03 December 2020

Do we need a world government?

Do we need a world government?  Topic by Ignacio

 Essay by Lawrence

No, but the challenge is to arrive at a justified reason. Indeed the challenge is to prevent world governments from forming that might threaten world balance. Many dictators and quite a few democracies in history have attempted to create a world government, also known as imperialism or colonisation, by using force against the local population. In effect, it is not clear how we would go about creating a world government even if its scope would be to benefit human beings on Earth.


But the idea of power or authority used to benefit human beings on Earth is not impossible or wishful thinking. And it is for this reason that earlier I said we do not need a world government: what matters is not the form of authority and practices but the substance of applying such authority for the good of humanity. Thus our debate is not really a matter of the form of government but that authority is used to benefit all of us.


The background to our legitimate and interesting question stems from the frustration we feel because countries and governments do not follow a unified strategy based on science to fight the corona virus. Despite the fact that we know that we have to take certain steps to fight covid-19 many governments still do not promote such measures. As a consequence many more people are dying needlessly, the pandemic is prolonged at higher dangerous levels and the economy is strained without reason.


In effect what the question is hinting at is whether we need an authority or an institution with authority to make countries and governments do what is right and correct. This is a tall order and quite an ambition, but of course we do have various institutions who pay lip service to this idea of a world authority.


Indeed the problem modern international institutions have, whose job it is to balance inequitable actions by governments, is that these institutions are created by the same governments they are supposed to monitor and police.  So by definition any attempts to set up a world government would run into the same problems of trying to be independent of the governments that set it up.


Setting up a supervisory authority to monitor and hold governments accountable might just be more achievable. The first necessary condition would be having enough governments with the authority to demand the right things are done. The EU might be a bumbling behemoth, but at least many standards and regulations do attempt to keep the population safe. The EU did attempt to intervene to limit the Coronavirus pandemic but the EU does not have any competence in the running of healthcare systems in the different member states. This explains the prolonged delay in controlling the pandemic in Europe; every government are doing what is suitable for them and not necessarily society in general. In effect agreement and cooperation is a necessary condition to establish a supervisory international institution.


Indeed the approval by the British medical authority, Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine was a result of EU regulation that allowed emergency approval procedure. Hungary also used the same procedures to approve the Russian vaccine. However, the rest of the EU members did not believe that there was a need for emergency action since the process was already at an advanced stage and it seems that some data is still not available. Literally at the time of writing some regulators are sceptical about the wisdom of the British approval. It is worth pointing out that on the first of January the transition period comes to an end in the UK; the approval was done under special EU regulations. These events are well documented on the internet and a good place to start is with the YouTube Channel by Dr. John Campbell (https://www.youtube.com/user/Campbellteaching).


International cooperation implies political considerations and this is an important barrier to overcome for a global institution. We can safely assume that countries with similar political system are more likely to arrive at a workable solution than governments with different ideologies and dogmas. And of course, it is sufficient to have a workable equitable solution to a serious world problem than no solution at all.


So an important reason why we cannot have a world government is that it’s not possible to arrive at a world consensus of what such a world government should do and look like. And a reason why such a world government is not even desired is that this would concentrate too much effective power in a single body and a single person or small group of people.


One arbiter of a world equitable standard is of course science. What the Coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated is that in a clash between political dogma and science, especially medical science, it is science that always wins. The pity is that it is not necessarily those in government who end up paying the price of political folly, but the general population. Virus, bacteria, and physics are not aware of morality and ethics: there is nothing universal about ethics. If ethics was universal as we think it is, we would already have an equitable world government by now.


Best Lawrence




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