0- Letter to Readers
Thank you for the leap of faith you already took by opening this Manifesto, or as we call it, this Love Letter to Humanity. It takes guts even to dare to hope, yet here you are, willing to explore new ways forward.
The world can often feel like a dark place without hope, spinning out of control with no one or nothing to stop it. However, the reality is far from it: countless souls are devoted to supporting one another and changing the world, looking for a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. They are not hoping for a hero to rescue us all but banding together to harness their collective power!
In the last few years, we have encountered individuals standing up for what’s right and trying everything in their power to create a more just society. We met inspiring leaders risking and losing their freedom for others' rights and everyday volunteers willing to give every moment of free time to have a positive impact. They often expressed the same feeling: “We know what to fight against, but where we are heading is far less clear.”
We felt the same way. After building a progressive political party across Europe and campaigning worldwide for rights and freedoms, we knew the world was heading in the wrong direction. We were committed to doing everything we could to change the tide. But then what? Would we fall into the same pattern, inevitably leading us back to the dark abyss we just escaped?
We wanted to break loose from this hellish carousel. We had a dream of starting to piece together all the knowledge we gathered from across the world and ideas generous people imprinted onto us into a coherent vision for the future. This way, many more could adopt and use it as a compass for their personal and political lives.
Attempting to match the urgency to act for our planetary survival with the need for a new utopia to aspire to, this Philosophy-in-the-making intends to inspire daily actions and give a direction for systemic, societal change. It contains traces of a spiritual guide and the seeds of a political program.
The idea is simple. By overcoming divisions and thus uniting, we stand a chance to avoid climate breakdown, civil unrest due to ever-increasing inequalities, and wars. We can prevent the collapse of human civilisation. But more than this, we can strive for a tangible utopia. We can create a freer, truly equitable world where people’s well-being is prioritised over all else. It will be hard and require sacrifices and systemic change, but it is possible.
This philosophy is in the making: what you read is the first attempt to codify what we have been exploring for years. We will continue to expand, improve and advance it as we move forward, and we hope to bring you with us on this journey. We leave it to you to consider whether this can accompany you in the years to come. On our side, we’ll do our best to make it a reality.
Colombe Cahen-Salvador & Andrea Venzon
Throughout history, the lack of Unity has heavily affected humanity. From religious persecution to hatred and racism, countless issues can be traced back to the inability of humans to go beyond divisions. A simple example is war: it is estimated that between 150 million to 1 billion people have died due to conflicts since we set foot on this planet. A disproportionate amount of it has taken place in the lifespan of people still alive today. In fact, World War Two sets the record for the bloodiest war in human history, with a death toll between 50 and 85 million people.
Following such brutality, humans seemed to learn their lesson, at least for a while. An international order with the United Nations and its agencies at its centre was established to maintain peace and security. For example, the World Food Program was created to alleviate hunger, with humanity coming together to achieve this goal. In a typical year, it assists 160 million people. The World Health Organization has helped extend mental health care in more than 110 countries. This is Unity at work. At the national level, the trend has been very similar. The first public health system saw the light in 1883 in Germany, and following the two world wars, most developed nations started offering some coverage to their citizens. In less than 150 years, the world moved from being unable to imagine the concept of public healthcare to 150 countries offering free or universal healthcare to their citizens.
However, today’s challenges have put humanity’s pledges to cooperate to the test: once more, conflicts are rising. As we write this manifesto, the highest yearly death toll due to wars of the 21st century has been recorded, with 238,000 deaths. In the 21st century, nationalism, xenophobia, racism, greed, and other viruses of the mind are still causing conflicts at a great scale. Together with old plagues, new monumental issues are threatening our future: climate change-related deaths have been put at 5 million a year, while international efforts to quell the crisis are faltering. Unfortunately, countless examples show that our civilisation still suffers from meaningless artificial divisions, impeding togetherness and Unity.
Such suffering is not limited to geopolitical or global affairs: it strikes near home in all our lives. Loneliness and the lack of a social net - someone to care for us - is one of humankind's most atrocious issues this century: one in three adults worldwide suffers from it. Discrimination and poverty also impact billions of people daily. One clear example is gender-based and sexual violence, as 81% of women and 43% of men have faced sexual harassment in their lives. Another is the difference in life expectancy at birth in privileged versus deprived areas. Considering areas within a wealthy nation like the UK, the delta is ten years, while between high-income Hong Kong and low-income Chad, it widens to thirty-three.
However, the future can and must look brighter. Those trends can and must be reversed through Unity. New technologies will provide incredible prosperity if available to the many and steered in humanity’s interest. The very real prospect of living healthily beyond 100 years can be a reality for all, not just the uber-wealthy. But that’s not all. If we bind together, we will create a more equal society. There is willingness that must be converted into action: 94% of people worldwide believe that women should have the same rights as men. By working as One, the biggest challenges of our time will be no match for us. Extreme poverty could be eradicated by 2050, and global warming can be limited to 1-1.5 degrees Celsius.
There is light in the dark. A better world is within our grasp; we need a Compass to reach it.
II- The Concept of Unity
Hundreds of thousands of years ago, there must have been a moment when prehistoric humans decided to defy the fear of what’s different, the animal instinct of survival, and trust other humans. They decided to trust others with their lives and families; trust them with all they have when ill or weak, when fast asleep. That trust allowed communities to form and created our most cherished ally, our secret weapon, the light that lifted us out of the darkness of ignorance and violence: Unity.
Since the beginning of times, Unity has been the foundation of our societies. Through Unity, we defied the odds, survived incredibly hostile environments, explored new seas and lands, built civilisations whose ideas will reverberate forever, and reached the stars. None of these accomplishments can be traced back to one person, one god-sent prophet, or a great commander: these are the tales of billions of individuals who have cooperated and built on each other's passions, hopes, and ingenuity. Together, they wrote the most magnificent legacy: a chain of actions and ideas that stretched our imagination from the cradle of humankind in Africa to the dark abyss of space. A chain that continues to this day, scarred by heinous mistakes but strong in its Unity and beautiful in its diversity.
This chain is what we are called to contribute to. As children, we are taught to welcome different people and support those in difficulty. As adults, we too often forget these lessons, look away when it's uncomfortable, and deceive ourselves into believing that it’s not on us to make things right and that we are too small to make a difference. The tale of human history shows us a different truth: as atoms are the foundations of all things in the universe, an incalculable number of small sacrifices and acts of kindness collated together provided the foundation of progress, opportunities, and rights.
True Unity is the force, superior to the sum of the parts, that unleashes when humans overcome differences and work together. The feeling of community extends across space and time when we hear about people defying the odds and standing against oppressors. The knots we feel tightening in our guts when we witness an injustice are only unravelled when we decide to intervene. Unity is the most potent driver of human evolution, progress, and success.
Today and tomorrow, we must once more pursue Unity with all our strengths for as long as our bodies can carry on and we have a spark of hope in our hearts to mend injustices, reach new heights, achieve happiness, and save humanity. We stand on the brink of the abyss we created by recklessly exploiting our planet, building weapons of mass destruction, and letting the drive for profit create existential threats of unregulated technological advancements. If not corrected, the current path may lead to annihilation. But this can be undone.
