“The best defense of a democracy is an informed electorate.”
—Thomas Jefferson
Current Problem
Hundreds of millions of people governed by autocratic dictatorships
Preferred State/ What the World Wants
Access to democratic decision making processes for 100% of humanity
Even with meeting the basic human needs of everyone in the world, there is yet another step needed to insure an abundant, peaceful, and just world.  We need to reconceptualize the notion of national security.  In a world where a fourth or more of the population exists in a state of abject poverty and has no means of influencing either the macro, micro or global economic processes that effect change, much less controlling their personal destiny other than through violence or self-destruction—no one is safe, including the wealthy and “powerful.”  In the long term, and in a sustainable and least-cost/most-economical view, the removing of injustice and providing opportunities for all the people of the world will have a lasting impact of increasing the strength, depth and resiliency of peace.
Building and Strengthening Democracy Throughout the World
One of the most efficacious ways of setting in motion these processes is through democracy.  Democracy has great value in controlling the worst impulses of ethnicity and nationalism.[1]  Coupled with a “Bill of Rights” that guarantees basic human freedoms and an independent judicial system, democracy has demonstrated an enormous capacity for furthering non-violent social change.  History also discloses that democratic governments rarely, if ever, go to war against one another. The good news is that between 1974 and 1998, the proportion of countries with a form of democratic government has risen from 28% to 61%.[2]  The bad news is that 39% of the governments of the world are still undemocratic and that many of the ones that claim to be democratic are fragile democracies that could lose this status.
“America was designed by geniuses so it could be run by idiots.”
Building Democracy Strategy 1: Global Polling and Referendum Program
A Global Polling and Referendum Program, funded at the rate of $400 million per year for ten years, would act to strengthen the linkages of global humanity by making more visible what we, as a global species, think about important global issues.  Through regular (four times per year), global polls that ascertain what people from all over the world think and feel about key global issues, the people of the world would “get to know” each other as a global phenomena.
After two years of polling the Program will hold its first “Global Referendum” in which it will tabulate votes on specific subjects, such as, Do you think all nuclear and other genocidal weapons should be eliminated?
Other polling and referendum questions such as:
Do you think landmines should be outlawed? Do you think they should be eliminated from the world?
Do you think there should be fewer travel restrictions between countries?
Should we stop destroying rainforests? 
Should all the governments in the world get together and eliminate starvation (illiteracy, lack of health care, etc.)
What would you be willing to pay to eliminate starvation in the world? 
Do you think everyone in the world should have freedom of speech?
Should there be freedom of the press?  Of religion?

will be asked of the world.  These questions are a mere sample of the type that could and should be asked of the world’s people.  (A prototype of the Global Polling and Referendum Program could be started on the Internet.  But because there are over two billion people on the planet who have not even made a phone call, much less have access to the Internet, it is imperative that the polls access a truly global representation of humanity through other, more traditional interview-type of polling procedures.) 
A key feature of the Global Polling and Referendum Program would be the opportunity for anyone to submit a polling or referendum question.  As time went on, the people of the world would learn more and more about what we all thought about different issues, thereby giving voice to the will, values and desires of the citizenry of the planet.
Building Democracy Strategy 2: Global PeaceKeepers II/Ending War
“Life did not take over the planet through combat but through networking.”
—Fritjof Capra
“The aim and result of war necessarily is not peace but victory, and any victory won by violence necessarily justifies the violence that won it and leads to further violence. If we are serious about innovation, must we not conclude that we need something new to replace our perpetual “war to end war”?”
—Wendell Berry
As with eliminating genocide weapons, an empowered, well funded and trained rapid-response peace keeping force will occasionally be needed to insure that the forces of democracy carry the day.   Insuring the peace and safety of all voters during highly contested national elections is one example where an international military force would be used.  Settling border disputes, keeping ethnic conflicts from erupting into genocide, and restoring order and keeping the peace after natural and “unnatural” disasters would be other roles for this body.
The elite forces of this PeaceKeepers “army,” will be the PeaceMakers. This force, funded at $1 billion per year, will train large numbers of citizens in every country experiencing social upheaval, as well in those regions requesting such training, in non-violent conflict resolution and social change.  Trainings will be tailored to the specific needs of each country.  The goal of the trainings by the PeaceMakers will be to make each country’s citizen population invincible when it comes to getting rid of despots and/or controlling their governments when the normal processes of democracy have either been suspended by autocratic rulers or are no longer working because they have been subverted through special interests, bribery and corruption. 
Modern telecommunications equipment such as the computer, Internet, cell phones, and wireless Internet access will be blended with more traditional Gandhi/Ruskin-King style non-violent social change tactics.
Part of the PeaceMakers will be a global Peace Academy that will be similar in function to the numerous military academies scattered throughout the world, but focused on training in non-violent conflict resolution and social change.
What if Yassir Arafat modeled his struggle for independence not on Fidel Castro, Napoleon or George Washington, but on Mahatma Gandhi?  What if Hamas and the Islamic Jihad were skilled non-violent warriors and used the techniques of non-violent mass civil disobedience in their quest for independence?  What if a significant portion of the citizen of the West Bank and the Palestinian territories were all trained in non-violent civil disobedience?  What if the entire Palestinian independence effort took the moral high ground?
