On World Government: Security, Democracy, Justice
Posted: 12 June 2016
Luis Cabrera, Griffith University
This article departs from form somewhat in presenting the major claims of a monograph in progress, rather than one that has been recently published. In keeping with the spirit of The World State Debate, it is hoped that the preview will contribute to the dialogue on some issues central to the recent resurgence in world government theorizing. The main claim of the monograph is that recent arguments based in security concerns, as well as concerns to ensure democratic representation for all those affected by suprastate decision making, offer at best uncertain ground on which to construct the institutions of world government. A justice-based argument, especially one aimed at expanding the protection of core individual rights through expanding political institutions, should give stronger reason to pursue world government, and stronger reason to think that it could actually emerge and be sustained in the long term. The author welcomes feedback: email@example.com
To put it bluntly, for most of my professional life, which stretches back to the 1960s, debunking notions of world government has been a central part of an education in International Relations.
--Chris Brown (2013, 1)
London School of Economics
and Political Science
As Brown, the noted International Relations scholar implies, world government has for some fifty years been seen by most in mainstream IR and related disciplines as the answer to a question that simply should not be asked. Its flaws as a political-institutional ideal should be so obvious, and its lack of feasibility so clear, that the only appropriate treatment is summary dismissal (see Bull 1977, 253; Rawls 1999, 36; Slaughter 2004, 8; Nussbaum 2006, 312-13; Shapiro 2010, 159-65). Yet, the ills that seem inherently to attend a sovereign states system – devastating war, oppression, vast global poverty and inequality – also seem to lead ineluctably back to the forbidden topic, or at least to questions around the ultimate viability or defensibility of the current global system.
Recently, some leading IR theorists, as well as internationally oriented political theorists, economists, sociologists and others, have begun to embrace instead of reject the challenges posed by questions around an alternative global institutional imaginary. Specifically, they have explored arguments in favor of global integration, or assessed the likelihood it will progress, up to some fully unified global political system exercising significant governing and coercive power over states (Rodrik 2000; Craig 2003; Wendt 2003; Caney 2005, Ch. 5; Deudney 2007; Scheuerman 2011; Goodin 2012; for reviews, see Craig 2008; Weiss 2009; Cabrera 2010).1 In fact, not since the ‘heyday’ period of 1944-50, when prominent scholars, civic and political leaders advocated world state creation as the only means of meeting the terrifying new threat from nuclear weapons (see Einstein 2007; Usborne 1946; Brinton 1948; Booth and Wheeler, 2007, Ch. 7),2 have so many serious thinkers been thinking seriously about a unified world system
The recent accounts have tended to focus on one of three goods that the nation-state is seen as incapable of adequately providing: security, democracy or justice. That is, authors argue that full global integration will be required to adequately
A) secure individuals against external threats, or
B) ensure popular control over collective decision making, or
C) protect the rights of all persons.
The book is structured around these three distinct global integration discourses. My primary intervention is both empirical and normative: I seek to show why an appropriately configured rights-oriented analysis will give the greatest insight into the likelihood that a world government will eventually emerge, and also why it will give strong moral reasons to
advocate such an outcome. Security and democracy, I argue, offer much less certain grounds for both. I defend the following core claims in regard to each category of argument:
A) While the most recent security arguments have made significant leaps in theoretical sophistication, they remain subject to longstanding paradoxes and collective action problems that they likely cannot overcome. A climate-security variant, while it adds some important new variables, will face similar problems, though it could strengthen the case for incremental, long-term integration.
B) The most influential current arguments for integration from a democratic imperative suffer from problems of theoretical incoherence. Some do, however, offer important insights about the feasibility of pursuing some forms of suprastate integration and governance.
C) A rights-based argument is normatively and empirically more robust. In normative terms, this approach offers a coherent and plausible set of claims for expanding the rights protective and promotive functions of state institutions to the regional and ultimately the global level. In empirical terms, a focus on comprehensive rights protections offers two distinct advantages: first, it provides important clarity on how world government should be conceived and how we should measure movement toward it; second, it provides the tools for a sympathetic but significant reconstruction of the leading predictive argument to date for the emergence of world government (Wendt 2003).
