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Global Vote for UN President

Talk about having a mandate
(+2, -2)
  [vote for,

Why should the UN representatives or even the security council vote -- let the people vote
theircompetitor, Apr 16 2004

Secretary General Selection Process And Office Holders http://www.un.org/N...ages/sg_office.html
[theircompetitor, Oct 04 2004]

Look-it! http://ufocasebook.com/Manhattan.html
Cool stuff UN Secretaries General get to do. [waugsqueke, Oct 04 2004]


       via general elections that would occur as often as the term requires. In other words, Kofi Annan's successor would be chosen in that way as opposed to the power brokers within the UN.
theircompetitor, Apr 16 2004

       //let the people vote//...George Dubya for UN Secretary General
suctionpad, Apr 16 2004

       so you're saying elections are good for individual countries but not for the planet?
theircompetitor, Apr 16 2004

       theircompetitor: Larger-scale "governments" should have a small enough amount of power that it shouldn't really be an issue.   

       Until the ratification(*) of the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Amendments, the federal government was kept quite effectively in check by the states. Unfortunately, since then the feral government has grown enormously in scope and has become a giant self-serving entity.   

       (*) If a fortification is a large fort, is a ratification a large rat?   

       Someone who is elected by a group of representatives that are in turn elected by the people will often be beholden to more varied people than someone elected via direct plebiscite.
supercat, Apr 16 2004

       Are you calling me fat?
Letsbuildafort, Apr 16 2004

       Have only one polling place, and have cities bid to host the elections. It'll be like bringing back the world's fair system.
Worldgineer, Apr 16 2004

       //Someone who is elected by a group of representatives that are in turn elected by the people will often be beholden to more varied people than someone elected via direct plebiscite.//
Where did you get that?
yabba do yabba dabba, Apr 16 2004

       the various Chinese concerns are misguided:   

       1) I would think that voting just by ethnicity or race, while it may occur, would certainly not be exclusive   

       2) There would be an initial campaign as in other elections. So remaining candidates after some whittling process would not necessarily be of a given specific ethnicity.   

       3) You could use various schemes (similar to electoral college) that could mitigate simple majority rule
theircompetitor, Apr 16 2004

       Great, Mullah Mohammad for President.
RayfordSteele, Apr 16 2004

       ///Someone who is elected by a group of representatives that are in turn elected by the people will often be beholden to more varied people than someone elected via direct plebiscite.///   

       //Where did you get that?//   

       Well, the mapping between representatives and different groups of people is obviously imperfect, but for someone to win half the representatives they must appeal to (have majority support by) groups comprising at least half of the population. Under a direct plebiscite, a candidate who can pull a 100% from a few groups can have weak support from the rest and still win.   

       Another factor is that representative or electoral-college-style elections are much less succeptible to fraud than overall plebiscites. The reason is that it's generally much more difficult for a minority party in an area to commit fraud than a majority party. If a party has 45% support in an area, it would be very hard for that party to get away to steal an extra 5%. By contrast, if a party has 75% support in an area, it may be easy to steal an extra 20%.
supercat, Apr 17 2004

       I've talked about the challenges of global vote in a Global Vote for US President and in summary those problems are huge but possibly worthwhile.   

       One problem is that the cost of advertising on such a scale would be outrageous. Without advertising only so many people are famous enough to be electable. Global news corporations would also have a massive advantage in being able to allow their favourites to become well-known.   

       So any such election would probably be at greater risk of being bought by big money rather than being selected by populous countries. Whole countries could be swayed by "aid programmes"/bribes.
Aristotle, Apr 17 2004

       // Might not be such a bad thing. //   

       Probably better than Ariel Sharon. But that's not saying much.
RayfordSteele, Apr 17 2004

       I do not understand why as soon as someone mentions global elections every has to assume that people would vote for their cousin.   

       It's as if everyone here knows that they vote the right way, but those other morons over there, they can't be trusted with voting.   

