World Government – necessary and inevitable | Portal Jurídico Investidura - Direito

World Government – necessary and inevitable

World Government – necessary and inevitable



Francisco César Pinheiro Rodrigues*



(Click Here to access the debate about “World Government”)


The title of the present essay might provoke skeptical laughter in the arena of International Public Law and among experienced scholars of international relations. But they are intellectuals, who at present hold the attention of only a small number of sophisticated readers with their academic writings. If the need and urgency argued here prove to be true, they will be the voluntary or involuntary “obstetricians” of a new world order.  The new world “baby” is being announced via nausea, strange “famines” and other alterations in the behavior of old mother Earth, who is a bit old for new concepts and worn out with ideological illusions, the discoverers of dynamite, endless conflicts, uncertainties and the very concrete physical suffering of her less favored children.


This essay intends to show that we are nearing the birth of this world reorganization, long in the works, and a bit disguised, as if it were the result of an illicit relationship.  I say this with no intentions of literary shock value.  Amateur “midwife” notwithstanding, a simple reading of the newspapers reveals that the fetus is moving in the political, social and economic bowels of our planet, kicking away in the form of unemployment, non-payable government debts, environmental pollution, global warming, concern with future water and food shortages, uncontrolled population growth, commercial wars, preventive wars, disrespect for the United Nations, the arrogance of a certain rich country, terrorism, and fraudulent accounting manipulations by the large corporations, organized crime, etc. 


If the progenitors of the future child – governments in general – out of ignorance or fear of what is growing in the tormented belly ask “Will it be a monster?”   Whether they acknowledge their paternity or not, is not important.  The fetus is bloody.  It would be better though for them to begin to exchange ideas rather than bullets, germs and radiation to prepare the crèche and swaddling clothes for the child, who once the pangs of childbirth are over, will bring them only happiness; or at least a preponderance of happiness over the old routine of suffering.   Humanity wants and deserves peace and work, something that it has never fully achieved under this disordered world structure.  This is what we will try to demonstrate.  Since we are abusing biological comparisons, we could say that in any evolved organism, the liver doesn’t “fight” with the kidneys or other organs; the brain doesn’t martyr the skin – especially if it is darker – and everyone harmoniously “obeys” (except in cases of disease)  the commands of the pituitary gland and the nervous system.    In the so-called “ concert of nations”, what we see least is a harmonious “ concert”, since there is still no fully trustworthy, benign conductor with a baton, who is  voluntarily accepted by the entire orchestra, and capable of silencing some of the excessively independent and warlike drums, so that the overall group can function better.


Let us, however, leave the metaphors behind.  The reader should not find the excess of factual and political considerations strange in an esteemed journal of legal articles, because International Public Law depends essentially on the facts and mutable relations of power.  Syngman Rhee, professor of International Public Law, who presided over South Korea from 1948 to 1960, once remarked in disillusionment that the Law that he taught simply “doesn’t exist”, due to the preponderance of force over international norms.  What the world today thinks of a certain president of a country in the northern hemisphere reinforces his opinion.


Now to the facts.




Unemployment is presently one of humanity’s most pressing problems.  This drama affects both rich and “developing” countries as well as the blatantly backward where hunger and malnutrition reign, those that are portrayed dramatically in photos and films of skeletal fly covered African children with enormous bellies. Up until now, however, solutions for such scenes of horror have been palliative and provisory, and have depended on bursts of charity on the part of the richer countries and the efforts of the United Nations.  The UN does what it can, but is not in a position to resolve the problem definitively and much less to prevent it.  A truly organized world would not depend on episodic charity, dependent on momentary impulses to resolve its problems.  Right after the Second World War, the Kefauver Commission in the United States, demonstrated that a large part of the American money sent to reconstruct the south of Italy, returned in a round trip journey to American banks, rendering interest for its new depositors. Often only a small part of international private charity reaches its intended beneficiaries.  There is no way of duly policing private charity, which flows through pipes full of holes.


            Neither rich nor poor countries, acting alone, can solve the problem of unemployment which is paradoxically the fruit of their human technological ingenuity.  With the mechanization of agriculture, enormous contingents of workers left the rural areas to work in the cities.  In addition, factories have become more and more automated, eliminating jobs so that only the bureaucratic workers remain.  Then there are the final “executioners” of employment - the computer and the Internet  - that dispense with millions of workers and promise to dispense with many more, because the innovations that dispense with hands and brains are endless.  Professionals in information and computer science today, even when highly qualified, feel insecure, or openly expendable, subject to unemployment,.  It is a delusion for young people to think that entering the world of computers is a guarantee of permanent employment.  Almost all of us feel the sword above our heads.  Is it really necessary, inevitable and useful that in order for humans to remain productive they have to be always walking a tightrope, fearing age or even simple maturity and the ensuing unemployment, tormented by the constant need to get ahead of their colleagues?  “Savage capitalism” - when on top, everything is great – might think so, but the majority disagrees, insisting that solidarity has to temper incessant competition.


How to resolve the unemployment problem in the rich countries?  By prohibiting or penalizing the use of automation and computers?  That would be both impossible and irrational.  This is a “progress” with no turning back.  Why contract thousands of employees for a job that can be done by a few computer operators and programmers?


