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Can a global government work?

Can a world government work on Earth? Even if it could, will it ever happen? What are the potential upsides and downsides of such a government? I want to hear your thoughts.

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    Aug 5 2013: I think a global government can work but not unless it is organic in functionality. I foresee a future when the concept of nations will be dead, there will be no geo-political boundaries but a huge number of villages/cities which are self sufficient. The world government then will be akin to to an organism with these villages as cells.
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      Aug 6 2013: Self sufficient cities where the populace figures out how best to govern themselves. I'd love to live long enough to see that come to fruition.
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    Aug 4 2013: If a group of people could work as one to formulate a platform that's appealing across the board you've got a fighting chance. Each country would have to be given the choice to adopt a centralized gov. it doesn't ever work to force people to do something against their will. The world over could not be expected to jump in all at the same time, many would probably sit back and wait to see how effectively a centralized gov. is working for others before deciding to take the plunge for themselves. Cultural differences and preferences would have to be accommidated, there's no way it could be completely uniform across the board. Find people who can accept that and work around it and you have a small chance that people will gravitate in the direction of a world gov.
  • Aug 16 2013: I feel that the question isn't will it ever happen but more when will the world realize that it has to happen. When we talk about our speices, we are still a grain of sand when compared to the beach of time. War, population control, totalitarianism, etc all ideas or beliefs of an infantile culture. When the people of earth (i mean an overwhelmng marjority) finally figure out that it is detrimental to there own exisitance to keep conducting our everyday lives with a slight arrogance and an ingorance to our problems that we have create accumalatively across the board, maybe we might be chance at exisiting within our universe and not face extinction on earth.
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    Aug 5 2013: what do you mean by "work"? it can work in the sense of can theoretically be created and maintained. it can not work in the sense that it can not lead to prosperity and welfare of any sort.
  • Aug 4 2013: It will never happen...even when pigs fly. No conceivable organization can keep a tight grip on an entire populace of 7 billion people or more. The governments of the world today can't even stop crime in there own corner of the planet. There are too many cultural and political variations in the world for any such government to remain unified. Furthermore, most citizens would see the arrival of a globally unified government as a threat to their rights. No matter how foolproof or how appealing a system is, some group of people will be displeased. Besides, I'd rather not have all of those religious nuts thrown into one house. It would be one heck of an arena.
  • Aug 4 2013: Not a chance in hell I'm afraid.
    A combination of bad blood between the nations, nationalism serving as a dividing force, and the sheer practical problems you get making the whole thing work.

    Lets assume for example if you're trying to run it democratically.
    You can very easily end up with a majority tyranny if voting by population (say, China and India form a voting block, and they pretty much own the stage and can ignore everyone else's need), or with the more powerful groups/former nations/whatever within the system deciding that its ridiculous that a superpower get the same vote as a nation so small it can't fit its name on a map, and therefore seceding.

    As has been mentioned before, look at all the problems the EU is facing, and multiply them by 10, only with more culturally diverse groups that often hate each others' guts (the list of recent and ongoing conflicts across the globe is depressingly long).

    Besides, no one would ever willingly sign away his independence like that. The only way a world government could come into fruition is the way large empires with centralized power have always come to rule. Force of arms, years of bloody conflict. Take the Roman Empire for example; for all their achievements, you must remember they got where they did through centuries of warfare--the driving force was to conquer land for a profit, essentially a murder-robbery on a massive scale.
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    Aug 17 2013: Yes.
  • Aug 15 2013: Our near future Global Government is today made up of
    Australia, Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand, and the United States.

    Acting in concert, these 5 nations use the US's NSA
    Prism, Xkeyscore and their own Programs.

    Currently they employ 150 surveillance sites world-wide.
    Plus 700 servers are used to capture the telecommunications and internet
    communications regardless of the physical distances that exist between any
    number of conversing parties.

    150 sites tend to be the same number as the US Military bases around the world.
    Strange huh?

    These nations are not alone in their "Federated Query" quest (The name of their objective).
    The field is getting crowded with the other major economic nations wanting the same goal.

    Tele-monitoring might just lead to a Global Government.

    I think more likely, ...War on a scale never before imagined.
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    Aug 9 2013: I can't see a reason for a global government. There are many issues - say, maritime law and practice - where global agreement is a good thing. We have the apparatus in place at the UN to achieve that through agreements and treaties, and many world-wide agreements are in place. There will be more in the future, and I think that's the way to handle our coordinating needs for now.

