only six to have occurred in the billion-year history of life on Earth. It’s referred to as the Anthropocene extinction, named after its cause: Us.
We are inextricably tied to the web of life on Earth. Ignoring our interconnectedness with the planet and continuing on our course of destruction could not only result in the annihilation of an untold number of species, but potentially ours as well.
The threat of climate change and biosphere collapse are just a few of the concerns that threaten the very survival of our species. Other existential threats we face include man-made pandemics, the rise of super intelligent AI, and the ever-present threat of nuclear war. Some have estimated the risk of humanity surviving this century to be 1 in 6, a game of Russian Roulette we all stand to lose.
Global society has already been recently thrown into disarray by the COVID-19 pandemic, one that we had been warned about for years. The global response to avert another crisis like this, one potentially far worse, is nearly non-existent. Nuclear weapons are still being bandied about as threats by the rogue nations of our world, and global instability and geopolitical tension are likely to continue to rise. We're on the verge of tipping points which could lead to runaway climate change, rendering much of our planet uninhabitable and bringing about untold chaos and harm.
These are not distant threats but clear and present dangers that cast dark shadows over our collective future. These problems know no borders. They affect all of us, regardless of where we are born, and are too immense for any one country to meet.
Addressing these global challenges requires coordination at the same scale, but our existing institutions — nation-states and the United Nations — have proven time and time again that they are not up to the challenge. Their incapability is by design; they are solutions built for another time.
Sovereignty, Selfishness, and Suffering
One of the key barriers that holds back progress is the principle of sovereignty — the supreme authority of a country over a given territory free from external interference.
Sovereignty is the defining characteristic of a country. According to international law, each country has complete control over everything within its borders and other countries have no rights whatsoever to intervene in these internal affairs.
The concept of a sovereign nation-state and its claims to self-governance are relatively new, and has its roots in the signing of the Peace of Westphalia, a series of treaties which brought an end to the devastating Thirty Years' War in Europe in 1648. These treaties cemented the principle of non-interference between states. Despite intermittent conflicts, the period that followed was relatively more stable, laying the groundwork for monumental shifts in our worldview and capacities. This fertile period saw the emergence of the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution, transformative developments that profoundly changed our capabilities as a species that have contributed to the historically unprecedented levels of prosperity that we enjoy today.
The social construct of sovereignty is the cornerstone central to international law and is the foundation of the existing world order. Sovereignty grants crucial capabilities to counties, empowering them to determine their own laws and customs in line with their own unique values and histories. This freedom to explore new ways of organising a society is something we all benefit from as it encourages diversity in cultural, political, and social systems that we can learn from.
However, much has changed over the past few centuries. In the past, the effects a country could have were localised, they didn’t have the firepower, population, or energy at their disposal to have substantial impacts on the planet.
We now live in a very different age.
Today, the actions of a single country can have dire global consequences. Countries, the very institutions that have been bulwarks of stability and prosperity, are not only hindering our collective progress, but threaten our perpetual existence.
Global Commons & Coordination Failures
Sovereignty puts false barriers between the people of our planet. This tenet of international law means that countries are duty-bound to put national interests before global needs. This they do. In a world governed by self-interested nation states, global commons, resources like our oceans, atmosphere, and rainforests that we all share and rely upon, are plundered with no care for the future or fairness.
Here’s a snapshot of the state of our global commons:
The tragedy of our commons continues to unfold with no sign of relenting.
We are inextricably connected to the natural world; our lives depend on the processes of nature. If the biosphere collapses our civilisations will quickly follow. The costs will not only be potentially hundreds of millions of human lives, the incalculable value of our cultures and collective knowledge, but also biodiversity which will take millions of years to recover.
But what of the United Nations? Isn’t this global organisation, created specifically to maintain global peace and promote international cooperation, supposed to address these problems? No, and it was never able to. The UN is fundamentally “based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.” The foundation of sovereignty means that the UN is nearly powerless to interfere with the machinations of the countries of our world, as according to its charter "nothing ... shall authorise the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.” Were states truly equal as they are seen by the UN, this limitation might not pose such a significant problem, as states would be compelled to engage in more substantial collaboration.
