The Idea of World Government
From ancient times to the twenty-first century
Routledge – 2011 – 128 pages
Series: Global Institutions
The notion of a single political organization encompassing the whole of humanity—a world state—has intrigued mankind since earliest recorded history. This book provides a concise yet comprehensive overview of the history of world government, and questions whether political globalization, in the form of a federal world government, could and should complement the ongoing processes of economic and cultural globalization.
While the potential peacekeeping advantage of such a state is obvious, the consensus judgment has always been against it, because it could lead to totalitarian tyranny. Yunker examines whether this judgment is still correct, considering that nuclear weapons of unimaginable destructiveness now exist, capable of destroying human civilization as we know it. Summarizing the lessons of history, the author suggests that while the conventional world federalist concept of an unlimited world government is still impractical in today’s world, there may be a role for a limited federal world government that would go well beyond the existing United Nations, thereby providing a stronger institutional basis for the evolutionary development of genuinely effective global governance.
This book is an important resource for all students and scholars of global governance, international relations and international organizations.
1. Introduction and Overview 2. Historical Antecedents 3. From Perpetual Peace to The Great War 4. From the Treaty of Versailles to the Nuclear Age 5. The Postwar World Government Boom 6. The Post-Cold War era 7. Is There a Future for World Government?
James A. Yunker is Professor of Economics at Western Illinois University (Macomb, Illinois), where he teaches economic theory and econometrics. He is the author of Common Progress: The Case for a World Economic Equalization Program and Political Globalization: A New Vision of Federal World Government.