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International Society of General Systems Research


27-30 May, 1986



Given the proliferating data input of today's world, the inadequacy and even impotence of the present governing system, the nation-state - carried over from the 18th century - to organize systemically the world community for the well-being, peace and freedom of all the citizens therein, impels the recognition of the imperative need of a "meta-system," or, in political terms, a world government grounded in fundamental human rights.

The major purpose of the World Government - declared by the writer, September 4, 1953, at Ellsworth, Maine - therefore, is to provide a sovereign social/political vehicle for the individual to be identified as legitimate world citizen within an interdependent community, dynamically related to humanity as such as well as to its supporting ecosystem, the planet earth itself.

The new government operates pragmatically through the World Service Authority, its administrative agency, principally issuing global or "meta-documents" as proto-linguistic yet concrete symbols of those rights.

A synthesis of general systems science and the World Government augurs for its metamorphosis to full governance before a total world breakdown.


While appreciating the honor of contributing to this Review, (SGSR) with no academic credentials or professional standing, I cannot presume to emulate or even relate to you as a cyberneticist or systems analyst. As I see it, my role, as an activist world citizen, is that of catalyst at your upcoming meeting in Philadelphia.

Our common objective, as I understand it, is to unify and systematize a now disjointed and rapidly disintegrating human world.

It is self-evident then that cyberneticists/systems analysts dedicated to "making the world work" need a real world model to work from while those operating that very model need the theoretical systems research input to increase the model's effectiveness - in the face of giant oppositional forces - eventually metamorphosing it to full-scale governance before total (read: "nuclear") catastrophe.

Contemplate for a moment these stark facts: In the 20th century's first 85 years, 78 million people - mostly the poor fighting the poor - have been killed. That is a 500 percent increase over the 19th century. Since 1900, 207 international wars have been fought. In 1945, there were less than 50 sovereign nations; in 1986, there are 171, a 250+ percent increase with a corresponding increase in war potential. In 1960, 28 percent of independent Third World countries were military controlled; today 50 percent are. One hundred forty-two governments are spending more than $900 billion a year on their military, over $2 billion per day.

Nowhere is the chaos of present world conditions more apparent than in the fact that the poorest 30 percent of humanity has 3 percent of the income, while the top 20 percent has 66 percent. Death from starvation is commonplace. Seventeen million persons, mostly children under five, are currently dying each year from malnutrition. That's some 46,000 each day, 24 per minute.

Think back to the recent "Summit" conference or indeed to any so-called Summit Conference. Was the elimination of war or poverty ever discussed? Has any national leader ever proposed limiting national sovereignty to a world government? Reagan and Gorbachev - and even Qadaffi! - are blood allies in maintaining the "sovereign" nation-state system. They are all buddies-in-arms. legally, if international law, to which they constantly allude, exists, they are war criminals along with their fellow heads of state.

The history of nations is basically the history of war.

In the meantime, frail humanity desperately seeks its legitimization if only to call public and favorable attention to its miserable existence and will to survive as such.

for instance, as I write, Voyager 2, travelling 45,000 miles per hour, almost 2 billion miles from Earth, is sending back pictures of Uranus' five cratered moons, Miranda, Umbriel, Ariel, Titania and Oberon, pictures which took 2 hours, 45 minutes travelling at 186,000 mph to arrive at the home planet.

Contrarily, on the same home planet, the battleships and warplanes of the fictional United States of America, using much the same technology and science, are maneuvering in the Mediterranean playing nuclear footsie with fictional Libya's puny, yet stinging (thanks to the fictional Soviet Union) air force.

The two news stories - Uranus and Reagan/Qadaffi - symbolize the present human dilemma: man's awareness and application of natural laws to objective problems shared by one and all versus the dominant archetypal 18th century governing bodies in which systemic violence is not only condoned but totally integrated into the social and political infrastructure.

The former is real; the latter, surreal.


But analysis is easy. What to DO?

Emery Reves, in The Anatomy of Peace stated that we think "nation-centrically" but to survive must learn to think "globally." That's very, very difficult. Einstein wrote that, "Since the advent of the nuclear age, everything has changed except our way of thinking." Of course, Buckminster Fuller, Marshall McLuhan, and a plethora of lesser luminaries, have joined gleefully with this highly subversive notion of planetary oneness. We read now in your own Review Bulletin in Len Troncale's article titled "We Are One People" that

"...It would seem unnecessary to stress 'oneness' to a field devoted to 'holism.' Integration and synthesis are the most fundamental goals of our Society."

