This page features annotated entries for articles and books dealing with issues relating to world government and global integration more broadly construed. It will be continuously expanded and updated. If you would like to propose a work for inclusion, please contact Luis Cabrera at firstname.lastname@example.org
Baratta, Joseph P. (2004) The Politics of World Federation. Vol. 1: The United Nations, U.N. Reform, Atomic Control. Vol. 2: From World Federalism to Global Governance. Westport: Praeger.
Baratta offers a detailed historical overview of 20th Century social movements and policy proposals dealing with world government. His research is exhaustive, making this the most complete treatment of the 1940s world government ‘heyday’ period and beyond. While at two volumes it may be daunting to the student or researcher just approaching the topic, it makes an excellent shelf or library resource for those delving deeper. See Heater below for a good historical introductory source.
Cabrera, Luis (2010) The Practice of Global Citizenship. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
In his 2004 book, Political Theory of Global Justice: A Cosmopolitan Case for the World State, Cabrera argued that actually achieving global justice will likely require comprehensive and democratically accountable global integration, the end point being a world government capable of securing compliance with robust rights standards from all states. In this later work, he details possible individual ‘global citizen’ duties corresponding to universal human rights. These include duties of contribution, accommodation of others (with emphasis on immigration), and institutional advocacy. The latter include the advocacy of integration between states, the end point again being a rights-protective global government. Field studies are offered of immigration activists and others who are said to enact aspects of global citizenship, and anti-immigration activists who embody stringently nationalist citizenship views. Unauthorized migrants are presented as enacting a form of ‘conscientious evasion’ that is significant for its power to challenge norms of sovereignty and exclusion in the current system. See his ‘book preview’ in The World State Debate on this site for details on a new world government work in progress.
Craig, Campbell (2003) Glimmer of a New Leviathan: Total War in the Realism of Niebuhr, Morgenthau, and Waltz. New York: Columbia University Press.
The ‘new leviathan’ of the title is world government, and Craig makes a convincing case that these thinkers central to the Realist tradition did or should have come to appreciate the importance of moving toward a world state capable of controlling nuclear weapons. Craig closes the book with some bold world government claims of his own, arguing that nuclear deterrence must eventually fail, and a strongly empowered security world government remains the only real means of averting global nuclear holocaust. Craig’s argument recalls the ‘one world or none’ claims offered by Einstein and others in the 1940s, and he is probably the firmest current proponent of security world government. See his article in The World State Debate on this web site for further details on his position.
Culbertson, Ely (1949) [Book Review] ‘The Preliminary Draft of a World Constitution, by the Committee to Frame a World Constitution,’ Indiana Law Journal 24(3), 474-82. Online here
This long review is notable for Culbertson’s scathing critique of the Chicago committee’s proposed world state constitution. The Committee to Frame a World Constitution was composed of 11 notable academics — 6 from the University of Chicago and five from other leading North American institutions — and its document generated some significant attention. For Culbertson, himself a leading figure in the ‘heyday’ period of world government policy dialogue in the 1940s, the draft constitution is no more than a ‘dismal failure,’ evincing naivete about world politics and a failure to actually consult those engaged in it. As academics have once more turned serious attention to prospects for full political integration, Culbertson’s cautionaries seem useful to consider.
Deudney, Daniel H. (2007) Bounding Power: Republican Security Theory from the Polis to the Global Village. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
In this highly influential book, which shared major prizes from both the International Studies Association and American Political Science Association, Deudney offers a detailed and sophisticated reading of the Republican security tradition, where rule by the people creates forms of mutual restraint which help polities to avoid the extremes of both anarchy and strong hierarchy. World government, he argues in the final chapter, would not be so novel an institutional development as is often thought. Rather, it would simply be another effort to abridge dangerous anarchy, this time in an international system marked by intense ‘violence interdependence’ in the nuclear age. To avoid dangerous hierarchy, however, he also argues that the form a world government takes should be that of a highly limited ‘mutual restraint union,’ rather than some fully empowered federal world state. Such a union would be focused solely on controlling the most extreme security threats to humankind.