2. Elaboration of Core Claims
A) Security Arguments
Security arguments, particularly those focused on the nuclear threat, have dominated the recent literature, just as they did in the 1940s heyday. Nuclear weapons are seen in these accounts as the ultimate game changer in the global system, exploding the myth of state self-sufficiency and casting a deadly shadow over every person on earth. In Daniel Deudney’s words, “For the foreseeable future, and perhaps forever, the physical survival of vast numbers of human beings, and much of the nonhuman life on earth, rests upon the adequacy of the system to restrain the large-scale use of nuclear weapons” (2007, 245). Despite the end of the Cold War, the threat is said to remain so terrible from these weapons (Deudney 2007; Craig 2003; see Scheuerman 2011), or from a combination of nuclear weapons, international terrorism and related threats (Etzioni 2004; Pojman 2006), that world government must be created.
A central claim of the monograph is that a sole or overarching focus on such physical security variables is likely to lead to a theoretical impasse at best. It may, in fact, account for much of the tendency to push world government arguments to the fringes of academic dialogue. There is no doubting the importance of security from violence to human well-being. It is doubtful, however, that world government is the appropriate solution to problems around security, or at least that it is the immediate or proximate solution. I raise concerns – in standard world government terminology – about the feasibility of the security path to full global integration, and just as importantly, about the desirability or ultimate moral defensibility of making security variables dominant in the argument.
In terms of feasibility, a focus on physical security has tended to lock the approach into one of two paradoxes. In the first, it is presumed that the solution to especially nuclear insecurity is the near-term creation of a very powerful, possibly very hierarchical, global leviathan capable of neutralizing the nuclear threat. This was Einstein’s solution (1946), and it is echoed to some extent in more recent accounts (see Craig 2003, 166-72; Etzioni 2004, 106; Ferguson 2004; Pojman 2006). The cure (paradoxically) may well be worse than the disease. Relatively rapid integration intended to secure individuals against violent death from nuclear weapons could also lead to endemic secessionist and related conflict, imperilling many who had been relatively secure (see Brinton 1948, 121-26; Waltz, 1986: 109).
We can note here Deudney’s counter-claim (2007, 276-77) that the potential for tyranny, or concentrated hierarchy, would not be so great as many critics presume, in part because a world state would not need a foreign policy. It would not face the myriad external threats that he sees as promoting concentrated state hierarchy and domestic threats to liberty. Yet, while Deudney’s proposed ‘nuclear restraint union’, discussed below, would be far less powerful than the global leviathan seen by many others as necessary, the same objection could be applicable: even if a limited world state would not face those sorts of external pressures, it would seem likely that internal secession pressures, or possibly tendencies for sub-global governing units to defect from nuclear control agreements, could lead to very similar tendencies toward concentrated hierarchy from global-level governing organs. That would seem particularly likely, again, in the case of any relatively rapidly constructed global institutions whose primary aim would be to control security threats.
A second paradox, or at least clear tension, concerns the means of overcoming collective action problems in creating a world government capable of controlling or eliminating the nuclear threat. This would apply both to the powerful global security government and to such schemes as Deudney’s restraint union where, among other measures, states’ nuclear launch codes would be held by a global authority which would first have to approve any strikes (2007, 254-59; see also Herz 1959; Schell 1984; Cerutti 2007, 206-10; cf. Booth and Wheeler 1992). Deudney is pessimistic that such an outcome, however clearly necessary, will be possible through an ‘enlightened consensus’ among states. “More likely … is the scenario of ‘after the deluge, the covenant’” (2007, 264; see Craig 2003, 172-73), meaning a nuclear war capable of catalysing collective action.
Overall, the claim is decidedly not that the nuclear weapons threat need not be addressed. It is that security world government, especially one created relatively rapidly, is not the appropriate means of addressing it. Rather, a more incremental feasibility path focused on economic and rights-based ideational forms of global integration is seen as the more promising route to ultimately controlling the threat, along with addressing other, more comprehensive threats to individuals’ vital interests, on which more below.
