New and Notable Publications
This page features recommend recent publications and an annotated listing of notable authors and works focused on world government, global democracy, and aspects of global integration more broadly construed. If you would like to propose a work for inclusion, please contact Luis Cabrera at
Recommended Recent Publications
Craig, Campbell (2019) Solving the Nuclear Dilemma: Is a World State Necessary?” Journal of International Political Theory 15 (3): 349-66.
Deudney, Daniel H. (2019) “Going Critical: Toward a Modified Nuclear One Worldism,” Journal of International Political Theory 15 (3)
Erman, Eva, and Jonathan W. Kuyper (2019) “Global Democracy and Feasibility,” Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy: Early online: DOI: 10.1080/13698230.2019.1565713
Hale, Thomas, and Mathias Koenig-Archibugi (2019) “Could Global Democracy Satisfy Diverse Policy Values? An Empirical Analysis,” The Journal of Politics 81(1): 112-26.
Macdonald, Terry, and Kate Macdonald (2019) “Towards a ‘Pluralist’ World Order: Creative Agency and Legitimacy in Global Institutions,” European Journal of International Relations. Early online: https://doi.org/10.1177/1354066119873134
Tanyi, Attila, ed. (2019) Special Issue on World Government, Philosophical Papers 48(1).
Authors and Significant Publications: Annotated
Archibugi, Daniele (2008) The Global Commonwealth of Citizens: Toward Cosmopolitan Democracy. Princeton: Princeton University Press; see also Archibugi and David Held (2011) “Cosmopolitan Democracy: Paths and Agents,” Ethics & International Affairs 25 (4): 433-61.
Archibugi, Research Director of the Italian National Research Council and a Professor of Innovation, Governance and Public Policy at Birkbeck College, University of London, has been one of the most prominent advocates of extending democracy beyond the state. With longtime collaborator the late David Held (1951-2019), he advanced numerous arguments for enabling individuals within states to exert greater democratic control over processes of globalization. Global Commonwealth represents his most comprehensive statement of the argument. In it, he argues that democracy can be extended to the global political arena by strengthening and reforming existing international organizations and creating new ones, and he calls for dramatic changes in the foreign policies of nations to make them compatible with global public interests. While he ultimately is an institutional moderate, calling primarily for the reform of existing institutions and explicitly distancing his approach from the advocacy of full world government, the book offers some ambitious and compelling proposals for extending democracy.
Baratta, Joseph Preston (2004) The Politics of World Federation. Vol. 1: The United Nations, U.N. Reform, Atomic Control. Vol. 2: From World Federalism to Global Governance. Westport: Praeger; see also Baratta (1987) Strengthening the United Nations: A Bibliography on U.N. Reform and World Federalism. Westport, CT: Greenwood).
Baratta is Professor of History at Worcester State College in Massachusetts. His two-volume set offers a detailed historical overview of 20th Century social movements and policy proposals dealing with world government. His research is exhaustive, making this the most complete treatment of the 1940s world government ‘heyday’ period and beyond. While its comprehensiveness may be daunting to the student or researcher just approaching the topic, it makes an excellent shelf or library resource for those delving deeper, as does his 1987 book Strengthening the United Nations. See Heater, Derek here for a good introductory historical source.
Bhagavan, Manu (2013) The Peacemakers: India and the Quest for One World. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Bhagavan, Professor of History and Human Rights at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, tells the story here of India’s influence on the ambitions and moral vision of the United Nations architecture as it was developed at mid-century. Focusing on the views and actions of Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi, inaugural Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru; and Nehru’s sister, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, longtime head of the Indian delegation to the UN, Bhagavan details the vision of One World India presented to other countries. It was a vision of spiritual and moral unity, manifest in human rights doctrine, and in some tension with great-power and neo-imperial influence in the global system. Bhagavan thus fills in an important chapter in the development of global institutions, and also draws attention to the more explicit support for versions of world federalism offered at times by both Nehru and Gandhi.
Cabrera, Luis (2010) The Practice of Global Citizenship. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; and Cabrera (2020) The Humble Cosmopolitan: Rights, Diversity and Trans-State Democracy. New York: Oxford University Press.
