Frequently Asked Questions for Global Obligations
This idea does not depend entirely on altruism. All members are entitled to the benefits, rather like insurance. Global Obligations will earn "commission" on the contributions from the more affluent members which will be added to the capital of the organisation so the investment income can be redistributed to needy members.
Global Obligations will also accrue donated or earned capital, and use this investment income as well to cover part of the cost of the contributions from the more needy members.
Global Obligations also does not require a majority in any country to begin. It just needs a few (thousand) affluent individuals accross the globe.
The Initial Trustee, Trevor J. Rogers developed this concept over a number of years, and established the Global Obligations Establishment Trust to focus on developing the idea.
The Global Obligations Establishment Association is proposed to become the Trustee of the above Trust and provide a democratic forum to investigate and pursue the concept further.
We are not affiliated with any other body, national, international or non-government.
All funding is from members and the Initial Trustee.
We would like to receive funding from corporations, governments and other organisations with an interest in supporting a human face for globalisation.
We need to describe the vision, so we have a goal to strive for.
Global Obligations could be running within a few years, with the right support.
- Donations, provided ad hoc by individuals, corporations or governments
- Regular tithes on members, as part of their "subscription" or "premium"
- Investments income from the capital funds obtained through donations
Many individuals and groups could find good reasons to support Global Obligations:
To improve their image, and to be (seen to be?) a good “corporate citizen”, many corporations donate to worthy causes. Some companies may contribute to Global Obligations to cultivate partnership arrangements in anticipation of being considered for outsourced services.
There are many, many wealthy philanthropists who contribute millions of dollars to favoured causes. We only need a few Bill Gates, Ted Turners & Warren Buffets.
Some national governments, such as home countries of multinationals, could see that the goals and effects of Global Obligations are consistent with their national interests because it mitigates the negative effects of their own global corporations;
Minority groups - many of whom can be affluent or even wealthy - who desire a more effective counterweight to oppression by the rest of the community;
Democratic socialists and religious people – Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Wicans and many others– who share the sense of mutual obligation to fellow humans, even if the foundation of their beliefs differ profoundly;
Economic rationalists, who support the reduction in area government services and advocate volunteer bodies providing an increasing share of the safety net;
Environmentalists who see the need to contain global corporations and nations, and peace activists who wish to reduce the linkage between geography and morality;
The idealistic young who typically see national politics and conventional religion as based on lies and deception, and need something more to believe in;
Ordinary families on modest incomes, who just want a comprehensive safety net, or feel that they should contribute to the community, or want to create a more secure but more diverse environment for their children.
The USA, above all other countries (although most of Europe is in the same boat), benefits from globalisation and global capitalism. The USA publicly supports freedom and democracy and promotes human rights. We suggest that tt cannot do anything but support an organisation which supports all these goals.
The problem with USA foreign policy is that it has at times been too short sighted.
It has opposed communism and promoted free enterprise by supporting anti-communist undemocratic despots who committed appalling abuses of human rights. It has at times opposed liberal democratic movements trying to improve the lot of the ordinary people, even though their underlying values are close to those of the USA.
Policy in the USA is also dominated by local citizens' fears of job losses and loss of business if the whole economy, especially agriculture and textiles, were to be subject to global competition. But if the USA could devise strategies to reduce the distortions of continued subsidisation of globally inefficient industries. If the USA did allow genuine open access to its markets, then we would expect a significant overall economic benefit to ordinary citizens - goods would be cheaper, and people would be happier.
The USA has opposed global treaties on the environment, and backed out of treaties related to disarmament and the containment of nuclear proliferation. Many citizens of the USA would be appalled at some of the actions taken by their government agencies for the sake of "America". Most of these citizens would prefer their government to support genuinely democratic human right organisations.
Public pressure could encourage state and federal politicians to act on these beliefs.
Just as "America" led the world in other developments or freedom and democracy, it could also lead the world in supporting Global Obligations. But will it?
Microsoft, like many other major corporations, benefits from global capitalism. It is in Microsoft' s interests for global capitalism to survive. For global capitalism to survive there must be a counter to the movement against globalisation, to provide a human face to globalisation. This human face cannot adequately be provided by one nation, or a group of nations, or the United Nations, or other international agencies such as the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund, which are controlled by rich nations.