The only viable solution to unemployment in the “rich “ countries would be to reduce the number of work hours per week, obviously without cutting salaries.  This would force the hiring of new workers. But it is not possible for any one country to do this in isolation.  If, for example, the government of the US were to obligate companies to reduce the work day, indirectly forcing them to hire new workers, business would transfer its installations to other countries that had no such restriction.  A vast underdeveloped world, with unemployed, cheap and abundant labor would be anxious to receive these non speculative investments.  This would be good for them, but counterproductive and economically disastrous for the US, since it would increase national unemployment even further.  No president who increased unemployment could be re-elected.  Voters in every country want “good government” of course, but it is understood that the adjective refers, first to the country itself and not to some vague, generic “humanity”. There would be sincere congratulations if one could satisfy the interests of both, but when a conflict occurs, it goes without saying whose interest will prevail.  Individually, countries could partially or temporarily alleviate unemployment, by for instance, creating incentives to the construction industry or other sectors which employ unskilled labor.  However, such laudable efforts could only be sporadic; they wouldn’t solve the global unemployment problem.  Not all the unemployed can be converted into masons and plumbers, and there are limits to expanding housing construction, because it costs money that not everyone has.


This is a worldwide problem, aggravated by globalization. Even telephone operators have been fired because now we converse with machines which to our despair respond saying, “dial 1”  “then 2”, “ then 3” and so on successively.  It is an indescribable relief if and when we finally encounter a human voice on the other end of the line.  Finally, a remaining obstacle to the overall reduction of the work day remains the indispensable consideration of profit, the very basis of the efficient but harsh capitalist system. Business executives, as understanding as they might be, would lose their jobs if they hired unnecessary workers and raised costs.  Also the price of their products would rise and lose out to the competition, thus bankrupting the owners. Stock holders, even those who desire to go to heaven after death, expect profit from their CEOs, not demonstrations of charity.


How might employment improve under a world government?  The reduced work week, inevitable in the long term, would be imposed in a blanket fashion, which a world government would be in a position to do.  Multinational managers could not relocate their factories from one country to another because there would be nowhere to go, all would be under the same basic restriction.


Further, there could be a worldwide minimum wage, to discourage multinational flight.  In underdeveloped countries, where unemployment has more serious consequences, and stimulates the spread of street crime, a shorter work day would allow more people to be hired.  Technology is the great, though involuntary, “enemy” of humanity in the realm of jobs.  Under a world government, it could become a “friend”.  The undeniable “leisure time” that the machine and computers provide us would have to be shared by all, if we want to live in relative tranquility.  Anyone who thinks otherwise might change their mind, (if there is still time), when an unemployed person, driven by desperation, puts a knife to their throat and demands the money he should have been able to earn with a job.  Or when experiencing a bomb threat at their lovely office, overflowing with computers and nearly devoid of workers.





We move now to another problem which could be better solved under a world government - over population.  It is scientific consensus that it is not healthful for the planet to maintain its present growth rate, since land is finite and we need existing forests to continue to provide oxygen.  Even if Mars were to be one day inhabitable, the adaptation costs would be so high that the planet could never be used to “warehouse” the excess from an unnecessarily overpopulated Earth. 


How then to induce sovereign countries to adopt measures to control the birth rate?  China managed to do so because it is a dictatorship and felt the immediate consequences of housing more than a billion, three hundred million inhabitants.  Other sovereign nations, influenced or practically dominated by religious dogmas, find it difficult to penalize couples for bearing more than two children.  If AIDS, or the fear of it, now helps limit pregnancies through the use of condoms, soon medical progress will overtake the disease and birth rates will rise again.  Excess births, together with the growing replacement of workers by machines, is an infallible recipe for misery, suffering, criminality, terrorism and all the evils which torment both rich and poor. 


The Environmental issue


For all the Bush government’s insistence  (we are not interested just in his country)  that the cause and effect relationship between the emission of gases by industry and vehicles and global warming and its devastating effects in the coming decade has yet to be proven, there is a near consensus among specialists. They recognize the connection, which can be perceived in the growing holes in the ozone layer, the reduction of the polar ice caps and the disappearance of the “eternal” snows on the high mountains.  This is not to mention the scary climactic changes that redound in excessively hot summers, abnormally cold winters, droughts and flooding all over.


How to oblige the countries – if their inviolable sovereignty is to be maintained – to comply with a determined program of environmental control?  The US, which emits thirty-six percent of all carbon dioxide, and has a population that represents just four percent of the world population, refuses to sign the Kyoto Protocol, attracting the ire of environmentalists for good reason.  According to an article (“North American Environmental Policy” by Pedro Jacobi, a University of São Paulo professor, in an excellent collection of essays by various authors (“Estados Unidos: A Supremacia Contestada”, [The United States; Supremacy Questioned]  Editora Cortez ) “the US government’s argument is that a reduction of emissions, as required by the Protocol, would result in a 3% to 4.3% fall in GDP in 2010, and it is preferable to “give technology and the institutions time to develop strategies to combat greenhouse gases that can, at the same time, protect the economy and avoid recession and unemployment” (p. 142).


