Future Possible Scenarios of World Governance: A Discussion on Keith Suter’s Ideas

ARTICLE | | BY Daniel Rueda Garrido

Daniel Rueda Garrido

Get Full Text in PDF


In this paper, Suter’s scenarios of world governance are discussed and re-evaluated in the light of today’s world. For that purpose, two general models of governing the world are posited, centred on the global/non-global governance dichotomy; then, in turn, each of these models are divided into two possible future scenarios, thus merging Suter’s scenarios as follows: (a.1) global governance and global government: world state, (a.2) global governance but no global government: Earth Inc., (b.1) neither global governance nor global government: steady-state; (b.2) neither global governance nor global government: wild state. Finally, the possibility of an anarchist society after the struggle of the wild state is added to the last scenario, a society ruled by people’s own capacity to persevere and help each other without a centralising institution of power. The paper concludes suggesting which of the possible futures seems to be closer to the present.

1. Introduction

Keith Suter has recently written about the future of the nation-state in an era of globalization,1 providing four scenarios of future governance:

  1. Steady State: This scenario argues that the basic nation-state structure will remain in spite of all the discussions about global governance. Nation-states, which came into existence only since the Treaty of Westphalia in the 17th century, will make their way through the 21st century, for they cared for the national interests and avoided the potential tyranny of transnational superpowers: the least of the two evils. For the purpose of this article, this possibility is to be referred to as “No global governance—No Global Government: Strong National States”.
  2. World State: This scenario suggests that there are no national solutions to transnational problems, so governments have to implement some working collaboration to solve common problems; although Suter does not contemplate here the possibility of a global hegemonic state after a war, some other authors, especially those from world-system theory, also examine that possible scenario. Thus global government could take place in several forms: from strong global dictatorship (would not be a peaceful solution) to a global federal government or some government composed of functional agencies ruling the world. For the purpose of this article, this possibility is to be referred to as “Global Governance—Global Government: Several Types of Governments”.
  3. Earth Inc.: It refers to a scenario in which the nation-states have not been able to solve the common problems that make them lose control over their population, thus transnational corporations are the only international organizations that can bring to a peaceful transition the governance of the states while joining “the world together into one market as they fill the governmental vacuum”.2 For the purpose of this article, this possibility is to be referred to as “Global Governance—No Global Government: The World in the hands of Transnational Corporations”.
  4. Wild State: It suggests that after the states have lost control over their countries, there is no transnational organization capable of filling the vacuum which thus results in increasing chaos. As Suter puts it, “this is the ‘nightmare’ scenario, in which nation-states fall apart, there is an increase in ‘failed states’, mass movements of peoples and increasing environmental and health problems”.3 This scenario is a pessimistic one but also can be foreseen as a positive one within the decline of nation-states, for this chaos envisaged by Suter is the reverse of the social order imposed by a Hobbesian state: the anarchist society as described by Kropotkin (and libertarians such as Nozick) and endorsed by Chomsky or Graeber in modern times represents this positive vision. For the purpose of this article, this possibility is to be referred to as “No Global Governance—No Global Government: Anarchist Society”.

2. Models of World Governance and the Future of Humanity

2.1. Global Governance—Global Government: World State (a.1)

This is Suter’s second scenario. Global governance is not a mere desire but a matter of fact, for the world is already ruled globally, the point, according to Frankman, is what is the governance that we want for the interests of humanity and then what are the alterations we have to make. The alterations referred to are embedded in his belief that the current global system is an oligarchy with a hierarchical and authoritative structure, far from democracy. The reasoning of the author goes from national welfare states to a worldwide welfare state to prevent capitalism from its excesses (in the same way as what happened at national levels during the first half of the century), which are, for the author, mainly the increase in inequality of wealth and income as well as the suppression of democratic values and participation. This prevention of capitalist global excesses is left to a welfare state to make the world safe for people to live in and for the ecosystem to endure.

