Sunday, June 07, 2009

Europe votes this week. Imagine if we participated as well

People in 27 European nations are voting this week to elect the members of the European Parliament.

This is a triumph of democracy in the history of the world. Only elections in India involve more people.

The people of Europe speaking several different languages and with grandparents who fought and killed each other have found a way to embrace their common interests and form a European government with continental elections. The European Parliament has some information about elections in English worth a read.

Imagine if we could participate in those elections as well to help set a global climate change policy, or a global policy for trade and immigration, or a global policy towards eradicating money laundering and terrorism. We have shared interests with Europe. Climate change and global economic development are two of the biggest, and I would like a chance to vote for the people who will make these global policies.

Consider North America. While Europe is finding a way to knock down barriers to trade and commerce among their nations, we're putting them up with a new rule requiring passports between the US and Canada and Mexico going into effect this year. What a waste! Those long lines at the borders are the definition of economic waste. We should recognize our common interests with Mexico and Canada and figure out how to integrate our governments (like the postal service or immigration or trucking regulations or drug policy or energy development) where it makes sense to do so. Political integration generates economic benefits.

I find European elections inspiring and I hope to help build support for North American elections in the new few decades. We already have a free trade agreement (where disputes are adjudicated by secretive, appointed officials). We should have an elected body to help resolve disputes and develop North American institutions that make life better for everyone.

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