How to require the United States, in violation of its sovereignty, to accept the “damage” of a large drop in its GDP, with unemployment and a recession?   Declare war against them?  Even if the US federal government were in the hands of the Democratic Party, it would be unlikely that they sacrifice their self interest for world interest. The unemployed Americans who lost their jobs as a result of carrying out the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol, would never forgive a president, “who didn’t, first of all, take care of his own;  all the rest is somehow vague, distant, utopian or the like...”   And the unemployed of other countries would say the same about their own governments in a similar situation.  Here we return to earlier considerations about the eternal conflict between the general and particular good.  If, with a world government , the general and the particular fuse into a single entity, interests would be easier to reconcile, keeping in mind the greater freedom of a central organ to establish global compensation to favor of those who made the greater sacrifice due to environmental restrictions.


The burning of petroleum derivatives is a major source of pollution.  Humans want to breathe better, trust the climate enough to be able to sunbathe with a lesser risk of skin cancer, but they also want to drive their cars.  To reconcile such desires, oil would need to be replaced by another energy source, unless a chemist were to discover how to burn petroleum without the emission of polluting gases.    If we did discover a source of “clean” energy, and abandoned oil, we would be decreeing misery for the Arab world as well as other countries whose main source of wealth is petroleum.  In that case, who would take care of the impoverished Arab populations?


 The use of petroleum in just the manufacture of plastics would not generate sufficient wealth to sustain the needy populations surrounded by rock and sand.  Not to mention here, the virulent reaction of the oil companies who would do anything to undermine an individual government that faced up to the fact with determination, that fossil fuels are in the long term an enemy of human beings and should be replaced.  A world government, stronger than any individual government, would have greater power and room to maneuver to gradually modify and equalize among countries the replacement of the main source of energy that someday will also run out since it is finite.  And shouldn’t we also be concerned with plastic since it is not biodegradable?


Global problems could be solved more easily with global solutions.  With only partial, regional solutions, and even with much weeping and gnashing of teeth, solutions are difficult, slow, tangled and have advances and retreats.  Depending on the ever problematic “understanding” of politicians, who rely on votes to survive because in the final analysis, liberal democracy is here to stay (as Francis Fukuyama tells us in his questionable “The End of History”).   A single, universal liberal democracy, or a close cousin of still unknown design, would be less conflictive than a confusing merger of democracies and leftovers from dictatorships with conflicting interests.  Let us return to our theme.   



Organized crime and international financial movement


There are other factors which counsel more efficient and unified planetary oversight.  The present process for discovering overseas bank accounts, origin of funds, etc. of proven suspects in drug dealing or suspicious large financial transfers of other dubious origin is slow and complex and the “sovereign” bureaucracies must be overcome. Countries have different laws and administrative regulations, obviously with different languages and legal systems. These variables retard the mission of legal agents who are legitimately interested not just in punishing criminality or the transgressor, but mainly in recovering funds which are the product of crime.  Today the transgressor has the enormous advantage of confidentiality and of speed; he or she can transfer enormous sums from one country to another in a matter of seconds.  It’s a game of cat and mouse, in which the rodents have the enormous advantage of having friendly financial paradises everywhere.  In commercial terms this is understandable, since if one bank refuses the cheese, others protected by other sovereigns will gladly receive it.  Unified control of electronic transfers would create enormous difficulties in moving illicit funds.  Considering the immense volume of these amounts, it would be difficult to hand carry suitcases full of money via roads  and airport hallways.



Shareholders who invest their honest savings feel insecure these days due to the succession of scandals and embezzlements by the large multinationals.  Stock market shock waves redound in other countries due to globalization.   Parmalat is an example.  Ingenious CEOs, served by accounting “magicians”, can disguise embezzlements for years, aided by the scattered location of their branches around the world.  These send financial statements to their headquarters, which on paper are correct, but not supported in reality.  Shareholders have no way to verify the documents, and company directors, who arranged the embezzlements, obviously will not facilitate an investigation, offering their necks to the guillotine.  If today, governmental oversight wants to learn the real financial situation of a given corporation, it will find the task of auditing difficult because permission to audit would have to be requested from each sovereign country where the branches are located, generating complex and glacial judicial disputes.  With a unified government, oversight would be much more agile.


Even in strictly privately activities, globalization would counsel unification of the auditing practices of the large corporations.  Michael Rake, the world president of KPMG International, a respected auditing firm, in a March 3, 2004 interview in “Carta Capital” (p.54) said, “In Europe, it has been established that beginning in 2005 all businesses will use international criteria.  The most efficient procedure in our opinion, would be to merge all these protocols into one, if we don’t, it will not be possible to establish terms of comparison, and that could leave room for fraud.  We need something more consistent, clear, simple and standardized in which the capital market can have confidence. “


Combating organized crime, especially that related to drug traffic, has been extensively and competently studied by jurists worldwide and what specialists say doesn’t need repeating.  It is enough to recall that the unification of policing would be facilitated by a world government.


Trade wars among nations.