If we are to survive as a civilization, Chase-Dunn more recently wrote about the five crises of contemporary world (including those mentioned by Frankman previously) that need to be solved when the U.S. hegemony is in decline:

  1. Crisis in Global Governance: It concerns the difficulties of dealing with troubles in the contemporary world, where troubles cannot be dealt without conflicts of interest between the powers of the interstates system that has been gradually established in the decline of US hegemony: “The long-term trend toward large-scale political integration and centralization will eventually result in the emergence of a world state, but this is an unlikely development for the next few decades”.4 He thinks that a world state will come up in the long run, that is, the global governance would be managed by a united and unique state of states (a confederation, perhaps).
  2. Crisis in Inequality and Democracy: The inequality between South and North is still big and the problem is that the inequality is justified by the impossibility (disastrous) of getting for every human in the world the same living conditions than those in the North hemisphere: “If the people of the global South eat as many eggs and drive as many cars as the people of the global North the biosphere will fry. This is a problem”.5 And democracy is poor in quality because after World War II those who won, and especially the US, distributed and controlled the power of the globe.
  3. Crisis in the Biosphere: Global warming and pollution are characteristics of the geological epoch we live in, called Anthropocene by the geologists, and defined as the modifications and fast devastation of the ecosystem by human causation. This crisis has been “exacerbated by the unwillingness of the powers that have to make serious efforts at reaching solutions”.6 Nowadays we can include in this section the latest move of the president of the US, who, by drawing his country away from the Paris Climate Agreement (The White House’s report, 2017), undermines once more common efforts to solve this global crisis.
  4. Crisis in the Global Capitalist System: Here, Chase-Dunn recalls Wallerstein’s ideas, and suggests that capitalism is in crisis because of the long-term rise of wages, cost of material and taxes, which means that it will be very difficult to maximize the profit. Capitalism then will fall by the contradictions within it: “The falling rate of profit means that capitalism as a logic of accumulation will face an irreconcilable structural crisis during the next 50 years, and some other system will emerge. Wallerstein calls the next five decades ‘The Age of Transition’.”7
  5. Crisis in the New Global Left: The crisis of the global left refers both to the weakness of people’s claiming and the lack of unity at global level against the abuses of structural power (the sort of resistance that power benefits from; see Wallerstein, 2014). He envisages a future in which “a global united front that combines labour with horizontalists is possible, but may not happen until global Robocop and 21st century fascism get stronger”.8 A global movement of people seems only plausible when the pressure from the top becomes extreme. Horizontalists are activist populist movements that reach some sort of state recognition and are associated with syndicalism towards the same goal. The term “global Robocop” refers to the total digital surveillance of private life; Robocop is also associated within the UN to the autonomous weapons like drones that can enter the battlefield and target people without the need for actual soldiers that can be compromised.

As the reasons for a change in global politic orientation have been laid down, the next question has to do with the sort of world governance that is best for the interests of people. Frankman remarks the need for a welfare global state to care for the social. This must be in a form of an actual government, not any supranational organization or corporation: “A welfare state, whether national or global, requires a structure of government to shape the programs, to finance them, and to respond to changed circumstances”.9 This is linked to what Chase-Dunn said about the military force that a superpower needs to own to implement global governance and intervene when challenges to authority come. And it seems that governments, better than any other instances of power, can fulfil this responsibility to constrain and exercise legitimate violence. Without that, we wonder, is there any possibility of governance? It seems the answer is negative, for ruling is to enforce behaviours, thoughts and beliefs as well as the use of violence upon those who do not follow the lead; but it seems plausible to think that there are other ways of social organization (in a nongovernmental approach): one which does not apply the rules of a few over the many; in the fourth scenario I will discuss, for instance, Kropotkin’s suggestion of anarcho-communist society based on mutual cooperation.

However, according to Frankman, the purported global government presents difficulties to be implemented such as 1) limitations imposed by major powers 2) The misconception of believing that it is enough to solve national problems 3) The acceptance of functional globalism: most of the global problems are technical, so we must leave the experts to solve it. Nevertheless, giving the need to solve the world crises mentioned above and considering the plausibility of a global government to solve them, we must examine the sort of governments that would be feasible. I will follow the distinctions made by Suter while extending with a critical eye the evidence in favour of each of the types of governments:

    The new world citizen is likely to be a product of globalization from below rather than from above.

  1. Federalist. It is defined as the decision of national governments to transfer certain powers (for instance, military power) to a global government (while retaining the power to make laws on local properties).

