The binding tryad

This is a low level revision of an automatic translation of the original page in Catalan. I apologize for any errors it may contain. 

There are ideas that seem so good and are so well articulated that I can hardly see why they are not better known and, above all, why they are not already being applied.

This is the case of an extraordinary proposal to reform the United Nations and turn them into a body capable executive decision-making system both democratic and realistic. The original proposal is by Joseph E. Schwartzberg (1) and suggests a system of weighted voting for the representation of states in a reformed United Nations..

The formula is (P + C + M) / 3, in which
  • P represents the nation’s population as a percentage of the total population of all UN member nations.
  • C represents the nation’s assessed and paid financial contribution to the UN over a specified period (say the previous three years) as a percentage of the total contributions over the same period.
  • M represents the nation’s unit share of the total membership (presently 1/191 or 0.524 percent).

The sum of values ​​divided by 3 to obtain an average.

Under this system, the states with more voting power would be the United States (9.065%), China (7.672%), Japan (7282%) and India (5.960%). The system avoids giving disproportionate influence to microstates (as in the case of a state, one vote), while also avoiding giving a coalition of large population countries like China and India control of the United Nations, as in the case of a person, one vote.

Regarding the Security Council, Schwartzberg believes that permanent seats should be abolished and that there should be objective criteria for becoming a member. The weighted voting formula provides a way to do it: each state with a weighted vote of more than 4% would have a seat, as also would any group of countries that together exceeded the 4% to a total of 17 seats in a Security Council with 18 seats. The remaining seat(s) would be reserved for one or more nations nototherwise represented and its (their) occupant(s) would be elected at-large by the GA from among that group of nations. Currently, the United States, China, Japan and India alone will qualify for a seat. With this system, the Security Council would represent over 90% of the population. In addition, the need to consult and reach agreement would encourage regional cooperation.

To properly evaluate this proposal, let's compare it with the recent legislative proposal of Senator Marco Rubio from Florida (United States) to reform the United Nations (2). I will not go into the details of the proposal, but just highlight two of its main purposes:
  • Allow the U.S. to fund only UN agencies and programs that advance U.S. interests and values […]
  • Withholds U.S. contributions from any UN agency or program that upgrades the status of the Palestinian observer mission outside a negotiated settlement with Israel.
It's a shame that Barack Obama also proposes a reform of the United Nations which seeks to improve its efficiency and transparency (which is probably necessary), but also includes the need to stop discrimination against Israel (a topic too long to discuss here) (3), and avoids any change to the system of decision making so as to make it more democratic.

There is a long way to go, but if we go too slowly, it is not for lack of ideas, but for lack of will to apply them.

  1. Joseph E. Schwartzberg, Revitalizing the United Nations reform through weighted voting. New York and The Hague: Institute for Global Policy, World Federalist Movement, 2004
  2. Daniel Halper, Rubio Moves to Reform U.N. The Weekly Standard, 10 de novembre de 2011.
  3. George Russell, United States UN reform program, Fox News, 25 de gener de 2012.

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