world has many problems. Most of the biggest could
be solved if the most influential players in politics and business
merely obeyed existing laws. That may be a truism--but sometimes true things are waiting to be said.
GLOP is about bringing honesty
back to politics. That's all! A revolution is not necessary, unless you
regard telling the truth as revolutionary. In an age of "alternative
facts", perhaps it is.
GLOP is also about tackling the biggest, most global problems first. Today's main
global political problems are those that threaten the lives of billions of people. These are arguably:
the rising wealth gap (the rising gap between rich and
poor), which is perpetuating or exacerating poverty (every day, 20 000 children die unnecessarily);
warming, which is already shortening the life expectancy of a billion
children in developing countries and will lead in coming decades to
unprecedented migration (climate refugees); and
rise of far-right politicians, whose fascist tendencies, dishonesty,
and/or incompetence are increasing the risk of nuclear war.
All three points are a threat to peace, democracy, and prosperity, and all have an economic foundation.
The rising wealth gap is undermining democracy: in many countries, government policy is increasingly determined by rich lobbies rather than voters.
main reason for humanity's failure to respond adequately to the challenge of global warming is economic.
Too many people are making too much money out of the fossil fuel
rise of the far right is fueled by the discontent and resentment of
"globalisation victims": the unemployed, the poorly educated, and the
working poor. The far right is a threat to peace if its main rhetoric
is one of anger and hate, and it is anti-democratic if it rejects the
rights of "foreigners".
rising wealth gap is the most important economic issue of our time,
because the main problems facing the modern world depend on it. But the
solution is simple: The rich must simply pay ordinary amounts of tax
according to existing tax laws. To achieve this goal, it is first
necessary to recognize its central importance--then to talk about it
openly, and after that to creatively explore possible solutions.
aims to reduce or eliminate poverty worldwide, slow or stop global warming, and
sustainably suppress or eliminate (by democratic means) the far right. The central claim is that these
ambitious goals can be achieved if the rich and
powerful merely abide by existing taxation laws--in letter and spirit.
The goal of universally eliminating poverty is
realistic given the enormous wealth of the wealthiest. Today, a handful
of hyper-rich people control more capital between them that half of the
world's population. A
surprisingly small proportion of the wealth of the wealthiest would be
necessary to eliminate poverty.
warming can be ended if human rights and the rights of future
generations are respected. These rights are already formulated in existing laws including national
legal frameworks in many countries are enabling young people to
their governments for destroying their future.
the far right can be stopped if wealth is shared more equitably,
reducing the (justified!) anger and resentment of far-right voters. The
solution is to fund social services (education, health, welfare, public
transport) through taxation, and to ensure that multinational
corporations obey national laws, when for example they
sack thousands of workers to move their factories from richer to poorer
countries, or pollute water supplies with their industrial effluents.
These are not the only benefits of enforcing existing
laws, such as human rights legislation. Other benefits include
for example controling capitalistic excesses such
as the international arms trade, which is exacerbating war in many
countries, or stopping the exploitation of developing
countries by multinational corporations.
GLOP is about taming capitalism--not ending it. Recently,
capitalism got a lot of bad press, and rightly so. But perhaps
capitalism, or the right of individuals to get rich by buying and
selling products in the marketplace, is not itself the problem--at
least not directly. The main problem is surely the continuing existence of
poverty when it could have been eliminated by now, taking advantage of
capitalism's success. If poverty were eliminated, not even communists would have
a problem with capitalism. Another
problem is the undermining of democratic processes by the increasing
wealth gap. If the rich stopped interfering in politics, that problem
would disappear. Yet another
important problem is dishonesty and lawlessness, which seems to be
getting worse as the wealth gap increases. That is GLOP's point of
During the first few decades following World War Two, capitalism,
in conjunction with democratic socialism, brought unprecedented
prosperity to many people in many countries. Today, this golden
age may be drawing to a close. The wealth gap has been rising
steadily for decades, and a global war is again a serious threat.
GLOP aims to reverse this trend, restoring democracy by steadily increasing
the proportion of the population that shares the prosperity made
possible by capitalism.