    In a brief history of the proposal of global federal government in Western culture, Kant must be the first name to be mentioned; he understood that only a state of states could guarantee the cessation of warfare and the endorsement of a “perpetual peace”;10 in the XIX century, probably it is K. Ch. F. Krause who has to be mentioned in relation to the idea of a global federal government.11 He was an enthusiastic admirer of Napoleon in his initial victorious moments, for attempting to unify Europe, and the World, under a unique regime, believed to be the expansion of the democratic ideas of French Revolution. Krause held that in the same way that a nation-state must provide the conditions of living within the national community, there must be other institutions at higher levels to care for the conditions of living and promoting peace and unity between the states of different totalities such as Europe, Asia, Africa and America.12 This logic was that of a gradual integration of sovereign nations of Europe into a federation of European states, the nations of Asia into a federation of Asian states and so on, to ultimately achieve a confederation of all the nation-states from around the globe in what he calls the League of Humanity, where all people had to be represented (each state represented in its continental confederation and each continental in the global confederation) and unified under a common destiny: the ideal of humanity.13

    In the XX century, the global democratic federalism was around for a while; for example, as early as 1925, Harold Laski was arguing that the world government was part of the modern conditions and that federalism was its most appropriate form to prevent war and secure economic justice for people;14 besides, after the World War II, on the front page of The New York Times (1945) was reported a conference in Dublin calling for global democratic federalism, and the periodical in Canada entitled World Federalism was active from 1955 to 1974.15

    Nowadays, this global government’s option is discussed probably more than ever; there are a number of NGOs and international organizations that are pro-federal world governance. The most active one is the World Federalist Movement—Institute for Global Policy. Between its claims can be found the formation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly (UNPA), which would bring about an improvement in global governance “by adding a democratic and independent complement to the UN system”.16 This organization works to transform the UN into a strong, democratic federation while keeping the US within to cooperate and support it.

    In general, the idea of global government has received criticism on the basis of democratic escapism; this remark posits people’s disregard for the democratic process on the account of the huge number of actors involved. The difference made by each vote seems so insignificant in comparison to the world population that this might diminish democratic participation and the actual meaning of participating.

  2. Functionalist. It is defined as a network of global agencies that handles particular functions such as health, telecommunications, etc.; they are also called “epistemic communities”.

    Here the risks of a non-national growth are presented, in which states lose control of global issues that affect them. They need the expertise of those who work for many governments to the point that the stability and growth of the global economy may depend to a large extent on them. These agencies constitute the era of the technocracy as has been called. Epistemic communities are then the groups of experts that inform the governments about technical solutions to complex issues: “The ‘epistemic community’ approach describes the roles played by networks of experts in international decision-making: how they agree upon and articulate causal linkages within complex issue spaces; how they frame issues and define salient discourse; how they define and limit potential solutions or outcomes; and how they define state interests within the issue space”.17 The epistemic communities consist of experts who are to be accountable from several governments who otherwise would be at a loss in those particular issues. They represent the formation of a knowledge-based power network on a global scale. Brown understood that a globally identified conglomeration of a technocratic network would be required for the functioning of an institutionalized global mode of regulation.

  3. Populist. The creation of a grass-roots movement to establish a democratic world government.

    With the U.S. hegemony in decline, populist revolutions and social movements have increased, claiming, as new Global Left, a change in world politics’ orientation, a position well represented by the contributions made by Negri and Hardt (2000, 2004, 2009). For Frankman, the democratic deficit has been caused by the nationalist education; he means that the type of person we are and the way we behave have been nurtured through national elites, and seems to claim for a more global human being, with rights and responsibilities at large scale: “Our myopia, cynicism, withdrawal, avoidance of collective responsibility, and deference to authority and technical experts have been carefully nurtured by an educational system in the service of nationalism”.18 Therefore, the way out to this situation in which people have been drawn away from their responsibility but at the same time from their right to participate and make differences is the formation of a government solidly founded on a populist movement. He defends that the new world citizen is likely to be a product of globalization from below rather than from above. Both are at stake, however, there are reasons not to be that optimistic, for it is from above as we have been changing (he wrote it above) through the education system, political decisions and social encouragement.

