“A World Parliament: Governance & Democracy In The 21st Century” and “We The Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights”

Hazel Henderson

“A World Parliament: Governance & Democracy in the 21st Century”

Jo Leinen and Andreas Bummel, Democracy Without Borders, Berlin, 2018

 

“We The Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights” 

    Adam Winkler, Liveright, W.W. Norton, 2018

Summary

  • German/European Parliamentarian Leinen and Bummel, co-founder of Democracy Without Borders trace the expansion of democratic ideals and action and how today’s global problems require expansion of global democracy.
  • Law Professor Adam Winkler documents how the gradual takeover of US democracy by corporations was achieved and took over the Supreme Court.
  • At a time when democracies are challenged by autocrats sowing division in Europe, Latin America and the USA, these two books get to the heart of many issues.
  • From nativist nationalism, rejection of immigration, opposition to corporate globalization, trade, automation and jobless economic growth to climate change…and offer strategies for our common future.

Authors Jo Leinen and Andreas Brummel spell out in “A World Parliament” why all these global issues can only be addressed with global cooperation, with countries pooling their national sovereignty in specific ways, forging new treaties, agreements, protocols and policies at all level from local to global. Elements of such approaches are emerging from cities, such as the C40 members, corporations, and the coalitions, We Mean Business, The B Team, We Are Still In, as well as many scientific, academic and civic organizations. They focus on arms control, peace, environmental restoration, climate mitigation, global green infrastructure, Internet governance, crime prevention and re-designing longer term transition financial models, such as the UNEP Inquiry on Sustainable Finance (www.unepinquiry.org).

Yet still in the saddle are the world’s central banks and their financial allies as described by Nomi Prins in “Collusion”. The authors document challenges to fiat currencies and the politics of money-creation and call for reform including ending externalities in accounting, taxing pollution and financial transactions including currency-trading. Many of these proposals are discussed in “The UN: Policy & Financing Alternatives”, which I co-edited in 1995. Today’s reformers call for re-shaping the algorithms of central banks’ quantitative easing, as in “A Green Bank of England”. Voters in many democracies, including Brazil, the USA and European countries are fed up with corruption, revolving doors between corporations and governments, money-laundering, tax-havens lobbying and campaign money influencing elections.

Authors Leinen and Bummel cover in unmatched detail and depth how the world has now arrived at this stage and can only reinvigorate democracies with deepening democratic reforms, including an elected World Parliament as part of the United Nations, as well as extending agreements and enacting specific reforms and accelerating the transition from fossilized industrial patterns to “eco-social markets”, such as we track in our annual Green Transition Scoreboard®.

In Part 1 of “A World Parliament” they trace the evolution of global cooperation from the 18th century to World War 1 and the League of Nations and how World War 2 and the atomic bomb led to the pooling of nations’ sovereignty in the United Nations and nuclear non-proliferation treaties. In Part 2, the authors outline the challenges to governance and democracy in the 21st century, so as to deal with planetary boundaries to human exploitation in our Anthropocene Age. Chapter 11 describes the overshoot of economically-measured growth and the response of the eco-social market. Chapter 12 describes the turbo-capitalism and financial crisis and those left behind. Chapter 13 describes responses including proposals for a new world reserve currency, global taxation of corporations, pollution, arms sales and financial transactions.

This magisterial book details key approaches to today’s global concerns for coping with terrorism, cybercrime, data protection, freshwater shortage, food insecurity and extending Interpol to strengthen criminal prosecution of drugs and human trafficking and the International Criminal Court .Included are all the promising options and possibilities for achieving the UN’s climate accords and Sustainable Development Goals, making this book required reading for pension fund managers and all longer-term, ethical , green and impact investors.

Author Adam Winkler of “We The Corporations” delves into how money and special interests took over US democratic, representative politics envisioned by the Founders and fueled the rise of corporations to dominance, solidified in the 2010 Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision and the confirmation of now Justice Brett Kavanaugh. He is one of seven Catholic Christians on the nine -member Supreme Court, with the help of Christian religious groups opposing women’s rights to habeas corpus, settled English law since 1215.

Will autocratic demagogic politicians overstep their current popularity, for example, US President Donald Trump’s profligate use of trade wars and imposition of financial sanctions, made possible by the hegemony of the US dollar? This overuse of the dollar’s privilege is already driving new alliances in Europe and Asia for bypassing the US dollar in government barter agreements, already common, as well as in the new Asian Development Bank. One of the reasons for attacking Iraq was thought to be because the Iraqi’s tried to trade and denominate their oil in euros. Economist Peter Coy describes how such bypassing of the US dollar could lead to it’s regime change (Bloomberg Business Week, Oct 8, 2018). Adam Winkler’s book “We The Corporations” is equally essential reading for asset owners and allocators, so as to understand how global corporations, their strategies and both bi-lateral and multilateral trade deals may change in future. All of these emerging trends will naturally affect securities markets and private wealth management options.

Blog Post to SeekingAlpha

Leave a Reply