By embracing the power of Unity, we will survive and unleash unlimited benefits. Unity is already lingering behind all that is good in our lives: By making the conscious choice to live according to its principles, we will rid our communities of hate and conflicts and replace them with well-being, equity, and freedom. In a world where collaboration replaces competition, where a friendly hand is always extended to those seeking it, there’s no limit to technological and human progress.
Once Unity is reached, the perennial quest for wealth will cease. Instead, humans - inspired and supported by their peers - will seek more profound meaning and will be consumed by hunger for purpose. Devoid of materialistic, infantile excesses, societies will provide a life of dignity to everyone. Happiness will no longer be an illusive ghost but a solid presence in our life, unsteady at times but within our grasp.
The Philosophy of Unity demands that we open our minds and hearts to a new kinship beyond blood. By accepting that all human beings are connected to us and share our common destiny, we can see each other for who we indeed are instead of being obfuscated by artificial divisions. This philosophy can be our elixir of life, the door to a terrestrial nirvana, the gate to a prosperous shared future.
III- The Principles of Unity
A United society must be anchored within the fundamental principles of Freedom, Equity, and Well-being. We can only thrive as individuals, communities, and a planet when we all have access to freedoms, the resources and opportunities we need to flourish fairly.
Unity is based on Freedom. To be truly united, all must have the agency to choose. Even the most perfect equitable Unity is an abomination if imposed on others. Countless dictators have tried to accomplish their "united and just society," bending people to their will. Upholding freedom as a fundamental pillar of the quest for unity is an unbendable tenet. Coupled with it, rights - such as the ability to marry whoever one wants, to live according to the gender one identifies with, to voluntarily terminate one’s own life to be spared of excruciating terminal pain, to abort an unwanted or unsafe pregnancy, to own one’s digital data and more - must be upheld and expanded. A true cultural shift can only be achieved when all humans have the complete freedom to be and behave as their chosen selves, provided they do not harm others or impede the same freedom for others to choose their own path. Without freedom, Unity cannot be.
Unity is based on Equity. To be genuinely United, no group can be left behind. Unity without Equity is like building a house with a rotten foundation. The diversity of backgrounds, stories, and historical struggles must be remembered when pursuing Unity. Equity encapsulates the idea that no group should have less power or fewer benefits or rights than any other group, whether by race, geography, gender, age, ability, religion, or any other qualifying trait. Despite enjoying an era of unprecedented global prosperity, discrimination and inequity among world groups strain the planet and humanity's future, and nothing short of a radical change in global mindset and policy will alter the course.
Unity is based on Well-being. To be truly united, we must ensure that individuals, communities and the planet are as well off as possible. For this, their basic needs must be fully satisfied, enabling people to choose a life that gives them meaning and purpose, as nature must be granted the space to thrive. They must be afforded the possibility to see others as friends in the pursuit of creating a better community, society and planet, not competitors in a fight to survive. Well-being is the final arbiter of the effort to unite the world, the ultimate goal of any political and social attempt to reform our societies: where well-being is achieved, harmony reigns.
IV- The Systemic Reforms
To achieve Freedom, Equity, and Well-being, we must unite to 1) democratise wealth and power for our collective benefit, 2) ensure equity amongst all groups, and 3) unite beyond borders.
IV- A. Democratise Wealth and Power
For the world to be genuinely United, we must all have access to power and wealth. Yet, in our communities, countries, and worldwide, both tend to be fenced off in a few families, networks, and companies that remain to this day inaccessible. For people to overcome divisions, they must know that such resources and positions are within reach and that they have a fair shot in life. We must democratise power and wealth: wealth creates power, and power generates more wealth.
Yet, in today’s world, those born rich have an exponentially higher probability of staying rich. Those from lower socio-economic backgrounds have few chances to access wealth and opportunities. There are exceptions to this rule, but the norm remains that inequalities are growing, wealth is ever-more hyper-concentrated, and there is redistribution mainly to the top. During the past decade, the wealthiest 1% captured around half of all new wealth globally. It is obviously an ethical and practical issue: too few own too much to the detriment of the overwhelming majority. We don’t live in a world of infinite resources, so a winner takes it all in this rigged game.
Some worldwide have tried to correct these inherent flaws by introducing progressive policies that did help but were not enough. While being a high net-worth individual wouldn’t be an issue in an ideal society, in today’s world, it practically is. Considering that more than 700 million people live in extreme poverty and that almost one in ten people are going hungry, it is inconceivable to accept that some hoard so many resources and impact our economies, societies and environment exponentially more negatively than others. In addition, our belief systems and structures must change. Too often, we believe in illusions of meritocracy and tend to rationalise the success of the few to the detriment of the many. We also fail to shift our value system to understand that our collective priorities shouldn’t be hoarding resources but our individual and collective freedom, equity & well-being.
In our vision of a United world, our basic needs are met thanks to a fairer market economy, society, and world. Through redistribution, basic incomes and more, we can have room to aspire to more. Some might choose the pursuit of wealth, but for many purposes, well-being and happiness will become their guiding stars. Unity is about doing better, not having more. A United world encourages us to do and be better, not to have more. It enables us to support one another, to live in harmony with our environment and switch our understanding of success from how much we earn to how well we are doing. In capitalism, you ask, “What do you do?”. In a United world, you might ask, “What do you contribute to?”
Nothing short of a radical change in capitalism will democratise wealth. Through Unity, our values change: we no longer hoard resources but seek to contribute. The endless cycle of wealth-creating more wealth for the few must end, and instead, the creation of resources and wealth must benefit the many. In democratising wealth, we must redistribute it equitably, level the playing field, and ensure newly created wealth not only causes no harm to our environment and communities but also advances our collective well-being.
Wealth, until now accumulated and redistributed to the top, must be shared equitably.
Across the planet, people are suffering because they do not have access to a bare minimum level of resources and wealth. From high to low-income countries, poverty and material deprivation are prevalent: one in ten people globally live in dire poverty, and statistics are even higher in places like Singapore and the US, famous for their high GDP per capita. People are also suffering from the fact that inequality is growing for more than 70% of the global population. Critical drivers of wealth redistribution, such as fundamental social programs and public services - when even present - are increasingly under stress across the board, making it extremely difficult for those without vast means to access well-being. In an era of perma-crisis, where states have to allocate more and more resources to mitigate the climate emergency or deal with the threat of war, redistribution efforts that make society prosper, such as decent unemployment support, pensions, universal healthcare and good public education are being undercut, often at the expense of the most vulnerable groups. Resources are needed to avoid this and change the tide, and those who can afford it should pull way above their weight to ensure they can have access to well-being.
It is fundamental that steep progressive income and wealth tax systems be put in place. This way, wealth will become less hyper-concentrated, enabling more people to access it. In addition, social cohesion will be strengthened, as growing inequalities are a crucial indicator of political tensions and conflicts.
Redistributing newly generated wealth is vital, but more is needed. It must be supplemented by constraining significant intergenerational wealth transfers to avoid concentration in certain families and segments of the population.
There is no reason why some deserve to inherit wealth they have not earned, giving them yet another advantage in life, while others do not and are kept out. It becomes even more apparent as the transfer of wealth down generations is a crucial driver of inequalities across communities, nations, and even broader groups, naturally impeding the correct functioning of meritocratic societies. The rich stay rich, and those born with wealth have more opportunities and advantages than those without. Extremely high-net-worth individuals are responsible for most intergenerational wealth transfers in Europe and Asia. Yet, very often, high exemption thresholds and favourable treatment of family and non-family recipients allow many heirs to keep 100% of their inherited wealth. Because wealth inequality is more significant than income inequality, breaking the cycle of privilege and exclusion is fundamental. In addition, the expectation of inheritance enables individuals to make riskier decisions that can lead to bolder financial gains and create a cycle of privilege that those without cannot dream of. It kills the very idea of meritocracy.