The human face to globalisation can only be provided by a significant, global, comprehensive, integrated, non-government organisation which is financially viable and self-sustaining, which distributes wealth and income, provides human rights services and thrives in a capitalist environment. Such an organisation would be Global Obligations
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, like foundations created by other wealthy philanthropists, has donated billions of dollars to charitable purposes, such as the alleviation of poverty, education and health, around the globe. Some support for Global Obligations could arise from pure altruism rather than enlightened self interest
Global Obligations would provide human rights support services.
We need to define the policy cover Global Obligations would provide in a contractually binding way which ensures the organisation remains viable.
The cover would be expected to cover basic requirements (such as food, water, clothing, shelter, medical aid) where these are inadequate, and additional services such as legal aid, consumer advice and personal support where required.
Not at all.
Communism was based on coercion, using the coercive power of the sovereign state and the ideological justification of Leninism - the dictatorship of the proletariat, which in practice meant the Communist party ruled under a dictator and people were abused.
Socialists tried to use the coercive power of the state, while retaining the democratic process, to redistribute wealth internally, but this has led to some of the poor adopting a 'welfare dependency' approach, and the rich discovering ways to reduce their taxes.
Global Obligations is based on voluntary membership. This is partly a necessity - we can't make people join anyway, but it is also part of the whole philosophy.
Nation states have coercive powers, so reforms based on uniformity and coercion should be made through national governments - or groups of them, such as the United Nations. In a globalised world, nation states can't be too coercive on the rich, because they are able to move their assets, income or their homes to another country, so coercion to make people share only works on the poor anyway.
Global Obligations has to be based on voluntary participation.
Global Obligations also expects recipients of aid to accept their obligations to return the favour if and when they are able. Services are not "gifts" but more like "loans" to be repaid, on demand according to the agreed policies the member has accepted. To be morally justified in enforcing this contract, the member must enter into it freely. The very poor, children, or those without the intellectual ability to understand a contract, may have their reciprocal obligations waived under the rules in certain circumstances.
Global Obligations must also be able to function in a globalised economy, which is essentially unrestrained capitalism, and faces normal market forces and is subject to competition from other charities and human rights services organisations.
Unions are focussed on employment, and seek better terms and conditions for workers. Enlightened unions seek to improve their members' lot not just with employers but also through government. Unions may accept smaller wage increases, which keeps inflation down, if the government promises to provide more social services which benefit the workers in other ways. Unions can also take a moral stance, such as to refuse to do work which damages the environment or is morally repugnant.
Unions have tried, but these days generally fail, to force all workers who benefit from the union's activities to be members of the union or contribute to the union's running costs. In the past "closed shops" were supported by some employers but this is less the case now.
But while membership of the union is based on a common workplace or a common trade, it is probable that many members do not actually support any extension of the unions' role into the environment, peace, or political issues. Most members appear want unions to focus their effort on local issues, pay and conditions.
Global Obligations has a more comprehensive role than pay and conditions, and members would need to accept the broader policy objectives, particularly those related to the environment, peace, equity and diversity.
Global Obligations cannot form "closed shops" or their equivalent, because, even if it is very successful, it would probably not be the dominant force in any particular locality. We are thus not at all like a union.
Friendly Societies were common in the 1800s and early 1900s but have since declined. They would provide various hospital and medical insurance, life assurance, property insurance, and other financial services to members on a non-profit basis. But premiums or subscriptions were not varied according to ability to pay, and net recipients of benefits were under no obligation to repay if they became able to do so.
Global Obligations members would be entitled to services rather like insurance cover, for hospital, medical, home and income protection, on a non-profit basis. But with Global Obligations the investment income from its capital assets is used to subsidise the premiums of the poorer members, and any members who receive benefits are under a contractual obligation to continue to contribute to the organisation if/when they become net donors.
Anarchists believe power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
With examples such as Stalin in the communist Soviet Union this is hard to refute.
Anarchists are also likely to believe that the power wielded by national governments even in democratic countries and by global corporations is also corrupting, and support a reduction in the power, or even the total destruction, of such organisations.
Anarchists are likely to support freely entered into contracts as the basis for relationships..
Global Obligations does not seek the destruction of national government or global corporations - it is unnecessary and undesirable, but it does seek to provide a commercially and politically significant counter balance to big government and big business, and is based on freely entered into contracts with members.
