We have three populations (Khemed, Syldavia, and Borduria) part of a sovereignty conflict or dispute. For whatever reason, each party claims exclusive sovereignty over Khemed. Since their world might perish soon they have all decided to go into negotiations in relation to the sovereignty over Khemed. That is mainly because Khemed’s territory is rich in a very rare metal that happened to be necessary for the construction of inter-stellar flying objects. All three parties think of using these inter-stellar flying objects in the event the world came to an end and needed to evacuate.
Each of the parties has chosen a representative. The representatives of the three populations will go into the negotiations without knowing whom they represent but with access to any other information about the three parties, their claims, and anything and everything related to Khemed and its sovereignty. By acting in this way, they ensure that none of the parties is more or less advantaged or disadvantaged when choosing how sovereignty will be allocated.
We have assumed that the representatives do not know whom they represent and they have to accept that they might be representing any of the three populations. So, the representatives are driven by the rule of maximin. The issue now is to determine the nature and size of each particular share of sovereignty. It is for that reason that the following posts will reviewed how different solutions can be applied to Khemed.
Menu of options
The representatives will review a series of possible options in order to make a decision about how to share the sovereignty over Khemed. This and the following posts will review some of the most obvious choices in similar situations in which more than one party claims exclusive and absolute sovereignty for whatever reason over a piece of land. The menu of options that the representatives will go through has to do with the kind of choices anyone would think of in a sovereignty conflict or dispute. From there, the representatives will argue whether the choices settle peacefully and permanently the question or only extend the problem. There may be many ways the representatives can think of in order to deal with the sovereignty over Khemed. Some of them are:
The first idea all the representatives may think of if the historical entitlement. That is to say, what would be fairer that grant the sovereignty (or the largest share of sovereignty) to the party whom was in that land first. What would be fairer than to give to someone what is due to him? If you set foot first on a piece of land, is not that land yours? If that land was not owned by anyone before, was not that land free for anyone to own? It may sound like a self-evident solution. But someone else may say that the piece of land previously free from occupation was not unowned by anyone but that all people had a right to own it. It is a fact that for any extreme position the representatives will have to acknowledge there may be another as extreme but opposite in content and results. In this case, no-one owned Khemed before people had moved there or all Syldavians and Bordurians had a potential right to Khemed when it was uninhabited. Which one is the right option? In our story, which of the populations would have a better, larger right, if any of them?
The second option will be to think of what kind of choice, if any, might be best for one of the parties that is originally in a comparatively bad situation and if so, if that would justify leave the other two with smaller shares. In other words, the representatives may think of an option we see daily on our current real world. The times of Sparta, the city-state in ancient Greece, in which a new born with disabilities would have been “discarded” are long gone. Currently, the situation seems to be shifting (or it may have already shifted completely) to a discourse in which the less able has a sort of entitlement to be compensated for his inability to perform. Without entering into an analysis of the moral implications of such way of thinking (out of the scope of the negotiations in which our representatives are involved) it is a fact that any of the representatives may put forward a claim by which the population with more necessities in any form should be protected by the other two that are comparatively in a better situation.
Finally, the representatives will address two simple yet potentially fair ways of dealing with the sovereignty over Khemed: to divide the shares of sovereignty over Khemed in exactly equal parts or to give each party a different share based on their own individual differences. That would mean the representatives accepted to divide the sovereignty over Khemed amongst Khemed, Syldavia and Borduria in shares of 33% of the total. But it might also mean the sovereignty could be divided in unequal shares depending of differences amongst Khemed, Syldavia and Borduria. In that sense, the representatives would have to agree on which part of the territory each would take; how much of the rare natural resource each may explore and extract; what about the party without any means for the exploration and exploitation of the same item; and many other questions that we are going to address in future posts.
From next week, we will start reviewing each of the options mentioned above. We will introduce each option to the representatives and see what kind of questions they may have and whether they may be able to find a satisfactory answer in each case for all the parties. If we are able to introduce an option to the representatives of Khemed, Syldavia and Borduria all of them accept as a fair way to allocate the sovereignty over Khemed we will settle the question and therefore, we will solve the sovereignty conflict or dispute that keeps them in a status quo.
Jorge Emilio Núñez
20th October 2017