Another point that has made the generic good intention of avoiding commercial discord among nations almost nonviable today is trade protectionism.  In more explicit terms, this means the rich against the poor, because the poor don’t have the luxury of retaliating without suffering new reprisals.  If the present system is maintained, and the weaker need to go case by case to seek protection under the wing of the WTO, the slowness of this system will continue to generate damage, with segments of production and trade on hold until cases are resolved.  Once resolved, the loser will seek retaliation in another manner, either directly or indirectly.  Thus generating further complaints, defense and trial, and so on.  A slow “commercial justice” deserves as much censure as a strictly legalistic state justice.


With siding with anyone in particular in terms of commercial wars, it is worth noting what has been said with respect to combating environmental pollution, the greenhouse effect, etc.  The French government, for example, subsidizes its farmers and it would be extremely difficult for a French citizen, especially a farmer, to accept adverse economic measures imposed by the French government, if if became more concerned about the harm subsidies cause to Brazilian agricultural exports for instance. All governments want to enjoy approval, especially from the subjects who granted them their “mandate”.  Public men do not consider themselves to have a generic mandate for humanity.  The average Frenchman would say that agriculture, an essentially noble, not parasitic, activity “has always lost money” which is not far from the truth – and that if Brazil wanted to protect its farmers it could do the same, by subsidizing them.  It is jokingly said that there are three sure ways to lose money: with women, gambling and farming.  The first is the most pleasurable way to become impoverished and the last is the surest.  It is a thankless task and almost everyone knows how hard a farmer’s daily life is. French workers would further say that it is fair to protect their farmers, since they cannot accept the unjust remuneration that a Brazilian worker receives without a loss of dignity.  If wages are low, obviously the product price can remain low.  A similar rationale will certainly spring from the North Americans when they protect their workers to the detriment of imported Brazilian products.  A world chief,  or “coordinator”, a more attractive word, could more easily resolve conflicts of this type because they could be treated as “internal’ questions without the usual difficulties of dealing with different sovereignties, who are prone to bravado and patriotic speeches for their audiences.



Preventive wars


This is the most controversial item, but it is not its difficulty that counsels setting it aside - on the contrary.


Until the advent of nuclear and other non-conventional biological and chemical weapons, under International Public Law there was consensus that preventive attacks be banned, unless there were total certainly that a country was attacking another.  This was because at any time, the supposed aggressor could control itself and retreat and the Law, in general, international or not, does not punish thoughts and intentions.  No one seriously argued the urgent need for a preventive attack in 1939 against Germany – before it invaded neighboring countries – even while perceiving Hitler’s sinister intentions in mounting a gigantic war machine.  Without a concrete, or at least immanent, attack, accompanied by a declaration of war, there is no legitimate way to counter attack.  The simple fact of danger does not justify an attack.  


This cautious manner of thinking was justified in fact, because if tanks and infantry cross a neighboring country’s border, it will be slowly enough to give the aggrieved party time to react and for diplomatic measures to have an effect. In other words, if the aggression was by relatively slow conventional means, the mortality would not be devastating, and it will be possible to staunch it from the beginning.


However, with the technological innovations in war making, the preventive attack becomes admissible, rational and even a governmental duty  when there is certainly that the threatening country is arming itself and intends to act against the aggrieved and all neighboring countries, because radiation does not respect borders and defensive measures would come too late.  Once they are detonated, there is little that can be done about nuclear arms transported by missiles or planes.  One can only take revenge in equal arms while counting one’s dead, alleviate the pain of those burned by radiation and wait for deaths by cancer some time later.  With such consequences, there is no reason to maintain the antiquated and restrictive juridical standards related to preventive war.  A truly preventive war – honestly preventive, please note … is today ethically sustainable and even recommendable.


It’s always hard to discover, and even harder to prove, whether a bellicose national government has weapons of mass destruction and their quality and state of readiness.  When a country does have them, it is a subjective judgment whether it intends to make immediate use of them.  Unlike the huge factories for planes, cannons, tanks, machine guns and other conventional arms, these are not readily visible.   When there is intelligence, there is counter-intelligence, and the uncertainly provides fertile ground for bad faith on the part of militarily powerful heads of state. After a (false) preventive invasion against a weak country, the war lord can always invent a facile excuse. “Excuse me, I made a mistake; everything indicated that there were weapons of mass destruction, ready for use no by that unstable government.  If there are no weapons, which we are only discovering now, the onus for the invasion lies in that “madman’s” behavior because he obstructed inspection and led us to believe that it was much more dangerous than it really was.”  In sum, with the present situation of multiplying sovereign governments, it is hard to legitimize preventive attacks and if the atomic, chemical or biological trigger is pulled, the “prudent” will be called short sighted cowards for not seeing “what anyone could see”.  If a preventive attack is launched and then the danger revealed to be non existent, the attacker will be called a gratuitous aggressor, with ulterior motives.