James Lovelock married this thinking with the "gaia" concept of a living planet to which we belong and contribute specieswise and from which we are individually and collectively nourished.

I have been happy and honored to add to this conceptual injunction of global thinking a corresponding "proto-language" involving personal action. I will explain.

With a minimum of theory - though we do invoke human rights sanctions - I "operate" a "Model T" world government chugging along a very bumpy new world road. Please do consider this in your evaluation of the following reflections: This world government is the only one I have to represent me. The same is true for over half of the more than 250,000 of my co-world citizens.


Briefly, here is how it happened.

In the aftermath of World War II, having realized that the exclusive nation-state was not only the perpetrator of world lawlessness BUT REQUIRED IT TO REMAIN "SOVEREIGN," I opted, albeit legitimately, out of that surreal system and declared for myself a new and OPERATIVE civic and political status: world citizenship.

I learned recently from one of your respected fellow cyberneticists, Stafford Beer, I had claimed a "meta-status."

My thinking between 1945-47 which led to this decision was unsophisticated to the point of childishness. A. The nation-state made war. B. I was an exclusive citizen of one. C. As such, I was colluding with war-making. D. To make peace (or be peaceful), I could n't remain allied to it, i.e., I had to expatriate myself. (The equivalent in spiritual terms of "renouncing society" and becoming a "truth-seeker" or "sannyasin.") E. Then, out of sheer necessity as well as moral principle, exercising my own sovereignty, I chose a new civic status of a global character, a world citizenship, thereby empowering its fictional counterpart, a world government, through and by which peace would be the result.

Logical, but id didn't work out quite as facile as I thought it would.

Others were touting world government at the time: Mahatma Gandhi, Wendell Willkie, Emery Reves, Albert Einstein and a bunch of good-willed yet ineffectual intellectuals who called themselves "world federalists" and wanted nations somehow to "get together." Of course, it didn't take a genius to know that world government WAS - and still is - the systemic answer to world chaos but that it wasn't going to be founded by nations.

"No nation state is going to vote a metasystem in place...It follows that the only international metasystem we shall ever have is, miraculously enough, is the one we already got! That is to say, the metasystem IS the population of all the world's citizens..."

(Managing Modern Complexity: Fifteen Years On, 1985, Stafford Beer, Futures Report Quarterly, The World Future Society)

Nobody, however, even the above-mentioned luminaries, had considered that such a potentially monstrous and complex organization as world government - despite the historical precedent of the origin of government - could begin with the defenseless and starry-eyed individual.

Tom Paine had explained the process in this way:

"It has been thought a considerable advance towards establishing the principle of freedom to say that government is a compact between those who govern and those who are governed; but this cannot be true, because it is putting the effect before the cause; for as men must have existed before governments existed, there once was a time when governments did not exist, and consequently there could originally exist no governors to form such a compact with. The fact therefore must be that individuals themselves, each in his own personal and sovereign right,entered into a compact WITH EACH OTHER to produce such a government..."(Emphasis added).

In brief, for world government to "happen," its personal adoption by the sovereign individual in the proto-linguistic or meta-language of world citizenship was required. But simply stating it wasn't enough; one had to become it, incorporate it, then act it out! Aye, there's the rub! What did you have to give up to become an operational world government citizen? Even an illusion can be comforting and the illusion of national security - except for the refugee- seems to impregnate every "national" pore. Better the devil you know...

But with the insanity of World War II behind me in which my paid bombing of villages, towns and cities earned me medals and nightmares, where my older brother was left on the sea's bottom along with his sunken destroyer, with the dead of Hiroshima and Nagasaki a constant emotional and moral hairshirt, with the craven and blatant hypocrisy of politicians continuing their obscene war games now with genocidal weapons filling me daily with fright and anger, with the embarrassed silence of my peers on the question of sheer survival disgusting me, and with the Berlin airlift supplying the political fuse, in desperation mixed with the elation of missionary zeal, I decided to become myself the "persona" or world citizen of a future world government.

