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International Studies
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Brian Orend

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INTST 101: Introduction to International Studies Brian Orend Unit 11: Global Governance and World Government One thing has become apparent throughout this course: it is not a perfect world. The globe has some UHDO▯SUREOHPV▯▯DQG▯LW¶V▯QRW▯FOHDU▯KRZ▯WR▯VROYH▯WKHP▯▯ But, in international affairs, one proposal for solving many international problems has endured: the creation of a world government. This unit shall focus on deeper global governance options, including this idea of a world government, and it will offer a critical evaluation of them. World Government: The Big Solution? Going all the way back to some of our earliest topics²e.g. realism vs. idealism²we HQFRXQWHUHG▯UHDOLVP¶V▯IDPRXV▯³DVVXUDQFH▯SUREOHP▯´▯7KLV▯SUREOHP▯ZDV▯▯HVVHQWLDOO\▯▯WKDW▯▯ since there is no world government, states are fundamentally on their own in this world. $V▯D▯UHVXOW▯▯WKHUH¶V▯D▯UHDO▯LQVHFXULW\▯DQG▯ODFN▯RI▯WUXVW▯DQG▯FR-operation between them, and this makes the international world such an imperfect place. So, it would seem clearly that, logically, the solution must be world government. Create an effective world government RYHU▯DQG▯DERYH▯WKH▯OHYHO▯RI▯VWDWHV▯▯DQG▯WKHQ▯VWDWHV▯ZRQ¶W▯KDYH▯WKLV▯DVVXUDQFH▯SUREOHP▯▯ which seems to spark so many wars in particular. ,W¶V▯RIWHQ▯WKRXJKW▯D▯ZRUOG▯JRYHUQPHQW▯FRXOG▯ Mitigate or even eliminate war Co-ordinate so much better economic growth for all countries Deal effectively with the large number of cross-border issues, such as: o Pollution and global warming o Drug and human trafficking o Weapons and drug smuggling o Terrorism o Weapons proliferation 1 INTST 101: Introduction to International Studies Brian Orend o Refugee flows and immigrations trends o Overpopulation o Cross-border diseases, like bird flu o Sudden crises of starvation, massacre or natural disaster ,W¶V▯DOVR▯RIWHQ▯WKRXJKW▯WKDW▯ZRUOG▯JRYHUQPHQW▯LV▯FDOOHG▯IRU▯EHFDXVH▯RI▯ The rise RI▯ JOREDOL]DWLRQ▯▯ ,W¶V▯ thought that the increasing level of international integration simply demands more effective and deeper international government management. Global activity requires global regulation. The success of the European Union as a potential model for what good world government might look like. Shows that far-flung, deep and effective supra-national governance is possible and even good²maybe even GREAT! ,▯WDNH▯WKLV▯SURSRVDO▯VHULRXVO\▯▯DQG▯,▯GRQ¶W▯GLVPLVV▯LW▯RXW▯RI▯KDQG▯▯7KHVH▯DUH▯DOO▯YHU\▯JRRG▯ reasons to pursue wider and deeper forms of global governance. The idea, moreover, has had high-profile supporters from Thomas Hobbes all the way down to Louis Pojman. %XW▯▯OHW¶V▯EH▯VREHU▯DQG▯FULWLFDO▯▯DQG▯FRQVLGHU▯YHU\▯GHHSOy the reasons people have offered over the years against the pursuit of world government: An historical observation first 7KLV▯LVQ¶W▯H[DFWO\▯D▯UHDVRQ▯DJDLQVW▯ZRUOG▯JRYHUQPHQW▯▯EXW▯LW▯GRHV▯QHHG▯WR▯EH▯QRWHG▯WKDW▯ Protestants, in particular, are opposed strongly to the idea of world government. This is partly tied up to religious reasons, reasons of prophecy relating to what Protestants EHOLHYH▯DERXW▯KRZ▯WKH▯ZRUOG▯ZLOO▯FRPH▯WR▯DQ▯HQG▯▯%XW▯LW¶V▯DOVR▯UHODWHG▯WR▯VRPHWKLQJ▯PRUH▯ worldly and straightforward and historical: the opposition between Catholic and Protestant historically. Even today, Catholics are much more comfortable talking about world government than Protestants are. I suggest this may have something to do with the 2 INTST 101: Introduction to International Studies Brian Orend fact that the Catholic Church used to be the one and only church in Europe, for over a thousand years. That very same fact alienates Protestants from the idea of world government: they associate it with the dominance of Rome and their own persecution and their own reasons for leaving the Church and setting up their own rival churches. Reasons against World Government The anti-socialist argument. The notion here is somewhat strident, but boils down to this: only a government-loving socialist would think that adding yet another layer of JRYHUQPHQW▯▯WR▯ZKDW▯ZH¶YH▯DOUHDG\▯JRW▯▯ZRXOG▯WKLQN▯WKLV▯LV▯JRLQJ▯WR▯LPSURYH▯DQ\WKLQg. But there are good reasons to think that government will not be able to solve the huge list and depth of problems, listed above: risks of corruption, incompetence, rent-seeking by special-interest groups, lacks in knowledge, lags in time between policy idea and policy effect, etc. The same kinds of argument that pro-free market people give in support of minimal, not maximal, government world-ZLGH▯▯7KH▯VROXWLRQ▯WR▯WKH▯ZRUOG¶V▯SUREOHPV▯LV▯ not yet more bureaucrats and yet more taxation and yet more forms to be filled, and yet another army, navy and air force, yet another elected assembly, yet more politicians, etc. etc. The problems with the current world system. 