Under a world government, this problem would disappear.  Affairs of the entire planet would be “internal” and the police would investigate everything suspicious without fear of being considered aggressive and precipitous.  To illustrate, there would be nothing illegal or politically censurable if the Brazilian federal government, warned that a certain state in the federation was arming itself dangerously and secretively and intended to attack a neighbor or separate from the rest of the country, were to take preventive measures.  Sending in the federal police or the army to “invade” the area where such arms were being produced, would, of course, require no prior authorization from the local government. The preventive action of the federal authorities would be praised for nipping a separatist or aggressive movement in the bud.  The presence of greater or lesser honest doubt would not prevent the federal government from doing what appeared to be most reasonable.


These comments are not being made to justify the conduct of George W. Bush’s  government in invading Iraq.  World public opinion, with which we agree completely, is largely convinced that President Bush, influenced by the hawks, invaded Iraq for reasons other than those he stated.  This lie will be a political liability for the rest of his life, though not one of conscience because he assumes that the goal of “overthrowing a bad man” justifies the means. It is not within the scope of this paper to describe the probable, varied motives for the invasion.  This “preventive” attack, however, had the involuntary “academic merit” of provoking reflections that, if it hadn’t been for that government’s “tough guy” arrogance,  would still be sleeping in the corner of the minds of the experts in international relations.


The attack on Iraq prompted a re-evaluation of the United Nations’ peacekeeping role.  It revealed its relative fragility, to the point of being able to say that the UN today is a good bee with no stinger.  This is what led the League of Nations to extinction.  The UN is called benevolent because it sends material aid, insofar as possible to suffering populations and promotes human rights with counsel, meetings of the cupola and campaigns. Now and again it uses the stinger, when not vetoed by one of the “important” countries, who themselves sometimes deserve an educational sting or two.  This makes the usefulness of the international agency relative.  Considering the power of the veto – one vote is enough – of the permanent members of the Security Council, it can’t be said to be a fully democratic organization, with the efficiency of command required in the modern world.  The world is progressively drowning, as noted above, in pollution, unemployment, monstrous governmental debts, growing arms expenditures, internal conflicts in several countries and in the relative impunity of organized crime.  Given the specters looming on the horizon, an agency only interested in “maintaining the peace” and making recommendations in favor of human rights is not enough.  Something with more coverage and efficacy is required. 


Even when the UN becomes a tribunal, as happens with the International Court of Justice, its condemnations are only moral, just opinions which the accused can respect as it wishes.  This denies the court the nature of a true tribunal, whose justification is in the effective execution of its decisions.  Thus, it is not really a court, but a respectable academic organ for consultations and recommendations.


In its present form, the UN cannot refute the criticism of lack of coherence.  It, for example, prohibits the weaker nations from manufacturing nuclear weapons.  However, it has nothing against the five members of the permanent council, the USA, China, France, England and Russia who hold these weapons and many lethal others, while no one dares to investigate them.  This leads the rest of the world, the “inferiors”, to question why some members can, and not others can belong to the fearful atomic club.  The UN closes its eyes, because of institutional impotence, not bad faith, to what happens in certain countries.  Specialists say that Israel, for example, has the nuclear bomb, which is totally forbidden to Arab nations under penalty of invasion.  On the other hand, nuclear proliferation is absolutely undesirable, given that any head of state in a moment of rage could initiate a nuclear conflict, triggering an irreversible nightmare.


            The UN´s institutional incoherence would disappear if there were a world government.  To exemplify with the aid of an analogy, no one censures the United States government for forbidding its fifty states to develop autonomous nuclear programs or to manufacture chemical weapons. 


I earlier mentioned certain countries, Israel in this case, but without prejudice really.  One cannot punish Germany for giving birth to a Hitler (not just because he was Austrian), or Russia for Ivan the Terrible or Stalin who killed millions who didn’t accept his five year plans; nor Israel for Ariel Sharon, with his absurd (and expensive) wall that will prove to be an enormous waste because all walls are destined to fall. 


If there were a true world government, the Palestinian question would have been resolved decades ago:  Israel wouldn’t need to make punitive excursions nor to develop atomic weapons for fear of its neighbors; the Palestinians wouldn’t be suffering what they are now, oppressed, shredding in revenge their own bodies and those of innocent Israeli civilians, who might even disagree politically with Sharon.  There would not be the diffusion of Arab terrorism, which torments not just Israel, but also the US and its closer allies.  If there were a world government today, the monetary savings, in amounts many times less than what is wasted with wars would probably resolve, for example, the Palestinian question:  the Jewish colonists in Cisjordania and the Gaza Strip could receive a comfortable indemnity, abandon their lots to the Palestinians and get on with their lives.  They are intelligent polyglots with a high ability to adapt anywhere in the world.  They will never accept abandoning their lots without compensation.  Perhaps the Sharon government doesn’t mention compensation, its enemies argue, precisely to encourage the settlers to resist the alleged government plan to withdraw the settlements, a subtle tactic for territorial expansion.


With just a fraction of the money the United States spends on its present wars, in large part resulting from the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the nearly 200,000 Jewish colonists would probably be willing to abandon their settlements.  If, for example, each colonist were to receive $100,000 for a lot, (an exaggerated amount), the total compensation would be 20 billion dollars, several times less than the US government spent and will spend with its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and to combat world terrorism.