Little did I realize that the moment I walked out of the American Embassy in Paris on May 25, 1948, minus a U.S. passport, no longer the "property" of the U.S.A., by sheer necessity, I had become an instant "authority" on the practice of global systems! Somewhat to my dismay, to the ubiquitousness of the world media and the almost instant and crushing support of the refugee and stateless population which, like me, had nowhere to go politically but "up," I learned quickly that once engaged, there was no turning back. The "meta-level" of political allegiance demanded total commitment - spirit, mind and body, whatever the cost.

Just as the fictitious United States of America in 1787 first needed its "citizen" declared from the largely antagonistic Continental Congress, so in 1948 the world government evidently needed its citizens declared from...anywhere on planet earth.

In Stafford Beer's words:

"Garry Davis had the steely nerve to declare himself a world citizen nearly forty years ago.He really was the first person to recognize the remarkable truth at the metasystem of world government was already there: in place, in being..." (Ibid)

I myself did not think at the time that the "metasystem of world government was already there..." In fact, I had never come across the word "Metasystem" until I read Beer's book, Platform for Change, last year. My thinking was rather more mystical:

"I must extend the little sovereignty I possess as a member of the world community, to the whole community, and to the international vacuum of its government - a vacuum into which the rest of the world must be drawn if it is to survive, for therein lies the only alternative to this final war."

(My statement of May 25, 1948)

Two significant events occurred shortly thereafter publicly recasting me from the "misguided crackpot weakening the defenses of the West..." as Time Magazine reported, to a "world figure" as The Atlantic Monthly claimed. On November 19th, at the 1948 Paris session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, from the balcony of the Palais de Chaillot, with friends I called for the U.N. to transform itself into a world government or we, the people, would do the job ourselves. We were abruptly removed from the premises by U.N. security police. Second came the December 10th proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which we, the humans concerned, promptly adopted as our de facto world citizen "constitution."



Medard Gabel, in writing of the World Game in 1980, stated that "In designing anything it is best to start from scratch; to design the ideal system as if the existing system did not exist..."

With literally thousands of letters endorsing my world citizen stand, the first global organization I founded "from scratch" was the International Registry of World Citizens resulting from my invitation on January 1, 1949, for others to identify themselves as world citizens. In two tumultuous years, the IRWC registered over 750,000 individuals from over 150 countries.

With this global mandate, still stateless, 16 prisons (for not having "valid" papers) and five years later, again "from scratch," on September 4, 1953, from the City Hall of Ellsworth Maine, I proclaimed the founding of the World Government. (See "The Ellsworth Declaration", Chapter 1, World Government, Ready or Not!, Juniper Ledge Publishing Co., 1985).

I called for recognition from "the common world citizenry," and from "other governments" I asked for help from "the spiritual leaders and gurus, the World Teachers," from "the most able scientists, technicians, managers and administrators," and from the "mothers of the world."

The operative unit - the global "city hall" - of the new government was founded in 1954 in New York City: the World Service Authority. After having been situated in seven cities throughout the world - along with me - it is now headquartered in Washington, D.C.

The WSA issues all the Government's identity documents: the World Citizen Registration Card, the World Passport, the World Identity Card, the World Birth Certificate, the World Marriage License, and the World Political Asylum Card.

In other words, it is already identifying the world population as a "meta-constituency." Recognition of the WG's documents has been slow and grudging, but today, we count over 80 nations which, on an individual basis, have stamped visas, resident permits, etc., on them. Five have accorded the World Passport official de juris recognition: Ecuador, Zambia, Mauritania, Togo and the People's Republic of China.

"If some people think of his lifetime's efforts to have properly recognized the World Government of World Citizens as quixotic, let them guess at the number of world passports (with subsidiary identification documents) that his organization has so far issued. I think I hear 250. Try another order of 250,000. That's quite a lot but WRONG AGAIN. The actual figure is a quarter of a million. HOW MANY MORE OF US WOULD IT TAKE TO REGISTER, AND MAKE THE POINT THAT NATION STATES ARE OBSOLETE? Worse yet: they are harbingers of universal death. Only a World Citizen could be expected to see that the two mighty powers, representing all that overkill, rattle their spears at each other in mere ritual. But each of us IS a world citizen. We know the risks. We know exactly where the profits are. WE HAVE NO VOICE UNTIL WORLD Government massively declares itself." (Emphasis added.)