Highly progressive inheritance taxation must be applied to intergenerational wealth transfer to curb the concentration of wealth in the same circles and democratise wealth.
Once the concentration of wealth from the hands of the few is democratised, we must ensure that those born without have equitable access to opportunities and choices.
People don’t choose the circumstances in which they are born. Yet, they heavily influence their lives: some children have access to immense resources while others grow up in more dire circumstances. For example, being from a wealthy family “is a better indicator of adult success” than academic performance in the US. Children’s and young adults’ choices and paths are heavily determined and impacted by their socioeconomic background. Of course, there are many other soft advantages that few have access to, such as social connections, that will likely impact their lives. However, for many, economic scarcity leads to heavy mental health burdens and anxiety, in addition to the apparent consequences of financial exclusion.
We must start the creation of a level playing field through Youth Universal Basic Incomes. Such a regular guaranteed income (in the form of unconditional payment) for young people is more affordable to test and try than for the whole population. It will have some radical consequences desperately needed to democratise wealth. It will provide countless people with choices, alleviate poverty, and enable young people to start their adult lives in happy, healthy and positive manners.
Looking beyond individuals’ wealth accumulation and lack of access, wealth must also be democratised within companies’ structures. As the workforce often bears the consequences of business downturns, it should also reap its benefits.
There is no doubt that companies drive massive wealth generation. Not one person can generate this abundance by themselves: the most successful companies typically employ tens of thousands of workers. Yet, the ones reaping all the benefits are often at the top: executives and shareholders. The ratio between executives’' wages and the median worker can easily be in the hundreds. While founders and top executives carry huge responsibilities and invest a lot in the business, this is simply dystopian. In addition, ownership of companies is increasingly concentrated, with just a few investors gaining massive benefits from the work of many companies. For example, Blackrock, Vanguard, and State Street alone - three massive financial institutions - are the largest shareholders in almost nine out of ten of the biggest companies in the U.S.
Mechanisms to distribute wealth generated by companies - whether it is salaries, bonuses, profit, or others - in an equitable manner must be implemented and become the norm. The lowest-paid wealth creator, aka employee, should never get less than a few times the CEO’s compensation. The same logic should be applied to profit-sharing schemes and ownership-sharing ones. For more, see the chapter titled “Democratise power” below. This will not only have positive consequences on the workforce but also benefit companies themselves. For example, employee-owned companies have “better performance, greater stability, and higher wealth for workers and the community.”
While breaking existing company cultures and structures to ensure workers are put front and centre will democratise wealth for those concerned, the question of how companies impact society remains. Multinationals must pay their fair share. There is no possible justification for some of the wealthiest companies in the world to dodge their fiscal responsibility and for other smaller companies to continue to do what’s right.
Yet, countries are deprived of at least $500 - $600 billion annually in terms of corporate tax revenues due to tax havens. To put it in perspective, we could end global hunger for one year with half of that amount of money. Multinational companies often dodge their fiscal responsibilities and concentrate wealth further, thanks to their immense clout, tax havens, debt shifting, and more. Such appalling behaviours are only made possible because of the lack of a global tax system. The leaders of the G7 and G20 have agreed on a bleak minimum of 15%, lower than most existing corporate taxes, showing that there is room for discourse but refusing to take meaningful action.
A global tax system must be put in place so that the people of the world are not continuously deprived of the funds that should be serving their needs, but would reap the benefits. Until such a system exists, all political leaders who have the best interest of their people, communities, and the world must work together beyond borders to tax such actors appropriately. Capturing a share of the immense wealth produced by multinationals would provide a vast amount of resources to public budgets. For more, see the chapter titled “Unite Beyond Borders” below.
Last but not least, countries’ concentration of wealth must also be democratised, not continuously accumulated. It must be shared equitably.
Historically, through colonialism, hyper-capitalism and pure greed, some countries - typically identified as the Global North - have deprived others and entire continents of wealth and resources. It not only means that vast regions - typically identified as the Global South - are still negatively impacted by such historical and current actions, but also that due to the amount of wealth available, it is ridiculous not to consider the human race one and ensure that we are all well. As such, wealthy countries must, at the very least, pay reparations and their fair share when working and collaborating with others.
A global redistribution system must be implemented to allow many low-income countries to receive much-needed resources to improve their standards further and provide access to well-being for their citizens. This will decrease the risks of geo-political tensions and enable governments to work closer together.
Similarly to wealth, power must be democratised as it is too often inherited and hoarded. In short, the few have it; the many lack it. It is also closely linked to wealth: those with wealth too often have too much power, and vice versa.
Those belonging to influential and powerful families or backgrounds have a massive chance to profit from that privilege in their lifetime, making it very hard for newcomers to have the same opportunities. Consequently, power is concentrated in a handful of individuals who went to the same educational institutions or came from families with power centuries ago. For example, recent studies showed that almost all American presidents descended from enslavers. In addition, access to political power still depends on an individual’s wealth or the wealth they can raise for themselves. The best leaders cannot emerge if those with access to easy wealth systematically outspend them. The issue lies not only in the fact that leadership positions are inaccessible but also in how those leaders retain and maintain power. Even within democratic countries, citizens have few ways to make their voices heard between elections. Countries that offer participatory democracy tools are a minority, and the executive often undermines those tools. Ethically, this is wrong: democracy is for all, not the few. Practically, this is utterly stupid: the interests of the many need to be represented, and the few cannot consistently make the best decisions as individuals are fallible. Giving access to power and opportunities to the many always results in better outcomes than when few monopolise everything: leaders’ mistakes in governments can be counterbalanced by the scrutiny of participatory, democratic bodies.
Through Unity, however, we don’t relinquish our democratic spirit at the polling station. Currently, too often, democracy means voting, and a winner takes it all. Through Unity, however, we don’t relinquish our democratic spirit at the polling station but instead come together constantly to do better, collaborate, and share our expertise and time. We innovate democracy to make it fairer, more equitable, more democratic, more accessible, and more participatory. In today’s democracies, you ask, “Who did you vote for?”. Through Unity, you might ask, “Were you selected for last month’s citizen assembly?”. In a United society, democracy must serve and include everyone, not just the few.
Firstly, we need democracy to be truly inclusive. Democracy must always be accessible to every single citizen.
Citizens are too often blocked from being full actors in the governance of their “democratic” countries in many ways, from physical harassment to intimidation, from electoral fraud to unreasonable burdens placed upon those running for office. Consider that over 80% of women in politics have been victims of sexual violence or harassment. At the same time, when safety is not the main blocking factor, other barriers are erected to keep people out of the centres of power: Italians interested in running for office in the European elections have to collect 150,000 signatures, all authenticated on the spot by a notary, and French people must pay the cost of printing their ballot papers, estimated to be at around €800,000-€1m. Then, many countries seek to make it harder for certain groups to be able to exercise their fundamental democratic right, the act of casting their ballot. In the 2022 presidential elections in Brazil, federal highway police were accused of increasing numbers of roadside searches on election day to suppress votes in areas supporting the opposition. How can a system be qualified as democratic when female candidates are regularly harassed or when unreasonable monetary or administrative barriers block prospective politicians from participating in elections? How can democracy be inclusive if some voters are targeted to dissuade them from expressing their political will?
