NOTE: This doesn't imply the lack of any society whatsoever. Imagine all the modern conveniences and technology of today, except instead of someone being 'American' or 'German' they merely identified as members of a single world civilization under a global government.

Succinctly speaking: it's a global nation-state, in that all peoples are united under a single global nation which is ruled by a single world government. To add some specificity, I'll narrow it down to a few key issues (answer in a few sentences or less):

  1. What are the main advantages of such a system? The disadvantages? List 2-3 for each, but very concisely (a short phrase describing each).
  2. Does this eliminate any societal wrongs present in our current world? Touch on one with more detail or name a several with 1-2 sentences each.
  3. Does this add any additional sociopolitical issues not currently present in our own? Again, elaborate on one or briefly mention a few.
  4. What would be the main concern(s) of this government? Expanding the human empire to the stars? Solving world hunger? etc. (same rules apply as before.)
  5. Superman: Red Son envisioned a Utopian global government composed entirely of artists, philosophers, and thinkers. Is this depiction realistic? Would 'government' as we know it exist in this world, or would it be fundamentally different? Explain a few (brief) reasons why.
  6. John Locke once wrote that the existence of man in organized society was an inevitability of human nature. Is the existence of individual nations an 'inevitability'? Explain why in a medium-sized paragraph or less.
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    $\begingroup$ I would say it would be much better but I fear the answer is unknowable. $\endgroup$ – King-Ink Feb 1 '16 at 22:56
  • $\begingroup$ It would probably be ten times worse. The government would inevitably turn to tyranny then collapse. It always happens. $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon Feb 2 '16 at 0:09
  • $\begingroup$ Inevitably? My my, someone loves dystopias. In all seriousness, however, I think it's important to recognize that a world united under a single global government might very well be one with radically distinct conceptions of what government as a whole embody for the common citizen. There could, for example, exist a government of philosophers, artists, thinkers, etc. under a united global state (or perhaps those such things only exist in Superman: Red Son). $\endgroup$ – Avant Guard Feb 2 '16 at 2:51
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    $\begingroup$ Do you want to have an united state (i.e. government) or an united nation (i.e. ill defined notion of ethnicity), or both ? The idea to have one state for each nation ("nation-state") was quite popular for the two last centuries, but that are two very different concepts. $\endgroup$ – Kolaru Feb 2 '16 at 2:52
  • $\begingroup$ Both, I suppose? I think that there's some indistinct gray area of overlap between the two with regards to their sociopolitical implications. Both seem as though they would be equally subject to the same societal injustices often suggested to emerge from such systems if ill-managed & unchecked. $\endgroup$ – Avant Guard Feb 2 '16 at 2:57

10 Answers 10


Honestly, it probably wouldn't work all that well.

The simple facts are that there's only so much that an individual person can do in a day, and there are a lot of different places on Earth. Those two things combined kind of ruin the idea of a unified world government that runs everything. Let's run through things a bit to see what I mean, but on a smaller scale.

Congratulations! You've just been elected President of the United States! You've had a few minutes to sit behind the desk in the Oval Office and laugh maniacally at your newfound power, but now it's time to get down to business. The budget calls for a tax increase to pay for hurricane recovery on the Gulf Coast. However, the legislators from North Dakota are fighting it pretty hard. Their constituents don't like the idea of having to pay more taxes for problems that they don't face. They're willing to vote for it, though, if they can secure additional wildlife funding, which would have to be taken from California. California doesn't like this, so in return they want....

It would be like this on a much larger scale. "Americans" paying extra taxes to help with "Japanese" tsunami recovery, "Uzbekistan" losing funding to "Argentina".... The countries may not exist, but the parts of the world are still there. And sadly, many people don't really care about people 12,000 miles away that they'll never meet.

It doesn't help that even without countries, culture will still exist. Things are different in different parts of the world. I myself recently moved from Wisconsin to California for work; as a child in the Midwest, we had tornado drills on a regular basis, but I realized on moving that I have no idea what to do in case of an earthquake. And that's only within the same country. Subsidies on corn work great for Nebraska and Iowa, but aren't so helpful for the rice farmers in Southeast Asia.

The fact of the matter is that when it comes to governing, one size does not fit all. The world is too big for one government to be able to govern effectively. In order to be effective, it would have to basically do what the US has done, and have smaller governments that work under the bigger government -- take a certain area and say that governmentally it is distinct from a different area.

But at that point, we might as well call those sub-governments "countries" and be done with it.