    Democracy works best at the local level. Once a "democratic" government gets huge, there's little democracy left. In fact we shouldn't kid ourselves that "the people" have much control over a gigantic government. Big money forces take over. A global government can't possibly be democratic, and can't possibly be fair.

    It may be more innovative and practical to speak of the governments of the future as being as small as possible. I can see a thousand - ten thousand - smaller governments, working together in flexible regional groupings to represent the interests of their local population. Democracy will only have a meaningful future if it's kept local and if the bulk of decision making remains there. Progressively higher governmental groupings should have less and power, and must be prevented from their natural tendency to amass power, the way the federal government is actively "de-democratizing" the U.S.
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    Aug 9 2013: Yes, but only if there is a significant change in our modes of thinking.
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    Aug 8 2013: No. Nor is that something we would want. There would be too must distance, too many levels of authority and bureaucracy between me and the President of United Nations of the Earth (PUNE). People in America have trouble making informed decisions at the voting booths as it is and most don't know the names of local, let alone state, let alone national government representatives. How could they possibly be expected to have reasonable knowledge enough of who to vote for at a continental or global level? Unless those people were not voted on by individual citizens, but by elected officials, in which case an dark ominous cloud is forming over my keyboard as I type this....
  • Aug 7 2013: To dig into this topic it is probably interesting for you to read the Wikipedia-Articles about Federalism and Centralism

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centralization
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federalism

    also a multiethnic state of this size would either be organized so federalistic that it wouldn't make sense to exist at all, or if organized centrally, would break into pieces immediately.
  • Aug 7 2013: One of the problems with global government is the size of the organization. Very large organizations become impossible to manage. Personally, I think some governments are already too large to be effective. The obamacare bill had so many pages that even the Supreme Court justices balked at reading the whole bill. That is just one little symptom of a big problem.
  • Aug 6 2013: Ang, the question at hand was, "Can a global government work." I did not lock myself into anything, but merely followed the parameters of the question. Now, if you have an idea how we could have a global government and yet still let different parts of the globe act as they choose, I would love to hear it.
  • Aug 6 2013: Ok, mostly I hear that a world government, is not possible, and if it was, it would be ineffective and/or corrupt. I ask another question then: If the world faced a problem concerning the welfare of every single human on earth, such as an epidemic or alien invasion, would this be enough of a stimulant for the formation of such a government, however ineffective?
  • Aug 6 2013: Wayne has it about right. How well did the League of Nations do? How effective/functinal is the United Nations? The united Sates with over 200 years is sturggling to have an effective government. I lean to No. Who would benefit from it? Until the majority of people world wide see a real benefit and the majority of nations see the benefit to theie nation, we will struggle with what we have.
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    Aug 5 2013: Isn't it is evident government failing even at country level ?
  • Aug 5 2013: What type of government are you suggesting for the world? the league of nations did not work, and the United Nations is not very good.
  • Aug 4 2013: The only way a global government could work is if we all could agree on a single type of government. That seems quite unlikely. My guess is, if a consensus was possible on the type of world government, a world government would not be necessary.
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      Aug 5 2013: Why lock yourself into the notion that we would all have to agree? Agree to disagree and be accepting of the fact that different areas will choose to be goverend differently.
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    Aug 4 2013: NO
  • Aug 4 2013: A global government doesn't sound very democratic to me.
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    Aug 4 2013: Thanks Harrison for your post. In my opinion, yes a global government could work!

    I have given this matter in fact, much thought and believe that the tools for such a reality are in fact well within our grasp.... with a little modification!

    Tell me more I hear you say!..... nah..... oh ... ok

    So here we all are, reading this post here.... on TED.... to be honest in a world population of some 7 billion, there ain't that many on TED... some 2 million in total and dare I say significantly less than that here reading this post!

    Oh wow I hear you say... such a massive issue has now deginerated into such a minority.... how can anything transpire from one teensy wincy post from someone who ( snicker snicker), calls themselves the "Time Traveller" .....

    In many ways I would concur and agree, however, I do strongly believe that here via TED we can develop ideas (worth spreading) by refining them here via posts such as yours and IF we also could amalganate other conversation posts that overlapped with this one (closed and open), then we could develop strategies to improve our world and society.

    That said, in my opinion, TED could provide a conduit for the development of a GLOBAL GOVERNANCE CHARTER as developed by viewpoints/posts from TED COMMUNITY MEMBERS! : D
  • Aug 4 2013: Which global government and established how? So add a few more questions and you are pushing me to answer N O How is the Euro working? Expand tis problems by 20 still thinking about global governemt The big players can't even deal with the major problems are talk together. Put 8 billion people together? R E A L L Y