B) Global Democracy Arguments
Arguments in this category are based in a democratic imperative to integrate above the state (Held 1995; 2004; Archibugi 2008; Marchetti 2008; Abizadeh 2012). We can include here
3 In the same article, Wendt suggests that, if states already were in a condition of genuine collective security, where they observed both duties of non-aggression and duties of mutual aid toward one another, ‘painful global memories’ of a regional nuclear war (2003, 523) could be one factor preventing them from falling back into non-collective arrangements and driving them toward world state formation, though it would not be the only one.
Alexander Wendt’s contribution to this forum (Wendt 2014) could be placed here as well. Such arguments offer important insights but ultimately suffer from a core problem of theoretical incoherence. This is traceable to their foundational view of democracy as a means of extending individual ‘self-legislation,’ or autonomy. That is, autonomy, if understood as living under laws of our own choosing, is enabled only for those on the winning side of a democratic decision, or perhaps for those who do not find themselves in a persistent minority. This undercuts the rationale for extending democracy (as autonomy enabler) beyond the state. If majority rule per se does not necessarily enable or adequately respect individual autonomy, then some diminishment of autonomy associated with processes of globalization (Held 2004; Archibugi 2008), or coercive boundary enforcement (Abizadeh 2012), cannot so readily be cited as reason to extend democracy. I argue for an alternative to justifying democratic governance, grounded primarily – though not solely – in its instrumental value in promoting core rights protections. This also should give reason to extend participatory boundaries as a means of extending protections to more persons, per Chapter 8 below.
C) Rights-Based Arguments
This approach is largely instrumental. The aim is first to establish that some robust set of individual rights should be viewed as obtaining globally, and then to demonstrate ways in which the structure of the current global system contributes to an ongoing underfulfillment of rights. Integration, up to the creation of participatory governing institutions with fully global scope, is prescribed as a means of realizing and sustaining rights protections for all persons in the long term (Cabrera 2014; see Caney 2005; Pogge 2008; Cabrera 2010; see also Hurrell 2007, Ch. 12). I seek to advance the approach significantly in Chapter 5 and throughout book by demonstrating that demands for equal rights recognition should be (in normative terms) and very likely will be (in empirical terms) at the center of any comprehensive global political integration.
In normative terms, I offer in Chapter 5 a detailed case against seeing global moral duties as fulfilled when all persons’ most basic rights are reliably secured (Miller 2007; Brock 2009). I argue for the pursuit of robust forms of global equal opportunity, including much freer movement of persons in an integrating global system. In empirical terms, making rights protection and recognition the key variable of interest provides two important analytical gains. First, it again shifts the focus from ‘whether’ a world state could emerge, meaning whether any set of global institutions could pass the threshold of controlling a legitimate global monopoly on collective violence, to ‘how much’ world government there is. The latter frame posits a continuum measuring the governing capacity of institutions and the range of protective functions they perform. Both state governing capacity (control) and legitimacy, it is argued, are more appropriately measured according to the provision of comprehensive rights protections. By extension, nearness to global government should be measured both by institutional coordination and supranational compliance, and by the rights-protective capacity of the integrating system.
Second, a rights-centered approach offers analytical gains in discerning a plausible path to global integration. I engage and critique approaches which would see the development of a global collective identity as the key to promoting global political integration (Wendt 1999; 2003; Etzioni 2001, vii-lii; 2004; Scheuerman 2011). I offer an alternative understanding, where collective identity formation is presumed to be significant, but not necessarily on the model of developing a ‘global nationalism.’ I offer in Chapter 8 a sympathetic reconstruction of Wendt’s (2003) predictive argument for world government. My account gives less emphasis to national belonging and more to the causal importance of demands for individual rights recognition, including demands for inclusion in rights-protective institutions, in the evolution and possible comprehensive integration of the global system (see Reus-Smit 2013). Rights thus give reason to advocate specific types of suprastate integration, and to think that integration would be spurred by demands for rights recognition and related protections.