  • $\begingroup$ I agree entirely. Your answer sums up everything wrong I've ever seen with world government. $\endgroup$ – Xandar The Zenon Feb 2 '16 at 0:14
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    $\begingroup$ And, to be fair, everything that's wrong with non-world government. It requires consent from, or failing that coercion of, people with mutually exclusive goals. So on the same grounds, the United States probably doesn't work all that well either. It's not entirely clear that my local town government works any better than my national government in this respect, but at least there are some things in my town that almost everyone uses. $\endgroup$ – Steve Jessop Feb 2 '16 at 11:06

The big catch to one world government is: What happens to people who don't like the laws of that government?

In the present world, if you don't like the laws of the U.S., you can move to Canada, or Iran, or wherever. But if there was only one government that ruled over all human beings, that if you don't like it, you're stuck.

What happens when this government becomes tyrannical? With many nations, if one nation gets too oppressive people start fleeing to other countries. If it's bad enough that people decide to rebel, they can often get support -- sanctuary, weapons, etc -- from other countries. But if there's only one nation, then presumably it controls all the police and all the military. Any rebellion could be ruthlessly crushed.

And please, don't tell me that you'll ensure that this country remains free and democratic by having rights protected by a constitution. Words on paper do not enforce themselves. Governments violate their written constitutions all the time.

Less dramatically, many countries means that there are many laboratories to try out different laws and customs. We can see that, for example, Greece's approach to taxes and spending didn't work. Germany's approach to green energy didn't work. Of course some results are endlessly debatable. Which is working out better, Denmark's approach to drugs or Singapore's? Etc. If there was one world government, the leaders could enact a policy that sounded like an obviously good idea to them, maybe even to a majority of the people, and if it turns out to be a disaster, the whole world goes down the tubes.

  • $\begingroup$ That is actually a very controversial approach, one can argue that if you have a job and a family who does not want to move, you are not free to emigrate (that is, most of migrants are unmarried young men). Also some governments respect their constitution, why would a world one not do it ? $\endgroup$ – Kolaru Feb 2 '16 at 2:59
  • $\begingroup$ @Jay Federalism and devolution of powers solves a lot of that. $\endgroup$ – King-Ink Feb 2 '16 at 3:57
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    $\begingroup$ Indeed. I think most people wanting a "no borders" world government want it to be the kind that suits them. Imagine if you said you can have a world government, but it would be an extremist Islamic Caliphate with all that entails.. many liberal Americans wouldn't appreciate it all of a sudden. Mind you, a world government with Trump as president might not go down well either. $\endgroup$ – gbjbaanb Feb 2 '16 at 10:06
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    $\begingroup$ For that matter, if Canada or Iran or wherever doesn't want you then you can't move there. People aren't really in the position of freely choosing which country suits them best, and one of the main grounds on which people oppose greater union between countries (for example the EU) is that they don't like migration. You can do a certain amount of jurisdiction-shopping within unions, though (whether the union forms a single nation or not), such as within the US or within the EU. $\endgroup$ – Steve Jessop Feb 2 '16 at 11:17
  • $\begingroup$ @SteveJessop True enough. But if a country is bad enough, large numbers of people will want to leave, and many of them will find SOME place that will allow them in. $\endgroup$ – Jay Feb 2 '16 at 14:13

I will separate my answer in two questions : can a single nation exists and can a single government exists ?


Humans define their identity relatively to something else. If I consider myself as a Swiss, it make sense because lots of people are not Swiss. However one ask me, in Switzerland "where are you from ?", I will not answer "Switzerland", I will answer "Valais" (my native region).

Why ? Because if everybody (in a given context) is Swiss, affirming that I am give no differentiation, it has no interest to identify myself as such. To have a common nation, you need something outside, for the definition to make sense in the hearth of the people.

However, having wide difference inside a nation is not an absolute problem against a common nation. Kurds often describe themselves as a nation, but do not share a religion, nor a state ; Swiss do not share a language ; and I am pretty sure I can greatly offence half of the United-States by saying "You are all just New-Yorker". Of course, the closest you are from the other in your nation, the easier it is to identify. Well, the closest you are, relative to how different are the others from not-your-nation, once again.

So yes, it is possible to have a unique nation for all humans, but you need to drop aliens for us to compare.

If you want to pick a nation, however, and force everyone to "convert" to it, it will just fail miserably. My point here is that a wider concept of nation can emerge, not that you can force everyone to live the same way without an Orwellian scenario.


