Millennium 'Manifesto' Calls for Shift Toward Global Governance

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An international group of 121 philosophers, scientists and others including well-known figures is calling for a new planetary ethic that embraces science and technology to solve global problems in the 21st century.

The 'Humanist Manifesto 2000' calls for a shift from what it considers the narrow thinking of nation-states and toward global institutions, such as a World Parliament, where representatives would be elected on the basis of population rather than national identity.

'We are a global economy but have no planetary effort to cope with this,' said Paul Kurtz, principal author of the manifesto and president of the International Academy of Humanism, based in Amherst, N.Y. 'We need to develop a new consciousness that transcends the national, ethnic and parochial interests of the past.'

The manifesto is published in the Sept. 15 issue of Free Inquiry, a humanist magazine edited by Kurtz, who is a professor emeritus at the State University of New York in Buffalo.

Signers of the 14,000-word document include former U.S. senator from California Alan Cranston, entertainer Steve Allen and 10 Nobel Prize winners including chemistry Nobel laureate Herbert Hauptman.

The manifesto echoes traditional, secular humanist beliefs. It says religious doctrines developed in nomadic, agricultural societies are not useful in the information age. Instead, 'new moral principles based on modern science and reason' should guide our understanding of human behavior to solve world problems.

Providing adequate food, health care and shelter to everyone on earth is one of the provisions of a proposed Planetary Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. This could be accomplished through an international income tax on corporations and countries, the Manifesto suggests.