To this extent, a moderate anarchist could support Global Obligations.
But Global Obligations is far from an anarchic organisation, as it would need to be based on contract law in each national jurisdiction, and must be managed in a prudential and cost effective manner, and this requires significant corporate infrastructure, and democratic control processes.
It is also necessary to have some ongoing, if minimal, area government to maintain civil order, protect the environment within that area, manage area based resources and utilities (such as roads, water supply, electromagnetic spectrum), and manage money. to allow people to conduct transaction in their business and day to day life.
Not at all.
Global Obligations is based on redistributing investment income to the poor.
Global Obligations would be involved in what is called shareholder activism, so that its share ownership would be used to contain the excesses of errant corporations. Those corporations that conduct their business ethically do not need fear such control.
However, Global Obligations could only function in a liberal international commercial environment, and must therefore support it.
The maintenance costs of the web site are paid out of the Global Obligations Establishment Trust funds contributed by members and the Initial Trustee.
We intend to provide commercially sound services, even though we remain a non-profit organisation.
Yep. We need volunteers to translate to other languages and to improve the presentation of the site and register it with more search engines.
It's not just because they are trickier to do, but also because we are trying to keep the bandwidth required to access the site down to a minimum.
The Global Obligations Establishment Trust was created under a Trust Deed by the Initial Trustee to co-ordinate the attempt to establish a new institution, called the Global Obligations Organisation , which will address poverty, inequality and the adverse effects of globalisation in a particular way. The Trust is able to receive donations, hold and invest funds, manage other assets and do all the other things required to fulfil this purpose as stated in the Trust Deed.
The Global Obligations Establishment Association is proposed to act as the Trustee of the Trust, so that the members of the Association, through their representatives and the Board of the Association, control the development of policy, manage the funds and other assets, and promote the establishment of Global Obligations as defined in the Trust Deed. This allows everybody who supports this approach to be involved in the establishment process rather than just a few individuals.
Global Obligations is the name given to the new institution or set of institutions which will actually begin to deliver the anticipated human rights services. The main purpose of the Association, as the Trustee of the Trust, is to create the appropriate organisation which would have the required service policies, legal structure, corporate infrastructure and risk management policies to be effective and stay financially viable.
The "normal" structure of electorates used by nations is based on geography.
Global Obligations is in part an attempt to separate geography from ideology.
We should be able to choose the representatives we like, regardless of where we live.
In national politics, we also tend to choose a "party", a collection of candidates whose collective views we support, though sometimes we just want to support a particular individual, and sometimes we don't support all of the party's policies.
Often we don't like, or don't even know, our local representative in the national or state government. If our party loses in an area based election, then we do not really have a local representative - the representative for our electorate may have views quite opposite to our views.
The electoral arrangements for the Global Obligations Establishment Association are an attempt to address all these issues. In Global Obligations every member can choose which electorate they belong to and be represented by someone whose views they really support.
We will probably discover some aspects of the proposed process need to be changed so that the goals are more fully realised. Those aspects which seem to work can be transferred to Global Obligations, and those which don't can be modified. The Association provides an opportunity for a "trial run".
Members should be allowed to join the electoral group they wish to, and still ensure their vote retains (approximately) the same value.
This means electoral groups may grow to be very large, if that is what those members prefer. They may choose to join a group which has the same philosophy, ideology, religious or political values, or a group with the same ethnic background. They may wish to support a particular representative, or be part of that representative's group.
Each electoral group will have one representative for each quota of members, so the value of their votes will remain about the same for members in both small and large electorates. Representatives are elected by the members of the Electoral Group, or appointed by the other representatives and subsequently confirmed at an election.
This allows members to form part of a larger group if they wish to. It can also encourage diversity, allowing members to be part of a group with similar interests.
When an Electoral Group grows in size and exceeds another quota, the members are entitled to another representative, so that their votes retain the same relative value.
We could arrange for a new election each time the next quota is achieved. This would involve more administration and add to the overheads of the Association.
But the members have already selected the Electoral Group because they support its representatives, and if that support declines, they can change to another Electoral Group. We can expect that the representatives will have the continued support of their members, on an ongoing basis, so the appointment of an additional rep by existing reps will be subject to ongoing scrutiny of the members.