Cabrera is Associate Professor of Political Science at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. He is a longtime advocate of institutional cosmopolitanism, which holds that actually securing the individual rights or other global moral goods identified by moral cosmopolitans will likely require comprehensive global political integration along the lines of world government. He made the case for such a stance in his first book, Political Theory of Global Justice: A Cosmopolitan Case for the World State (Routledge 2004). In these two later books, he works to fill in and defend aspects of institutional cosmopolitanism. Practice details possible individual duties to promote rights-enhancing integration, framed as ones of global citizenship. The book adopts a novel ‘grounded normative theory’ method, where its moral arguments are informed by interviews with migrants, activists, migration officials and others in Europe, Mexico and the United States. In The Humble Cosmopolitan, he addresses critiques that such an institutional cosmopolitanism is effectively arrogant, giving too little attention to global diversity of values among countries and peoples. He draws for his defense on interviews with Indian Dalit (formerly ‘untouchable’) human rights activists seeking to use United Nations bodies to pressure their own government for greater action against caste discrimination. He also interviewed their critics in the governing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, who see the activists mostly as disloyal, and possibly in league with neo-imperialist Western forces. Drawing on Indian constitutional architect and champion of Dalit rights, B.R. Ambedkar (1891-1956), Cabrera argues that the cosmopolitan faced with similar critiques should not retreat from state-transcendent moral principles and institutions, but work to show how they can be appropriately oriented to political humility. Democratic institutional cosmopolitanism is so oriented, he argues, because it seeks to situate all persons as political equals, able to give input on and formally challenge actions by states and other international actors.
Craig, Campbell (2003) Glimmer of a New Leviathan: Total War in the Realism of Niebuhr, Morgenthau, and Waltz (New York: Columbia University Press); see also Craig (2019) “Solving the Nuclear Dilemma: Is a World State Necessary?” Journal of International Political Theory 15 (3): 349-66.
Craig is Professor of International Relations at Cardiff University. His work has primarily focused on IR history, in particular tensions around nuclear weapons. The ‘new leviathan’ of the 2003 book title is world government, and Craig makes a convincing case that these thinkers central to the Realist tradition in International Relations did or should have come to appreciate the importance of moving toward a world state capable of controlling nuclear weapons. Craig closes the book with some bold world government claims of his own, arguing that nuclear deterrence must eventually fail, and a strongly empowered security world government remains the only real means of averting global nuclear holocaust. Craig’s argument recalls the ‘one world or none’ claims offered by Einstein and others in the 1940s, and he is probably the firmest current proponent of security world government.
Deudney, Daniel H. (2007) Bounding Power: Republican Security Theory from the Polis to the Global Village. Princeton: Princeton University Press; see also Deudney (2019) “Going Critical: Toward a Modified Nuclear One Worldism,” Journal of International Political Theory 15 (3): 367-85; and see Deudney (2020) Dark Skies: Space Expansionism, Planetary Geopolitics, and the Ends of Humanity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Deudney is Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. In this highly influential book, which shared major prizes from both the International Studies Association and American Political Science Association, Deudney offers a detailed and sophisticated reading of the Republican security tradition, where rule by the people creates forms of mutual restraint which help polities to avoid the extremes of both anarchy and strong hierarchy. World government, he argues in the final chapter, would not be so novel an institutional development as is often thought. Rather, it would simply be another effort to abridge dangerous anarchy, this time in an international system marked by intense ‘violence interdependence’ in the nuclear age. To avoid dangerous hierarchy, however, he also argues that the form a world government takes should be that of a highly limited ‘mutual restraint union,’ rather than some fully empowered federal world state. Such a union would be focused solely on controlling the most extreme security threats to humankind.
Einstein, Albert (2007) `The Way Out’, in Dexter Masters and Katherine Way (eds) One World Or None: A Report to the Public on the Full Meaning of the Atomic Bomb, pp. 209-14. New York: The New Press.
In this well-known piece, Einstein argues that that `The construction of the atomic bomb has brought about the effect that all people living in cities are threatened everywhere and constantly, with sudden destruction’ (Einstein, 1946: 209). He calls for the immediate creation of a strongly empowered world government. Einstein campaigned for world government, becoming one of the leading global advocates in the 1940s, when world state advocacy and activism reached its historical peak. The full volume from Masters and Way is a seminal entry into the world government literature, presenting short pieces on the topic from a number of leading academics and public intellectuals of the period.
Erman, Eva (2015) “Does Global Democracy Require a World State?” Philosophical Papers 48(1): 123-53; see also Erman and Sofia Nasstrom, eds. (2013) Political Equality in Transnational Democracy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Erman is Professor in the Department of Political Science at Stockholm University. She has written extensively on issues around global democracy and legitimacy, and this article represents her most straightforward treatment of world state/government. Abstract: The question of whether global democracy requires a world state has with few exceptions been answered with an unequivocal ‘No’. A world state, it is typically argued, is neither feasible nor desirable. Instead, different forms of global governance arrangements have been suggested, involving non-hierarchical and multilayered models with dispersed authority. The overall aim of this paper is to addresses the question of whether global democracy requires a world state, adopting a so-called ‘function-sensitive’ approach. It is shown that such an approach is equipped to resist the predominant binary view of a world state (either accepting it or rejecting it) and offer a more differentiated and nuanced answer to this question. In brief, a basic presumption of a function-sensitive approach is that the content, justification and status of principles of democracy are dependent on the aim they are set out to achieve, what functions they are intended to regulate (e.g., decision-making, implementation, enforcement and evaluation), and the relationship between those functions. More specifically, within a function-sensitive framework, the paper sketches the contours of an account of global democracy consisting of five regulative principles and argues—utilizing the notion of ‘sufficient stateness’—that it would require supranational legislative entities and perhaps supranational judicial entities but not necessarily supranational executive entities.