    The scenario of the global federal government is the preferred choice for many analysts, especially for those who see the threat of a nuclear war as a major problem to keep in consideration. In line with the Enlightenment tradition, a global government would be the only solution for a “perpetual peace” and, in particular, for the warfare between nuclear-armed states. The question is if a global government could really be the solution to all wars, for the constrictions and the use of power necessarily will have a response, mainly as a resistance, from the governed in many different fashions, whenever the actions of power are not seen legitimate and the freedom and possibilities of living are undermined. There may not be warfare between states, yet revolts and even war would be over between the government and the people of the world; Negri and Hardt have envisaged in our times a “violent” (not necessarily a bloodshed) revolt of the multitude against Empire, symbolic of the purported network of contemporary global governance.19

    Suter encounters that the problem in discussing global governments, in general, is that there is not yet a global community (union of all people), so to national communities, a global government sounds like Big Brother: “We cannot discuss world government because we have no world community to support it […] The way to promote world community is to have world government […]”;20 and, after presenting this circular argument (the hen and the eggs dilemma), he opens a hope for the future precisely based on the awareness that global discussion can bring about and the effect that might have on uniting world community.

2.2. Global Governance—No Global Government: Earth Inc. (a.2)

In a way that resembles Negri and Hardt’s description of Empire, Frankman (1997) states that the world is governed not by a single government or institution yet by many of them in a sort of multipolar world conceived of as a nebulous term introduced with this specific meaning by Robert Cox: “There is, in effect, no explicit political or authority structure for the global economy. There is, nevertheless, something there that remains to be deciphered, something that could be described by the French word nebuleuse or by the notion of governance without government”.21 The vision that Negri and Hardt offer us of Empire, as the current political and economic global system also has to do with a sort of global governance without a unique government: “Empire establishes no territorial centre of power and does not rely on fix boundaries or barriers. It is a decentered and deterritorializing apparatus of rule that progressively incorporates the entire global realm within its open, expanding frontiers. Empire manages hybrid identities, flexible hierarchies and plural exchanges through modulating networks of command. The distinct national colours of the imperialist map of the world have merged and blended in the imperial global rainbow”.22

This concept of Empire will serve us to explore briefly the mode of governing that has been denominated global governance/no global government. Here are some of its main features:

  1. It has no territorial boundaries. It has no limits, rules over the entire “civilized” world and it combines national governments with other international organizations and corporations; the latter “tend to make nation-states merely instruments to record the flows of the commodities, monies, and population that they set in motion”.23
  2. It has no temporal boundaries; it presents itself as the end of history. Not as a result of a process but as the only way of being, and the way it will always be.
  3. Empire rules over human interactions and over human nature itself, it rules over the entire social life and thus it presents the paradigmatic form of biopower. Industrial and financial power produces not only commodities but also subjectivities (which produce needs, social relations, bodies and minds…). The imperial machine (Empire) “produces and reproduces master narratives in order to validate and celebrate its power”.24
  4. Although the practices of Empire are violent and fierce, “the concept of Empire is always dedicated to peace—a perpetual and universal peace out of history”.25

Negri, however, envisages a government of the multitude (populist government as seen above) against that nebulous center of power that he denominates ‘Empire’. Empire thus has a counter-Empire. That counter-Empire is not limited to any geographical region. It is now in configuration throughout the resistant movements and desires and struggles of the multitude.

This scenario (Suter’s Earth Inc.) is presented as an evolution of a trend already in motion at least since the publication of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations. The public good is achieved by pursuing individual interests in a world that is a free market. Suter emphasizes the risks of leaving to corporations and marketing the governance of the world and the people, for they are to place the commercial logic at a global level over the moral component and national interests: “People are principally consumers or aspiring consumers. Politics and patriotism are not as pleasurable as the latest fashion in clothes, music or technology. They are consumers rather than citizens. This helps explain the reduction in armed conflicts since 1950—they are consumers and not warriors […] Transnational corporations have eroded the notion of a national economy; there is now only a global one”.26