Suicide bombers are not lacking in conviction or courage.  What if such passion and dedication to a cause was used in a non-violent way? How long could Israel hold out? How many people could it put in jail? What would happen to the Middle East under such circumstances?
Building Democracy Strategy 3: International Democratic Election Fund
An International Democratic Election Fund for financing voter education, registration and multi-party campaigns in countries making the transition to democracy would help insure that the democratic process had a better chance of flourishing.  Funds would be directed at grassroots legislative campaigns as well as national elections.  With $1.5 billion per year for ten years such a fund would help foster grassroots democracy throughout the world.
“Government is too big and too important to be left to the politicians.”
—Chester Bowles
Building Democracy Strategy 4: Grading Government Performance[3]
Corporations, schools, students, employees, and products are all evaluated and graded for their performance and behaviors in various ways. An annual Government Performance Report will be produced by an impartial consortium of civil society, academic and private sector organizations.  It will be funded at $20 million per year and will be disseminated to everyone in the world through newspapers and the Internet.  The report, similar to Amnesty International’s annual report on human rights violations, will grade the governments of the world on their performance to date in such areas as
·      The number armed conflicts in which the country has engaged in the last decade
·      The number of armed conflicts in which the country has engaged in the last year
·      The amount of money spent on education and health vs. the amount spent on military
·      The number of people in jail
·      The life expectancy of the population of the country; the life expectancy of the poorest members of the country
·      The amount of human rights violations
·      The amount of violence in the country
·      The ratification of international treaties
·      The role the government has played as a responsible member of global society
·      The government’s support of terrorism or the undermining of another country’s legitimate government
Building Democracy Strategy 5: The World Game: —Global Problem Solving Simulation Tool
A Global Problems Solving Simulation Tool funded at $200 million per year for ten years would enable everyone from high school students to corporate executives and government leaders to non-governmental organizations and concerned citizens to propose, develop and test strategies for solving real world problems.[4]  This “world game” would be accessible through the Internet as well as and have physical centers located around the world.  One of the centers would be on the 39th floor of the United Nations building where it would serve as a tool for monitoring and managing hot spots around the world and for developing and testing out alternative solutions to global, regional and local problems in a global context.[5]   This facility would enable more attention, creativity, intelligence, compassion and problem-solving abilities to be focused on the current problems of the world. 
The open access to the vital statistics of every country and the world would encourage cooperation and democracy.  “Winners” of the World Game problem-solving simulation would be the team or individual that had the most cost-effective and sustainable solution to a particular problem.  Ten $1 million World Game Prizes would be awarded annually to the team or individual that developed the most innovative and cost-effective solution to a pressing world problem or local problem that could be scaled up to global proportions.
This Internet-based tool would help people see connections between and among countries, regions, climates, cities, cultures, resources and needs as well as problems and potential solutions.  It would include a comprehensive inventory of the world’s resources, trends and needs as well as a catalog of field-tested, cost-effective, sustainable solutions to different problems of the world.  All the “moves” of all the global simulations would be stored for review by subsequent players so that even better solutions could be developed—and tested and implemented in the real world.  In one sense, the World Game Global Problem Solving Simulation Tool would enable the creative high school student or class to “compete” against real-world leaders in developing ever more effective ways of dealing with the problems of the world.  As such it would not only help focus more attention on the world’s problems, it would foster a democratic sensibility among the citizens of the world by giving them a tool and a forum for interacting with the global system.[6]
Building Democracy Strategy 6: Ending Foreign Aid/Creating Regional Development Funds
The U.S provided Egypt with over $2 billion in foreign aid in 2003.  Israel received well in excess of $3 billion in the same year. The Ending Foreign Aid Program would stop this flow of money from the U.S. and all other countries to regional “hot spots.”  It would replace this flow to individual countries with an even larger amount that would go to a Mid-East Regional Development Fund that provides money for joint projects that involve the various countries or parties in a given region. Israel could receive its billions only if it undertook cooperative economic development efforts with Palestine and/or Egypt, Syria, Iran, etc. and vice versa.
Building Democracy Strategy 7: Global Arts Program
The arts have and continue to play a pivotal role in expanding human awareness, pushing the edges of the latest technology, exploring the frontiers of what is possible, and bringing beauty into the world in ways that can enrich, ennoble and inspire humanity.  The arts of the world are as varied as the world’s people and cross-fertilize and inspire people all over the planet.
The Global Arts Program will be invest $1 billion per year in bringing all forms of art—music, dance, drama, poetry, film, video, web, painting, sculpture—from all parts of the world to different parts of the world.  The Besides bringing arts from around the world to the local and global stage, the program will sponsor art contests and fund arts programs in developing parts of the world.  Winners will tour the world with their art as well as win substantial cash prizes.
Building Democracy Strategy 8: Global Spiritual Heritage Program
The spiritual heritage of the world is one of our deepest and most valuable resources.  Every country and every region of the world has sites of great spiritual significance.  These sites could be temples, churches, houses, monasteries, or sites of natural beauty.  Every religion and spiritual discipline has holy sites that are respected and venerated by the followers of that spiritual path.