("Managing Modern Complexity: Fifteen Years Along", 1985, Stafford Beer, Futures Report Quarterly, The World Future Society)

Twelve coordinators of world commissions have been announced over the years: Syd Cassyd (Communications), Stafford Beer, (Cybernetics), Yehudi Menuhin (Cultural), William Perk (Design-Science), Louis Kelso (Economics), Guru Nitya Chaitanya Yati (Education), Badi Lenz (Forestry), Michio Kushi (Health), Theodore Welles (Ocean), Isaac Asimov (Space), George Lloyd (Women), John Steinbruck (World Political Asylum).

Until two months ago, all advertising of our Government has been by word of mouth. Cast in the historic role of a "government in exile" since its inception, its main sustainers and champions (as well as martyrs) have been those already "exiled" from the nation state, the refugees and stateless of the world. Nowhere does the ancient injunction of "The first shall be last and the last first" apply more fittingly than in the first ranks of world citizens. Yet, Madison Avenue would be hard to devise an advertising campaign for the have-nots of a refugee camp. Talk about "grass roots" movements! I would suggest that system analysts begin their models with these highest motivated humans in mind!


"It is scientifically clear that we have the ability to make all of the humanity physically successful. Industrialization itself relates to the resources of the entire earth, the entire universe. The industrial system is a comprehensive system and if reversingly fractionated will fail."

(Utopia or Oblivion, Buckminster Fuller, The Overlook Press, 1969, p. 242)

In recognizing the human race as a viable species, a drastic revision in economic thinking is imposed.

If mutual abundance - making "humanity physically successful" - or conversely, the elimination of poverty is a prime goal of humankind, the fundamental question: Who owns the world? must be answered by world economic planners worth the name. World citizens is the easy answer. However, present ownership patterns of wealth-producing technology - grossly monopolistic - obviously must be revised for the benefit of one and all. When five percent of the world's population own over 80 percent of the invested capital (equity), social upheaval with all its subsequent stresses and injustices is inevitable. If political democracy is an ideal to be espoused and implemented globally, then its corollary, economic democracy, must likewise be instituted. If true, the present exploitive, scarcity-oriented, war-infected, national economic house of cards is doomed.

In an article in International Banking of August 15, 1985, Christopher Hune points out the "Debt timebomb under the banks:

"...most of the leading American and British banks have lent far more than their capital to just four key Latin American debtors - Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela. If all these countries simply refused to pay, all the banks whose lending exceeds their base capital would effectively be insolvent."

The national debt crisis is totalling almost $3 trillion combined with the currency volatility in the unregulated global marketplace allied with increasing capital being sucked into war production and war-making is a sure formula for collapse in the short-term.

Furthermore, U.S. Deputy Treasurer Secretary, Richard G. Darman, no less, in a recent conference of leading economists held in Washington, frankly revealed the dynamic relationship between politics and economics:

"It seems to me that in thinking about a system that one would like to have in the world of the future, which presumably one would like to have on a stable basis for some period of time, it is absolutely essential that we address the question of the interrelationships between whatever is going to be the monetary system and the political system, the larger system, IN WHICH THE MONETARY SYSTEM MUST FUNCTION." (Emphasis added).

So to work. Five elements are required immediately to avoid a catastrophic breakdown. All are self-evident and exist already in part.

First, a new bank under the aegis of the World Government of World Citizens issuing a new global currency based on the original conception of money as a "Medium of exchange" between producers and consumers having no intrinsic value in itself. Already the "World Dollar ($W) has recently been introduced by the World Government, with a par value of $US1. The "World Government Treasury Account" is open at the National Bank of Washington for purposes of renegotiating the World Dollars. Five thousand numbered and laminated bills - "meta-money" - have been printed principally as a funding device for the founding of its own bank in due course. World dollars are obviously a peace currency, a human rights currency with, as one subscriber put it, "no blood on them."

Second, as mutual funds provide profits through a diverse portfolio of equity to members, so a democratically organized and controlled investment corporation of, for and by world citizens whereby they may cooperate and individually profit on the basis of economic justice in the purchase of approved securities of industries throughout the world; in turn, popular ownership of voting equity will lead inevitably to its legitimate protection on a global scale. (See World Government, Ready or Not!, "Who Owns the World?," p. 301: "The Economic World 'Ticket' & p. 302, "Second 'Plank:' World Public Order)

Third, a world citizen union based on two principles: 1) increased purchasing power through employee stock ownership plans (E.S.O.P.s) and 2) progressive decrease in the work/week due to full utilization of design science, automation, ephemerization, robotics, and ecologically sound energy sources.