Vaidhyanathan has recently written to explain (2018) how Facebook as well as the Silicon Valley, as corporations blinded by the efficacy of their algorithms, threaten global democracy and society. He holds that the problems with these corporations are twofold: how they are designed and how their system is being used by people. Regarding the first question, he asserts that these global systems work exactly how they were expected to work, and that is precisely its flaw, for it “allows every user to post content indiscriminately, develops algorithms that favour highly charged content, and is dependent on a self-service advertising system that precisely targets ads using massive surveillance and elaborate personal dossiers”;27 Facebook, in particular, which links 2.2 billion people across hundreds of countries, obtains its revenue by monetizing the data trails of its users. It stores users’ profiles and sells them to make more accurate targeted advertising; the more engaged users are, the better configured their profiles are. This results in a commercial imperative to raise levels of engagement by virtually “allowing” engaging contents that usually are more provocative. Concerning the second problem, Vaidhyanathan considers that these corporations have created a Frankenstein and they are losing control of it; the power of global connectivity that these firms advocate is so powerful that it cannot be constrained for the better, yet many extremist ideologies and pernicious content, as well as false news, have found their way to influence great amounts of people through these social media. Vaidhyanathan asks rhetorically: “So how did the greatest Silicon Valley success story end up hosting radicals, nationalist, anti-Enlightenment movements that revolt against civic institutions and cosmopolitans? How did such an enlightened firm become complicit in the rise of nationalists such as Donald Trump, Marine Le Pen, Narendra Modi, Rodrigo Duterte, and ISIS?”28 For the purpose of this article, it must be retained how these corporations’ inherent logic can make us walk towards a possible future scenario in which global democratic societies are ripped apart within this surveillance capitalist model.

2.3. No Global Governance—No Global Government: Steady State (b.1)

This corresponds to Suter’s first scenario. It finds its logic in the concept of national sovereignty. Nation-states are not willing to surrender their sovereignty. International relations and cooperation have been mostly carried out in a partisan standard of behaviour and the interest at stake is how a government can maximize its own gain. Here the recent law that defines Israel the nation-state of the Jewish people must be mentioned, with Hebrew as its sole official language, in order to reinforce, thus, national identity against Palestinian claims and within its own borders by building a sort of apartheid: “The State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people, in which it fulfils its natural, cultural, religious and historical right to self-determination”.29 This basic principle 1b of the new law (2018) reinforces the plausibility of the steady-state scenario and puts forth a legitimate doubt on the constitution of a global government (as the union of the people) other than a minimal protection agency (international force).

Suter provides some pieces of evidence for this scenario:

  1. Politics is local. There are a number of facts that make this scenario probable, for nowadays nation-states are still the core of political and military power, although overwhelmed by economic corporations’ growth. Some evidence of the national nature of politics is, for instance, the fact that foreigners are not allowed to vote in national elections. And in spite of supranational organizations such as the UN or EU, nationals can only vote for their national representatives, not for European or UN’s representatives, which is one of the initiatives currently proposed by WFM-IGP (2013): the creation of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly.
  2. National boundaries. While there are extremely wealthy countries and extremely poor countries due to the international economy, those boundaries will restrict the movement of people. The recent migrant crisis in the Mediterranean Sea has been the result of the refusal by a few governments (Italy and Malta) to let immigrants enter their territory within their national borders, where the number of refugees exponentially increased in the last two years (UNHCR, 2018).
  3. National sovereignty is not only a core countries’ concern, developing countries also have a strong determination to maintain their sovereignty, gained after their independence from colonial masters. The fear of a new form of imperialism would make these countries not to give away their sovereignty. This is one of the biggest concerns in proposing any sort of global governance, especially that of a global government. According to this scenario, the fear of having their national sovereignty and the right to determine their own future undermined by a global power dissuades nation-states from embracing any project of governance at a global level. The tyranny is a thread; it is a democratic process through which any sort of global government can be constituted together with its persistence. Global decisions to what rules, laws and conditions of life must be implemented undermined the sovereignty of a nation-state that opposes them in the democratic process (being the minority); its right to refuse it as a sovereign state is, in this case, annulled, for what can a global government do with those states that do not want or cannot follow their demands? In the EU, states such as those mentioned are condemned to pay back compensations and/or eventually to the exit of the union. Would a global government, which is the totality of the people of the globe, declare a sovereign nation out of the global jurisdiction? Those problems are to be taken into account if we attempt to combine national sovereignty with a global government, which will be forced to work out the type of sovereignty it might possess.