There is actually no reasons that we can not scale our current governments up to the size of the world. Of course it will be a multicultural government, but it is possible. India is an actual example, and pretty much any empire or kingdom before 1800 also were (for the latter not democratic, but still multicultural).

Obviously, you can not just scale up any of our government with their problems and hope they will suddenly disappear. My point is that by building a world government, you do not face any problem that can not happen in a small scale government.

Dictatorship ? No respect for minorities ? Corruption ? Too much job for the head of state ? Too high concentration of powers ? People unhappy with the government unable to go away ? Different laws in different parts of the country ?

All of that have dozens of real examples, that's not new stuff.


Can we have a common nation ? You need something outside (in our case aliens) of it, otherwise the concept of nation makes no sense.

Can we have a common government ? Hell yeah ! (if you do not ask how to get there)

Would the problem of today modern society still exist ? The only difference is that the human wars will all be relabelled "civil wars".

  • $\begingroup$ Having a varied selection of states in the world is in some respects like having a varied selection of shops on the high street - it creates competition. If one shop is charging high prices and is awkward to deal with, you can go to another. Similarly, a business can base itself in a country which has friendly taxes and regulation. Individuals can do the same (with increased difficulty and restrictions). This provides at least some incentive for states to have reasonable taxes and laws. A single government is more analogous to a monopoly business, which has it's own set of problems. $\endgroup$ – JBentley Feb 2 '16 at 10:06
  • $\begingroup$ @JBentley Why should the taxes and the laws be the same on the whole territory ? It is already not the case for most federal states (it is not for example in Switzerland or the US) $\endgroup$ – Kolaru Feb 2 '16 at 14:12
  • $\begingroup$ I didn't claim that they would be the same. The point is that when it is all controlled by a single entity, the incentive to be competitive doesn't exist, because those paying the taxes have nowhere else to go. $\endgroup$ – JBentley Feb 2 '16 at 14:15

If Individual nations did not exist, The World would Live in Peace.

This is a very Evolutionary and Enlightened Question/Thought. Much praise to Ken H for posing this one.

This is actually a great way to solve world peace but what is not mentioned and very important is the other important variables of such a society, as what monetary and form of government and social control systems exist.

If individual nation states didn’t exist in the sense that there are no borders, let us go a bit further and clarify that we can assume that there are no individual governments, no individual political parties, no individual armies. No borders. Just 1 Human race. Of-course each country, community, culture, race etc. will always maintain their unique identities but without borders we would allow for Free roaming without unnecessary hindrances. This would surely create a more harmonious society for the unnecessary suffering that borders create is endless.

As soon as we unite as 1 World and 1 Human Race, borders would no longer exist. Separation is the same coin as divide and conquer. The system has the Human race separated, focusing on futile and hollow judgmental details about each-other. We are all One. More than one Race, We are one Energy.

Years ago, when I would propose to folks that we could actually unite as the One World and People we know we are and act as one together in Unison and Peace and create as much as a Heaven on Earth as is possible with current technology and resources, the reaction used to be one of disbelief. I now thankfully and amazingly find that most folks are in agreement and I realize that has to mean that it has officially become common universal Human Knowledge and Logic. If I’m not mistaken, that might be because a big majority are aware and awake that things do not have to be this way and should not be.

The next step after realization is action. I think the best plan may be to decide on a date that we will change the system. Best time is a New Years day like Jan 1st 2020. Most of Humanity as the belief in starting the new year with a new Year with a positive resolution or plan. We can decide that on that on the 31st of Dec 2019 everyone is fired. We must in reality do a Mass Reset. Everyone is fired. Especially Politicians, Government workers, Police and military and money is abolished including all written laws. I have come to realize that the majority of Humanity has in their hearts what is fair and just. Seems like the best Judge is the Holy Spirit that is within us. Our hearts and minds are all connected to the Collective Human Conscience.

We must live as if the major, governor and president is God, Jesus Christ, Buddha

No Borders, so no need for Military either because their only purpose is to defend the nation against foreign armies, which would no apply. No Police, the local People are the best Police, Judge No Goverment, this does not mean we would not have structure, we would and could and will live much more intelligently and harmoniously without the outdated system of social governance. No Poitics, No Politicians, No Bureaucracy, No Class (just 1st Class)

...Namaste... Utopia or Death


If a single world government does exist, then clearly the issues keeping that from happening have been solved.

It's a presupposition that if the world is united under a single government, then it's not at war with itself. That world government would still be made up of humans and would therefore almost certainly have a whole set of different problems.