Further details on each part of the argument are presented here, by chapter:
Contents and Chapter Summaries
Table of Contents
Part I: Arguing for Global Integration: Security, Democracy, Justice
Preface and introduction
1. World State Building
2. Security Against External Threats I: Nuclear Weapons and Terrorism
3. Security Against External Threats II: Climate Change
4. Cosmopolitan Democracy: Integration to Restore Popular Control
5. Cosmopolitan Justice: Integration to Secure Individual Rights
6. The Ostensible Moral Distinctiveness of the State
Part II: Moving Toward Global Integration
7. There Is No State: Conceptualizing and Measuring Global Government
8. The Sources of Globoskepticism
9. Recognition and the ‘Inevitability’ of the World State
10. The European Union as Living Laboratory
Part I: Arguing for Global Integration: Security, Democracy, Justice
Chapter 1: World State Building The central claim of this chapter is that while, with the possible exception of the immediate-post World War II period, world government has not received explicit support from policy makers and the main stream of international theorists, the need for replicating state-like functions at the suprastate level has long been implicitly recognized. While some would see such projects as retaining a fundamentally inter-state character (Mazower 2012), I argue that it is plausible to see them as embodying key aspects of de facto “world state building.” That is, policy makers have sought especially in the past century to mitigate the harms anarchy tends to induce, and to promote the realization of many of the social goods the domestic state is now expected to provide, through the creation of multilateral organizations, suprastate regional organizations in Europe, Latin America, Africa and elsewhere; international courts, and ministry-like international welfare, security and economic apparatus which shadow, however palely in some cases, the structure and functions of the domestic state. Thus, even as the world state concept is rejected, pragmatic though generally piecemeal efforts at world state building are undertaken. Such efforts face familiar problems with assurance in a system that is still mostly anarchic, and their operation is constrained by the interests of powerful states, but the fact that they so often seek to go beyond simple coordination and cooperation between states implicitly reinforces world government advocates’ claims that there is need to do so. This discussion sets the stage for Chapter 7, where I offer a novel framework for conceptualizing and measuring ‘how much’ world government exists. In this chapter I show also how the world government literature, dating at least to Dante Alighieri (ca. 1313; 1949), has both anticipated the need for and appearance of such suprastate efforts. It also has highlighted key challenges that will arise in promoting even the halting and piecemeal global integration thus far seen (for historical accounts, see Woolley 1988; Heater 1996; Baratta 2004). I argue for the continuing salience of some early arguments for integration, including those of Dante, Jeremy Bentham (1789), and, in his more global-integrative mood, Immanuel Kant (1784; see also Bartelson 2009). I then show how prevalent, even before the heyday period of 1944-50, were regional or global integration arguments grounded in a need to provide functional solutions to shared problems arising from state interdependence, shrinking physical and governing space, and increasing security vulnerabilities (see Laski 1925, Ch. 11). Later heyday arguments, as well as some offered from the 1950s and 1960s (Russell 1959; Clark and Sohn 1966
Falk and Mendlovitz, eds., 1966; see also Suganami 1989) continued the practice of identifying such problems and ranging in front of global policy makers – though arguably not so far in front that their proposed institutional solutions were wholly different in kind. Further, such arguments laid down the tracks on which virtually all current accounts continue to run, often, I argue, to their detriment, as in some veins of nuclear one-worldism.
Chapter 2: Security Against External Threats I: Nuclear Weapons and Terrorism: Security arguments are shown here to identify one of the most important threats the human species has ever faced, in nuclear weapons (Craig 2003; Etzioni 2004, Deudney 2007; Scheuerman 2011). As noted, however, some of these arguments offer solutions that could constitute a cure worse than the disease, depending on the timing and nature of global institutional creation. Or, familiar barriers to collective action could render such arguments non-starters. Further, there are reasons to think that meaningful reductions in nuclear weapons arsenals and proliferation can be achieved through trust-building and iterative forms of cooperation well short of full global integration (Booth and Wheeler 2007; Wheeler 2009; see Axelrod 1984; Wendt 2009, 345-49). Arguments focused on terrorism (Pojman 2006; see Tännsjö 2008) likewise identify significant problems, but again ones for which a world state is not the clear solution – especially a very powerful world state created in the near term, as advocated in some recent accounts. To support the theory-based arguments against rapid security integration, I draw on the historical experience of European integration, whose mid-century architects eschewed calls for direct security integration in favor of strategically oriented economic integration intended to achieve the same security result.