However, the hallowed principle of equality between nation-states is a false idol. The existence of the United Nations Security Council — a select group of nations utterly failing their sole responsibility of maintaining international peace and security — attests to this fact.
All of the permanent members of the Security Council — China, Russia, France, UK, especially the
— extend their hands beyond international borders to directly intervene in the affairs of other countries worldwide, and do so solely to promote their own interests. There are only a handful of global actors that dictate our collective course, countries that put national interests before that of the planet and its people.
Rather than try to uplift our fellow human beings to standards of living many of us in rich nations enjoy, these countries focus on playing their geopolitical games, leaving billions of people to deal with their consequences, lacking the basic services and needs that so many of us take for granted.
The World for Billions of People
For a vast portion of the world, life likely looks very different than it does for those living in richer countries. Here are some statistics that help shed light on the lives of billions of people around the world.
85%, more than 6.5 billion people live in poverty. That was roughly the total global population in 2004.
Nearly 10% of the world lives in extreme poverty. This means living on the equivalent of $2.15 a day if you live in the USA.
13%, more than a billion people, still lack access to electricity.
2.1 billion people have serious nutritional deficiencies, leading to growth and development problems and serious health issues.
Nearly 3 billion people still lack access to the internet, the library of the world and what should be our new birthright — and this figure is likely far higher.
10 million people are completely stateless, living in a nebulous legal limbo, unable to lay claim to the basic human rights that come with citizenship, including access to education, healthcare, employment, and even the freedom to move freely within a country.
There are more than 100 million refugees in the world, a number likely to increase, displaced from their homes due to conflict, persecution, climate change, and economic instability.
The world is filled with billions of people who have been cast aside and forgotten as they grapple with challenges caused and amplified by the decisions of self-interested countries and collective inaction.
National Interests Above All
The existing international system of sovereign nation states is slowly strangling our planet and the people who call it home and there’s no sign of its grip on our future loosening.
We are aware of the costs of continuing along this path; the best science of today makes it abundantly clear. The voices of thousands of scientists who have repeatedly called for a change in how to treat and relate to the natural world and the silent pleas of the billions who still go without, falls upon ears of those deafened by the words ‘national interests.’
Human rights and planetary needs are sacrificed on the altar of sovereignty.
A Latent Identity
Things don’t need to be this way. There’s an alternative path, an opportunity that’s yet to be seized, a way to begin to create a new model that works for the planet and all who call it home.
Across our planet, there are hundreds of millions—
— of people who see themselves as global citizens more than citizens of their country. As the threads of our lives weave together through the loom of the internet, we recognise the world is not as vast as it once was. We see others just like us, leading lives that, while intricately nuanced, are strikingly similar to our own.
We see that nationality, while important to who we are, is not what defines us and should not limit the opportunities we get in life. We recognise that the planet is not our dominion to lord over, a resource to simply extract from, but our home, a home we share with countless other forms of life as well as each other. A home we must care for.
We see and connect with each other through the internet, we know of our existence and our shared bond, our shared sense of identity as global citizens. We each have a yearning for something better, something we feel we know can be, but we’re just not sure how.
We now have the technologies to give this latent identity a form, a unified structure to channel our collective will and begin to address the global challenges we face. But what form should this take? How can we co-create something that can have an impact at such a scale as a group of people scattered around the entire planet connected only by the internet?
In order to shift the inter-national paradigm, the best path forward might be to try to participate in the paradigm itself, though in a radically different way.
Given that there may be hundreds of millions of people who see themselves as global citizens first and foremost, why not come together as a global community? Why not unite under one banner?
Why don’t we create a country?
Not a country as conventionally understood, but something truly unique and fitting for this emerging global consciousness we share on the internet — a digital country. A nation that sees all as equals, a network state that knows no borders, a collective that sees the entire Earth as its territory to protect, a country to end all countries.
A country for global citizens where all are welcome.
