The Idea of World Government: From ancient times to the twenty-first century (Paperback) book cover

The Idea of World Government

From ancient times to the twenty-first century

By James A. Yunker

© 2011 – Routledge

128 pages

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Paperback: 9780415781633
pub: 2011-02-04
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pub: 2011-02-04
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The notion of a single political organization encompassing the whole of humanity—a world state—has intrigued mankind since earliest recorded history. This book provides a concise yet comprehensive overview of the history of world government, and questions whether political globalization, in the form of a federal world government, could and should complement the ongoing processes of economic and cultural globalization.

While the potential peacekeeping advantage of such a state is obvious, the consensus judgment has always been against it, because it could lead to totalitarian tyranny. Yunker examines whether this judgment is still correct, considering that nuclear weapons of unimaginable destructiveness now exist, capable of destroying human civilization as we know it. Summarizing the lessons of history, the author suggests that while the conventional world federalist concept of an unlimited world government is still impractical in today’s world, there may be a role for a limited federal world government that would go well beyond the existing United Nations, thereby providing a stronger institutional basis for the evolutionary development of genuinely effective global governance.

This book is an important resource for all students and scholars of global governance, international relations and international organizations.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction and Overview 2. Historical Antecedents 3. From Perpetual Peace to The Great War 4. From the Treaty of Versailles to the Nuclear Age 5. The Postwar World Government Boom 6. The Post-Cold War era 7. Is There a Future for World Government?

About the Author

James A. Yunker is Professor of Economics at Western Illinois University (Macomb, Illinois), where he teaches economic theory and econometrics. He is the author of Common Progress: The Case for a World Economic Equalization Program and Political Globalization: A New Vision of Federal World Government.

About the Series

Global Institutions

The "Global Institutions Series" is edited by Thomas G. Weiss (The CUNY Graduate Center, New York, USA) and Rorden Wilkinson (University of Sussex, UK).

The Series has three "streams" identified by one of three cover colors:

  • Blue covers offer comprehensive, accessible, and informative guides to the history, structure, and activities of key international organizations, and introductions to topics of key importance in contemporary global governance. Recognized experts use a similar structure to address the general purpose and rationale for specific organizations along with historical developments, membership, structure, decision-making procedures, key functions, and an annotated bibliography and guide to electronic sources.
  • Red covers consist of research monographs and edited collections that advance knowledge about one aspect of global governance; they reflect a wide variety of intellectual orientations, theoretical persuasions, and methodological approaches.
  • Green covers will soon offer one-stop accounts for the major theoretical approaches to global governance and international organization.

Together these streams provide a coherent and complementary portrait of the problems, prospects, and possibilities confronting global institutions today.

Learn more…

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