Chapter 3: Security Against External Threats II: Climate Change: This threat has received relatively little attention in the recent world government resurgence (though see Cerutti 2007; Stix 2012). Some have called for new international organizations or forms of global governance to meet it (Esty 1994; Stavins 1997; see Verweij, et. al., 2006; Hurrell 2007, 216-36, 293-94), but overall the nuclear threat remains dominant in the security world government literature. I argue here that climate change should be seen as a common threat that is potentially as serious as that from nuclear weapons. I also argue that it could in fact give stronger reason than the nuclear threat to pursue forms of deep global coordination and some integration, given the high likelihood that its effects will be felt over vast areas of the globe. Unlike nuclear weapons, whose effects are expected to be felt only after catastrophic failure of deterrence and control mechanisms, the effects of climate change are being felt and are expected to intensify (Bulkeley 2013). Here, as in the nuclear one-world scenario, there would be strong incentives to defect from any global proposal for relatively rapid integration to meet the threat (see Ostrom 2010). In a more incremental approach, however, the common threat from climate change could add a powerful, self-interest based incentive to moral reasons identified below in favor of pursuing deep coordination or formal integration between states, regionally and ultimately globally.
Chapter 4: Cosmopolitan Democracy: Integration to Restore Popular Control: Arguments from ‘cosmopolitan democracy’ highlight ways in which national polities have ostensibly lost democratic control in an age of intense globalization and state interdependence. Individuals are seen as increasingly affected by decisions in which they have inadequate or no democratic say. Binding democratic institutions are said to be needed at the regional and global levels in order to enable all persons to give adequate input into the decisions which affect their lives. Numerous commentators here offer long-term institutional aims either approximating world government (Held 1995; 2004; Abizadeh 2012), or which are straightforwardly identified with a federalist world state (Marchetti 2008; cf. Shapiro 2010, Ch. 5), while various others argue for some binding but less powerful world parliament (Monbiot 2004; Falk and Strauss 2011). Questions can be raised in either case around whether the emphasis placed on enabling individual autonomy through extending collective decision making can be justified. As noted above, such an approach faces problems of coherence, in that majority rule cannot be said to clearly enhance the autonomy of persistent democratic minorities. An alternative, rights-based, instrumental approach to trans-state democracy is outlined and shown to avoid such coherence issues. It also provides a clear, rights-protective rationale for extending participatory rule, and it is better able to answer some standard objections to trans-state or global democracy, in particular around setting the boundaries of democratic inclusion and setting participatory procedures.
Chapter 5: Cosmopolitan Justice: Integration to Secure Individual Rights Here, the overarching aspiration is securing distributive justice, or comprehensive rights more broadly, for individuals. Some, including the present author (Cabrera 2004; 2010) are explicit that a fully integrated democratic world government is the long-term institutional aim, as the set of institutions capable of providing the most extensive rights coverage to individuals, and achieving the fullest compliance from individuals with corresponding duties. Specifically, it would have the greatest potential for overcoming the biases against fully recognizing the rights of non-compatriots, among other challenges, that arise naturally in a ‘separate but equal’ sovereign states system, on which more below. Some others (Caney 2005, Ch. 5; 2006; Pogge 2008, Ch. 7), resist the world government, or especially world state, descriptor while still advocating extensive global integration, while some have offered proposals for more narrowly mandated institutions to effect distributive transfers or promote specific rights protections (Buchanan 2004; Nussbaum 2005, 216; Habermas, 2006). In each case, some institutional transformation at the regional or global level is seen as necessary to adequately address severe poverty and other threats to individual well-being. The reasons for action offered are not primarily based in self-interest, but in moral duties to other persons, in particular the severely poor globally.
In this chapter, I advance the cosmopolitan justice approach by detailing a rights-based case for specific forms of global equality of opportunity, including free movement for individuals within an integrating system. I show how such claims arise from widely recognized rights against unjust discrimination, and why they should be taken seriously. After elaborating and defending them in detail against critics of global equal opportunity (Miller 2007; Brock 2009), I show how a full recognition of such rights adds considerable force to the rights-based argument for global integration, and indeed how such an argument for full integration likely depends on the force of claims for equal opportunity. Also, per below, an emphasis on rights recognition strengthens an analysis of how world government could actually evolve. Finally, a rights-based approach, which will naturally emphasize checks on and dispersal of governing power, is shown here to able to address familiar objections around the potential for tyranny or oppression in a fully integrated system.
