One World – In Reality

Friday, October 28, 2005


Written by Tristan Dineen

I wish to extend my greetings to my fellow students and to any other member of the broader human community to whom this article may come to the attention of.

As a student of Political Science and History with a keen interest in political theory, I have endeavored to educate myself in the nature of the increasingly complex world in which we live. How it works, why, and on what terms. I do so with a sense of urgency born of an understanding of what is at stake in the struggles that shape the world stage. An understanding that I achieved early in life and that I know will never leave me.

Grade Eight was a turning point in my life, a kind of watershed moment. Not only did it signify the last year of elementary school but also marked the time when my life gained a clear purpose for the first time. From what I have heard it is rare for Grade Eight teachers to teach their students about sweat-shops, globalization, and global poverty, but my teacher did and by doing so set off a spark in me which has never dimmed. It marked the beginning of a quest of sorts, a higher calling in life, seeking a solution to the universal problems and injustices that I had been informed of.

From that time forward I continued to bear witness to the suffering that exists in the world, to see how little has been done and how ineffectual that which has been done has generally been proven in practice. No human being with any sense of empathy for the fellows members of their species could ever look away and ignore what is so strikingly clear.

Thus I have set out to make things right and I will communicate to you as best I can the conclusion that I reached a long time ago. The world as it is now lacks the global framework to do what must be done to defend the human species, and indeed life itself, from the threats that it faces both locally and globally. If we are to see justice done and dignity upheld without exception worldwide than there is no other solution but the following: a world government and an order of men and women who will take a leadership role in seeing to the defense and wellbeing of humanity itself. That is what is required and that is what must happen.

The concept of a world government has taken many guises throughout history. Thomas Hobbes emphasized the disorder of the international system because of the lack of a common power. Jean Jacques Rousseau said that the only way for there to be a future free of war was for there to be present an international federal government capable of imposing overarching controls on state action in the same way national governments impose rules on their citizens. Realist scholars to this day emphasize that without a world government to impose order on the states of the world the international system will continue to be based on anarchy and survival of the fittest. It is very difficult to argue against this logic even in an age of non-governmental organizations and multi-national corporations. Despite the growing integrated nature of the international system we have not left the threat of war behind, nor has liberal-capitalism been the salvation of humankind as its advocates have long stated it would be.

The interconnectedness of international markets do not prevent incidents such as the invasion and occupation of Iraq. They do not prevent terrorist actions such as September 11, nor do they alleviate the burdens of countless millions of the world’s poor who are unable to draw benefit from them. Trade is trade, it is commerce and nothing else, it is not some magical solution. As students of history will know, increased trade and interconnectedness between the European powers at the beginning of the 20th Century did not prevent World War I. Trade is an important aspect of any international system but it is only one part among many and it is the folly of the world community today that the various aspects of human interconnectedness are not effectively coordinated, nor are they efficiently directed at improving human wellbeing the world over.

The United Nations was a bold experiment and something that I believe to be a crucial step in the right direction but I believe it is both unable and unwilling to take the necessary steps to secure a dignified future for the human species. Dependent upon the charity of individual nations for its funding, its resources, its infrastructure, and its soldiers, the UN is unable to assert itself as an independent world body. It does represent a global federation, albeit a very loose one, but it lacks the overarching authority that Rousseau emphasized that a world government must have over national governments. This greatly limits what it can do and because of this I believe there is little hope for its initiatives to end global poverty in the 21st Century. Without some coercive power this is simply unrealistic, without the ability to dominate and direct resources at global problems forcefully and vigorously all solutions are at best temporary in nature. While governments remain stubbornly self-interested and while humanity is divided into countless nationalisms we live in a world of anarchy. Until a world government imposes order on this system, this situation will continue and the plight of so many millions will not effectively be addressed.

It is therefore in the interest of humanity that world government be seen as the next stage in human political development and that it is a goal that should be rigorously pursued by the enlightened minds of the world. The strength of such a world government will be humanity’s strength and a force for a broader human identity that will supersede all boundaries. Such a government would be capable of directing the full resources of the world at ending such curses upon humanity as poverty, unjust labor, international crime, terrorism, war, civil strife, disease, racism and other such universal enemies of human wellbeing. This should and indeed must be our goal for the new century, not vapid promises made by ineffectual world bodies. Their good intentions are admirable, but good intentions mean little or nothing if not backed by real strength and real power.

If the present elite does not act it is the responsibility of individuals such as students, many of us who will ultimately be emerging to replace those currently in power, to form a new elite with a new responsibility. A responsibility to defend humanity and work relentlessly for the unity of the world under a single authority.

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  1. Posted by: kyle lambert on Nov 15, 2005 @ 3:27pm

    The theory of a world government has been presented by a number of scholars over the years - particularly by liberals (emphasis on the small "l") after the first and second world wars.

    At the moment, the world government idea has lost momentum, largely due to the populist discourse surrounding the corruption at the UN - as though corruption only happens on a global level.

    Personally, I hate to call myself a realist at any point, but when it comes to world government, I am certainly that. I do not see any pragmatic way in which such a thing could happen. The people of the world are far too diverse, even if much of that diversity has been artificially created.

    To make a long story short, there is no reason for the most powerful states in the world to submit their authority to a larger body that would supplant their ability to dominate on the world stage.

    Finally, popular faith in government is at an all-time low in many places. As much as that mistrust is due to a simple ability to access greater amounts of information, I don't see people agreeing to an even larger form of government - something that would likely lead to far greater alienation than the too-high levels that are already seen in many states today.

  2. Posted by: Tristan Dineen on Nov 17, 2005 @ 11:55pm

    The world government idea was never strong among liberals. Their prime concern is liberty and therefore they would be wary of such an institution however necessary. Humanity is an incredibly diverse species and I understand your concerns on this point.
    My goal is to create a form of human nationalism or human patriotism. It is entirely conceivable that human beings can and do feel allegiance to their species while it is relatively rare in contemporary society. As the globe grows increasingly interconnected I see a serious potential for human identity to grow and become a serious force to be reckoned with. Naturally there are many obstacles but nationalism faced similar obstacles two centuries ago.

  3. Posted by: kyle on Nov 30, 2005 @ 9:37am

    While I disagree on the liberal thing (look up David Mittrany), I'm guessing it all comes down to one's definition of liberal, so I won't argue it.

    However, I have a problem with your use of nationalism as a standard for the humanism that you seek. Nationalism is a heavily-disputed concept, one that many scholars and thinkers alike agree is ontologically false. While I don't believe you are arguing that humanism should be constructed in the same way as nationalism, I worry that it would have no other option. Any identity established that does not come about naturally will exist only for the benefit of its main proponents, as is the case with nationalism. To suggest that humanism can be manifested without bias or alterior motivation would be short-sighted.

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