The reader will forgive me for suggesting such a simplistic solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.  The arms industry, the inevitable result of multiple sovereignties, will condemn this hypothetical resolution of conflict without the need for war, but it can’t be denied that economic stimulus can work miracles in resolving conflicts.



The burden of arms


How many countries are there today on the face of the planet?  About two hundred, which hypothetically states the  need to maintain 200 armed forces, army, navy and air forces, because each country is obliged to provide for its external defense.  It is impossible not to recognize the enormous financial burden, without mentioning the potential danger of a spark in the neighboring powder barrel that this represents for humanity.  The burden escalates because each time a country increases its military forces the neighboring countries consider it prudent to do the same.


How to escape this vicious circle?  By unification.  Europe, by uniting, dispensed with the internal arms race that fed numerous wars in the past.  England, France and Germany for example no longer need to use so many financial resources on their own security.  It seems impossible to imagine Europe without wars, but we probably won’t hear more about conflict among the countries of the European Union.  NATO, a similar organization, will defend all European countries and prevent its member countries from warring among themselves - considerable progress in terms favorable to humanity.  What caused this “miracle”?  It was an understanding of the superiority of unification over the multiplication of affected, hot-tempered sovereignties.


The United States maintains a single army, navy and air force.  Its expenditures on its armed forces are fabulous, at first for reasons related to the Cold War, proving that reciprocal fear is highly dangerous.  The expense would be enormously higher if each state of the union were to maintain its own armed forces.  Since the United States is a federation, war among its states is unthinkable.  With world unification, each country, transformed into a kind of “province”, would have to arm itself only to the extent necessary to maintain internal order.


Without world government, the global arms industry will continue to fulfill its inevitable role by sowing distrust, death and destruction.  First, one has to remember that the industry can only avoid bankruptcy if there are constant wars and provocations.  Their stock cannot remain stagnant.  Such conflicts could be ably encouraged by intrigues on the part of the arms industry.  The television news scenes of undernourished African youth wielding machine guns, while we know that their people have almost nothing to eat are aberrations.  Money wasted.  Hundreds of thousand of people die in internal ethnic massacres in third world countries.  They are poor countries with subsoil rich in diamonds, gold and oil, wealth that would be better used in pacific projects and not in arms purchases.  And the UN cannot prevent these internal massacres because its basic mission is to promote peace among countries and not among residents of the same country.


Only a world government would be able to limit the waste of resources and lives which the arms industry promotes.  Its sole utility is in generating a certain number of jobs in the industrialized countries, but the price is unacceptable.  This is an activity, which due to its peculiar nature, should not be allowed to exist under private control.  Industry heads need to encourage rivalries in order to provide profits to their shareholders, which is the essence of a capitalist regime. It is strange that disarming individuals is widely preached today all over the world, while the existence of heavy armaments which kill many more is met with indifference.



Difficulties in the formation of a world government


The patient reader who has followed us so far, perhaps smiling and shaking his or her head, must certainly be thinking that all the evils of the worlds described herein are true or partially true and evident to all, but there is something ingenuous in proposing a world government.  If the UN itself, which appropriates a fraction of the sovereignty of its member countries, finds it difficult to fulfill its role in maintaining peace and promoting human rights, imagine the difficulty present governments would have in agreeing to a proposed world government that would cancel out their sovereignty entirely, reducing each country’s level of autonomy to that of a unit in a federated state.


Just verbalizing the concept of “world government” provokes laughter or chills in a humanity fearful of a dictatorship.  The image evokes worn, gross or infantile images of “world domination” by force:  Alexander the Great, Attila the Scourge of God, the Roman Empire, Napoleon Bonaparte;  Hitler’s Third Reich; the Japanese Empire; communist pretensions to world domination and finally American imperialism, which many consider to be a kind of de facto world government, the result of its wealth, organization and military power. “We are already living under world imperialism led by the US and this man wants to intensify the domination by granting it legitimacy?”, some will cry, citing numerous US interventions abroad, every time its interests are crossed.


Automatic association of ideas, however, should be viewed with reserve.  A legitimate world government today could only be conceived of in democratic terms, with voluntary adherence by countries, as was the case of the European Union.  This is different from the historical examples cited above modeled on megalomania and military power.


It is difficult here even to outline the form of world government which would emerge from consensus.  The title of this essay didn’t promise to undertake such an enormous task.  It just recognized the inevitability and need for a world government.  It doesn’t dare nor promise to describe what shape it might take, or what the next steps might be.  That would be the result of numerous heated discussions of the future architects of the new humanity.  The experience of the United Nations could be useful in formatting a new model. 


It would have to be something new, but would be probably be based partly on the traditional federation formation where each state or province cares for local interests and internal order, and outside defense and matters of interest to the entire federation fall to the central government.  Since there would no longer be a need for “external defense” with a world government, excepting the ridiculous possibility of invasion by extra terrestrials , this single army would be relatively small, limited to interventions here or there, when presented with some “overflowing excess” on the part of its “provinces”, the present sovereign states.