That is a tall order and an enormous challenge. But the stakes are also enormous. More than ever before,
the whole world needs a sustainable global order without poverty, violence, or
Faced with a problem of such overwhelming dimensions, it is
tempting to place one's faith in ideal
solutions, including extreme forms of capitalism, communism, or
theocracy. GLOP rejects all such utopias, first because they have never
worked before, and second because humans are very diverse in their
attitudes and ways of life. We need to recognize that people are more
important than principles. For this reason, a sustainable compromise
may be the best solution, and one that stably minimizes suffering in
the long term.
is a single-issue platform. The rich and powerful should obey the
law--it's as simple and as obvious as that. This single issue is based
three foundations: honesty, realism, and caring about other
people. GLOP politicians who genuinely support these three
foundations will also seek solutions on other issues that are in the
best interests of both majorities
and significant minorities.
The importance of honesty should be obvious. To promote honesty it may
be necessary to extend the law in new directions. The legal response
should be to discourage and punish not dishonesty itself but its
negative consequences. It should be illegal to distort the truth in a
manner that leads indirectly to the suffering of large numbers of
Realism means rejecting utopian solutions. Political problems
should be solved in a direct and transparent fashion. An example is
reducing the wealth gap. It should be done by increasing taxes paid by the rich. This is a
simple, obvious, tried-and-tested solution. Examples of poor strategies
include "trickle down" and a communist revolution. Both of these solutions are complex, and neither of them will work.
"Caring about other people" means what it says. The aim of all
political policy should be the well-being of all people and not the
well-being of some at the expense of others. For example, being proud
of one's country is ok but nationalism is generally problematic. This
should be obvious, but sometimes obvious things need to be said.
What GLOP is not
GLOP has little or nothing to do with far-right calls for "law and
order" that focus on punishing relatively powerless or desperate people for small crimes
while turning a blind eye to the biggest and most obvious crimes. By
contrast to the three foundations of GLOP--honesty, realism, and
caring--far-right parties are typically dishonest and unrealistic, and
their representatives show repeatedly that they don't care about
In that sense the far right is the opposite of GLOP. But that does not
make GLOP far left. In fact, GLOP is neither left nor right. GLOP
upholds conservative principles, such as honesty and lawfulness. It
also upholds progressive principles, such as reducing poverty and
suffering. Most people agree with both sides of GLOP.
Far-right parties like to blame poverty and unemployment on
"foreigners". But those people are mainly innocent, and their
"crimes" are mainly small. If a country is having economic problems, it
is not because "foreigners"
are getting asylum or jobs--worth in total perhaps a few million dollars. It is because the rich are evading tax to the tune of billions. Some countries are spending trillions on
the military--at the same time as their domestic infrastructure
gradually crumbles. The best example is the USA, but it is not the only
At the risk of stating the obvious: number one billion is a thousand
times bigger than one million, and a trillion is a million times bigger
than a million. We sometimes seem to forget that.
These enormous differences tell us that blaming foreigners for a
country's economic problems is populist nonsense. The main reasons lie
elsewhere, and they are usually staring us in the face.
What is "global law and order"?
Each word in "Global Law and Order Party" has been carefully chosen.
The word "global" in GLOP has several meanings. It refers to
the whole world rather than individual countries,
biggest problems, such as poverty and climate change, and
world's biggest crimes--those with the biggest negative
effect on the largest number of people.
In short, we should have the courage to think big.
is not about petty theft, or whether you can walk safely in the
street at night. These are important things, of course, but by
comparison to the world's biggest problems, they are relatively minor.
GLOP does, however, offer a long-term sustainable
solution to such relatively small problems--without extra police or
restrictions on personal freedom. When the world's
problems are solved, the smaller problems will solve themselves
automatically and sustainably. If the gap between rich and poor is
reduced, social unrest will also be reduced, reducing crime and
violence of all kinds.
Some people say "Look after the cents and the dollars will take care of
themselves". If you are careful with your money, you
will gradually get more of it. That may be true for individuals on low
incomes. But to sustainably solve the world's problems, we need to turn
this idea around. We need to focus on solving the biggest problems
first. We need to look after the dollars, so the cents will take care
of themselves. To fix up the global financial system, this means
putting an end to tax havens and the exploitation of developing
countries by multinationals. This goal can be achieved if existing
laws are respected and enforced.
The world's biggest problems are poverty and climate change. These two
things are seriously affecting, or will seriously affect, the
largest numbers of people. Moreover, they interact with each other:
people will suffer more as a result of climate change if they are poor.
Given that climate change will be irreversible and may one day take on
a life of its own (due to natural feedback processes), the
humanity may depend on solving both these problems. From a human rights
perspective, nothing could be more urgent.