It's enticing to think we'd be better off in such a situation, but it's not clear that things would actually be all that different. We could still have staggering poverty and wealth gaps, poor healthcare, regional tensions, and many of the other big issues we face today. In fact, I think a single government being responsible for all the people on Earth would be worse off than many nations today.

Or, on an optimistic note, you've torn down the borders that keep people apart. A world government leads more easily to mixing and averaging human cultures. This could have a beneficial effect of increased understanding and less radicalism between different peoples.

  • $\begingroup$ 'Warfare' was the wrong word. Perhaps the single world nation isn't necessarily 'at war' with itself, but that doesn't preclude the possibility of radicalism or dissent. Terrorism or mob riots, for example, could (perhaps) run rampant, especially if the government is riddled even more so by the same problems facing our world's leaders today. A nation divided, in other words, at least to some notable degree. $\endgroup$ – Avant Guard Feb 1 '16 at 23:13

Get used to Big Brother or put up with sectarian violence. Your pick.

Yes, it's pretty problematic, because there are different social climes in different parts of the world.

Different people look different, speak different languages, have different customs, follow different religions, and so forth. It would be nearly impossible to construct a government that is sympathetic to all the different cultural groups in the world.

A big issue here is religion. Some countries are strongly ruled by religion. This is problematic in this scenario, because some religious laws in Country X may violate secular laws on Country Y - or worse, religious laws in Country Y. You'd never be able to unite them, because the two ethnic groups would push for different laws that could never be combined.

This government would soon dissolve into partisan disputes and, I suspect, secession by various countries. It would not last long. If it did manage to stay together, though, and politicians from everywhere were able to agree to this, you'd still have sectarian violence not condoned by the government. Paramilitary organizations would start fighting wars with each other.

The solution? Take away personal freedoms. Freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and freedom of assembly all lead to sectarian warfare as different people disagree with one another. Big Brother needs to arise and develop very tight control over people.

It's not enough to win the hearts and minds of the people. Here, you need to control them, to save them from themselves.

  • $\begingroup$ You should add this answer to your moderator nomination :) $\endgroup$ – Samuel Feb 1 '16 at 23:16
  • $\begingroup$ That's an interesting thought. Does this mean that polarized, independent nations are inevitable due to human nature? It's somewhat along the same vein as people suggesting that forming societies and governments is an inevitable outcome for man. $\endgroup$ – Avant Guard Feb 1 '16 at 23:17
  • $\begingroup$ @Samuel I would, but I ran out of characters! $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Feb 1 '16 at 23:17
  • $\begingroup$ @KenH. In the near future, I would say yes. People will disagree on some things, and in large enough groups, they will disagree violently. Try uniting India and Pakistan today. It'll be very difficult. Up until ~70 years ago, they were the same. Then the partition came, and the division was along religious lines. Now there's a problem with two groups head to head that really don't like each other. $\endgroup$ – HDE 226868 Feb 1 '16 at 23:19
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    $\begingroup$ @KenH. Polarization seem pretty inevitable, just look at the US primaries and election. Trump supporters and Sanders supporters might as well secede to different planets, never mind different countries. Whether the union survives polarization is a complicated practical matter. A different outcome of the Civil War, and North America might contain rather more nations than it does. Europe could conceivably have rather fewer. $\endgroup$ – Steve Jessop Feb 2 '16 at 11:22

I'm going to suggest that we have already seen this situation before, and if you accept that not having a powerful global government is a good thing it might even be workable.

The modern nation-state isn't all that old, coming into being in Europe in 1648 after the Peace of Westphalia brought an end to the 30 Years War. This treaty brought together several ideas, including the idea of a sovereign territory under the rule of a singular Prince. Before that, most territories were under overlapping control of various power and efficiency, ranging from guilds to "Empires".

If your global order reverted to the situation that existed after the fall of the Roman Empire when theoretically all European people's were united under "Christendom", then you have a start. A pan global culture united by a common idea provides the foundation, with perhaps a "spiritual" sort of guidance from the head of the global order. Perhaps less like the Pope and more like the Dalai Lama.

Under this spiritual or cultural guidance, we would need various levels of local governance to deal with things like law enforcement, contract enforcement and the resolution of disputes by neutral arbitrators. The reason we need the unified spiritual or cultural structure is so everyone agrees on the meanings of laws and contracts. Looking at today's world, there are many distinct ways of seeing similar terms, which is one of the reason we see seemingly intractable conflicts arising between the Western world and Islam, Russia and the "Orthadox" world, the Sinic world under China and so on. Samuel Huntingdon wrote about this in "The Clash of Civilizations".

