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The United Nations has been riddled with controversy ever since its creation. The global, peace-keeping organization is said to fail in reflecting the distribution of power in the global arena. Joseph Schwartzberg argues that the power allocation in the Security Council is unfair, outdated, and is no longer suited to the needs of the member countries and the world as a whole. The culmination of all these issues has caused nations to be unwilling to give the United Nations the authority, resources, and power that it needs to effectively operate.
Schwartzberg grounds this book in the idea that the way decision-making systems are designed impacts their legitimacy and ability to be effective institutions. He proposes numerous changes to the system, based upon weighted voting formulas that attempt to balance the needs of the diverse interests in U.N. agencies. Instead of nations being the primary voices, they would be replaced by regions, non-governmental organizations, and private/ordinary citizens. The author argues that his proposed system would promote gender equality and meritocracy.
Professor Lucio Levi, in his book, Federalist Thinking, attempts to synthesize many different intellectual contributions in order to reassess the very nature of federalism. Professor Levi takes the work of Alexander Hamilton, Immanuel Kant, Kenneth Wheare, Ronald Watts, and the like and attempts to arrive at a comprehensive definition of federalism that is not just composed of the "reductive" literature already written. This book operates on the assumption that the end goal of federalism is peace, but not eh peace that Kant talks about when he says the absence of war, but more so a peace that is achieved by preventing war through giving the power to settle conflicts among state entities to a federal authority that acts on the basis of laws.
Professor Levi also looks at the historical aspect of federalism and the historical trend of attempting to achieve peace via federal institutions. The prime example of this is European unification "which represents one of the most important political innovations of the 20th century". He argues that the European Union can be a template for the peaceful co-existence of member state independence. This model is also meant to be extended into the world as a whole as well as a base to begin reforming the United Nations.
Thomas Piketty, French economist, Associate Chair of the Paris School of Economics, Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics, and Professor at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales has written of the income equality gap in his work, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. The central thesis of the book is that the rate of return on capital is higher than economic growth, this results in the concentration of wealth and thus the unequal distribution of wealth. And without direct state intervention in the form of a global progressive wealth tax, democracy itself can be under threat by those who control this wealth.
The proposed tax structure would be on the top 2% and would rise to 80% taxation level. This would prevent the emergence of an oligarchy and a class structure such as was seen in 1800s France and Britain. Without this tax, Piketty has predicted low economic growth and extreme inequality. Furthermore, the current economic theory of reliance on economic activity based on technological advancement is insufficient, as it cannot produce sustained economic growth, and this thus leads to us question where the future of economic opportunity lies.
Andrea Bosco, Professor of Political Science and Chairholder on the History and Theory of European Integration at the University of Florence, is the author of the recently published book June 1940, Great Britain and the First Attempt to Build a European Union. As Britain takes steps away from the European Union, this book is particularly timely, since it looks back to 1940, when Germany was threatening France, and in a desperate move to preserve their fighting forces, Churchill and his cabinet made the offer of a “indissoluble union” to the French government. This was the first offer of a European Union.
More generally, Andrea Bosco looks at the birth of the Federal Union Movement, as well as it transition to a popular movement. Once it obtained the support of the people, the governments of Europe began to take that movement seriously, although there was still some hesitation. And it was against this backdrop that, once the Second World War broke out and the Phony War ended with the beginning of the Blitzkrieg and the fall of France, the British government began to consider a Federal Union as a way to check the power of Germany. Now, in 2017, that Britain is leaving the EU, questions naturally arise regarding the roles of Britain, France, and particularly Germany with regard to the European power structure in the coming years.
In World Order, Henry Kissinger records the events that have shaped the foreign policy of the 21st Century. This book, however, also takes the analysis a step further in that it addresses what Kissinger considers to be the greatest challenges of the 21st Century: how do we build a new world order in which there are substantially differing historical perspectives, escalating conflict and violence, advancements in technology, and extreme ideologies?
Kissinger notes that civilizations throughout history have traditionally considered their own views and principles as universal. China, for example, viewed its emperor as the global monarch; Rome felt that it was surrounded by nothing but barbarians; the United States, his final example, was created from the notion that democracy should be universal. Using these countries (and others) as historical markers, Kissinger takes the reader through history, outlining the events that have shaped the climate of current international affairs and considering what the outcome of it all could be
Esther Schor, a professor of English at Princeton University, has written a book detailing the creation of the universal language, Esperanto. Esperanto is derived from Germanic as well as from the romance languages and was created by Ludovik Lazarus Zamenhof (1859-1917).
Zamenhof was born in Bialystok, which at the time was part of the Russian Empire. The population of his hometown is what drew him to the creation of a universal language. He said that his town "consisted of four diverse elements: Russians, Poles, Germans, and Jews; each spoke a different language and was hostile to the other elements". He htoiught that, by creating a universal language and bridging the most prominent communication barrier, global peace and order would be achieved.
The idea of a universal language is of course highly relevant to considerations of a global political structure. For instance, does a global-scale state require a single, unifying language? If so, is English the necessary default in that regard, or should something more "intentional", like Esperanto, be promoted? Are there cultural downsides to having a unifying lingua franca? And if so, would those downsides be mitigated more effectively by the use of Esperanto than by the use of a language which is associated with the current global superpower?
Amitav Acharya, Professor of International Relations at American University in Washington D.C, has written a book, Why Govern?: Rethinking Demand and Progress in Global Governance about the troubles and future of the world institutions created in the aftermath of the second World War. With the refugee crisis, cyber threats and rising powers, what is the future of global governance? Leading Scholars in the field of International Relations put forward their answers to these tough questions with a detailed analysis of global cooperation.
In this book, Acharya emphasizes the importance of considering the "demand" side of global governance. He also discusses the issue of "fragmentation" with regard to global governance, and suggests that such fragmentation "is not always or necessarily displacing existing international institutions and can be, and in fact is mostly, complementary to them, at least until now." He also notes that "One important finding of this volume is that the US role in the creation of the existing global governance architecture was more limited and less positive, while the contribution of others, not only other Western states, but also developing countries, less appreciated but more substantial and extensive, than usually presented in the traditional literature on global governance. A key implication – for both academic and policymakers – here is to investigate alternative forms of leadership and diverse ways to reform and strengthen global governance."