Fourth, a world institute of economic justice under the world government's aegis staffed by holistic-thinking economists: 1) to educate the world citizenry to the new global ownership philosophy and strategies, 2) to educate national and world leaders to the 'new look" in affluent economic thinking as opposed to obsolete scarcity-dominated economic thinking, 3) to education multinational and national management and personnel as to the economic, social, technical, ecological and moral advantages of adopting the new economic philosophy and strategies, and 4) to propose concrete solutions based on economic democracy for present and future corporate management and personnel.

Fifth, a concrete overall economic plan advanced by the above institute for reversing the nationalistic arms race without dislocation and embracing transferral and transforming strategies already detailed not only by the United Nations but by many reputable think tanks.


Those intimately involved with the analysis and systems in retaining their exclusive national allegiance cannot but recognize their own complicity with the surrogate world of nations. As exclusive national citizens, do they not help perpetuate the very chaos, indeed what Stafford Beer prophetically refers to as "universal death," which the nation state today represents? Is n't national citizenship in reality a non-sequitur - a literal suicide pact in our nuclear-triggered world?

The dichotomy is found in the General Systems Bulletin (Fall, 1985) describing a program of your upcoming May meeting. Turn, if you will, to page 4 under "Applications in the Real World, M. Peace Development." First, I think you will agree that "peace development IS the key issue here, indeed of the whole SGS. For without it, none of us would remain. But, while other sections talk nobly of "holistic thinking" and "global dynamics" and "networking," here we find the old, relativistic, i.e., nationalistic blind spot:

"Peace development may be viewed as an effort to ASSIST THE NATIONS OF THE WORLD to become parts of an INTERNATIONAL system in which non-violent means can be used to obtain solutions and settle conflicts BETWEEN NATIONS...

"Peace-keeping has been referred to as a dissociative process of KEEPING WARRING FORCES APART..." (Emphasis added)

No mention of law, government, social contract, humanity, the sovereignty of the people, perennial moral codes, justice, courts, etc. Where does that leave you and me? That's right: helpless.

Why this blind spot among otherwise thoughtful analysts? Viewed objectively, all nations, bar none, have war BUILT IN as the main social and political dynamic. Eisenhower warned us of the "military/industrial complex." But the danger goes deeper. It is in reality a "military/industrial/NATIONAL complex." Being exclusive social and political units, yet existing in one geographical area - the world community - "sovereign" nations not only sustain conflict but NEED it in order to survive. Emery Reves, in Anatomy of Peace, put it succinctly:

"Wars between groups of men forming social units always take place when these units - tribes, dynasties, churches, cities, nations - exercise unrestricted sovereign power. Wars between these social units cease the moment sovereign power is transferred from them to a larger or higher unit."

To transfer "sovereign power...to a larger or higher unit" requires the individual exercising his/her inalienable right to CHOOSE a civic order beyond that which presently exists. And herein lies that insidious blind spot. True, the human being may be 95 percent programmed; but the remaining 5 percent either is active or reactive. Nationalism is political reactivism. World citizenship is political activism.

A hungry man is not interested in theories about growing food or why hunger is not good for him. Only actual bread will suffice. Likewise, yelling to a drowning man from the safety of the bank that he ought to think seriously about the consequences of getting that much water inside him is insufficient, to say the least.

To talk "metalinguistically" and not operate "metasystemically"will not save the world.

To OPERATE systemically on a global level, you must be "outside" THE ENTIRE NATIONAL SYSTEM.

Like Voyager 2.

Like you were at birth and will be at death.

Like humanity.


In conclusion, given our common danger and human heritage, the plain fact is that only a "model" world government provides the operative "mode" of the solution you seek. If that frightens you, take heart. I've been on this holistic side of the political "line" for years as have millions of others. Believe me, it is only a mindset away. Besides, as I have appointed Stafford Beer Coordinator of the World Cybernetic Commission of the World Government of World Citizens, I have already included your discipline into the equation. In his acceptance of that post, he tacitly enjoins you to add your input to our evolving global meta-system.

And while all those stereotype mindsets in national uniforms from frontier guards to gilded thrones do get in the way occasionally - and even insist at times on a visit to their national goals, always an enlightening experience - as simple humans, we are right, and must prevail eventually...as must humanity.

In any case, the alternative is "universal death," so what's the choice?

Thank you.


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