At the outset, I don’t believe it would be possible to attribute a vote to each world citizen as happens in all the democracies.  This system, which is the foundation of western democracies, would not be acceptable to the richer and less populous countries, because it would mean being dominated by China and India in the formation of the world government.  The US and Europe would logically not admit that mere human fertility, frequently irresponsible, decide the course of humanity.  The industrialized countries would become a minority, with all the difficulties that minorities face, not withstanding their greater cultural and technological contributions to the advance of humanity.


This world government would just be an improved UN, with greater executive powers such as the cancellation or mitigation of the veto power of the five permanent members of the Security Council.


Another probable objection to world government would be the difficulty of bringing the industrialized and developing countries together under one roof, as equals,  What is the cultural affinity, one could ask, of the US and Haiti or the European Union and Bolivia?


This disparity shouldn’t however, be viewed as an absolute impediment to living under one government.  There is no problem, for example in Brazil with the fact that the state of São Paulo is richer and more densely populated than the state of Piauí, and thus exercises greater influence and leadership over the country’s politics and economy. For Piauí, it is advantageous that one of it political partners, in this case, São Paulo, be rich, because in some way it receives part of the wealth.  A poor man has a greater chance of being helped by a rich brother than by someone as poor as himself.  And there would be no risk of one state from the same federation invading its neighbor. Similarly California and New York don’t regret being associated with Montana or any other poorer state in the US.  The inequality of wealth doesn’t generate local wars.   In case of natural cataclysms or other disaster, they can rely on aid from the federal government, which I better than charity prompted only be visions of extreme suffering.


 The biggest objection to the formation of a world government would come from the United States, since this “association with the poor” would oblige the powerful nation to aid, financially, technically and culturally its new, poor but suspicious brothers, and in large numbers.  It would be the same as if a rich man were to open the door to his mansion to find a line of dozens of distant poor relatives with suitcases requesting shelter, food and schooling.


The first world would sure not at first view with much enthusiasm an intimate association with its “poor relatives”.  But, in compensation, it would be freed of the enormous expenditures on defense and for combating terrorism, this privatized war which is in some ways more dangerous than official war due to its not having a fixed address.  If I’m not mistaken, Ronald Reagan’s Star Wars “shield” would cost somewhere in the neighborhood of 40 billion dollars.  And even when mounted, it would produce paltry results because, as September 11 has shown,  danger doesn’t come just from rockets.


Disparities in wealth don’t impede integration.  The European Union shelters rich and poor countries who subscribe, without fear, despite a partial sacrifice of autonomy.


The political difficulties in the construction of a world government are really enormous.  For some, the weakness of the proposal would lie in the timing, because the present governments are doing all right, thanks.  “Vague ideas about the future should be left to our grandchildren”, “When the world is at the right danger point, suffocated by pollution and terrorism,”, “ The world is still not under enough pressure for a discussion of this nature.” “What the UN and some of the NGOs are doing is enough for now, with a few improvements,” they will say


I don’t think these critics have the best solutions; perhaps the most comfortable, but not the most far sighted.   An enormous network full of knots can only be untangled with a global vision of the tangle and patient work attentive to the overall; not with a lot of independent, impatient efforts, each with its own idea of how to work.


Religions and terrorism


When I finished typing the last paragraph and prepared to confront the thorny issue of the influence of religion on the creation of extensive, lasting armed conflicts, I learned via television of the terrorist attack of March 11, 2004 in Madrid where almost 200 persons died and more than 1,400 were wounded.  There were innocent people, hit at random with no relation to the politics that motivated the simultaneous explosions.


If the attack originated with a separatist ETA group, which I don’t believe because it would just be too stupid, shooting themselves in the foot and calling down more hostility upon the Basque province that is seeking independence.  Such an insane act demonstrates the advantages of a world government.  The Basques want to be independent, i.e. not belong to Spain or France, but they certainly don’t want to stop belonging to the human race, the international community. Presumably they don’t intend to inaugurate a separate planet.  The desire for independence wouldn’t conflict with a world government of a democratic nature that would respect the intriguing particularities of the regions.  And Spain wouldn’t suffer much damage by authorizing the separation, if it were the will of the majority of the Basques and not the whim of a small, violent group, with a thirst for power.  World unification would probably allow it to be compensated for what it would lose with the independence of a province.  In case the ETA were just the egoistical manifestation of  a small group of individuals, (I don’t know the facts), with a taste for violence, a world government would have much more power, intelligence resources and coverage to send simple criminals disguised as separatist leaders to jail. 


If the attack was the work of the Al-Qaeda, which is more probable and it was claimed by them, the absurd indiscriminate killings demonstrate what I was about to write here prior to the explosions – that religion is a potent force, with numerous facets, some of them dangerous.  Religion is almost always high minded and beautiful, but can become extremely cruel when twisted by the malevolent interpretations of unscrupulous leaders; who are sometimes clear psychiatric cases, but who are untouchable because they claim to represent God.  Who would dare to put a straight jacket on the powerful madman who just received instructions directly from God?


Anyone who watched via internet, the real scene of the journalist Daniel Pearl having his throat cut and being beheaded in front of a camera in Pakistan (he was trying to interview some local chieftains and fell into a trap prepared by fanatical Muslims) can join with the elderly, who fear the end of their days, but ask themselves, “Why continue to live in such a cruel and stupid world?”