Chapter 6: The Ostensible Moral Distinctiveness of the Nation-State Many recent commentators have argued on normative grounds in the opposite direction, against comprehensive global transformation and for the continuing practical and moral relevance of the state. Here, the domestic realm is seen as the only appropriate site in which to apply strong principles of distributive justice. This is because of the ostensibly unique ways in which states coerce individuals (Blake 2001; Nagel 2005), constitute morally distinctive sites for practices of reciprocity among them (Sangiovanni 2007; Risse 2012), or otherwise provide morally valuable contexts that are seen as not replicable at the regional or especially the global level (Rawls 1999; Miller 2007). Thus, efforts to make the global system more just or decent should be focused on helping less-affluent states develop the requisite domestic institutions to address poverty, corruption and related ills. They also should, it is argued, be focused on incremental changes to the existing states system, such as working through the World Trade Organization toward the elimination of rich-country subsidies to their own producers, and reforming international trade in resources (Wenar 2011).
This chapter challenges both the moral and practical claims offered, engaging in particular with Mathias Risse’s On Global Justice (2012), which offers a highly elaborated set of arguments for state moral distinctiveness. I argue that when such claims are grounded in current coercion or reciprocity, they fall into tautology. Outsiders are told by insiders effectively that, ‘Our entitlement to benefit from exclusive coercion and reciprocity with one another is based in the fact of our exclusive coercion by and reciprocity with one another.’ Yet, from these present facts, we cannot discern whether the initial circumscription of membership – the line drawn separating distributive insiders from outsiders – was justifiable. Nor can we determine conclusively whether ongoing exclusions from the benefits of justly exercised coercion and reciprocity are themselves just. I explore the full implications of this problem, concluding that it severely undercuts a wide range of claims for state moral distinctiveness, and thus for much of the case against trans-state or global principles of justice – and against the pursuit of global integration to promote global justice.
Part II: Moving Toward Global Integration
Chapter 7: There Is No State: Conceptualizing and Measuring Global Government In the usual Weberian rendering, what is characteristic of the state is that it controls a monopoly on the legitimate means of collective or organized violence. In this chapter, I explore the significance of this understanding of the state, and of internal sovereignty, for theorizing world government. The standard definition implies two key claims: that state control comes in monopoly form, and that it is legitimate. I argue here that genuine monopoly control is a chimera, and that legitimacy is most appropriately measured in terms of conformity to fundamental rights standards (see Buchanan 2004; see also Reus-Smit 1999). 4 Thus, whether the subject is a set of governing institutions at the domestic, regional or global level, the question is not ‘whether’ or when they will comprise a state, but always ‘how much’ legitimate governing capacity they exercise.
First, sovereign state control is always ever a project, “an on-going political program designed to produce and reproduce a monopoly on the potential for organized violence” (Wendt 1999, 9). States in the current system often fall far short of such full control. They face competition from armed guerrilla groups or tribal warlords, groups using terror tactics, some forms of organized crime. If organized violence is understood more broadly to encompass ‘systemic’ violence, then the state monopoly is tenuous at best in, for example, relatively impoverished urban areas of even some very affluent states, where the daily threat of violence is endemic. While I will concur with Wendt that “the potential for organized violence has been highly concentrated in the hands of states for some time” (1999, 9), I also show how the ever-present gap between potential and actual monopoly problematizes any rigidly threshold-based conception of ‘stateness,’ including world stateness.
Second, the legitimacy of the control states exercise or seek to is often subject to challenge, both in terms of the appropriate overall grounding for legitimacy, and the legitimacy of any particular set of state actions. I argue that the legitimate authority of rules or laws, and the coercion used to enforce them, should be measured by their compliance with fundamental rights standards. This ties back to the critique of global democracy approaches in Chapter 4 above, where laws would be legitimated by some democratic majoritarian process. To highlight further problems with a strongly majoritarian approach, I take up issues around civil disobedience, where legitimacy arguably can be ‘legitimately’ challenged through refusal to submit to state control.