       This is exactly the kind of thinking that permitted Western governments to tolerate and in fact encourage the various despots around the planet.   

theircompetitor, Apr 17 2004

       Agree that this would ensure Chinese leadership of the UN. Why wouldn't they vote for one of their own?
waugsqueke, Apr 17 2004

       So let me see if I understand -- it's better to have a UN leader that is not elected by the majority, but instead selected by the apparatus?
theircompetitor, Apr 17 2004

       //So let me see if I understand -- it's better to have a UN leader that is not elected by the majority, but instead selected by the apparatus?//   

       What makes you think the "apparatus" wouldn't adjust vote reports to its liking?
supercat, Apr 17 2004

       It's neither better nor worse. The UN doesn't matter much these days.   

       Insofar as it does make any difference, the 'apparatus', as you call it, does ensure representation by countries with smaller populations. Much as the US Senate distribution gives two seats to every state, giving Rhode Island as much say as California.
waugsqueke, Apr 18 2004

       wuags -- //doesn't make things better or worse//   

       The point -- always -- is to try to make things better.
theircompetitor, Apr 18 2004

       //The UN doesn't matter much these days.//   

       [wuagsqueke], I'm not buying that.   

       The UN was not intended for military related purposes. It has a budget less than that of the New York Post - what *could* it do?   

       When I posted a letter internationally last week, I was pretty darn confident that it would get to its destination. Thanks to the UN.   

       And don't get me started on how much I love the IAEA.
Detly, Apr 18 2004

       //When I posted a letter internationally last week, I was pretty darn confident that it would get to its destination. Thanks to the UN.//   

       So international mailing was impossible until after World War II?
supercat, Apr 18 2004

       No, it was just wasn't as reliable or in any way guaranteed. Probably a good thing, too, otherwise we wouldn't have any of that romantic "I don't even know if this letter will reach you..."
Detly, Apr 18 2004

       Ah, well thanks for setting me straight. Thank goodness for the UN clearing up those pesky mail delivery issues.   

       Oh, I think they do the hurricane name lists too.   

       // The point -- always -- is to try to make things better //   

       Okay, sure. So I think that having all member countries get equal representation is better.   

       The UN doesn't matter because it is used and abused by its members whenever it's convenient, and only then. Its name is uttered when self-righteousness isn't enough to sell the argument.   

       Otherwise it is shunned and ignored and no one really cares much, because it can't/doesn't do anything to force the issue. It's pointless, as pointless as its predecessor, the League of Nations, was.
waugsqueke, Apr 18 2004

       The problem is nationalism itself; the politicians largely reflect our nations' scuffles with eachother's interests.   

       I wouldn't vote for anyone from China. I've read some of their policies, and trust me, they don't have global interests at heart. And you can forget nearly any of the current leadership from the Mid-East as well, including Israel.   

       Maybe Nelson Mandella would be up to the task. With Colin Powell as a running mate?
RayfordSteele, Apr 18 2004

       RayfordSteele -- why do you assume that people running would be current leaders only, or people with nationalistic, as opposed to cosmopolitan views?
theircompetitor, Apr 18 2004

       why are we assuming that race would be the main consideration? maybe religion would be after all there are loads of Muslims, Roman Catholics, Jews etc out there who may vote according to a Moral code that doesn't fit with your personal views.   

       Imagine the UN run by an ayatolla
engineer1, Apr 20 2004

       [tc] you're having a laugh.   

       Appointing the Secretay General from within the UN means that we get an individual that has good intercontinental appeal and a true diplomat.   

       A one person, one vote scheme across the world would almost certainly vote in an Indian or Chinese Secretary General. I have no particular gripe with this but I would care for continental rotation of the post which your system would be unlikely to deliver.   

       Which election scheme would you choose? First past the post, Single-Transferable Voting, Proportional Representation?   

       Nope, let's not vote. Let's select. If we voted, we might just end up with the rich idiot that currently runs the US ... mmm... let's not. It's dangerous enough as it is.   

       So, selection not election for me. I would advocate a continental rotation of the post, but beyond that I'm happy with the current system.   

