Star Trek’s United Federation of Planets council chamber courtesy CBS.

When will we finally have a world government?

George Dvorsky

Political scientists and science fiction writers alike have long been taken with the idea that humans would one day form a global government. Yet few of us take this prospect very seriously, often dismissing it as an outright impossibility or very far off in the future. Given the rapid pace of globalization, however, it would seem that humanity is inexorably headed in this direction. So how long will it take us to build a world government? We talked to an expert to find out.

To help us better understand this issue, we contacted sociologist James Hughes from Trinity College in Connecticut. Hughes, an ardent supporter of global government, feels that it’s an idea whose time has come.

“We need world government for the same reason that we need government in general,” he told us. “There are a number of things — what we can agree are collective goods — that individuals, markets, voluntary organizations, and local governments aren’t able to produce — and which can only be provided through the collective action of states.”

Hughes, whose thinking was significantly influenced by the Star Trekian vision of a global-scale liberal democracy, argues that there a number of things that only a world government is capable of doing — like ending nuclear proliferation, ensuring global security, intervening to end genocide, and defending human rights. He also believes that it will take a global regime to finally deal with climate change, and that it’s the best chance we have to launch civilization-scale projects, including the peaceful and controlled colonization of the solar system.

The trick, he says, is to get there. But by all accounts, it appears that we’re on our way.

Read more: When will we finally have a world government? — io9.

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