Existing barriers to democracy that keep people outside the halls of power should be obliterated, from bureaucratic and monetary barriers created to keep people out of politics, such as substantial deposits to be paid or lengthy processes to create political parties, to the lack of basic safety and privacy at the polls. By abolishing barriers to democracy, people will be better represented and regain trust in their institutions.
We must then bring back the voices and concerns of the citizens at the heart of democracy by involving the many. Doing so is not only correct and the only way for democracy to live up to its true meaning, but it’s also intelligent.
Democracy is in retreat across the board, no longer answering people’s priorities: many citizens worldwide doubt the need for democracy. Elected officials are often perceived as distant and not focused on meeting people’s needs. For example, three-quarters of the English public don’t trust Members of Parliaments to make decisions to improve their lives. In Brazil, numbers are impressively similar: seven out of ten people believe that their voice does not matter, undermining the basis of the democratic contract. The inability of traditional democratic institutions to keep up with today’s fast-paced, global society is appalling. But bear in mind that such institutions were imagined before the digital revolution and in a world without a voice. In addition, instability, populism, increased inequalities and extreme polarisation are putting to test the most solid democracies on the planet. Half of the democracies worldwide are experiencing a deterioration of their democratic practices and standards. Due to these setbacks, authoritarianism is on the rise, providing straightforward answers to people's concerns and disastrous outcomes when unleashed.
We must change this tide by pushing the boundaries of what democracy is today by introducing innovative participatory democratic solutions for citizens to have more of a say in their regions, countries and the world. This has been tried successfully worldwide, from Taiwan’s digital democracy system to Belgium’s standing citizens assemblies. Even more innovative solutions, such as permanent legislative chambers created by sortition, are being researched, hoping to democratise further power by including more people, more representative of the constituencies in question. Inclusive democratic processes manage to fix some of the main flaws of today’s democracy by providing long-term guidance to government and moving the public beyond polarisation, among many other benefits.
However, even in a society where access to power was equitable, those in power would continuously accumulate it. Once acquired, power should not be held too long to avoid democracies becoming oligarchies.
Just like wealth creates wealth, power generates power. Through contacts, notoriety, cult of personality and more, once people attain leadership positions, the system starts bending at their will, and the longer they stay, the more apparent it becomes. Just consider that the re-election rates for public officials are through the roof, consistently surpassing 90% in the U.S. Congress. Around the planet, the same faces clutter the halls of power, blocking new thinking and new energies to bring the necessary disruption. Some go further than seeking constant re-election by evading term limits, changing constitutions and putting in danger democracy itself. Recent examples include Russia’s Putin and China’s Xi Jinping.
Strict term limits for key elected positions are needed to end such oligarchic tendencies and, at the same time, favour a cultural shift from career politicians to people becoming politicians at moments in their lives. This way, the cycle of politicians bending the system in their favour - willingly or not - will be severely reduced while ensuring that the political system will be more open.
Then, democracy must be devoid of the influence of big money to be representative, fair and accessible to all.
Extremely wealthy people and organisations systematically attempt, and often succeed, to influence politics and, as a result, our democracies. Forty percent of total donations in American politics come from the top 1%, and countless billionaires held or are holding the highest office in many countries around the planet, showcasing the direct link between money and power in democratic (and undemocratic) countries. Such significant money influence drowns the voices of everyday citizens and creates unfair access to politicians. Others exploit their connections to receive media time or massive donations. Obviously, this increases the likelihood of corruption and clientelism: research on the impact of donations in Colombian municipal elections showed that looser legislation to curb the influence of money correlates with an increase in the number of public contracts assigned to donors to the elected candidate.
Checks must be implemented to limit the influence of enormous fortunes in political races, and a level-playing field must be created to ensure that all candidates can afford to run for office. It can and has been done: over 40% of countries worldwide have adopted policies to curb money’s influence in politics, such as donations caps and spending limits. They have also put in place public funding and demanded transparency on spending. More needs to be done. However, by implementing reforms in this direction, not only would the influence of money over politics be significantly diminished, but corruption and clientelism would also be drastically reduced.
Secondly, power must be restructured to serve others. Those having power are the servants of society, not vice versa.
Today’s politicians are often seen as distant figures surrounded by privileges, people to appease more than to challenge, and depending on the democratic situation, even to fear. They make decisions impacting everyone’s life and are praised the rare times when they empathise with citizens or even more rarely listen to them. However, their responsibility is not to lead the populace or prioritise the interests of the powerful but to serve the people, all of them, whether they voted for said politician or not. A staggering example is the one of homelessness in the Global North. Having a safe home should be the bare minimum. Yet, in very wealthy countries, people live without permanent housing. This has been the case throughout history, and only a few places on earth have adequately solved this problem, putting citizens’ needs front and centre. Those in power’s primary responsibility should be to work as hard as possible to meet all their constituents’ basic needs. Failure to do so is unforgivable, as is diverting public money or interests. Yet, corruption affects all governments and public authorities worldwide to different degrees, but inevitably. Not only is it a crime, but corruption also ruins the possibility of people enjoying better public services, the chances of honest citizens to rise in the ranks of governments or to succeed in public tenders, and worse. The global cost of corruption is estimated to amount to $2.6 trillion or around 5% of the world GDP, outnumbering the wealth created by entire countries.
Safeguards must be implemented for power to be at the service of all, not just the few and the powerful. Leaving behind some people, destroying our planet or harming existing and future generations should be deemed criminal. A cultural shift disowning those linked to corruption is urgently needed, supplemented by radical measures, ousting those who abuse public trust from accessing and retaining power. In addition, people should have tools to remove politicians who breach their trust or mandate.
Finally, similarly to institutions, significant company ownership should also be democratised. Those heading big companies hold enormous power that often goes unchecked.
It is a problem not only for the broader world impacted by companies’ decisions without having enough say but also for employees deprived of decision-making power on issues that concern them. A stark example of this is the Musk-owned satellite internet company Starlink acting as the main lifeline of the Ukrainian army during its resistance against Russia and arbitrarily deciding not to provide its services in proximity to occupied Crimea. It happened in the context of the Ukrainian military requesting the extension of Starlink coverage to the city of Sevastopol, in Crimea, to conduct a strategic defence operation against the Russian fleet stationed in the city’s port. Elon Musk decided unilaterally to deny the request. As such, the operations were unsuccessful, and the Russian fleet continued to perform indiscriminate attacks against Ukraine. Decisions that can influence the fate of millions of people cannot be left in the hands of one or a few executives but must be made and scrutinised by many. When it comes to employees, while they significantly contribute to a company being successful and profitable, they often don’t have a say over the direction of said company or decisions that directly impact their livelihoods. For example, before the COVID-19 pandemic, many large companies distributed their profits as dividends to shareholders. They had fewer reserves to support their workforce during the emergency, leading to lots of firing.