       If it ain't broke (and it ain't [tc]), don't fix.
jonthegeologist, Apr 20 2004

       I just continue to be amazed how people, especially people that are otherwise very "anti-conservative" in their thinking, always think elections are not good enough for other people, because those other people are too stupid, too attavistic, too ethnic, too nationalistic, etc.   

       I'm no more worried about a Chinese or Indian secretary than I am about a president from Massachusettes. It would depend on who the candidate is, and one can imagine a myriad different worthwhile nominating processes.   

       The current system has selected such notables as Waldheim, who hid a Nazi past, and Kofi, who was not able to produce much during the last decade and is likely culpable in the Oil For Food fiasco. We could certainly do better.
theircompetitor, Apr 20 2004

       //If it ain't broke (and it ain't [tc]), don't fix.// If there's one saying I hate more than any other, it's that one. Yes, let's all sit in the dark ages...
Detly, Apr 20 2004

       Will the last one leaving the dark ages please turn on the light.
FarmerJohn, Apr 20 2004

       Why do I assume that? Because leadership is attained by how it is. It's quite imperfect, and human nature is to rally around leaders, and human nature isn't going to change anytime soon. I have my ear to the ground enough that If there were people from those regions who were both popular and respectable, chances are I'd hear about 'em, and chances are they'd already be in some minor office somewhere, because public office is a hard job, and only a select few can cut it. But the Ghandis of the world are too few and far between, and aren't respected enough in their own time even when they're found. And when they are, the established rulers have too much to lose to allow them to gain preeminence. Witness Myanmar these days.   

       Candidates are affected and shaped by their local and regional policies, as much as they shape them, and given the level of corruption of the region, I've yet to see much on the Asian continent that would attract my vote away from a more western leader.
RayfordSteele, Apr 20 2004

       Thanks, FJ :)   

       Rayford -- but don't you think these people (i.e. the Ghandis ) need a forum? Think Nobel Prize for Solzhenitsin or Sakharov
theircompetitor, Apr 20 2004

       [detly]. fair comment. However, it's my primary thrust when considering a halfbakery posting : Do I need this? Is there a need.   

       Here, I don't believe there is.
jonthegeologist, Apr 20 2004

       An excerpt, the full text in an added link   

       Under the Charter, the Secretary-General is appointed by the General Assembly upon the recommendation of the Security Council. Mr. Annan's predecessors as Secretary-General were: Boutros Boutros-Ghali (Egypt), who held office from January 1992 to December 1996; Javier PÈrez de CuÈllar (Peru), who served from January 1982 to December 1991; Kurt Waldheim (Austria), who held office from January 1972 to December 1981; U Thant (Burma, now Myanmar), who served from November 1961, when he was appointed acting Secretary-General (he was formally appointed Secretary-General in November 1962) to December 1971; Dag Hammarskjˆld (Sweden), who served from April 1953 until his death in a plane crash in Africa in September 1961; and Trygve Lie (Norway), who held office from February 1946 to his resignation in November 1952.
theircompetitor, Apr 20 2004

       what's your point, [tc]?
jonthegeologist, Apr 20 2004

       I'm struck by the fact that to the extent I know the names (and I didn't know any before Waldheim), I do not know them for any particular accomplishment
theircompetitor, Apr 20 2004

       maybe that's a reflection of the movement, not it's leader (although I accept that they are not mutually exclusive).   

       What makes you think an elected leader would do better or is your view that they can't do much worse and are therefore worth a crack?
jonthegeologist, Apr 20 2004

       The current set are creatures of the system that creates them -- inoffensive (prior to appointment, at least) diplomats that have managed to not be objectionable to the Security Council within the rough continent rotation scheme.   

       As to your question, it's a scary one -- what makes any elected leader better -- presumably the appropriate group of smart people can always "select" a better leader.   

       I'm envisioning a set of platforms on international concerns:   

       Global Warming Global Free Trade/Subsidies Genocide Proliferation Health Near Earth Asteroid search etc.   