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” — Buckminster Fuller
The Proposal — A Digital Global Citizenship, A Citizenship for All
Global Citizens United is a movement to tap into this latent identity of global citizenship, this shared feeling of planetary unity and duty, and give it form.
Our aim is to unite global citizens around the world and create a digital country that anyone can join — and use it as a vehicle to create a new model for our world, one that works for the planet and all who call it home. As an entity united across the world through the internet, we can extend a hand across borders to our fellow citizens, human beings just like us, and strive to lift them out of adversity. As a nation that could eventually number in the millions, we can coordinate and take actions within our own countries to preserve and regenerate the biosphere and demand that our national representatives work with one another to address the existential threats we face.
What follows are some of the main aims of our global movement and are the first steps to developing a truly planetary society.
UN membership & a seat on the UN Security Council
Catalyse local & global coordination
Internet access for all
Digital infrastructure and services to secure human rights and freedom
Global wealth redistribution
Establishment of a World Federation
Internet Access for All
The Internet may be our species’ greatest triumph. It is the ultimate tool of freedom and opportunity, the library of the world, and so, so much more. The internet is now the nervous system of our societies and accessing it is necessary to function as 21st-century citizens. The Internet has embedded itself so deeply into our lives that being able to connect to it is necessary for securing various human rights, including the right to education (Article 26), the right to public assembly and association (Article 20), the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community (Article 27), and the right to freedom of thought (Article 18), and the cornerstone of democracies, freedom of expression (Article 19).
And more than 3 billion people, likely far more, still lack access to it.
As a movement to establish a digital country that anyone can join, global internet access is crucial to ensure that all who want to join are able to. It is also necessary to ensure that all citizens are able to benefit from our country through some of the digital services and infrastructure we seek to offer.
Digital Infrastructure & Services
One of our primary focuses will be developing digital infrastructure and services with the aim of delivering as much value to our citizens as possible. Why digital services? Because it is only through the internet that we can reach beyond borders and deliver access to freedom-preserving and empowering solutions to people around the world, many of whom live in countries controlled by oppressive regimes.
What these services may include is to be explored and discovered, but some potential digital services and infrastructure we could develop or provide access to include:
Banking and payments services, including ability to send and receive payments across borders in a way that preserves people’s freedom
A privacy-preserving digital identity solution
Soulbound token infrastructure
AI doctors and the ability to connect with health professionals
A blockchain-based education and accreditation system that allows anyone in the world to verify that they have achieved a certain level of education.
The aim is to begin to develop the digital infrastructure that will become the foundations of our emerging global society, built in a way to protect and empower people rather than exploit them.
Catalyse Local Action & Global Coordination
The growing global metacrisis, the various interconnected global crises that our emerging global society faces, requires an unprecedented level of international cooperation. However, many of the challenges we face are the cumulative consequence of local actions, which means that we must focus much of our efforts within our immediate communities.
To help achieve this, we aim to establish Chapters in cities around the world, communal areas for fellow citizens to congregate and collaborate in person. One of the purposes of these Chapters will be taking local action. The focus of these actions will be twofold:
Regeneration of Bioregions
Members of local chapters will collaborate with local organisations to understand and identify the specific needs of our bioregions and work together to bring about the necessary changes to preserve and regenerate them. The goal is to harmonise the ecological footprint of our cities and regions with planetary boundaries — the limits of the Earth system within which humanity can safely operate to ensure a stable and resilient planet.
Effective ecological reform will not be possible without local political change. Thus, another focus of the local chapters is to inspire and facilitate political activism to direct our local, state, and federal governments towards prioritising biospheric preservation. As our global needs cannot solely be addressed by local action, cooperation between countries is also necessary. Therefore, pressuring the leaders of our own countries to work collaboratively in confronting these challenges is a key objective of the local chapters.
Each of these chapters will be supported by the global network, providing access to the resources and expert advice necessary to act effectively.