2.4. No Global Governance—No Global Government: Wild State/Anarchist Society (b.2)

This is Suter’s fourth scenario. It is the result of weak nation-states and weak international social cohesion. Both national and international governance have failed. It is called “the nightmare” scenario and the “wild state”, a denomination that proves (as I mentioned above) that the conception of the state is that of the Hobbesian Leviathan, a state that is legitimated to use force and violence for the sake of people’s security. A state that, as a sovereign nation, constitutes the civic society: a social organization in which the rights and freedom of citizens emerge as such. Without the state or any type of institution replacing its function, the human society can only be thought of as chaos and annihilation, “every man against every man”: the state of nature described by Hobbes.30

Suter presents some facts that can be considered as increasing the chances for this scenario in the near future:

  1. The nature of the corporations. The previous scenarios are too optimistic and there are many forces that bring disorder. Suter thinks that corporations are not moral and do not have loyalties to anyone, for they are built with the only purpose of the returned capital: “transnational corporations are not a force for good. They are motivated only by money. They are out to make money for their owners/stockholders and they are not out to improve the world. They are not really accountable to anyone”.31 In this case, a situation of chaos can be predicted because corporations can cause disasters on land and in societies as long as they can benefit from them. The supposed governance of corporations that would replace governments in the international arena would paradoxically lead to the eradication of governance at all levels.
  2. The number of failed states. In addition to the danger of a world ruled by corporations’ interests, there is an increasing number of “failed states” around the globe. Some examples of them are Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen and, to some extent, Syria (a government that does not control the entire extension of its country’s territory and the fate of its people). Suter concludes from this scenario that “the nation-state system is less than 400 years old. There is no law of the universe to say that it should always exist. The 21st century way will see its slide into chaos”.32 Chomsky, recognizing that the concept of “failed state” is “frustratingly imprecise”, attempts to give a definition of it by pointing out some basic characteristics: “One is their inability or unwillingness to protect their citizens from violence and perhaps from destruction. Another is their tendency to regard themselves as beyond the reach of domestic or international law, and hence free to carry out aggression and violence. And if they have democratic forms, they suffer from a serious ‘democratic deficit’ that deprives their formal democratic institutions of real substance”.33

“Failed states” are thus states driven into chaos, broken apart by the claims and interests of several national and international parties. The question is if the chaos is precisely caused by the lack of government or by the imposition of illegitimate governments upon people. A world that has been devastated by corporations’ economic strategies and by failed states might find a way to endure in a society that reduces its governance to a minimal state or to a plurality of communities linked by mutual aid. In the first case, I recall Nozick’s concept of the minimal state. According to him, states are coercive organizations that have, for a given territory, an effective monopoly on the use of force. That is, states are characterized by being the only legitimate entities that can make use of violence.34 Thus, Nozick argues that nothing more than a night-watchman state can be legitimate. Every “failed state” is from this point of view the effect of an illegitimate centralised imposition upon a social community. And it expresses the view that social organization cannot only be the result of the emergence of an authoritative state; people will cooperate whenever they feel free to do it, without the constraints of governments and ruling elites.

A different description of an anarchist society can be read in the work of Kropotkin, who emphasises the two principles of the so-called anarchist communism: 1) The abolition of individual property which becomes the common property of society and 2) the reduction of government to a minimum in which “the individual recovers his full liberty of initiative and action for satisfying, by means of free groups and federations freely constituted, all the infinitely varied needs of the human being”.35 The anarchist society rejects the state; therefore, only by mutual aid and support a sort of social organization, led by the only purpose of helping each other, can grow: a society not regulated by policy and elite’s interests, for, as Graeber put it, the notion of “policy is by definition something concocted by some form of elite, which presumes it knows better than others how their affairs are to be conducted”36 (2004: 10). A definition that is opposite to the political life in which the people decide what is best for them, a democratic life in its purest sense: mutual support instead of imposition. This mutual aid tendency as part of the survival of the species is very active in extreme situations such as the “wild state” (although not exclusively in them), situations that endanger individual and social life as put forth by Kropotkin: “but when even the greatest calamities befell men—when whole countries were laid waste by wars, and whole populations were decimated by misery, or groaned under the yoke of tyranny—the same tendency continued to live in the villages and among the poorer classes in the towns; it still kept them together”.37 The anarchist society must be held as a third legitimate option within the possibility of no global governance/no global government. In fact, it must be considered as the positive side of the coin whose negative side has been called by Suter “wild state”. Because, anarchism, as a form of stateless, self-managed social organization and through direct participation in small communities, has not only been the goal of social utopias carried out temporarily in practice as was the case of the commune of Paris (1848) and the Mondragón project (ecosystem of companies with self-management and cooperation in the north of Spain), the years of Spanish civil war in which the republics self-managed facing Franco’s army, once the republican government had exiled (1939) or the Zapatista revolution in Mexico (1994) but, as Graeber38 states, anthropology gives us dozens of examples of non-Western communities in that the direct participation and cooperation between its members and the absence of state are essential features.

