Thursday, July 15, 2010

Most People Are World Federalists


Planetary Polling

By John Taylor; 2010 July 15, Kalimat 02, 167 BE

Please note that the last essay, "Comenius and Homo Universalis," was revised heavily. The latest version is to be found on the Badi blog at:

 It is now just over a year that I have been writing this book, People Without Borders. In that time I believed vaguely that the idea of a world government was a minority opinion, not to say totally eccentric. The media, owned by that two percent -- or whatever it is -- who own ninety eight percent of the world's wealth, is very successful in giving us all that impression. It came as revelation to me, therefore, to find out that this is not the case.

 Here is how it happened. I awoke one morning with a question on my mind. Surely there must be a website where you can find out what world opinion is about a range of issues, everything the existence of God to the need for a world government. It did not take long to find the world opinion poll website mentioned in the above essay. It did not ask nearly the range of questions I wanted; for example, God is not mentioned here. But it turned out that the ones they did ask covered ground very close to what People Without Borders covers. It turned out a large majority of people in the world agree completely with the idea of world government.

 Other results should not be surprising, but they are. For example, most people in the world think that governments should listen to them. Weird, eh? Yet they pretty much do not, or else this would be the best known site on the web. So powerful is the media bias that the opinion of most humans rarely gets a mention. When poll results are reported, almost always they are national polls, of Americans, sometimes of Europeans. Rarely does the most important opinion of all, that of all human beings, weigh in at all.

 This site does not attain complete universality. It still ends at national borders. It collects the opinions of the publics of several dozen larger countries. Nobody is going out interviewing aboriginal peoples in the jungle; so, it is hardly a completely open poll of all humanity. However, it comes closer than I have ever seen. It is a green oasis in a vast desert.

 One question the pollsters did ask was about trust in government, which we all know is flying pretty low.

 "Most publics express low levels of trust in their government to do what is right and this low trust appears to be related to the perception that governments are not being responsive to the will of the people. When people are asked how much of the time they `trust' their national government to `do the right thing,' in eleven of the seventeen countries clear majorities say `only some of the time' or `never.' On average 48 percent say they trust their government to do the right thing only some of the time and 6 percent volunteered "never." Thirty-two percent say they trust their government `most of the time' and 12 percent say `just about always.'" (World Publics Say Governments Should Be More Responsive to the Will of the People, May 12, 2008, <>)

 Again, I should not be surprised to find out that among countries that pretend to be democratic, the level of trust is at rock bottom, but I am surprised.

 "Interestingly, publics give their governments poor ratings in all of the western democracies. Majorities say they trust their government only some of the time or never in Britain (67%), France (64%), and the United States (60%)."

 Another surprise. The big two former communist countries, China and Russia, do relatively well on this scale of trust among the people.

 "Only five publics have a majority expressing confidence that they can trust their government most of the time: Egypt (84%), China (83%), Russia (64%), the Palestinian Territories (55%), and Jordan (54%)."

 Another discovery, the more educated the respondent is, the more likely they are to distrust their government. Hmm. Not a good sign.


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