Should the world be run by one government?
The last time I’ve seen the world government in action was in Luc Besson’s famous movie, ‘The Fifth Element’. One of my top 30 films, by the way.
I have to admit that, at least in this case, it was effective. In the end. Though you might argue that it was Bruce Willis’ character’s good luck and extraordinary skills that helped to save the world from metaphysical evil coming from deep space every five thousand years. At least, the world government has given him resources to accomplish his mission.
When it comes to real life, I’m not so sure about it. Right now I’m on board the plane bound to Cyprus for a family vacation and, sure, to see my RUSUK fellows Roger & Dean. So I’m thinking now: how can one government effectively rule places so different and so far apart as Russia, UK, US and Northern Cyprus??
Back in my high-school and student years I’ve been a huge fan of science fiction. The idea of a world government, or even a galactical government, is no stranger to sci-fi universe. By the way, it is split in around half in those books: maybe fifty percent share of ‘good’ governments, such as in Strugatsky brothers’ classic novels (‘the Noon of the Humanity’), with another fifty per cent of ‘bad’ governments, mostly in Western science fiction.
The Soviet futuristic sci-fi novels basically describe the world government as something like a good cop, gently and wisely ruling the world (or worlds) for the benefit of all. Sure, these are the traces of the Soviet paternalistic tradition showing up on the sci-fi pages: the authorities always know it better. The future in the Soviet sci-fi is bright, it is often portrayed like an ideal Soviet Union: modernized & wealthy land of plenty. Sure, the Soviet Union, with its food and cloth (and everything else) shortages, has never been this magic kingdom, but tried its best.
The Western sci-fi experience in many cases refers to George Orwell’s nightmares from ‘1984’ and the Big Brother issues. My own life experience proposes, too, that the less government (even the mighty global one), the better. The 1990s in Russia were the time of freedom and creativity with the government playing a very small role in everyday life. I’m not saying the idea of government is bad: without it we would sink in chaos. We need its functionality but we don’t need it to jump into our beds and pockets.
This is how I’ve come to the conclusion that the world shouldn’t be ruled by one government because it won’t be efficient. In fact, to think otherwise is pure science-fiction.
Should the world be run by one government?
We have tried One World Government several times — and it’s failed every time. League of Nations, The UN, even The EU have attempted to bring a number countries together in some unifying vision for a better world. All have failed.
I believe there are two reasons for this:
- People are people and some of us crave power. I’ll use the EU’s Donald Tusk as an example. Here’s an ambitious power climber and when the EU faced a serious crisis in the form of immigration, his answer wasn’t that his majesty needed to listen to the pathetic little people; nope, what the people need is more EU power. Dufus… Don’t forget to wave goodbye when the UK slams the door.
- There is no single unifying vision for the planet. This is related to number one as it benefits a few powerful leaders to put out a message pointed at a subset of local people. We are victims and must stick together in the face of (insert threat here). Better to be President of a sovereign State than governor of a Provence; even if we are talking about the exact same place.
Given that I believe the above, the only thing that I imagine would create the environment for a single world government would be a big time visit by ET. I don’t mean some lame flying saucer over a random passenger jet, I mean a big damn ship over UN headquarters and a request for a chat.
That would electrify the planet and galvanize the people, IMHO. I’m also quite sure that current leaders would fight having a single government. No matter, it would for the first time give the entire planet a reason to ignore the Trumps & Tusks and provide a single vision: one voice.
Would this be good for the world? You betcha. Would it eliminate war? Not a chance. But it would make it a rare event; I would use the experience of Western Europe and North America after the close of WWII as my evidence. Seventy some-odd years and not a single war: Not a bad record. This zone of friends & allies are about as close as you can get without actually having a single government.
Such a government would have to be carefully designed to protect the rights of everyone. National identity would also need to be protected. I also think if you have something like the EU model of open immigration, the entire tropical zone of the whole planet would just pack-up and move North.
We would finally have a way to muzzle multi-nationals. They would have to pay taxes and workers (a fair wage) for the first time. They couldn’t fire everybody, run off to China, then sell their widgets back to the nation they just abandoned.
So, yeah, I really do favor a single world government, I just doubt I’ll live to see one.
One World Government
There are several reasons why a world government would be advantageous to most of the planet’s population, (like combining technologies and expertise, standardizing judicial and environmental laws, no lasting wars etc) but it will likely never happen. Because the obstacles in place seem insurmountable at this time.
I have very little faith in human nature, and even less in the long-term future of the human race. Most people now are too easily led, and don’t use their brains properly. Hence the huge rise in extremism world wide – I have just learnt, only while writing this, that according to one respected academic, Shawn Rosenberg, democracy is dying. Why? Democracy is hard work, he says, and millions of frustrated voters have turned to right-wing populists. And will continue to do so.
If that is not depressing enough, consider the potential disadvantages of a One World Government. Why should the human language, for instance, be allowed to be homogenised? As a society, the world’s population would need to be integrated, merged and amalgamated – the loss of centuries of culture and individual identities, particularly in third world countries, would be gone. Forever. How would you ever deal with the different religious and other cultural beliefs in the first place?
What is to say that the One World Government would be well led and managed? How would corruption and other issues be dealt with? There would be nothing and nobody to hold it to account.
I would also worry that the Earth’s police force would have a power completely unprecedented in the planet’s history. And history will assure us all of what extreme power does to people…..
The assumption is that if there is only one government for all the people, migration would not be a problem. Everyone would have free movement. Except that is a problem, because most of the popular cities of the world would be completely overrun with people. Overpopulation will be endemic.
My last point is to compare a One World Government with communism in its purest sense. If you lived in Poland, or other Eastern Block countries in Europe in the 70s and 80s, everything in day-to-day life was inefficient. Why? Say you needed a plumber to fix a leak. Why would a plumber rush out to your property? He will get the same meagre salary whether he is the best and most efficient plumber in the world, or the worst.
It’s that lack of competition around the world that I believe would see progress being dampened down. When countries compete against each other, technological development speeds up as all governments try to get “one-up” on their neighbours and competitors. Look at the Cold War and Space Race, World War Two.
Think about China in the Late Imperial era – while Western Europe was constantly squabbling with various disputes over time, it was also advancing technologically pretty damn quickly. Much more advancement than a unified, centralised massive country that saw little effort in terms of science and exploration.
Which rather nullifies my opening sentence, so I think I will rest my case right here. It won’t happen.