GLOP is going to work, it will do so according to the motto "Think
global, act local". First, GLOP representatives will stand for election in
cities and countries. Later, they will get together internationally to
address global issues.
existing laws in most countries are ok as they are. Of course
there are exceptions, but they are often obvious. For example, there is
an obvious need to universally end unjust or inhumane punishments such
as the death
penalty or the stoning of adulterers.
GLOP does not advocate some
of legal revolution, but it does advocate improvement to national legal
systems on special issues. For example, we should be moving toward a
global legal situation in which all military activity is limited to
genuine defense and international arms sales are banned. After that, we could start to talk about "global law and order".
GLOP advocates a fundamental legal principle that is often neglected: the
principle of proportionality. The magnitude of a punishment
should reflect the magnitude of the crime. In a human-rights
magnitude of a crime depends mainly on the number of
people affected and the degree to which they are affected.
certainly unfair if small crimes attract big punishments while large
crimes are ignored. Large-scale tax evation and influential climate
denial are examples of big crimes that affect enormous numbers of
people. Tax havens cause poverty, and influential climate denial
increasing the future death toll in connection with global warming. The main aim of the legislature should be to maintain law and order by identifying and punishing the biggest crimes.
Those responsible for such enormous crimes should be in jail. To make
space for them, inmates responsible for relatively minor crimes
should be freed. These are not radical claims, nor are they demands. They are merely a logical
consequence of enforcing existing laws and bringing honesty back to
politics. Those who do not want to land in jail after GLOP wins an election should stop breaking
the law--especially when breaking the law has serious negative
consequences for large numbers of people.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights from 1948 is one of the most important legal documents ever written.
proposes raising the UDHR to
status of national law in all countries. Every article in UDHR would
then become national law and would be enforced accordingly. For
Article 5 of UDHR states that "No one shall be subjected to torture or
cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment". That means that
all forms of torture and the death penalty should be universally
banned. This and other UDHR articles should be enforced in every
global situation today is reminiscent of the old American Wild West.
Many multinational corporations are doing more or less what they please
with devasting effects mainly on developing countries both now and in
the future. GLOP is about ending this lawlessness.
GLOP is not about creating a new utopia. Most
attempts to create a "new world order" go too far. On the political
left, some are dreaming of replacing capitalism by global communism. On
the right, some want a society based purely on "survival of the
Both are imagining a kind of anarchical freedom, but history has shown
time and again that utopias
of this kind do not work.
There are also religious idealists who
believe in a global kingdom of Islam or Christianity. But what
about people who don't agree with that? There will always be
plenty who think differently, and thank God for that (if she exists).
In a fair world, everyone has their place, their freedom, and
their standard of living, regardless of personal beliefs or political
Political extremists often believe in a kind of perfect world or
nirvana. They may not realise it, but they are falling into an old trap
called the nirvana fallacy.
World orders are complex things. If you improve one aspect, you are
bound to produce a problem somewhere else. A new world order is not
necessarily generally better, just because it solves some problems. Nor
can one predict the success of a new world order in advance.
Sociologists gave up predicting the future long ago.
GLOP rejects extreme political solutions, utopias, and anarchies of all
kinds. Instead, we make a very simple claim. The main problems facing the modern world could be
solved if the most influential people obeyed existing laws. By
this we are not saying that all laws are good, because clearly some are
not. Instead, we are referring to laws that are widely accepted as being
fair and necessary.
GLOP emphasizes that people are more important than principles.
The trouble with utopias is that they are usually based on principles.
A well-known principle is that
people should reap the benefits of their hard work and good ideas. This
principle is shared by both capitalists and communists and almost universally accepted.
A more controversial principle is the capitalist "user-pays principle": people
should pay for everything they need and get nothing free. But if that idea were applied consistently, there would
be no welfare state. Laissez-faire capitalism would be back, along with widespread poverty, suffering, and misery. Besides,
everyday infrastructures such as public transport become
impossible if the user-pay principle is applied strictly. Even the rich
with their posh cars benefit from publicly financed public transport
because it reduces the number of traffic jams.
Another controversial principle is the communist idea that the problems of capitalism can only be
solved by a violent communist revolution. This is surely the most
aspect of communism. Since many communists are also pacifists, they
have to deal with this contradiction.
In the end, the well-being of individuals is more important than
principles such as "user pays" or the necessity of revolution to
achieve communism. Both principles, if applied strictly,
lead to widespread suffering. Moreover,
violence generally leads to more violence: those who have been attacked
will probably respond in kind. Clearly, whatever social solutions we strive for, they should not involve violence.