Overall, I argue, the answer to the question of how much world government there is depends on a) measurements of the capacity of suprastate institutions to set agendas, promulgate rules and obtain compliance with them (see Fukuyama 2004, Ch. 1), and b) the functional scope of such capacities, in particular as concern fundamental rights. Thus, ‘how much’ world government there is will be closely tied to suprastate institutions’ recognition, protection and promotion of individual rights. To move toward the development of a robust such measurement rubric, the chapter draws on recent empirical scholarship around the proliferation of regional trade agreements, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations (Hooghe and Marks 2012; Koppell 2010; see Laursen, ed., 2010), as well as treatments of global legal constitutionalization (Dunoff and Trachtman, eds., 2009; Cassese, ed., 2011) and world society (Buzan 2004), and state compliance within international human rights regimes (Simmons 2009; Hafner-Burton and Tsutsui 2005). Each contributes to the development of a measure of the thickness and extensiveness of rights-salient authoritative coordination and compliance capacity in the current global system.
Chapter 8: The Sources of Globoskepticism: This chapter seeks to take an important step beyond the standard feasibility claims offered by world government advocates (Tamir 2000; Craig 2003, 169-73; Etzioni 2004, Ch. 13; Yunker 2010, Ch. 5; Scheuerman 2011, Ch. 6). It does so through engaging the literature on sources of opposition to regional integration and some forms of global economic integration. In feasibility terms, I first offer reasons to think that it is neither logically nor empirically absurd to advocate global political integration. If that can be demonstrated, then it also will not be absurd to explore why so relatively few appear now to support world government creation. I then seek to identify the most important sources of opposition or resistance to integration. I turn first to findings on the sources of Euroskepticism, or negative attitudes by political elites and ordinary citizens toward European Union integration (Leconte 2010; see Hooghe 2007). I also examine some empirical literature on negative attitudes toward international trade liberalization (Hiscox 2006). In both, I focus on three categories of variables that should be strongly salient to globoskepticism: elite framing of issues, media framing, and education as it relates to exclusive national identity. Insights from studies focused on these variables, as well as from more general recent findings in social theory and psychology (Kunovich 2009; de Zavala, et al. 2009), are applied to an exploration of some possible sources of globoskepticism. Specifically, they enrich an analysis of domestic biases which naturally arise and are reinforced within a sovereign states system. These include in particular an electoral or stakeholder bias, where domestic leaders have strong incentives to tend to the interests of their own constituents first; and an own-case bias, where obligations to outsiders are naturally discounted in a system where domestic polities are the ultimate judges of their own cases in terms of distributive and other obligations. These constitute constraints that must be understood and ultimately addressed by global social entrepreneurs advocating integration, especially those arguing from moral cosmopolitan premises.
Chapter 9: Recognition and the ‘Inevitability’ of the World State: This chapter builds on the discussion of the extent of current world government, as well as obstacles to integration, through engaging evolutionary accounts which would see full integration as the natural end point of global political and economic development (see Rodrik 2000; Peregrine, Ember and Ember, 2004; Carneiro, 2004). In particular, it addresses Wendt’s (2003) influential and provocative argument that the development of a world state is inevitable. Wendt argues that, just as individual demands for recognition will lead to collective identity formation and ultimately the formation of a sovereign state, so will recognition demands from state ‘persons’ ultimately lead to a global collective identity and a global state.5 The chapter explores the Hegelian foundations of Wendt’s argument, engaging with two important presumptions. The first is that collective identity formation at the global level is a necessary prerequisite for the development of a unified global institutional structure (see also Etzioni 2004; Scheuerman 2011).6 I engage with some recent literature on collective identity and democratic transitions to highlight possible concerns with such claims, though not necessarily decisive objections.