Big companies must adopt ownership-sharing schemes to involve workers in their decision-making processes. This will enable more oversight of big companies’ decisions that impact society and benefit the companies themselves. Workers are best positioned to provide such leadership as they have deep knowledge of the topics and the companies’ inner workings. That’s why companies that have already embraced all-employee-share ownership perform better than those that don’t. It increases trust and loyalty in the company, helps retain talents, and avoids ego-driven mistakes by the leadership. In addition, it has been proven in multiple case examples that workforce ownership increases the beneficial impact of businesses on their communities, starting from better benefits for the workers themselves to a more ethical way to conduct business through all lenses.
Most people will experience a terrific life improvement by democratising access to wealth and power. Societies will be, simply put, better: people will live longer, progress will be faster as more will have access to opportunities, violence will drastically diminish because of changes in the socio-economic situation and ability to have a voice, and governments will be freed from the cancer of corruption. This is the power of Unity, and we have all the tools to access it. It’s time to act.
IV- B. Ensure Equity Among Groups
For the world to be united, true Equity must be achieved: people cannot come together without experiencing a strong sense and state of fairness. Equity encapsulates the idea that no group should have less power or fewer benefits or rights than any other group, whether by race, geography, gender, age, ability, religion, or any other qualifying trait. In this analysis, the intersectionality of groups and groups not yet present must be considered. Take future generations: they may not be born but will inherit our world and suffer consequences, so we must account for them. Spoiler alert: it’s possible and has been done. For example, Wales introduced a Future Generations Commissioner precisely for that purpose.
Despite enjoying an age of unprecedented global prosperity, discrimination and inequity among groups threaten the planet and humanity's future, and nothing short of a revolution is acceptable. In today’s world, how you look or where you come from are still powerful indicators of your socioeconomic status, access to human rights, the likelihood of living a long life, and more. Two apparent examples show this. Firstly, only in the last decade in the United States, white people held seventeen times more wealth than black households. Secondly, the COVID-19 pandemic was twice as deadly in low-income countries. Those shocking inequities are unjust and fuel social tensions and conflicts while depriving humankind of incredible talents and energy. Massive opportunities are on the rise, from space exploration that might bring humans to live in space in a matter of years to the ability to work and provide services from every corner of the planet. The possibilities unfolding in front of our eyes are countless. However, all these trends have in common that they disproportionately affect certain groups worldwide. It’s clear that precisely as tragedies impact disproportionately those already suffering, opportunities are being overwhelmingly seized by the elites - namely those with monetary assets and not belonging to historically discriminated groups. This group often thrives ahead, increasing their advantage over the rest of the human race, and those trailing behind are caught in the mud and slide backwards.
For Unity to exist, humans must live in harmony, and this can only happen if public policies are fully devoted to ensuring that groups have fair access to wealth, opportunities, services and power.
The first step is to remove all cultural, societal, economic and political causes of discrimination, violence and access. We must thus eliminate sources of discrimination and bridge the gap created by centuries-long racism, sexism and hatred. Failing to do so is our collective moral failure, further deepens divides, benefits the few and fuels social tensions.
Sexism represents a staggering example of such discrimination. While women represent half of humanity, their systemic under-representation and severely restricted share of power is appalling. Out of 193 countries in the world, only one-third have ever had a female head of government, and only seventeen countries are currently headed by a woman. Women comprise around a quarter of the members of national legislative bodies worldwide. And when women stand up and fight to move the tide, they face violence: an overwhelming majority - over 80% - of women in politics have been victims of sexual violence or harassment. At this rate, gender equality in the highest positions of power will not be reached for another 130 years. The lack of representation in political positions is not only a fundamental flaw of democracy but also one of the root causes of gender-related discrimination and a missed opportunity. Female leadership and participation correlate with more inclusive governance and better economic outcomes. From crossing party lines, being more responsive to public needs, increasing stability, challenging the status quo, and inspiring more women to run for office, gender parity benefits societies and enables progress. Gender is just one of the many lenses of discrimination that must be addressed. Age is another one, often forgotten. Today’s decisions impact tomorrow’s people, who don’t have a role in shaping decisions because they are usually kept out of power or aren’t here yet. Around one in every six people globally are between the ages of 15 and 24. They face significant challenges, including violence, conflicts, climate change, demographic shifts and changing labour markets, to mention a few. To add to the pain, they have little or no power to influence decision-making: young people are often excluded from politics by existing barriers, they are not included in consultations as mainstream experts tend to be older, and hence they lack the opportunity to influence and shape their own future. This is not only unjust but also a massive loss for humanity, as young people tend to be more progressive and open to change and can master technology better than others.
Only by destroying barriers and getting people from underrepresented groups in power will we be able to create equity amongst ourselves. Discrimination can be addressed by putting in place anti-discrimination policies (such as positive discrimination or quotas) in access to education, employment, businesses and politics for as long as needed. While this is a non-exhaustive list, and more is required to overcome this divide, such measures have been proven to work repeatedly. Quotas in leadership positions for women, for example, have been used in elections across Europe and enabled greater inclusion, participation and, thus, policies to tackle the status quo.
But ending discrimination is not enough. Ending violence is, and must remain, an absolute priority, especially when targeted against specific groups. Indeed, some suffer from disproportional levels of violence compared to others, whether by the state or other people.
It’s the case of state-sponsored violence - be it letting people die at borders, the over-imprisonment of certain groups, police violence, invasive surveillance, and more. For example, in France, a black or brown person is 20 times more likely to be arrested than a white one. In Brazil, people who identify as black count for 75% of victims of police killings, while they make up only 50% of the population. But this is not the only type of violence people experience across the planet. From robberies to sexual violence, street aggression to raids, violence is still rampant and vulnerable communities are the primary target.
State-sponsored violence must be made criminal and cracked down upon, while all other violence must be addressed as a priority. Violence cannot be accepted in our times. Education, budgets, training, and more must be implemented to ensure that not only violence is quelled today but also stigmatised and rejected by the next generation. Failure to act by politicians should be considered complicity, as should the inability to provide good public services for all groups.
Not being subject to discrimination or violence is the barest of all minimums. All groups must attain the highest well-being possible, and for this, all groups must access excellent public services. Only by having their basic needs covered, the certainty of living well and safely, will people be able to pursue purpose and happiness. Those are otherwise luxuries too far from our grasp.
Too often, public services - whether healthcare, education, transport, or housing - are, at best, rudimentary or non-existent. Across the board, people who can afford it flock to private services for health and education, leaving those who cannot behind. For example, a group of public hospitals in Gauteng, South Africa, count more than 36,000 patients waiting for surgery. Even in a very wealthy country such as the United Kingdom, 7.5 million people - more than 10% of the population - are on the waiting lists of the public health system. States and the world consistently fail people. That’s on top of the fact that wealthy groups disproportionately access better services as private suppliers regularly outperform public services. The gap between private, expensive services and their public comparables is not only wrong ethically, but it reinforces the lines of discrimination and privilege. People seriously suffer because of this every day. They are suffering from illnesses being diagnosed too late, children being left behind in the school system, families struggling to find affordable and safe housing, and thus having to commute insane hours to their workplace. All these factors are making people’s lives harder, further every day from a state of well-being. And it particularly impacts some groups: poorer, isolated, in rural areas, and minorities, just to give a few examples. And this is only set to become worse. In many advanced economies, public budgets are increasingly under pressure across most of the planet: ageing populations and lower economic growth have deprived authorities of maintaining quality standards in the services they produce.