In national governments, most representatives are actually selected as candidates by their political party. The process for the Association is analogous. This process allows representatives to have a "party ticket".
In national politics, many of the services provided by our "local member: are actually provided by their staff - officials of no real standing appointed directly by the local member and often paid by the government. In Global Obligations the situation is better, because additional people appointed by the elected representatives will eventually be subject to a democratic vote, but in the meantime they have standing as electoral representatives.
Each electoral group has one representative for each quota of members.
The quota increases, to a maximum of 500, as the Association acquires more members. These rules allow the Association to grow and keep the management committee to a reasonable size.
A maximum quota of 500 means it should be possible for a representative to know personally, and be known by, every member of the electoral group. This provides an intimacy not possible in state or national politics.
It will be a bit complex, but it can be professionally managed using computers. It is a bit like having different classes of shares in a company, which companies handle OK.
The constitution is a complex document - most are.
Even the "vanilla flavoured" standard constitution for an Association has lots of rules about membership, electing the committee of management, voting and so on. But other associations can cope, and so can this one. The complexity can be managed more easily with the aid of a fairly simple computer system. If we can afford to have a paid executive, then the administrative complexity will be handled professionally.
Ordinary members do not need to understand all the rules as soon as they join.
The main issue new members need to understand is which Electoral Group they will choose to belong too, which is a bit like choosing which political party or politician you want to support.
People join other associations or become shareholders in companies without understanding all the rules governing those organisations. They can do the same here.
The Board is not necessarily like a "cabinet", where all members are bound to support the collective decision, even if they personally do not agree with it. It may be more like parliament, where diverse views are debated and issues decided by a vote.
Factions within a core of common beliefs are OK. We value diversity and seek input from different backgrounds. The Association depends on people's good will,
The majority of the Board can vote to co-opt additional Board members to provide expertise, so the majority group should be able to effectively manage the Association.
In this Association, all members of the Board have access to Association business, to there should be more transparency than in a typical political organisation.
This is a bit arbitrary, but it should allow for a diversity of opinion without becoming too large to be effective. A membership of 15 compares to the size of a local council or a state cabinet.
It may be possible to vary this number in the establishment of Global Obligations.
While the Association is small this would be too cumbersome, but in due course the Arbitration should be independent of the Board, like judges should be independent of the legislature and the executive
More questions about the organisation structure?
Answers will be provided as the need arises.
For more details please go to our policy page .
Currently, all policy statements are indicative drafts to promote discussion.
All policies would need to be refined and costed prior to being accepted by the Board.
We should all act to preserve the environment, and Global Obligations will encourage all members to reduce their consumption of resources and minimise their impact on the environment. Options for members to adopt this approach will be enhanced by other Global Obligations ' policies to improve education, reduce poverty and inequity and promote freedom, justice and democracy.
Global Obligations will be an active shareholder and support decisions which are friendly to the environment.
Global Obligations must also conduct its own affairs in a manner that supports the environment.
Environmental issues are however ultimately the responsibility of area governments.
Area governments need to use their coercive powers to force recalcitrants to act responsibly, share the burden and maintain our common, vital resources.
For more details please go to our policy page .
Global Obligations will be an active shareholder and support corporate decisions which reduce weapons production, distribution and use.
Ceasing wars is however ultimately the responsibility of area governments.
One of the key characteristics of most wars in the past is that they were about areas, where the rulers, and perhaps most of the people, in one area fought those of another area because of a conflict over religion, ideology, resources, wealth or power.
Many recent wars have been "internal", between religious factions in Northern Ireland, tribal factions in Burundi, or ethnic factions in the Balkans, where the competing groups don't have such clear cut geographical boundaries.
Global Obligations tries to provide culturally appropriate, comprehensive, integrated human rights services regardless of where the member lives. This should reduce the interaction between geography and the other factors such as religion, ethnicity, etc, and reduce the inequality which leads to wars related to resources and power.
For more details please go to our policy page .
Question: Where are the rest of the questions?
We are still developing this page. Please send questions via email, as below.
To contact send email to: . Home Page:
Address: Global Obligations Establishment Trust, G.P.O. Box 2004, Melbourne, 3001 Australia
Copyright © 2000-2002 Global Obligations Establishment Trust, Version 2.4 February 2002