Etzioni Amitai (2004) From Empire to Community: A New Approach to International Relations. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Etzioni has been Professor of International Affairs at The George Washington University and is the founder of The Communitarian Network. Etzioni is best known as a communitarian political theorist/sociologist, emphasizing the importance of communal attachments to moral understandings. In this book, he argues that U.S. ‘war on terror’ opened possibilities for progress towards a global democracy – but one giving significant attention to global societal diversity and local attachments.
Goodin, Robert E (2013) “World Government is Here!” in Sigal R. Ben-Porath and Rogers M. Smith, eds., Varieties of Sovereignty and Citizenship. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 149-65; see also Goodin (2010) “Global Democracy: In the Beginning,” International Theory 2 (2): 175-209.
Goodin is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the Australian National University. He has published on a wide range of topics in political philosophy. In these two works, he considers the prospects for global government and global democracy, arguing that, if we consider the right variables, we can see that the development of both is already more advanced than typically presumed. In the 2013 article, for example, he argues for an emphasis on the means that political entities such as states use to achieve their ends, whatever those ends may be. These include exercising authority over subordinate jurisdictions, controlling some coercive/military capacity, and also some revenue capacity. He draws an analogy between the United Nations system and the United States under the Articles of Confederation (1781-89). Both, he notes, exercise some formal authority, including in matters of war, while both also had to rely on members/federal states to actually supply troops or revenue to prosecute a military campaign – and the United States had to rely on such persuasion well into the 19th Century. Likewise with global democracy, Goodin argues, one-person, one-vote style democratic processes may be well off in the future, but numerous accountability mechanisms can be identified in the current global system which are significantly analogous to ones which marked the early development of robust rule by the people.
Heater, Derek (1996) World Citizenship and Government: Cosmopolitan Ideas in the History of Western Political Thought. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
Heater offers a wide-ranging but highly accessible introduction to the world government ideal in historical context. The book makes a great introduction to the historical literature and the history of major social movements advocating forms of global integration. It is also an excellent background source for more advanced students and researchers.
Held, David (1995) Democracy and the Global Order: From the Modern State to Cosmopolitan Governance. Cambridge: Polity Press; see also Held 2004. Global Covenant: The Social Democratic Alternative to the Washington Consensus. Cambridge: Polity Press; Held, Tom Hale and Kevin Young (2013) Gridlock: Why Global Cooperation is Failing When We Need it Most. Cambridge, UK Malden, Massachusetts: Polity Press.
Held (1951-2019) was Professor of Political Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Master of University College at Durham University in the UK. He published widely on democratic theory and practice. His work on cosmopolitan democracy was particularly influential. He argued in Democracy and the Global Order for the development of extensive regional and global democratic institutions to ensure that all persons would be able to give input on decisions taken beyond the nation-state that increasingly affected their lives in an era of globalization. Global Covenant extended and reinforced the arguments, and later work sought to explain institutional stagnation in the global system, and to offer some possible means of addressing it.
Lu, Catherine (2018) “Cosmopolitan Justice, Democracy, and the World State,” in Luis Cabrera (ed.), Institutional Cosmopolitanism. New York: Oxford University Press, 232-52; see also Lu, (2012), “World Government,” in Edward N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2016/entries/world-government
Lu is Professor in the Department of Political Science at McGill University in Montreal. She has published widely in political theory and international relations, including her 2017 book, Justice and Reconciliation in World Politics (Cambridge University Press), which won several major awards. Her chapter in the Institutional Cosmopolitanism volume argues that the logic of cosmopolitan/global democracy dictates extensive and fairly comprehensive global institutional integration – a world state or government. Her “World Government” entry in the open-access online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has been widely cited and praised for its clarity as an introduction to the topic and literature on it.
Marchetti, Raffaele (2008) Global Democracy, For and Against: Ethical Theory, Institutional Design, and Social Struggles. London: Routledge.
Marchetti, an Associate Professor at LUISS Guido Carli University in Rome, was supervised by Held at the London School of Economics and concentrated in early works on demonstrating that arguments for cosmopolitan/global democracy should lead to advocacy for a federal world government.
Pogge, Thomas (2008) World Poverty and Human Rights: Cosmopolitan Responsibilities and Reforms, 2nd Edition. Cambridge: Polity Press; see also Pogge (2009) “Kant’s Vision of a Just World Order,” in Thomas Hill, ed., The Blackwell Guide to Kant’s Ethics. Oxford: Blackwell, 196-208.