7KH▯QRWLRQ▯KHUH▯LV▯WKDW▯ZH▯FDQ¶W▯HYHQ▯JHW▯ the current world system right, just with the UN struFWXUH▯ZH¶YH▯JRW▯▯:KDW▯PDNHV▯XV▯ think we can get it right with a much more complex and bold and consequential system of world government? We might think of global governance options on a continuum, from most loose and least governed, to most tightly and highly governed: 1. No International Association at all: International Anarchy between States 2. Some Voluntary Co-Operation Between States 3. Some International Institutions, but only a few and with very narrow reference and power (The old League of Nations option, from 1919-1935) 4. Some International Institutions, quite a few in fact, and adding it all up it amounts WR▯ D▯ ZLGH▯ UHIHUHQFH▯▯ EXW▯ WKH▯ LQWHUQDWLRQDO▯ LQVWLWXWLRQV▯ GRQ¶W▯ IRUP▯ D▯ ZRUOG▯ government and they remain voluntary associations between nations (The current UN set-up). 3 INTST 101: Introduction to International Studies Brian Orend 5. World Government, but in the form of a federation. There would be one, non- voluntary world state, and it would be run like a federal government, say, in Canada. It would have a list of powers, and have sole responsibility for achieving them. The list might be the list of problems mentioned above. Then, nation-states, like France, America, etc., would still exist, but as states or provinces within the world federation, and they would have their own powers (e.g. over language, culture, education, health care). 6. World Government, but in the form of a solitary central state, wherein there would be no autonomous nation-state provinces, just maybe something like municipal or regional governments with very focussed, practical functions like roads, sewers, garbage collection, etc. But all the big, controversial political issues would be handled at the level of the one, non-voluntary world government. As states, we are today somewhere near option 4, and yet we are clearly having so many problems. What makes us think that moving along towards 5 and 6 will give us any more success, when we have hardly perfected Step 4? (The reply of the pro-world government supporter: well, maybe we have all these problems at Step 4 because Step 4 is not the solution to these problems, whereas Numbers 5 or 6 might be. Big problems demand big solutions, not small or mid-way ones.) Practical Problems of set-up are too huge. This argument says that, while world government might sound great in theory, in practice it is simply not possible to set one up. The closest we have, today, to a real world government would, precisely, be the European Union. There is no denying the incredible success that this institution has been, and the great improvement in peace and prosperity which it has brought WR▯(XURSH▯▯%XW▯WKDW¶V▯ just the point: to the people of Europe (and only such people). The big difference between Europe and a world government is that the world government would have to 4 INTST 101: Introduction to International Studies Brian Orend govern the entire planet. And the entire planet does not have the same cultural cohesion, shared world view, same approximate living standards, same level of technology and development, as Europe does. For all their differences, the people of a Europe do come out of a common civilization, Western civilization. Whereas across the globe there are many different civilizations, and they sharply differ in many ways. The essence of this REMHFWLRQ▯LV▯WKLV▯▯WKH▯SHRSOH▯RI▯WKH▯ZRUOG▯VLPSO\▯ZRXOGQ¶W▯DJUHH▯WR▯WKH▯construction of an effective world government, because the differences are way too deep. (The reply of
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