3. Conclusion

Throughout this article, a review has been made of the different possible forms of global governance supported by the classification provided by Suter. This type of studies, I claim, has a greater interest perhaps in current times than ever before in other periods of history due to pressing uncertainty regarding the survival of the human being as a species on earth in the case of not finding the appropriate mode of government for all; because more than ever, a joint solution is required to face a progressive increase in the deterioration of the quality of life of citizens, the exacerbation of social and economic inequalities, the increase in suicides due to work stress in big firms combined paradoxically (or not) with high levels of unemployment, economic pressure and general dissatisfaction, global warming, irreversible damage to the ecosystem, and the health of citizens and, above all, the possible breaking of American peace together with the terror of nuclear war.

The objective seems clear, not so much the means to achieve it. The different types of government that have been proposed as future alternatives with their advantages and disadvantages do not fail to reflect this difficulty in matching the appropriate model. But the truth is that some of these types of governance are or seem to be closer than others to the present times. Throughout the critical review (albeit brief) that this article has carried out, evidence has been obtained that in the contemporary world there is a reactive tendency of states to reaffirm their sovereignty to the detriment of international organizations and global action. And, although the transnational organizations maintain their symbolic role as that of the UN, and have even seen in recent years a certain movement demanding a global government to be incarnated precisely by a parliamentary assembly of the UN, it does not have the expected political, economic and social relevance. This movement for global government is understood rather as an effort to resist (with a certain notion of justice from a bureaucratic point of view) a greater trend of globalization carried out by cooperatives and expert agencies, true objectives of state support in this neoliberal capitalism of authoritarian nature that seems to be the true face of the times and of the future mode of governing: a strong, authoritarian state, with ties and interests at the global level, exercising its influence and power, through the growth of its affiliated companies and agencies; a protectionist state with hegemonic economic ambitions in pursuit of the capitalist monopoly and its derivative political and social influence.

Finally, it is necessary to emphasize that although this type of plutocratic governments that seem to dominate the international scene could lead to a warlike confrontation by economic or geopolitical interests, the scenario of a set of failed states at the global level due to demonstrations or popular revolts and the inability to control the state by government seems highly improbable, and the same, therefore, could be said of a type of anarchist organization, which, although for some authors it is possible to function in contemporary Western societies, since these are organizations whose foundation is precisely the absence of a central organizing power, is unthinkable if previously the state has not succumbed to becoming some kind of failed state.


