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As compromises must be reached, the content of treaties often merely represents the lowest common denominator of state parties. In this process, the primary purpose of governments is to pursue what they believe is in the national self-interest. There is no body that represents the interest of the world community at large. Even if a treaty is concluded and ratified, a state can withdraw again.

The international order recognizes no higher authority for decision or enforcement. All in all, the international order lacks many of the hallmarks that characterize a functioning legal system, which we take for granted domestically. Socioeconomic development and political action are no longer connected. The forces of acceleration have globalised and compel the states, in a self-reinforcing dynamic, to push forward their own erosion. Cash flows and commercial entities have no loyalty to any nation-states. Processes of product development and manufacturing are globally networked. A transnational elite has emerged consisting of the owners and top management of transnational corporations, both supported by high-level officials, politicians, scientists, and media representatives who are ready to pursue common economic interests in an environment of weak regulation and poor political processes.

The concentration of wealth and global inequality has reached unprecedented levels. We are witnessing the emergence of global social strata that are giving rise to vertical social tensions. The dividing line will no longer be between rich and poor countries but between the super-rich and the rest everywhere.

The transnational elite exercises a powerful influence. They can play national governments against each other, if need be. National governments face serious limitations to resist the race to the bottom. In former times the creation of powerful nation-states was often driven top-down by the elites. Notions of a global conspiracy to set up a global government are far off the mark.

Today, the elite uses the inter-state system to their benefit and actually resists the emergence of a global government that could constrain their actions. In fiscal policy, for instance, multinational corporations and the super-rich are able to avoid paying taxes using loopholes and weaknesses in the international taxation system.

Corporate taxation rates and tax revenues continue to fall. This contributes to rising inequality, higher relative taxation of the middle classes, and social tension. Paradoxically, these problems are exacerbated by the nationalist policies they fuel. In the United States, for instance, the nominal corporate tax rate was drastically reduced after the election of Donald Trump.

Efforts to combat this trend in the framework of traditional intergovernmental collaboration have proven ineffective. A Tobin Tax on currency transactions or a progressive global tax on billionaire capital will not work with a piecemeal approach. However, these taxes could provide funding for social welfare measures like a global social protection floor or a global basic income. Citizenship is connected to individual states and thus citizen rights are exclusive. The promise of the global village is only valid for the rich. In many countries, they can even buy national passports.

The carbon footprint of those well off is disproportionally higher than that of the poor. At the same time, the age of Westphalian territoriality has not ended for those at the bottom. Free movement is not for them. Quite the contrary. The planet has never before seen more border fences and walls separating states. In fact, the system of nation-states helps contain populations within state borders, allows to play out workers against each other and to exploit illegal immigrants.

Economic, cultural and social insecurity seems to be a common contributor to nationalist populism as well as illiberal and antidemocratic sentiments. The security dilemma, according to which states are pushing each other, in a spiral dynamic, into military spending, research and armament, is inherent in the Westphalian system and strong economic interests are at play to keep it that way.

Just as fossil fuel industries and their owners resist decarbonization of the economy, the military-industrial complex resists global pacification. They do not necessarily need war.

Global governance - Wikipedia

I highly value this opportunity to exchange views with my peers from around the world on very well chosen topics of real concern in an open and intimate environment. The Summit gives insightful information and discussion on public service transformation.


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These ideas and comments are crucial for policy and strategy formulation and implementation. All discussions of issues were very interesting and informative. Thank you for this excellent opportunity to exchange experiences and approaches from different global regions on an informal platform. Interesting, and an eye-opener.

All great participants and presentations: thank you for inviting me.

Global Government

Top level professionals sharing their experiences: Malaysia and Estonia particularly stand out. The Global Government Summit is a unique platform which provides an open and frank discussion environment. I really appreciate the chosen discussion topics and I can honestly say that I benefited a lot throughout the presentations. World peace required that states should give up their traditional unrestricted sovereign rights to amass weapons and wage war, and that they should submit their disputes to authoritative international institutions of adjudication and enforcement; world peace would only be achieved through the establishment of world law Clark and Sohn Calls for world government in the post-World War Two era implied a deep suspicion about the sovereign state's potential as a vehicle for moral progress in world politics.

