Global Goverance is not Global Government

December 10, 2008

This post was originally a response to this article, which I found on Digg.  It is on the issue of global governance and global government, which I find fascinating.  So, here goes.


Nobody really reads this blog at all, but I do have one beef with this article that I would like to lay out.  Perhaps by writing it down, I may better understand my own position on the issue.

The author assumes that “Global Government” and “Global Governance” are one and the same, but that is frankly untrue. (Or at the very least, not a consensus agreement among those in international relations, philosophy, etc.) There is a prolonged argument among theorists whether the two terms are interchangeable, or whether “Global Governance” (defined by thinkers who find a difference between the two as any global regulatory framework, independent of a central government) is possible without a state.

When I was in college, I remember debating a professor on this point, and defending the thesis that Global Governance would lead to Global Government, but that the transition would be slow enough that it would occur democratically, through treaties between nation-states, international business networks, and non-governmental organizations. I went on to argue that this transition, should it be chosen willingly by those affected, is not a guaranteed evil. At least to me, it is conceivable that a global federation of co-dependent states, or even a centralized global government, could be both free and open, BUT ONLY IF THE CITIZENRY ACT TO MAKE IT SO.

I still believe that some form of Global Governance (of which Global Government is but one variety) will eventually come to pass. As the article brings up, the issues facing humanity are larger than any one government is capable of dealing with. If such issues truly do threaten the survival of our species, or if inter-national relationships become beneficial to the point of overcoming of their deficiencies, then we will likely see the rise of some form of Global Governance.

To conclude  – Global Governance is likely going to occur at some point in the future of humanity, provided we don’t die first. That said, the form that this governance system will take is entirely up to the inhabitants of Earth to decide. Fascist and unfree societies do not come into existence without the support (tacit or otherwise) of the citizenry. Similarly, no Global Governance, and certainly no Global Government, can be created without the consent of the governed. If we take on those in power, if we become the media, if we are willing to fight for that which we hold dear, there is no reason that Global Governance (or Government) must destroy rights and suppress freedom any more than existing nations do.

Now, if you think existing institutions already repress freedoms to an intolerable extent, then the task is more arduous, but ultimately the goal is the same – to create a system where the rights and freedoms of all are protected from those who would seek to deny them, without itself denying these same freedoms.  The line is a delicate one, indeed.


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