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In the age of globalization and increased interdependence in the world that we face today, there is a question we have to raise: Do we need and could we attain a world government, capable of insuring peace and facilitating worldwide well-being in a just and efficient way.

We may think that the issue of world governance is something new, but it is not. Every era has its version of “globalization”. The “issue” of world governance has always existed. There are two main ways in which the authority of a state, or a country, can be territorially articulated: first, as a “kingdom” (in a sense) where a people claims a right to self-rule and independence, and then the jurisdiction should be defined as the territory that the people are inhabiting, and, second, as an “empire”, where the country is defined just as a territory on which there is a certain law accepted as a common rule of the social life. In the second case there is no space limitation of the territory, and the state might be as big as the central government could possibly extend its control and enforcement of its laws. In principle an empire could cover the whole world; there is nothing contradictory in that concept.

So, conceptually, a world government is possible. But many things are theoretically possible although not possible in reality. What would certainly prove that it is really “possible” would be to show an example of its factual occurrence. And indeed there are such examples. The Roman Empire was an almost realized world state. Similar in magnitude was the Christianization of the then known world accomplished in the first centuries of the new era. Colonialism is but another example, where the parts of the world outside of Europe, assumed to be uncivilized and uncultivated lawless territories, were put on the path of bringing to civilization in a world-wide process of cultivation and introduction of the progress of happiness and well-being to the whole world. The process of colonization was fast and impressive in magnitude. We now know that it ended in a collapse, in an even greater and faster process of “decolonization,” when the principles of self-determination and nationalism took the primacy, which is a social and political development with ongoing consequences. Let us call the reasons for these kinds of globalization “the imperialist reasons.” These reasons might be ideological to a great extent, especially on the declaratory level, but at the same time they facilitate peace, commerce and expediency of the governance. They seem to be present in an efficient way in many periods of the history.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • World Governance: Do We Need It, Is It Possible, What Could It (All) Mean?
    One of the main objections raised against world governance is not that it is impractical, but that it is unnecessary and even undesirable. There is a fear that world government would be or become tyrannical. German philosopher Immanuel Kant devised a project of "perpetual peace," but he was against a world state, advocating instead a kind of confederation of the states in the world. Finally, if a world government is indeed formed, how far should the instruments and tools of such a body reach? These and other issues have been explored in this book. Covering a wide range of disciplines - from philosophy to jurisprudence, ethics, and social science - the book explores how theorists have reflected upon the necessary components of an effective global order.
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