Is it reasonable for the Catholics in Northern Ireland to trade shots and bombs with the Protestants considering that both religions believe in the same Christ?  And what of the religious component that feeds the constant conflict in the Cashmere?  And Bin Laden, who frequently stresses the religious aspects of his struggle against the “Satanic” western world?


Nevertheless, if such fanatics were to submit to a lie detector, they would probably pass on the sincerity test.  Bin Laden believes he is fulfilling his duty, because as a rich man he could lead a life of peace and comfort.  When he kills hundreds of western “infidels” I remind the reader that the Israelis, supported by the Americans, “do the same”, they just do it little by little, in prolonged doses with their repeated attacks against the oppressed Palestinians, who rebel because they have no choice.  And the neutral spectator can ask:  if the Jews have the right to a country, a “home”, why is the same right denied to the Palestinians?


Nobel Prize winner, Shirin Ebaldi, in an interview with the Estado (March 13th) said with propriety, that “what encourages terrorism is injustice”.  Remove the injustice and terrorism would lose almost all its force. It will become a simple activity or organized crime, using blackmail to get money, but without dismembering bodies because after all, it would be a “business” and it wouldn’t be necessary to go so far.  It is presumed that a world government, freer of the interests of the arms industry, would be able to end the ancient conflict in the Middle East.


Probably all religions, although some are little known and not mentioned by the media, are subject to excesses, according to the nature of their chief leader, hard to replace due to blindness by dogma, inherited or created by the leader himself.  And religious deformations produce cultural deformations.


What is the meaning of vaginal mutilation to prevent the young from having the “sinful” pleasure of orgasm?  And of sentencing an African woman, separated from her husband, to death for being pregnant to a man not her husband?  She only escaped death due to an intense international movement.


Would a world government suppress religion in the name of seeking greater rationalization?  No, because it would be useless and would only encourage increased religiosity, that irrepressible component of the human spirit.  Einstein, a scientific mind par excellence, believed in God, although he believed that the supreme intelligence didn’t interfere in the business of humans.


One has to respect, however the positive, benevolent side of religion.  Ruy Barbosa, the great Brazilian jurist of the past, declared that the penal code takes care of public crimes and religion of the private ones, the secret area of each person’s conscience.  How many criminal acts have not been committed because the person was afraid of God, not the police?  Religion still belongs to a kind of criminal prevention department.  Further, it stimulates charity.  These qualities are enough to dissuade us from restricting it, when directed to the good.


Yet when religion spills over into the political arena, stimulating hate and annulling the rational forces of government, there is no reason not to interfere and cut it off with mass campaigns against the forces of irrationality.  This is because ignorance is often the mother of evil and disorganization.  A world government would promote education on a large scale, promoting the study of science and little by little removing the focus of violence inspired in ignorance. .


Let’s stop here.  “Utopias....”  Some will say, “The danger of the flood is still far off, and the author has forgotten to touch upon the subject of the potential for a tyrant incubated within world government.  Where to run in case he should turn out to be a tyrant.  During the Cold War the existence of the two poles provided some balance that impeded the present excesses of the Bush government”.


I can respect the objection, but note that security, given the dangerous bellicose technological advances, is a greater value than political rivalry between two or more powerful poles, a rivalry which always ends in an arms race that could be fatal to the human species.  Imagine a nuclear conflict involving the US, Russia and China.


The socialist ideal is ethically superior to the capitalist ideal, but the latter has triumphed because it is more realistic, closer to human nature, essentially egoistic and competitive – however, fortunately, with residues of human solidarity.  Men, generically speaking, are not interested in the general good above all, in the State.  They want to profit from it, but allow the taxman to take a piece for the poor, so that they can become enterprising and  generate wealth.  They want the product of their efforts to go to their children and not the State after their deaths.  Socialism by contrast has been a kind of noble toga, attractive, well intentioned, but paralyzing; unable to cover the still ugly, uneducated body.



 With a world government the socialist ideal would not disappear, it would be left incubating within the State, because all the governments in the world have a socialist dimension, with solidarity with the weaker.  Rotation of power is common to all governments, as in the United States with its Democratic and Republican parties, with no need for revolutions.  Under a world government it would be the same thing:  it would be of interest to the socialists and would not bother the others, the more ferocious capitalists, because they know it is worth it to sometimes extend a helping hand to the neediest.  The old rivalry between capitalism and socialism would be resolved by periodic elections in the “single country”, the alternating of power and not ferocious posturing, spy wars, threats, bluffs and stocking nuclear weapons that could, if care is not taken, explode and fry the contenders.


To sum up, there is no need to wait for new accumulations of the inevitable disgraces to begin to discuss creating a world government, as difficult as it might be to reconcile the various interests that still nourish and torment humanity.




* Retired Judge of  the Court of Appeals, São Paulo, Brazil –

Como referenciar este conteúdo

RODRIGUES, Francisco César Pinheiro. World Government – necessary and inevitable. Portal Jurídico Investidura, Florianópolis/SC, 18 Nov. 2008. Disponível em: Acesso em: 30 Out. 2020


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