The system is broken and needs to be fundamentally reformed. The creation, administration and delivery of very high-quality public services for all must be an absolute priority of any government. For this to happen, it is needed to have - at least in the short term - bigger budgets. ‘At least’, because spending on essential public services saves the state money in the long term by enabling people to live better and healthier lives, thus requiring less support later on. It’s typically the case of preventative healthcare that requires massive investments ahead of time but goes on to save funds for health services down the line. It’s worth noting that radical wealth redistribution policies could finance such a budget increase. For more, see the chapter titled “Democratise Wealth” above. Besides, resources levied should not be wasted in anachronistic structures that do not benefit the many. For example, the demilitarisation of the planet would allow countries to free up great resources to be deployed to other public priorities, as has already happened in a few countries worldwide.
The second step is to deal with global inequities. To be able to live peacefully and in unity across the world, we must reckon with the past to be able to move forward. Unity must be built on solid foundations. We must find a way to address history, recognise what has been done, compensate for past crimes and move forward as One.
The impacts of Colonialism continue to be felt, resulting in a scarred and divided world. Between 1492 and 1914, Europeans colonised 84% of the planet. Colonialism had dramatic impacts on the lives of people, their very survival and freedom, as well as the economic consequences entire countries suffered at the hands of exploiters: whole governance systems, industries and countries were destroyed to benefit colonial powers that became wealthier because of their very crimes. Take India: “Extreme poverty in India increased under British rule, from 23% in 1810 to more than 50% in the mid-20th century. Far from benefitting the Indian people, colonialism was a human tragedy with few parallels in recorded history.” “It is clear that somewhere in the vicinity of 100 million people died prematurely at the height of British colonialism.” Colonialism’s impacts are still felt heavily as one of the most critical factors in today’s economic inequalities around the globe. Former colonial powers continue to reap the benefits of their crimes while colonised people and nations suffer the consequences. Yet, they have often not taken the necessary steps to address the harm done. Across the world, anti-colonial movements are pushing forth the debate and actions on truth and reconciliation, with initiatives being set up. Apologies, restitutions of stolen cultural symbols, dismantlement of colonial symbols and financial compensations have taken place. However, countries genuinely trying to address their past is an exception, not systematically nor consistently a path pursued. Recently, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the “fundamental rights of people of African descent in Europe,” recognising that “the racism and discrimination experienced by people of African descent is structural” and comes from “historically repressive structures of colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade.”
It is high time to put institutions such as a Global Truth and Reconciliation Commission in place to address the open scars and unfinished discussions from colonialism. All countries involved in the crimes of colonialism must take part and commit to implementing the outcomes of the commission. From apologies to compensation or restitution of stolen art and properties, countless avenues exist to mend drifts across groups and reach true Unity. All must be pursued. None will erase the immense suffering caused, but they are a necessary step in addressing inequities created due to colonialism. While previous efforts, such as the ones of South Africa, Rwanda and ex-Yugoslavia, have been imperfect, they have enabled entire nations to move forward instead of falling into civil war.
In addition to addressing the wrongs of the past, we must ensure that no country or continent is left behind. A global taxation to redistribute resources across the globe is needed. This way, areas of the planet that are struggling could receive significant, ongoing support, thus addressing planetary inequities. More in the next chapter, “Unite beyond borders.”
Finally, to reach equity, we must have freedom of movement. We should all have the fundamental freedom to choose where to go, but it’s one that we often disregard.
In today’s world, nationality determines the countries citizens can travel to, the people they will meet and the opportunities they can grasp. And it also determines the places they won’t go, the people they won’t meet and the opportunities out of their grasp. Systematically, groups of people are dis/advantaged because of this. It’s unacceptable. Borders - and often even physical walls - plague our world, are built by autocrats to win votes, and are used to stigmatise groups of people and to fuel hate. Crossing borders can give a group with a specific passport immense benefits over others, including economic mobility, safe havens, and life over death. While the tales of refugees risking their lives to reach safe havens are widely known, far less is said about all the opportunities lost and purposes unfulfilled because of restrictive and inhumane visa policies.
It is fundamental to tear down those barriers and enable the free movement of people: we must be able to travel to other geographies, have a chance to settle for a better life, and simply explore and meet new cultures. This can take many forms, including abolishing borders or the visa system. Regardless, besides racism and xenophobia, there is no reason for the current limitation: a world of open borders would bring immense benefits to the global economy - amounting to 75 trillion dollars a year - and destroy prejudices and social barriers.
By reaching Equity, we will lay the foundations for Unity to flourish. True Unity will be accomplished when neither your physical characteristics, the place you were born, nor your culture or religion will influence your rights and opportunities. Tensions between groups will disappear, as the “us vs. them” mindset will be finally abandoned and remembered as a nightmare of the past. A new society will be born in which everyone can be whoever they want.
IV- C. Unite Beyond Borders
For Unity to be a reality worldwide, peoples and nations must come together democratically. There is no justification not to have a voice and a vote regarding issues that concern us all. For Unity to be achieved at the planetary level, separateness must be overcome, and we must be freed from the construct of secluded territories that monopolise lands and resources, consistently failing in dealing with planet-wide issues and furthering nationalistic or regionalist agendas.
Our only global system of governance - the United Nations - is non-democratic and non-participatory. It is a club of member-states, many of which are authoritarian, making decisions with national interests first in a non-equal manner. Remember, five countries have veto powers, and the rest don’t. Citizens have no role in it and no ability to make decisions, which means, in turn, that the United Nations lacks enforcement mechanisms and credibility. In addition, borders and nationalities have become a sign of division and exclusion. Either you belong to a state, or you don’t. To be truly united, we must collaborate beyond borders, overcome differences and be one. Real competencies must be given to a global democratic governance system. Only by being one, deciding together what our future should look like and sharing resources do we stand a chance. In today’s divided world, you ask, “What passport do you have?”. In tomorrow’s United world, one might ask, “Are you running in tomorrow’s global elections?”
As such, it is fundamental to create a Democratic Global Governance System, hereby referred to as the Global Country (note: this name is used for ease of language, but the concept might take a lot of different forms, from a federal government to a loose decentralised union, this remains to be decided by the people). This will enable global challenges - such as climate change or tax avoidance by multinational corporations - to be finally tackled and for unimaginable opportunities to be unleashed. Such a governance system will transform how we see the planet, not as a place to exploit and compete against other groups but as a shared home to nurture. Freedom, rights, and well-being can be better secured when countries unite. The Lycian League is the perfect example; it was established in the 1st century BC and comprised 23 cities to fight against the tyranny of Rhodes. This Union was the first known democratic federation in history and is largely credited for the fact that the towns remained strong for long despite attempts of tyrants to take power. Looking at modern times, the European Union and other supranational or intergovernmental organisations have achieved more significant levels of peace and freedom through Unity, from the freedom of movement to the abolishment of capital punishment and the ability to avoid wars!
This Global Country shall obviously be democratic to have the credibility and legitimacy necessary to impact change. Considering the issues previously detailed - in with current intergovernmental organisations that consistently put member states’ interests front and centre, and in which citizens don’t have a voice - the Global Country must directly represent the people! Whether through a parliament, a sortition-based chamber, direct democracy or highly participatory mechanisms, whether it is centralised or hyper-decentralised, remains for the people to choose. While we favour innovative democratic experiments - such as Taiwan’s digital democracy or Belgium’s standing citizens’ assemblies - that address some of the issues democracy is facing and don’t just replicate an imperfect system, the creation of a united world must be shaped by the people, for the people. While it may seem challenging to do so, grassroots institution-building and policy-making are possible. Chile’s recent constitution-making process is a recent example of what might work and fail.