  1. Keith Suter, Global order and global disorder: Globalization and the Nation-State, (Westport: Praeger Publishers, 2003). And Keith Suter, “The future of the nation-state in an era of globalization”, Cadmus 3, no. 4 (2018): 32-38.
  2. Keith Suter, “The future of the nation-state in an era of globalization”, Cadmus 3, no. 4 (2018): 32
  3. Keith Suter, “The future of the nation-state in an era of globalization”, Cadmus 3, no. 4 (2018): 32
  4. Chase-Dunn, C., “Five linked crises in the contemporary world-system”, Journal of World-Systems Research 19, no. 2 (2013): 176.
  5. Chase-Dunn, C., “Five linked crises in the contemporary world-system”, Journal of World-Systems Research 19, no. 2 (2013): 176.
  6. Chase-Dunn, C., “Five linked crises in the contemporary world-system”, Journal of World-Systems Research 19, no. 2 (2013): 177.
  7. Chase-Dunn, C., “Five linked crises in the contemporary world-system”, Journal of World-Systems Research 19, no. 2 (2013): 178.
  8. Chase-Dunn, C., “Five linked crises in the contemporary world-system”, Journal of World-Systems Research 19, no. 2 (2013): 179.
  9. Frankman, J. M. “No global war? A role for democratic global federalism”, Journal of World-Systems Research, no. 3 (1997): 325.
  10. Kant, I. Perpetual peace, (Slought Foundation, Philadelphia and the Syracuse University Humanities Center, 2010 [1795]). Available at www.perpetualpeaceproject.org.
  11. Krause, K. Ch. F., Das Urbild der Menscheit (Göttingen, 1851 [1811]).
  12. Göcke P. B., “On the importance of Karl Christian Friedrich Krause’s panentheism”, Zygon 48, no. 2 (2013): 364-379. And Dierksmeier, C., “From Karl Christian Friedrich Krause (1781-1832) to ‘krausismo’”, APA Newletter 8, no. 1 (2008): 14-22.
  13. Ahrens, H., Curso de Derecho Natural (Madrid: Imprenta y Librería calle de Carretas, nº8, Trad. Zamorano, R. N, 1841). And Krause, K. Ch. F., Ideal de la humanidad para la vida (Madrid: El Liberal, trad. Julián Sanz del Río, 1904), art. 116-119. Also Tiberghien, G., Los mandamientos de la humanidad (Barcelona: Establecimiento Tipográfico de Ramírez y C, trad. Salvador Saupere y Miquel, 1875), 30.
  14. Laski, H. J., A grammar of politics (London: The Yale University Press, 1938 [1925]), 285-286.
  15. Frankman, J. M. “No global war? A role for democratic global federalism”, Journal of World-Systems Research, no. 3 (1997): 326.
  16. World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy, “Peace, justice and security for all”, Annual report (2013): 6.
  17. Brown, T. F., “Ideological hegemony and global governance”, Journal of World-Systems Research 3 (1997): 252.
  18. Brown, T. F., Ideological hegemony and global governance, Journal of World-Systems Research 3 (1997): 330.
  19. Negri T. and Hardt, M., Commonwealth (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2009), 367-368.
  20. Keith Suter, “The future of the nation-state in an era of globalization”, Cadmus 3, no. 4 (2018): 35)
  21. Frankman, J. M. “No global war? A role for democratic global federalism”, Journal of World-Systems Research, no. 3 (1997): 321
  22. Negri, T. and Hardt, M., Empire (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2000), 12-13.
  23. Negri, T. and Hardt, M., Empire (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2000), 31.
  24. Negri, T. and Hardt, M., Empire (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2000), 31.
  25. Negri, T. and Hardt, M., Empire (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2000), 14 – 15.
  26. Keith Suter, “The future of the nation-state in an era of globalization”, Cadmus 3, no. 4 (2018): 36.
  27. Vaidhyanathan, S., Antisocial media: How Facebook disconnect us and undermines democracy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018), 9.
  28. Vaidhyanathan, S., Antisocial media: How Facebook disconnect us and undermines democracy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018), 4.
  29. Knesset press release, “Basic Law: Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish People” (July 19, 2018). Available at https://knesset.gov.il/ spokesman/eng/PR_eng.asp ?PRID=13979. And Sussmann, N. (2018), “Basic Law: Israel, Nation State of the Jewish people” (Jerusalem: Molad, trad. Elisheva Goldberg).
  30. Hobbes, Th., Leviathan (London: Green Dragon, 1651), 76-79, chapter XIII.
  31. Keith Suter, “The future of the nation-state in an era of globalization”, Cadmus 3, no. 4 (2018): 37.
  32. Keith Suter, “The future of the nation-state in an era of globalization”, Cadmus 3, no. 4 (2018): 38.
  33. Chomsky, N., Failed states, (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006), 1-2.
  34. Nozick, R., Anarchy, state and utopia, (New York: Basic Books, 1974), 117-118.
  35. Kropotkin, P., Anarchist communism, (London: Freedom office, 1905), 3.
  36. Graeber, D., Fragments of Anarchism, (Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2004), 10.
  37. Kropotkin, P., Mutual aid, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1916), 168.
  38. Graeber, D., Fragments of Anarchism, (Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2004), 46.

About the Author(s)

Daniel Rueda Garrido
Lecturer, Hebei Normal University, School of Foreign Languages and School of Law and Public Policy.