Khemed, Syldavia and Borduria are having negotiations about the sovereignty over Khemed. Having accepted the rule of maximin they are going to share sovereignty. The representatives of each population (Khemed, Syldavia and Borduria) are reviewing a series of possible options in order to make a decision about how to share the sovereignty over Khemed. The first option all the representatives revised and rejected was historical entitlement. The second option the representatives considered had to do with what kind of choice, if any, might be best for one of the parties that is originally in a comparatively bad situation (Khemed) and if so, if that would justify leave the other two with smaller shares. They rejected this option. The previous two posts introduced another possibility, the third option: what if they shared the sovereignty over Khemed in different portions? The representatives rejected this choice too. They will now examine in detail a fourth possible option: whether the shares of sovereignty should be equally divided amongst Khemed, Syldavia and Borduria.

In order to divide the sovereignty over Khemed in equal shares the representatives would not take into account the situation of each of the represented parties. If they did that, they would result in granting unequal shares either to benefit only one of the parties or to somehow differentiate them all and bring about different levels of benefits (both options already rejected). From there, by applying strictly equality each party would receive exactly an equal share of sovereignty. In principle, it sounds just, fair, and even plausible the representatives may accept such arrangement. Khemed, Syldavia and Borduria would have all equal rights and obligations in relation to Khemed. Regardless of their internal situation, they would have equal standing. Or not?…

Let us think of some of the considerations the representatives could have in the case they decided to choose equality. BY comparing and contrasting arguments the representatives will be able to see if the chosen option will secure a peaceful and permanent understanding amongst the parties once the question about the sovereignty is settled. This choice will undoubtedly open the arguments to questions related to how we can secure equal shares of, for example, objects or activities that cannot be divided. Similarly, how the representatives may define what “equal” means? And finally, how unequal parties may be treated equally? Consider in detail:

First of all, what does “equal” mean? Secondly, and more specifically, what does “equal” mean in this context? When dealing with figures, numbers, and anything that can potentially be divided it seems equality may be achieved. To cut a cake in two halves, to divide a litre of milk into two bottles of half a litre, and so on. Indeed, equality in principle looks very simple. But to achieve equality is not that simple in all cases. Let us divide the analysis here into two related issues: the object to be divided and the subjects amongst whom the object is divided.

The object to be divided is the sovereignty over a populated territory and all that this implies. Amongst other things, sovereignty in the case of Khemed means the exploitation and exploration of the rare metal they all need. But in addition to this, the representatives would have to think of many other related points: territorial extension, size of the population, climate, law, human rights, ethnicity, religion, defence, and a myriad of other things. There will be some objects that could easily be divided equally. For example, a third of the rare metal obtained for each party. It is clear and it seems easy to divide equally when the object to be divided can actually be “cut” or “sliced” or “divided.” For instance, to cut a pie in two or three equal slices should not represent any problem. Similarly, to divide the result of exploiting natural resources in Khemed might sound east. But how may the representatives divide in equal parts the human rights over the people in Khemed? Or how would they divide in equal parts the obligation to explore and exploit the rare metal in Khemed? It is a question that will bring controversy.

The subjects amongst whom the sovereignty over Khemed will be divided are different in many senses. Let us think of a simple example to show this point. Let us assume we have to divide a cake between two people, one being five years old and the other one, 50 years old. If we think of the object (a cake) it seems easy to find an answer: 50 % of the cake for each subject. But if we think of these two people, an adult will have more calories needs than a five years old and the fact that unhealthy carbs in that quantity may affect the child’s wellbeing seem to make a 50-50 division far from equal. Indeed, it is when we shift the focus from object to be divided to subjects amongst whom the object is to be divided the way in which we may define equality is not that clear, even in the case we may have an object that in principle can be divided equally. The same is true in the case of Khemed. How are the representatives going to guarantee an equal share of sovereignty over Khemed when Khemed, Syldavia and Borduria are so differenet? For example, to gran each party equal right to the exploitation and exploration of natural resources in Khemed would only benefit Syldavia (Khemed and Borduria do not have the means to do it). Similarly, to divide the obligation to defend Khemed amongst Khemed, Syldavia and Borduria results in the same problem.

In principle, equality seemed to be a reasonable option and an easy choice to apply to this case. What would have been easier than to give an equal share of sovereignty to each? But so far it seems highly unlikely that the representatives of Khemed, Syldavia and Borduria accept the division of equal shares of sovereignty over Khemed. The next post will consider in more detail this option. Whether Khemed, Syldavia and Borduria should share the sovereignty over Khemed equally.

Jorge Emilio Núñez

06th November 2017