IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

changed my logo

Just a quick note to say I’ve changed my peace “logo”. I’ve still got a dove, but this one also has the world in it. Just a bit more “global”, and I think that fits the blog.


December 31, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Why (do) we fear world government(?)

Earlier this month I wrote a bit about world government, and I have invoked the topic from time to time.  I see it as closely connected to peace, because even if most people become saints (or close to it) we will need some institutions with global scope to handle problems of global scope, including differences among states and peoples.  However, a brief hop around the Internet reveals that the idea of WG scares many people, and it seems to me important to try to understand why.  When you wade through the various views (and some are very extreme), I think the main issue (xenophobia and conspiracy theories aside) is that most people assume world government will be centralized and oppressive–as many governments at the national level are or have been at one time.  We are not historically very far removed from national dictators (you could argue that there still are some, for that matter), and the idea of having a world dictator is not very attractive.

I can understand these concerns.  They indicate, among other things, that the theory and practice of “governance” at all levels needs to evolve and improve.  However, let me put on my political scientist’s “hat” for a moment, and remind everybody that there are many kinds of government, and many ways to govern.  Furthermore, the fearful image that the term “world government” evokes in many people is probably the least likely form that it could, in reality, take.  Consider, instead, the idea of a confederation . According to my old pal “the Wik“:

“Usually created by treaty but often later adopting a common constitution, confederations tend to be established for dealing with critical issues such as defense, foreign affairs, or a common currency, with the central government being required to provide support for all members.”

This is a sort of minimalist system, which respects the principle of “subsidiarity”,  currently operating in the European Union.  Again, to quote “the Wikster“:

“Subsidiarity is an organizing principle that matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralised competent authority. The Oxford English Dictionary defines subsidiarity as the idea that a central authority should have a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed effectively at a more immediate or local level.”

I personally think that a loose confederal system is already emerging at the global level, but that discussion will have to wait for a later post.  My point here is that WG is not necessarily any “scarier” than government at any other level.

December 31, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 5 Comments


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