       The candidates would then debate campaign in the various countries with their opinions and plans on how to address these issues, directly to voters
theircompetitor, Apr 20 2004

       still feel that the current system, though not perfect, is better than your proposal. I also feel that you and I will have to agree to disagree again!
jonthegeologist, Apr 20 2004

       [tc], perhaps that might work. But I don't trust the average voter to find them, nor would I trust any political party to thrust the best person into that position with any consistency, rather than simply protect their own interests. The right sort tend to be independent and make themselves, without much outside push. Heck, even the highly-acclaimed Nobel Awarding system is not without its critics.   

       Under the current structure of a loose organization and not even a true confederation, the SecGen would have to be enough of a diplomat to be able to deal with 'the big countries,' and not lose his cool, and vice-versa, they'd have to work with him. To give him any real power beyond what's currently ascribed might take a federation, and I don't see that happening anytime soon. And without that real power, how can he be expected to keep his election goals to the people that voted him in? I think it would fall apart under voter apathy and manipulation.
RayfordSteele, Apr 20 2004

       // what makes any elected leader better //   

       Clearly, tc, you and I would disagree on the answer to that one.   

       Anyway, did ya know that Perez de Cuellar was abducted by aliens? While in office, too. S'true! I linked.
waugsqueke, Apr 20 2004

       //Clearly, tc, you and I would disagree on the answer to that one//   

       Right, my concern is that for some reason many think that the smoke filled room approach is better for everything other than their own elections.
theircompetitor, Apr 21 2004

       [tc] you have repeatedly implied that saying that this would yield a Chinese president is racist but this ignores an important fact. The Chinese government has very strong control of the Chinese media. Finding out about foreign candidates would almost certainly be a large hassle for a Chinese voter. Until access to information becomes close to standardised in all participating countries this would suck. However, as soon as it is possible it should be done.
stilgar, Dec 06 2004

       Would have been nice.
stilgar, Dec 06 2004

       It doesn't have to be *either* the current system *or* a directly elected president.   

       Some sort of proportional representation with international political parties might also work .   

       That way the Chinese couldn't just all vote for the Chinese candidate, although they might mostly vote for the part standing for, say, a relatively weak UN if the chineese government decided that was in their best interest.   

       You could also, to use UK terms, set this ellected body up as the house of commons, with the general assembly as the house of lords (i.e. not containing the government or introducing government bills, but having the ability to delay or prevent action, and occasionally introduce motions).
RobertKidney, Dec 06 2004

       With all the brewhaha over at the UN, I was wondering when this will be coming back.   

       [stilgar], if not racist, it's at least myopic. Has Kofi Anan done a particularly stellar job for the people of Africa? Who's to say that the candidate's race or home nation would have anything to do with either his/her policies, the crises the world would face, etc.   

       Obviously in order for a given country to participate in such an election, it would have to be certified by UN monitors. Doing this in undemocratic countries would alone be worth the price of admission.   

       As to your and/UBs other comment, this idea was put up as a reaction to it.
theircompetitor, Dec 06 2004

       I wasn't suggesting that the Chinese people would blindly vote for a countryman but rather that their government is pretty big on censorship and distortion of the news. The Chinese population are unlikely to get an accurate idea of any foreign candidate or, for that matter, any countryman that the government doesn't endorse.
I may be maligning the Chinese government but considering how difficult it is for political outsiders to be heard in the (relatively free) American press I can't see that actual supression of their Chinese equivilents would be that hard.
stilgar, Dec 08 2004

       Funny to look at this all these years later. Funnier still it was spurred by an idea for a global vote for US President, which I found pretty irritating. Of course the claim is that we have a US President elected by foreigners now, not quite in the way envisioned by the writers of that idea.   

       And of course now ideas that people should be able to vote wherever they live and we should have open borders abound. So for the next election, the Chinese should just send in people through the Mexican border -- so many races are decided by just a few thousand seats, why bother with any of that propaganda stuff -- just bus them in.
theircompetitor, Mar 10 2019


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