Local governance is best, simply because it is closest to the people and the people have the ability to interact and influence the government in ways that are less and less possible as the levels of government rise from the people (compare writing a letter to city hall to writing a letter to the Provincial Premier or State Governor, to writing to the Chief Executive of your nation. Now imagine writing a letter to the world Emperor...).

Of course this also exposes the weakness of the idea. As you move throughout the world, different cities and counties will interpret the cultural or spiritual ideas of the global culture differently. In some cases this will give you distinct regional cultures and practices (much like visiting someplace in the other part of your country), but eventually the differences will become great enough to provide difficulties (in region "x", a certain practice marks acceptance of a contract. This didn't happen in region "y", so they argue the contract is invalid...). An overarching cultural guidance can provide a certain amount of leeway, but ultimately there may have to be an overarching enforcement agency as well.

The overarching enforcement agency is, of course, the objection to the idea of a one world state, especially since it will be remote and generally unanswerable to the people. We would see something like the Inquisition appear, with all that implies.


Let us assume the world government is federal is form. Each member state retains the right to its own laws and customs etc. and it is clearly demarked in some sort of world constitution. Each states rights and obligations clearly set out and generally seen to be fair.

If a state has a gripe against another state or a minority population had a beef against its state of residence they could take it to court and get a binding decision. Most purely nationalistic issues like those of ETA, Palestine, the Kurds would vanish. Why fight for a homeland when your immediate concerns are being met? As would the wars of the Powers regional and supers. The struggle for Russian, U.S. or Saudi supremacy could lead to civil war with literally the rest of the Earth and would be avoided by pragmatic sociopath leaders.

We would still have terrorism by Xtian and Muslim extremists that feel that the whole thing is the work of the antichrist/devil. The Islamists could be appeased if we allow a Caliphate over the Muslim world who is bound by good will and a commitment to peace to follow international law.

If a person or group doesn't like the laws of the state they live in they would have freedom of movement. Freedom of migration would be in the constitution Economic border effects would be lessened. Trade wars / Tariffs would be counterproductive as would outsourcing jobs as local job markets would have to compete on wages.

We would definitely put the capital in San Francisco and start exploring space in earnest. A fleet of starships that would go where no one has gone before if you will.

  • $\begingroup$ sorry, but each member state cannot have both its own laws and the world constitution. It would end up with the world court setting the laws for that country. Nor can you have nationalistic issue disappear and also have a nationalistic caliphate (or any other nationalist grouping). $\endgroup$ – gbjbaanb Feb 2 '16 at 10:04
  • $\begingroup$ Please elaborate. $\endgroup$ – King-Ink Feb 2 '16 at 12:55

In theory Yes it is possible but there are many implementation problems

In order of severity ...

  • Single point of failure. In our current world if a government does something stupid or evil it doesn't doom us all. If you gov refuses to adopt electricity, or starts an internal genocide you can flee to a neighbor country and get away. In this case your doomed. Even very smart leaders can make dumb decisions. Napoleon famously reacted to the steam boat by saying "You wish to power a ship against the wind and waves by lighting a fire under its decks. I have no time for this non-sense".

  • Protecting the minority opinion. In a democratic government you have minority and majority opinion groups that disagree. How do you balance the needs of the few against the many? A small number of people want protection from volcanos but most people don't want to pay for it. If we only do things a majority wants then a large amount of good things will never be done. For this reason large countries have smaller provinces that let them split voters into smaller and smaller groups so the city government next to the volcano will have majority support for protection, but what about minority groups that are not geographically isolated? How would you convince people to join if they know they will share a minority opinion.

  • the leader's time. a single leader can only deal with so many problems, we would need additional layers of government to reduce the load on upper layers, so we could have city, county, state, "national" and global levels of government to spread the load.


I'm less pessimistic than most of the other answers. Think of the "global mobile professional class" these days. Someone born in Denmark might have gone to a boarding school in Switzerland, to an university in the US, and work in Dubai for a London-based multinational company while a Filipino nanny cares for their kids. Until the job in Dubai is over and they go "back" to London. Or perhaps Singapore. Or Hong Kong.

So far this is just a small part of the global population, but it doesn't have to stay that way. First you get a global culture. In some ways a loss, in other ways a gain. As multiple passports and residency permits get more common, the birth passport gets less important. And what really matters is where one got the MBA. A few generations of that, and nations might be quaint parts of your heritage.

The question is if this applies only to people in the top income brackets or to everybody.


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