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Global Democracy and International Organisations

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Global Democracy and International Organisations - Lesson Summary

There are many institutions in the world that perform the functions of a world government to some extent. These organizations can influence the government to take action that will promote peace in that region. The primary organization that plays this role is the United Nations.

The United Nations, which is head-quartered in New York, was formed after the Second World War in 1945 to maintain peace and security around the world. The United Nations is a global association of nations of the world that co-operate with each other to maintain international law, security, economic development and social equity.

The United Nations makes laws and rules to govern the seas that do not fall within the boundaries of any single country.  It takes steps to control environmental degradation by making conventions that are binding on member nations.

The UN Security Council, a division of the United Nations, is responsible for maintaining peace between countries. The United Nations however cannot interfere in the internal political problems of a country. Another organization that is global in nature is the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

While the IMF can bail out countries from their international debts, the World Bank is responsible for giving loans for development projects around the world. The UN has 192 member countries, and each country gets one vote in the UN General Assembly. The General Assembly cannot make any decisions about what action should be taken in case of a conflict between two countries.

The US, Russia, the UK, France and China are the five permanent members of the Security Council. Ten more other members are elected by the General Assembly every two years.

The real power lies only with the five permanent members. These permanent members, particularly the United States, contribute most of the money that is needed to maintain the UN. Only a permanent member has the power to veto, which means to repeal an action.

The IMF has 185 member nations and lends money to any country that needs it. Nearly 54% of the voting power rests in the hands of only 10 countries - the US, Japan, the UK, Germany, France, China, Italy, Saudi Arabia and Canada.

The World Bank has an unequal voting framework. The president of the World Bank is always a US citizen and is nominated by the Treasury Secretary of the US Government. Most global institutions will fail the simple test of democracy. In 2003, the United States attacked Iraq, deposed Saddam Hussein and installed an interim government in the name of democracy.


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