Global Wealth Redistribution
The wealth disparities that we see between individuals in our societies are mirrored at a larger scale among the nations of our world. Just like wealth inequality among people, the affluence of the world's most prosperous nations cannot be justified as entirely deserved. Rather than being the result of sound policy, their wealth is often a product of luck, advantageous circumstances, and the exploitation and subversion of less affluent countries.
Much of the wealth of the world’s richest nations has also grown at the expense of the global commons. For instance, countries like the United States, Australia, and Canada have taken far more than their fair share of the remaining carbon budget, the costs of which poorer nations are expected to bear. These global resources have been exploited to such an extent that we must halt further consumption to avert catastrophe. However, for many countries, this is not feasible. While more developed countries fueled their growth with polluting fossil fuels in the 20th century, the same path is not open to poorer nations today due to the imminent climate crisis.
For most countries, taking the necessary steps to prosper while remaining within their planetary boundary budget is too expensive. Not only are many countries poor, but many of them are beset with unmanageable debt burdens which make investing in the necessary ecologically-sustainable infrastructure even more difficult.
Ensuring that the world’s poorer nations are able to act in a way that is consistent with planetary needs is in all of our interests, regardless of where we live. Our wellbeing is dependent on the actions of countries everywhere. Borders cannot protect us from the effects of a destabilised Earth system.
To help address the environmental crises that will affect us all, and bring an end to the injustice of global inequality, one of our core aims will be to bring about global wealth redistribution.
Global wealth redistribution can take many forms, and is not limited to simple transfer payments.
Here are some that we could strive for:
Compensation schemes: Countries that have exceeded their planetary boundary budgets could compensate nations that haven’t used as much but are forced to bear the costs of this overconsumption.
Debt forgiveness: Wealthier nations could forgive the debts of less affluent nations, some of which are extortionate. This could have a profound impact on struggling economies, enabling them to allocate resources to sustainable development and poverty alleviation.
Global Wealth Tax: Many of the world's wealthiest individuals avoid domestic taxes by transferring their wealth to tax havens. A global wealth tax could deter such practices, ensuring that the wealthiest contribute fairly and help fund essential global initiatives.
and has shown that one of the most effective ways to help people in poverty is to simply give them money. This approach can stimulate local economic activity and result in positive spillover effects in local communities. Aiming to redistribute some wealth from richer nations to the poverty stricken is an effective and simple way we can uplift many of the less fortunate.
While some of these wealth redistribution strategies can be implemented within the current international system, others may require the creation of a more globally encompassing structure.
Establish a World Federation
The existing international system of sovereign nation-states lacks the capacity to effectively tackle the global challenges we're confronted with. As humanity's reach and influence extends to planetary proportions, it is imperative that our systems of governance scale proportionally.
An alternative that promises minimal global disruption while retaining the variety of benefits associated with current nation-states, is a World Federation.
A World Federation would function as a global federal system of governance, similar to that of the United States, where power is dispersed and shared between the national (federal) government and state governments.
By creating a World Federation, individual nations would retain some, but not all, of their sovereignty. They would be bound by common global laws and regulations set by a global body who has the responsibility and capacity for enforcing these laws and resolving disputes between nations.
Global goals, Local Power and Action
At first glance, this may sound like a top-down, uniform approach to global governance.
Yet, our goals are quite the opposite. Our vision is rooted in the preservation of as much national sovereignty as possible, focusing on the empowerment of local and regional governments with greater decision-making power, and only restricting the power of countries when their actions pose a threat to global welfare or human rights.
Top-down solutions often overlook the intricate dynamics of local environments and customs, reducing people and ecosystems to mere numbers on a screen. In doing so, vital context is lost, and the 'solutions' imposed are often ineffective, sometimes even undermining the dignity of people.
To adequately address the complex issues we face, we require not only global coordination but also increased regional autonomy, pushing the decision-making capacity as close to the local source as possible, while remaining in alignment with global needs.
A World Government, but different to what we’ve seen before
What we’re striving for is to fill the gaps in our existing systems of governance so the capacity to take action is distributed and concentrated at the level of the problems. This requires a global body that can set global policies.