Echoing Rousseau, Reves argued that nation-states threaten human peace, justice and freedom, by diverting funds from important needs, prolonging a global climate of mistrust and fear, and creating a war machine that ultimately precipitates actual war. The experience of the world wars thus made it especially difficult to view states as agents of moral progress. Some did not reject the nation-state per se , but only authoritarian nondemocratic states as unfit partners for building a peaceful world order. In the context of the Cold War —89 , however, the division of the world into two ideologically opposed camps—led by the United States US and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics USSR —produced mutual distrust that pervaded the reception of all proposals for world government.

The Soviet leadership also condemned the AUC's proposal for an exclusive union of democracies as part of the Cold War rivalry—an attempt to strengthen the anti-communist anti-Soviet bloc. In a distorted fashion, the Soviet Union became the historical manifestation of socialist or communist thought. Socialist ideas can be traced back to the French Revolution, but developed more fully as a response to negative aspects of the rapid growth of industry in the nineteenth century.

On the need of a democratic global government

At the same time that technological advancements promised great material progress, the changes they wrought in social and economic relations were not all positive. According to Karl Marx, human history is a history of struggles not between nations or states, but between classes, created and destroyed by changing modes of production.

The state as a centralized, coercive authority emerges under social modes of production at a certain stage of development, and is only necessary in a class society as the coercive instrument of the ruling class. The Russian revolutionary, V. In communist ideology, ultimately, balance-of-power politics between states enjoying unrestricted sovereignty did not cause war; the real cause of war was capitalism. In practice, the Soviet Union's internally and externally repressive policies made a mockery of socialist ideals of a classless society, or a world of peaceful socialist republics, and the disintegration of the Soviet Union itself spelled the practical end of one alternative to a capitalist economic world order.

Contemporary international relations theory developed out of the urgent need to explain and predict the causes of war and peace between sovereign states existing in a condition of anarchy, or the lack of a central overarching authority.

Thematic Focus and Projects

They liken the international order to a Hobbesian state of nature, where notions of justice and injustice have no place, and in which each unit is rationally motivated to pursue every means within its power to assure its own survival, even at the expense of others' basic interests. Kenneth Waltz, in his seminal account of neorealism, Theory of International Politics , however, clearly favors a system of sovereign states over a world government , —2.

World government, according to Waltz, would not deliver universal, disinterested, impartial justice, order or security, but like domestic governments, it would be driven by its own particular or exclusive organizational interests, which it would pursue at the expense of the interests and freedom of states. Thus, while Waltz laments international anarchy as a necessary feature of interstate relations, he also celebrates its virtues, one of which he claims is the space it affords national freedom.

With this argument, Waltz seems to be making a normative claim that an atomistic order of sovereign states is preferable from a moral point of view to a more integrated one that might impose burdens on states and inhibit their autonomy Lu These conclusions are ironic since the neorealist explanation of the cause of interstate war is the very condition of international anarchy, understood as the absence of a world government with supreme authority. The contemporary realist view is that this feature of the states system is an unalterable social fact; wars between states are thus tragedies of the unavoidable kind Mearsheimer Carr, and Hans Morgenthau, as well as John Herz and Frederick Schuman, supported a global reformist agenda, prompted by the advent of economic globalization, technological change, modern total warfare, and the nuclear revolution.

Although a desirable end-goal, the feasibility of global political change towards a world government in the form of a global federal system, according to Reinhold Niebuhr, would depend on deeper global social integration and cohesion than was evident in the mid-twentieth century Scheuerman , In addition, Niebuhr was concerned that absent the required social and cultural basis for global political unity, the achievement of world government would be undesirable, since in such conditions, a world government would require authoritarian devices to rule, raising the specter of a global tyrannical power ibid.

The anarchy between states does not preclude the concept of a norm-governed society of states Bull Martin Wight has noted that the moral ideals of cosmopolitanism typically translate in practice into political tyranny and imperialism Establishing an international society, ideally conceived, would make a supreme world government unnecessary.