What is clear is that it must have clear, binding and extensive competencies to deal with global challenges and opportunities. Existing intergovernmental bodies lack real power, with global issues going unresolved. Take climate change, the perfect example that our lives are interconnected worldwide and that collective and coordinated radical actions are needed. Not one country can solve the crisis without most governments collaborating systematically. Yet, despite many climate conferences and pledges happening every year, the situation looks bleak at best: governments fail to meet their voluntary commitments, there are no binding mechanisms to solve this, and they tend to shift the blame to one another. We will only stand a chance if the Global Country can make decisions and has the means to implement them.
To have a democratic, impactful and powerful governance system, access to sufficient resources is necessary. We see it when looking at the United Nations’ budget, which is financed by its member states, making it contingent on member states agreeing to the precise budget, policies and giving the funding. Thus, The UN’s independence and ability to make drastic changes when needed are impacted. This Global Country must be able to levy taxes, collect value-added tax (VAT), and more before administering programmes and equitably redistributing funds. As mentioned in the “Democratise Wealth” chapter, multinationals are too often able to dodge their fiscal responsibilities. Operating across borders, they can pick and choose between tax havens to pay as little taxes as they can get away with. And all of this is because we lack a global tax system. It must have budgetary competencies: the ability to levy taxes on businesses and individuals. With the Global Country capable of implementing a tax system across borders, 500 billion dollars annually could be raised from multinationals alone.
Naturally, such an institution will require a long gestation period to be created, and we cannot ignore the fact that interim solutions and steps must be taken to reach true Unity beyond borders. All multilateral options must be pursued.
As a starting point, the United Nations, the most influential existing intergovernmental governance system, must be reformed. While there is little likelihood that it will ever be a democratic organisation where citizens have a say since a big part of its member states are authoritarian themselves, it can and must work better. In fact, since the founding of the United Nations, the US, UK, France, China, and Russia - the Permanent Five members of the United Nations Security Council - have maintained special status that grants them unjustified and overwhelming power over the organisation and its member states. Those include the power to veto any substantive resolution regardless of how much international support it may have, thus blocking the work of the UN. That’s harmful to humanity and profoundly unfair to all other United Nations member states that are, therefore, ”second-class” members.
We must thus abolish the Permanent Members of the United Nations Security Council structure and special powers. It is fundamental as the first step to making the current global governance more effective in a highly polarised world.
However, we are under no illusion that for the people of the world to express their democratic will, alternative global governance structures must be created.
Ensuring the proper functioning of existing intergovernmental organisations is an important step, but only a step in creating systems capable of dealing with today’s pressing issues and opportunities. It is also utterly incapable of dealing with issues related to democracy due to its mission, structure and membership. Yet, this is more urgent than ever since democracy is in decline in different forms and speeds worldwide, from the blatant crackdowns on freedoms in Venezuela, Myanmar, or Belarus to the more subtle democratic backsliding in the democratic countries. The deterioration of democracy can happen faster than you imagine - just look at the case in Hong Kong. Authoritarian governments also have a very worrying tendency to collaborate beyond borders, exchange techniques and support one another. From China to Russia seeking to extend their sphere of influence through investments in key infrastructure projects abroad, the supply of militias or, more straightforwardly, wars and crackdowns on democracy, they are making waves. No country alone has the leverage to push back against authoritarian states or protect freedoms: it is fundamental to present a common front. For democracy to thrive, we must work together.
We must organise an alternative global alliance for democracies only to protect, promote, and innovate democracy worldwide. Since its inception, to stay true to its values, this League or Union will have to incorporate democratic practices to involve citizens in its governance, from the election of representatives to tools for democratic participation. Creating this League will be challenging, but it is necessary. Those who love freedom and democracy and do not want to see the dark shadow of authoritarianism spreading worldwide must stand together. Those who wish to explore the new horizons that new technologies and innovative democratic practices offer must unite.
While it is fundamental to unite beyond borders to create systems to deal with global issues, we must also urgently deal with those that cannot wait until then. We must tackle the climate crisis and protect our planet, environment and species.
In 2018, 89% of global CO2 emissions came from fossil fuels and industry. Even though phasing out fossil fuels is fundamental, their production is heavily subsidised, often more than green energies. While those subsidies are intended to protect consumers, it’s not working and harming the planet. As the International Monetary Fund puts it: “Subsidies have sizable fiscal costs (leading to higher taxes/borrowing or lower spending), promote inefficient allocation of an economy’s resources (hindering growth), encourage pollution (contributing to climate change and premature deaths from local air pollution), and are not well targeted at the poor (primarily benefiting higher income households).
We must ban fossil fuel subsidies for the world to stand a chance to fight the climate crisis. Removing subsidies could cut global CO2 emissions by a third. This revenue gain could be better targeted on green technologies and mitigating the impacts of such a transition. The climate crisis has many culprits, and it’s easy to get lost and have our attention diverted. Individual actions are essential, and we can all do better, but the focus should always be on those that impact it the most. There is no excuse not to tackle urgently and radically the biggest driver of climate change: emissions from fossil fuels.
While targeting the biggest drivers of the climate crisis, we cannot overlook the fact that all countries, regions, and people contribute and are impacted differently by this emergency and have different responsibilities and capacities to address it. We must save Earth in an equitable manner.
Any radical change in how the world works will impact many in the short term: loss of jobs, higher prices and more. Banning subsidies and the green transition will take a toll on some people, groups, industries and regions. In addition, some contribute much more to climate change than others and should compensate for this. For example, the combined emissions of the wealthiest 1% of the global population account for more than the poorest 50%. In Nigeria, for instance, the poorest 20% of people are twice as likely to be affected by a flood than the average Nigerian. Those numbers have real-life consequences on people suffering from famines, climate disasters, being displaced, losing income and more.
No country, people or group can be left behind. Wealthier countries must support the transition (financially and technically) in their path to sustainability. Not only is it needed for the planet to stand a chance, but low-income countries cannot be expected to pay the price for centuries of environmental destruction by the Global North.
Saving Earth, even equitably, cannot be just about ourselves. We must stop prioritising humans’ interests over every other being on Earth.
92.2 billion animals are killed in the global food system every year. There is no justification for the enslavement, harvesting and killing of animals: it is not only morally wrong but unnecessary and thus pure cruelty! In addition, it has a huge impact on the environment. Agriculture is responsible for up to 12% of greenhouse gas emissions, and animal farming for three-quarters of that. To put it into context, cattle rearing generates more greenhouse gases than transportation.
We must end this socially accepted crime of killing animals and move to alternative food sources, from vegan-based diets to innovative solutions such as lab-grown meat. Modern technologies enable us to eat better and differently.
Last but not least, we must unite beyond borders to ensure that modern technologies can only be harvested for the common good.
