Besides terraism as a new ethical concept, I want to show a feasible way to approach and implement the ideal.
The way forward
In all brevity and simplicity – derived from the learnings out of collective actions and Asgardia – I propose to establish a society of private law nature, as it has become the basic building block of capitalism in its various forms. In my proposal, I would establish it as a non-profit association and commit it to Terraism as a statutory purpose.
Really? An association like the allotment garden association around the corner will ensure the survival of mankind in a dignified ethical environment? Yes, exactly. The advantages over state structures are enormous. The possibilities of influence are very impressive.
Are associations scalable?
The impact of legal entities on the world is generally underestimated. Multinational corporations have long had budgets comparable to smaller states and sometimes have more employees. Walmart, for example, currently has 2.3 million and VW still has almost 650,000 employees*. This means that VW has more female employees than Luxembourg’s overall population* and twice as many as Iceland. Walmart plays in the same league as Slovenia, Lithuania or Qatar. Walmart’s turnover of more than 500 billion USD corresponds to the state revenues of countries like El Salvador, Botswana or Malta. About 100 out of 238 countries in the world have fewer inhabitants* than Walmart employees. About 100 countries in the world also have lower budgets than Walmarts turnover. Much like nations, strong corporations also create a form of identity and a sense of belonging. Apple employees and – for this specific one – even users tend to like and get along with each other. They share certain values and goals. Many companies have their own values and belief systems. Some even have a common vocabulary and their own educational system.
Are private legal entities impactful?
Legal companies are one of the greatest creative forces on earth. Without these “associations”, some of the empires of the last centuries would have come into existence nor would any national or supranational organization have been able to act. They provide private armies until today. They form major parts of the planets surface for their own purpose or on commission. They are in the aggregate responsible for the biggest part of evironmental protection and mischief. They shape the market, embody and breathe life into capitalism.
Are they different form governmental organisations?
The market participants motivate thousands of cross-border teams through jointly formulated goals, a sense of purpose, against which they measure and are measured. Corporations such as Siemens, Sony, GE, and Google are aware of their origins, but they are real examples of a functioning international cooperation that is comparatively non-discriminatory. Certainly, there is still a lot of potential to achieve real equality at all levels especially gender equality. Even in this environment, this will still take a long time – yet such companies are often shining examples compared to the reality in many sovereign nations. As an employee of a large corporation, my own team consists of Indians, Chinese, Americans, Brazilians, Colombians, Mexicans, British, South Africans and many other nations. We all work together very well. Every day we try to understand each other and to keep intercultural irritations as low as possible. Tolerance is natural and an expression of our mutual respect. In this environment, it is not an effort, but rather a joy and gift to learn from the perspective of the other person.
How hard is the way forward?
So, I do not only propose a new ethics (“Terraism”), but also a path that can be taken in small steps and without any social or even warlike conflict. The foundation of a non-profit, international association happens constantly. Hundreds of times every day. It is the starting point for the implementation of the idea – and has the potential to be an important step on the way to the defined goal. Members of the association can be natural persons, companies, other non-profit associations, foundations and even nations or federations of states.
Before we come to the design of such an association in detail, we first need some basic considerations about the purpose and orientation of such an undertaking. An association under private law is a very flexible legal construct, which can be relatively freely formed with regard to its organs and organizational structures. So, how should one organize an association that embodies Terraism and wants to change the world? Wouldn’t it make sense to follow the basic concepts of democratic states and to build it up in decision-making structures similar to those? Would we stagger it regionally (community, district, state, federation etc.)? Should we dare more or less rights of co-determination? What does a look at democratic reality teach us?