Whether it is Buddha, Mohammed, Jesus, Yahweh, Krishna, Zoroaster, Lao Tzu, Patanjali, Plato, Gaia, or the Rain God, our differing spiritual heritages have often split us apart when interpreted by fear-filled fundamentalists.  When seen from an inclusive, rather than exclusive, frame of reference our global spiritual heritage is a compelling saga of the need for love, tolerance, and the nobility and divine nature of the human spirit.
Each spiritual path and site of spiritual significance can teach all of us the deeper truths of our existence and what we truly are and can become.  As a means of spreading religious tolerance and as a celebration of the diversity on our beautiful planet the Global Spiritual Heritage Program will invest $1 billion per year in providing people from all over the world with travel vouchers to visit the spiritual heritage site of their choosing. The only restriction on the spiritual site chosen is that it needs to be from a religion or spiritual path different than the one practiced by the recipient of the travel voucher. 
Recipients of the global travel voucher will be chosen through a global lottery. The awarded funds will be used to pay for transportation and lodging.

 Costs/Benefits—Building Democracy and Diversity
The cost of the entire Democracyfor All/Creating Just Societiesy Program is $5.12 billion— which is a mere 75% of the $6.8 billion the U.S. is spends on nuclear weapons each year.[7]
The cost of the Global Polling and Referendum Program, at $400 million per year, the International Democratic Election Fund, at $1.5 billion, and the Global Problems Solving Simulation Tool at $200 million per year would cost less than that of eight outfitted B-2 bombers.
The Global PeaceMaker force, funded at $1 billion per year, plus the Global Arts Program and the Global Spiritual Heritage Program, each also at $1 billion per year (for a total of $3 billion of new funding) would cost 8.1% of the $37 billion spent globally on hair-care,[8] or about three-quarters of a new aircraft carrier, or 18% of the $17 billion Europe and the U.S. spend on pet food.
The benefits that would accrue from these investments would include the building of democracy throughout the world and the stabilizing and strengthening of peace.  The world would become more “conscious” or aware of itself as a global entity as what it was thinking became clearer through the global polls and referendums. The quality (and probably the quantity) of democratic elections in emerging democracies would increase, civil strife would decrease and international stability would increase. The global simulation tool would increase the amount of creativity, imagination and problem solving skill and attention brought to bear on the major and emerging problems of the world. The annual prizes would encourage and reward creativity in addressing the world’s problems.  As more and more countries and their citizens became versed in non-violent conflict resolution and social change, further reductions of military budgets would be possible, even compelling, revenue from this source could be used to increase social welfare spending and reduce debt, and the fabric peace would again be strengthened. The appreciation and understanding of the diversity of the world’s spiritual and artistic heritage will increase as more and more global citizens become aware of the richness of human expression and the depth of the human spirit.
Meeting the world’s basic human needs adds enormous wealth to the global economy and the well being of everyone in the world.  Layering this with democracy, democratic decision-making, local and global peace and security, and the cross-fertilizing discoveries of humanity’s arts and spiritual heritages helps make sure these needs stay met when confronted by the new problems that always arise in any complex system. But even with our basic human needs met and ways of solving our problems in peaceful, democracy-building ways, our wealth and wealth-building capacities could become bankrupt if we ignore the needs of the foundation of our world and wealth. Without attending to our biological life-support systems, to Mother Nature, and her needs, our wealth is fleeting, our peace and well being insecure. The next chapters deal with what we need to do to insure that the most valuable systems in the our world are protected— and seen for what they really are— the major part of any comprehensive definition of wealth that human beings have access to.
“If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”
—John F. Kennedy
“The path to peace is justice.”
—Oscar Arrias
“Through our scientific and technological genius, we have made of this world a neighborhood and yet we have not had the ethical commitment to make of it a brotherhood. We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools.”
—Martin Luther King
"A generation is remembered not only for what it accomplished — but also for what it failed to accomplish."
—The World Bank Institute
[1] L. Diamond, M. Plattner, Editors, Nationalism, Ethnic Conflict, and Democracy, (Baltimore, John Hopkins University Press), 1994.
[2] Globalist Factsheet, The "Short List" on Global Development prepared by Calvin Clark & Peter Schwarzer.
[3] Robert Muller, '5000 Ideas & Dreams For A Better World' - Idea 53, September 1994
[4] First proposed by Buckminster Fuller in the 1960s, the “World Game” as he called it, was envisioned as a great logistics game where people from around d the world would compete and cooperate to develop strategies for solving the world’s most urgent problems. See Utopia or Oblivion, “The World Game: How It Came About” (Bantam Book, New York, 1969).
[5] Robert Muller, “UN World Peace Room” in Ideas and Dreams for a Better World, #209, July 8, 2003;
 [6] A modest beginning of this tool is the internet based NetWorld Game which can be seen at
[7]  Fred Kaplan, “Our Hidden WMD Program,” Slate April, 2004.
[8] “Fast growing business,” (The Economist, May 26, 2001, p. 68).

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