The growing wealth gap and how to reduce it
From a global perspective, the rich are getting richer while poverty is
stagnating. Every year, the number of billionaires goes up and the
amount of money that they control increases relative to the money
controlled by the poorer half of the world. The rising wealth gap is
exacerbating poverty and attendant suffering. It is undermining democracy and feeding into violent international conflicts.
These facts are well-known, but no-one seems to have a realistic
solution. People are throwing up their hands in horror, shaking their
heads in frustration, or doing nothing.
In fact, there is a relatively simple solution.
It's just a matter of believing in it and implementing it.
The solution to poverty is, and has always been, to redistribute the
wealth--to transfer some of the wealth of the rich back to the poor.
This is justifiable not only because every human has a right to freedom
of poverty, but also because wealth is created by work.
Therefore, it should be shared by the workers--as communists have always correctly pointed out.
traditional and most effective way to achieve wealth distribution is
through taxation. Taxes can include progressive income tax scales,
wealth taxes, property taxes, inheritance taxes, environment taxes,
and transaction taxes. The nice thing about taxation from the point of
view of the rich is that it allows the rich to stay rich while at the
same time eliminating poverty. This goal is realistic and should be
politically achievable. Taxation also has the advantage of fairness:
everyone it treated equally--or should be.
Taxation is and always has been intrinsic to
national economies. In fact, they cannot possibly function without it. Anyone
who has ever played the board game "Monopoly" knows that
capitalism always has winners and losers. Capitalism is only
sustainable when redistribution is built into the system. People must
pay taxes to governments according to their means. Governments must
redistribute taxes via welfare to alleviate poverty. Rich countries
must use taxes to support poor countries for the same reason.
Of course existing taxation systems can and should be improved. But the main problem is to ensure that the rich
pay existing taxes. The rich must simply obey the law. National
governments and judiciaries must be strong enough to ensure that the
law is fair and that it is fairly enforced.
Unfortunately, many rich people are in the habit of distorting the
truth for their own benefit, while pretending to be innocent. Climate
denial is a well-known example; it allows the fossil fuel industry to
make gigantic profits at the expense of present and future people.
Another classic example of truth distortion is the so-called "trickle
down effect", according to which poverty can be alleviated by giving
tax breaks to the rich so that they can get even richer and offer lots
of jobs to the poor and thereby eliminate poverty.
But history has
shown time and again that this doesn't work. What usually happens when
the rich get richer is that they keep going along the same path. They
try to get even richer, gambling on international markets. Or
they try to protect their riches, hiding them away in tax havens.
Some are generous, but most are not. They will only give away large
amounts of money in two cases. First, if they can see a
benefit for themselves, such as getting a reputation as a
"philanthopist", which can lead to new opportunities to make money.
Second, if they are legally forced to do so.
The best and possibly only way to reduce the gap between rich and poor
is to force the rich to pay reasonable levels of tax. This allows money
to be transferred
directly, by fair and transparent means, from the rich to the poor.
Nothing could be more obvious and more necessary.
How can we force the rich and powerful to obey the law?
be sure, this is not an easy task. Some kind of power shift will be necessary. But the solution
could be easier than we think.
The rich are human, too. Many are
genuinely worried about the rising gap between rich and poor. Many
would prefer to live in a world in which there is no poverty and no
environmental destruction--but it is nevertheless possible to become
rich. That is possible, and it would take the guilt out of being rich.
There have been several news reports in recent decades of rich people
getting together and offering to pay more tax. Whether these
declarations were taken seriously or whether other rich people
suppressed them, I don't know. I know only that the potential for a
Another solution may be to bring the rich and the poor to the negotiating
table. Negotiation, incidentally, is also the best solution to
international conflicts, regardless of how obviously unfair they might
be. The first thing to do is to avoid violence, which invariably kills
large numbers of innocent bystanders. Instead, the warring parties
should talk to each other, find out what each side wants,
and creatively negotiate possible solutions that take into account the
rights and wishes of all players. The same applies to the conflict between rich and poor.
Is this happening? Evidently not. The solution is to promote the idea until it actually happens.
The aims and
content of GLOP are similar to those of many existing organizations.
They include for example Amnesty International, the United Nations, the
Tax Justice Network, Attac, Transparency International, Oxfam, the
World Health Organisation, Doctors without Borders, the Union of
Concerned Scientists, 350.org, and Greenpeace.
Even if you don't support GLOP, please support one or more of these
organizations. The future of humanity will depend on their continuing
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