Pogge is Leitner Professor of Philosophy and Political Science at Yale University. He has written extensively on global justice, with an initial emphasis on extending John Rawls’s theory of justice as fairness to the global level. His most succinct argument for global democratic institutions to advance global justice are presented in Chapter 7 of World Poverty and Human Rights. The 2009 piece reinforces those arguments while also accepting the label ‘world government’ for the institutional structure.
Scheuerman, William (2011) The Realist Case for Global Reform. Cambridge: Polity Press; see also Scheuerman 2014. “Cosmopolitanism and the World State,” Review of International Studies 40(3): 419-41; Scheuerman (2015) “From Global Governance to Global Stateness,” in Robert Schuett and Peter M.R. Stirk, eds., The Concept of the State in International Relations. Edinburgh University Press, 187-220.
Scheuerman is James H. Rudy Professor of Political Science at Indiana University. He has written extensively on democratic theory and German political thought. His 2011 book focuses on how the Realist tradition in International Relations theory can be read to support a case for full world government. The other works listed here reinforce the case for a strongly empowered world government, in part by critiquing cosmopolitan theorists who have called for the advancement of global moral values but been reluctant to empower global institutions with the coercive capacity to clearly impose and enforce a global rule of law.
Trachtman, Joel P. (2013) The Future of International Law: Global Government (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).
Trachtman is Professor of International Law at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. In this book, which won the 2014 Best Book Award of the International Law Section of the International Studies Association, he argues that international law will become increasingly constitutionalized, forming the basis for an actual global rule of law and global government. He adopts a functionalist reading of such evolution and constitutionalization, highlighting ways in which demands for international law will grow as a means of addressing issues raised by globalization, technology, development and democratization.
Tamir, Yael (2000) `Who’s Afraid of a Global State?’ in Kjell Goldmann, Ulf Hannerz, Charles Westin (eds) Nationalism and Internationalism in the Post-Cold War Era, pp. 244-67. New York: Routledge.
Tamir, a former Labour Party Cabinet Minister in Israel and now adjunct Professor at Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government, is well known as an advocate of Liberal nationalism, which holds that shared national sentiment is necessary to the recognition of Liberal rights. In this piece, she details and deftly challenges a number of standard critiques of world government. She argues for a world government marked by a limited concentration of power at the center, operating according to a firm principle of subsidiarity, where policy is to be determined at the lowest appropriate level. Such an approach, she argues, besides heading off longstanding tyranny concerns about world government, could help to ensure autonomy for national minorities within states, consistent with Liberal nationalism.
Wendt, Alexander (2003) “Why a World State is Inevitable,” European Journal of International Relations 9 (4): 491-542.
This article marks a high point in the post-millennium world government literature as Wendt, one of the most prominent social constructivist theorists in International Relations, outlines the path on which he sees the world system ineluctably moving to full integration. Wendt, whose Social Theory of International Politics (Cambridge UP, 1999) was voted `Best Book of the Decade’ by the International Studies Association, focuses on a struggle for recognition between states. This struggle, he argues, mirrors one that Hegel identified between individuals, where demands for recognition eventually lead to the formation of a collective identity and the development of the nation-state. While Hegel saw states as the developmental end point, Wendt argues that they cannot be in an age of nuclear weapons, where none are fully self-sufficient entities. Rather, state ‘persons’ will struggle with one another for recognition, also eventually leading to collective identity formation and a world state. The process can be expected to be halting and move backward at times, Wendt says, but it will inevitably end in a world state controlling the monopoly on large-scale means of violence. He speculates the full process could take perhaps 200 years.
Ypi, Lea (2013) “Cosmopolitanism Without If and Without But,” in Gillian Brock (ed.), Cosmopolitanism versus Non-Cosmopolitanism: Critiques, Defenses, Reconceptualizations. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 75-91; see also Ypi (2011) Global Justice and Avant-Garde Political Agency. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Ypi is Professor of Political Theory in the Government Department, London School of Economics. In this piece, she offers her own version of the argument that a consistent moral cosmopolitanism will advocate the development of some form of world government to advance its global moral aims. Ypi’s 2008 book, Global Justice and Avant-Garde Political Agency, has been widely influential. In it, she argues for a rooted conception of cosmopolitanism, where domestic activists act as an avant-garde force, introducing and motivating observance of more-cosmopolitan norms.
Yunker, James (2011) The Idea of World Government: From Ancient Times to the Twenty-first Century. Abingdon: Routledge; see also Yunker (2009) “Beyond Global Governance: Prospects for Global Government,” International Journal on World Peace 26(2): 7-30;
Yunker, longtime Professor of Economics at Western Illinois University, has authored numerous books advocating the development of federal world government. The Idea of World Government represents perhaps Yunker’s most systematic and comprehensive presentation and defense of aspects of the global federal ideal. He concludes 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.”