Today, technological advancements are unprecedented: from private companies dreaming of going to Mars, artificial intelligence with immense potential, food and medical technologies that could revolutionise how we eat and for how long we can extend life, the list goes on. Such technologies can have an incredibly positive impact if appropriately regulated but they can also be disastrous. Without even going into the doomsday scenario of an AI taking over the world and eradicating the human race, technological advancements can increase inequalities and inequities, always benefiting the few. As the COVID-19 vaccine response has proved once more, too often, countries and companies have a profit-first approach despite catastrophes plaguing the world. Data shows that more than a million lives could have been spared if vaccine hoarding had not taken place and technology and patents had been shared, especially with low and mid-income countries.
A global regulatory body must be created to oversee the development of new technologies and ensure that they are not discriminatory or harmful to humans or concentrated in the hands of a few. Indeed, technologies that have life-saving potential must be made available to all.
By Uniting Beyond Borders, humanity will unlock immense potential. Today’s progress is systematically constrained by the divisions impacting our lives. From national interests thwarting the common good to the inability to coalesce and act as one to stop threats and grab opportunities, we are operating in a highly inefficient way. The second humanity overcomes institutional, self-imposed barriers, an age of abundance will come. We are aware that this is a long-term goal. In the meantime, the struggle to democratise the planet, fight the climate emergency and rein in technology should be advanced in many other existing fora, but make no mistakes: the ultimate goal is clear: we must create a Global Country to save humanity.
V- The Road to Unity
Beyond today's limitations, beyond human-made and imposed divisions, lies Unity. If humanity embraces Unity, societies will reach unprecedented heights. It is that simple.
To make this possible, a decisive shift of mindset is needed. Humans must strongly feel a belonging to a shared sense of humanity and pursue equity, freedom and well-being. Just as importantly, they must adopt the 'can-do' attitude that has characterised all great leaps forward in humanity's history. Regardless of who we are and where we live, we must firmly believe that we can change the course of history, or at least play a part, and then unite and support each other. This conviction is necessary for all efforts to unify humankind to succeed. There will always be justifications not to take action, reasons to postpone and delay the revolutionisation of rotten systems and better circumstances to take a leap of faith, but today's issues do not allow for hesitation.
No god, authority, or law can hold back humans on the path to Unity. People are the key to unleashing an age of bountifulness, an era of freedom and equity, and limitless well-being and happiness. Humans must start creating the future they intend to see in all living rooms, community spaces, and voting booths. For Unity to become the driver of a societal transformation worldwide, three steps must be successfully taken.
I- The first step is at the individual level. Those of us enraged by the status quo, hoping for genuine cooperation and Unity, and those longing for equity, freedom, and well-being must coalesce around Unity's idea. We must support its expansion in local communities, show people how this can better our lives and the world, and ensure we make it our own. Any person can adopt a few key behaviours to advance Unity:
- We must seek to understand and welcome new people, different or similar from ourselves, support each other, and invest time and energy in those we might not know well but could change our lives. We shall venture out of our comfort zone to find new comfort in other people's hearts, leaving behind prejudices and stereotypes and connecting with those who do not look or sound like us. This means taking hard steps, reexamining our behaviours and addressing issues in our lives and communities to ensure no group is left behind. While we often believe we do our best, it is far from the case. Ninety percent of teenagers suffer from peer pressure, and the numbers decrease but stay consistent as we grow older. If we were able to overcome the evil temptation of judging one another, if we were able to, an outstanding amount of suffering would be spared. By seeking to understand one another better, we begin to feel more wholesome by standing by one another, becoming an ally and showcasing solidarity while believing that others will do the same for us.
- We must call out inequities when witnessed, educate ourselves about our privileges, and ensure we do our best in our private and work lives to enable equity! While people are equal in value, we are all different. No individual is born the same or under the same circumstances. Women, LGBTIQ+ individuals, people from other ethnic, religious or socio-economic groups, and more are often disadvantaged, discriminated against, and simply have to endure much more to have the slightest chance of getting to the same place as others. By becoming allies, we all have a fairer chance throughout life and we all win.
- We must foster strong ties, be part of a community where we support one another through life, and actively communicate and check on friends and family. While those principles may seem very basic, they aren’t followed today. The terminology “epidemic of loneliness” was coined during the COVID-19 pandemic to exemplify the increasing isolation that large parts of the population are experiencing. 61% of young people report profound loneliness in the United States. The most worrying aspect of those statistics is that the epidemic of loneliness is only getting worse: it is estimated that there will be a 49% increase in loneliness by 2026. By fostering solid social ties and being part of our communities, we aren’t only standing by one another and doing what’s right, but we can live longer, happier and healthier. People who live in knitted solid communities tend to outperform the rest of humanity in living longer disease-free! In addition, people who feel connected to others have lower levels of anxiety and depression, higher self-esteem, greater empathy and are more trusting and cooperative. All in all, making active efforts to be there for others, foster friendships and contribute to one’s community leads to more well-being.
- We must have a radical mindset shift and move away from competition towards collaboration. Humans are social beings who should draw on each other's strengths and lean on one another instead of systematically trying to measure themselves against one another. Yet, we measure how well we do financially, professionally, and socially, often compared to others. From the youngest age, we are taught to be the best in school and sports, the most popular, and more. In hyper-capitalist societies, the belief is that you must always be “on top of the food chain” and that if others win, you lose. But that couldn’t be further away from the truth. By seeking to collaborate and draw energy from others’ successes, we can feel connected to others and live a more meaningful life. By shifting mindsets, our well-being will be enhanced by others instead of deteriorated.
- We must unite to solve issues by participating more in democracy worldwide: voting every few years is not enough to protect our rights and democracy and move the world forward. We must take it upon ourselves to participate in democracy in every way: by regularly attending protests, leveraging any participatory democratic tool available, running for elections, supporting the creation of new political forces, or simply getting involved with community actions. Any action is better than no action, and strength lies in numbers. By doing so, we can impact our rights and democracy significantly. Indeed, greater citizens’ participation “leads to better and more democratic policy-making, which becomes more transparent, inclusive, legitimate, and accountable.”
II- The second step is at the political level. The proponents of the Philosophy of Unity shall create a global political party pushing for our vision. Today’s fracturous political offering, divided by national boundaries, impedes the actual development of international policy solutions. National interests trump cooperation between political actors even when they belong to the same ideological family. Creating truly global parties can mend this rift and ensure politicians can coordinate actions beyond borders, prioritising the global interest on global topics. By leading the way and establishing a transnational political party for Unity, many more will be encouraged to do the same with their respective ideologies to create a truly global political space. This is the mission we, the founders of Atlas, have taken upon ourselves. By creating the first global political party based on the philosophy of Unity, we intend to lead the way and fulfil the second step of the Road.
III- The third step is at the system level. We must work to create a global democratic system of governance, or as we like to call it, a Global Country. Only this way can we systematically overcome differences, barriers, inequities, and conflict. Doing so is critical to fulfilling the vision outlined in the Philosophy. Unity must find a platform to spread, and a democratic global governance is an ideal one.
We will ensure that humanity achieves true Unity by enacting these three steps. The realisation of the Philosophy of Unity will lead to the creation of a society where we can all thrive in balance with nature in our shared home, where conflicts are forgotten and frowned upon as barbaric practices of the past, where diversity is envied and welcomed, and where one can dream of reaching the stars regardless of where they come from, the gender they identify with, or any other traits. While perfection is not human, a radically more equitable and free society where people’s well-being is our priority is within our grasp. Let’s seize it with all our might.