On Global Government

by Theo Henson — 2022-01-

The Nation

What is a nation? Why do they exist? These questions are difficult because their responses will change based on the nation asked. One is quick to realize that they do not have easy, direct answers.

A “nation”, as I will use it, is simply a group of people with a historically shared identity, often associated with a common government. Such governments form spontaneously, but given enough time, they can be purposefully formed and molded to improve the lives of their people. Historically, nations have started as small agricultural communities, perhaps forming alliances to further their influence. These communities occasionally developed into larger empires, like those of Rome or Britain. The growth of these empires has been curtailed by social change and technological limitation: Rome lacked the ability to effectively communicate, and was therefore unable to operate the large swathes of land it controlled; Britain fractured when its colonies eventually yearned for independence. In modern times, a new kind of nation has cemented itself: the nation state—where within a well-defined boundary you can find Nationish people who speak the Nationish language and share a Nationish culture. This doesn't seem very novel, but throughout history, the governmental organization of similar peoples has never been so centralized—compare the Kievan Rus’ to Russia, or feudal Europe to the EU. So what's next? How will—or should—the government of the nation (the most consequential way people are organized) evolve? The answer is global; the change from decentralized communities, to states, to a united, world government is a natural progression.

As technology advances, new types of government become possible. Rome could not exist before bronze, Britain not before boats. Large, modern countries like China or the US could not exist without high-speed communication. The potential for a global government might not currently exist, but eventually it will, society permitting.

Why Unify

A goal of any advanced civilization should be to sort itself out—to create a desirable governing system. The world today is one single civilization—if not, it is certainly converging into one. The current governing systems do not reflect this.

A fully globalized government would have the potential to provide the greatest quality of life to its subjects; people would be granted the same liberal rights no matter where they geographically happen to have been born. That is, of course, assuming the global government wouldn't be run by an authoritarian regime. This is a consideration that must be taken during the formation of any type of government, but it is especially important during global unification. The fear of autocracy, however, should not deter humanity from cooperation.

Now, one might ask something along the lines of: historical empires were much larger than modern states, so why would global unification be next—not just a possible step that could have been taken centuries ago? While it may be true that these empires controlled large amounts of land, containing many nations, the world is actually much more united today. Thinking beyond the essentially arbitrary borders of land, the Internet, for example, allows people to instantly communicate and collaborate, regardless of their nation. Obviously, legal unification will happen over a long time-scale, but we're currently closer than ever.

Limiting Factors

// technology, culture

The Structure of Such a Government

// federalism, computerized