Einstein, Albert (2007; 1946) `The Way Out’, in Dexter Masters and Katherine Way (eds) One World Or None: A Report to the Public on the Full Meaning of the Atomic Bomb, pp. 209-14. New York: The New Press.
In this well-known piece, Einstein argues that that `The construction of the atomic bomb has brought about the effect that all people living in cities are threatened everywhere and constantly, with sudden destruction’ (Einstein, 1946: 209). He calls for the immediate creation of a strongly empowered world government. Einstein campaigned for world government, becoming one of the leading global advocates in the 1940s, when world state advocacy and activism reached its historical peak. The full volume from Masters and Way is a seminal entry into the world government literature, presenting short pieces on the topic from a number of leading academics and public intellectuals of the period.
Heater, Derek (1996) World Citizenship and Government: Cosmopolitan Ideas in the History of Western Political Thought. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
Heater offers a wide-ranging but highly accessible introduction to the world government ideal in historical context. The book makes a great introduction to the historical literature and the history of major social movements advocating forms of global integration. It is also an excellent background source for more advanced students and researchers.
Rodrik, Dani (2000) “How Far Will Economic Integration Go?” Journal of Economic Perspectives 14 (1): 177-86. Available here.
Harvard political economist Rodrik argues that the world system faces a trilemma: a situation where there are three possible outcomes, but only two are possible at once. The outcomes are national control of economic policy, ‘mass’ or democratic policy making, and full global economic integration. If full economic integration is desired, he argues, then either the nation-state has to surrender control of economic policy to the global market, negating domestic democratic politics; or democratic politics moves beyond the state. Rodrik speculates that the latter is the likely outcome, leading to a form of world federalism: “National governments would not necessarily disappear, but their powers would be severely circumscribed by supranational legislative, executive, and judicial authorities. A world government would take care of a world market” (182).
Tamir, Yael (2000) `Who’s Afraid of a Global State?’ in Kjell Goldmann, Ulf Hannerz, Charles Westin (eds) Nationalism and Internationalism in the Post-Cold War Era, pp. 244-67. New York: Routledge.
Tamir is best known as an advocate of Liberal nationalism, which holds that shared national sentiment is necessary to the recognition of Liberal rights. Here she explores the case against world government. She details and deftly dismisses a number of standard critiques. She argues for a world government marked by a limited concentration of power at the center, operating according to a firm principle of subsidiarity, where policy is to be determined at the lowest appropriate level. Such an approach, she argues, besides heading off longstanding tyranny concerns about world government, could help to ensure autonomy for national minorities within states, consistent with Liberal nationalism.
Wendt, Alexander (2003) `Why a World State is Inevitable’, European Journal of International Relations 9 (4): 491-542.
This article marks a high point in the recent world government literature as Wendt, one of the most prominent social constructivist theorists in International Relations, outlines the path on which he sees the world system ineluctably moving to full integration. Wendt, whose Social Theory of International Politics (Cambridge UP, 1999) was voted `Best Book of the Decade’ by the International Studies Association, focuses on a struggle for recognition between states. This struggle, he argues, mirrors one that Hegel identified between individuals, where demands for recognition eventually lead to the formation of a collective identity and the development of the nation-state. While Hegel saw states as the developmental end point, Wendt argues that they cannot be in an age of nuclear weapons, where none are fully self-sufficient entities. Rather, state ‘persons’ will struggle with one another for recognition, also eventually leading to collective identity formation and a world state. The process can be expected to be halting and move backward at times, Wendt says, but it will inevitably end in a world state controlling the monopoly on large-scale means of violence. He speculates the full process could take perhaps 200 years. See his article in The World State Debate on this site for his latest thinking on the ‘democratic necessity’ of world government.
Yunker, James A. The Idea of World Government: From Ancient Times to the Twenty-First Century. London and New York: Routledge Global Institutions Series, 2011.