Wendt’s second presumption is more essential. It is that the collective identities which drive suprastate integration are fundamentally national ones, and that strong national identity must be accommodated even in the ultimate world state, if it is to be a stable global institutional end stage. As Wendt asserts, “Far from suppressing nationalism, a world state will only be
possible if it embraces it” (2003, 527). I highlight some empirical and closely related normative challenges to this nationalist social ontology, and I propose an alternative, more fundamentally individualist view of the global social system. The latter approach is cognizant of the importance of ascriptive groupings, especially ethnic and religious minorities, women and others facing systematic exclusions. It gives, however, more empirical emphasis to the demands for rights recognition by individuals, singly and as members of more fluid an overlapping groups. Further, I seek to show that non-national identities – e.g., those based in shared values, can and likely would play more of a motive role in moving the global system to the end point than in Wendt’s account. I also work to show that such alternate sources of collective identity or solidarity can and especially should play a central such role if the process is to lead toward a genuinely stable end point and achieve its implicit but central normative aim of promoting social equality, including at the global level. Specifically, I posit that there is significant room for enabling and encouraging global social entrepreneurs to promote identification with shared values – including individual rights, equal treatment, democratic participation -- across and above states. I show how a nationally oriented framework could actually provide incentives for entrepreneurs to promote a stringent nationalism that is at odds with the emphasis on social equality, both within the group and externally. A nationally oriented approach, that is, could promote oppression and instability rather than social equality and stability. Finally, I argue for more attention to the potential significance of suprastate regions to global integration than they are generally afforded in Wendt’s account.
Chapter 10: The European Union as Living Laboratory The book does not close with a rehearsal of standard world government objections and responses to them. The most salient objections will have been addressed in the natural course of argument above, and little more would be gained through some exercise in waving away through brief counter-claims what
are likely to be enormous challenges to deep and expansive global integration. That approach, arguably epitomized by Clark and Sohn’s (1966) treatise, is what appears to have soured many in Chris Brown’s generation of IR scholars on the concept of world government (see Keohane 2012, 5). Instead, I seek to present here a fully contextualized discussion of challenges, problems and possibilities that arise in actually achieving and sustaining suprastate integration. Thus, the central claim here is that, for the student of world government, the European Union is essential reading. This is not because it is an emerging superpower “United States of Europe” (Reid 2004) or “European Superstate” (Morgan 2005). Nor is it primarily of interest as a “faltering project” (Habermas 2009). Rather, it is a living laboratory for the study of achieving, sustaining and consolidating deep and appropriately rights protective integration between states, and for exploring which lessons learned may travel to the global level.
Building on the earlier analysis of euro- and globoskepticism, I discuss here ways in which European integration gives an invaluable window into the challenges that invariably will arise to the pooling of sovereignty between states, to lifting barriers to intensive economic integration, and to promoting meaningful forms of political integration that also appropriately recognize and promote individual rights protections. The dynamics behind euro- and globoskepticism give reason to think that deep integration always will face such challenges, and an analysis cognizant of them will identify ongoing points of tension or weakness in sustaining and deepening integration. Studying the challenges that the European Union has faced and continues to face, and the ones it is likely to face under pressures of outward expansion and uneven economic development, gives important lessons that should travel to the global level. Also important to examine are EU ‘integration by stealth,’ or the deliberate focus by integration architects on functional rather than political integration, with the expectation that functional spillover would produce an ever-deeper and ultimately broadly politically integrated project, including ultimate political control of the coercive apparatus at suprastate level (see Majone 2009). The EU’s own efforts to promote integration in other regions also are instructive, as are the continuing steep challenges it faces in developing a cohesive common foreign and security policy.
Overall, I argue, there are important, near-term lessons to be taken for global integration from the EU’s cautious, at times ‘stealth’ approach to deepening the project, though this raises inevitable concerns about democratic deficits. Those, I argue, point toward the need for a complementary analysis such as the modified Wendtian approach offered in the previous chapter, emphasizing the importance to a feasibility model of demands for rights recognition and possibilities for developing more broadly shared, though non-national, identities or orientations. Rights recognition in turn brings us back to normative concerns, and the importance of comprehensive democratization and the development of strong accountability mechanisms at all governing levels, to ensure the protection of individual rights and at the same time the core stability and sustainability of the system.
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