According to Wendt’s “Why the world state is inevitable,” in the long run we should have a truly global society. However, developments in the short run have so far proved otherwise. Warfare has been internationalized, as has education. However, what has arisen out of these developments is a more unequal and disunited world: one where the political and economic elites dominate, and ordinary citizens obey.
There are dangers lurking on the roadside. Arms races and a new Cold War may be fostered. Countries may vie for recognition in power or independence, but do not want to give those recognitions to each other. Wendt (2003) named the Great Powers as such countries (p.524). Accordingly, groups in Al Qaeda, North Korea and Iran challenge the Great Powers. In the process, however, the weak are left behind. Issues such as global citizenship, sustainable development, climate change and human rights are of secondary importance.
A particular example is the smorgasbord of drones that might be covering our sky in the future. Besides a never-ending demand for nuclear weapons, drones are an outgrowth of modern warfare, where demand for constant reconnaissance is never decreasing. By 2016, the US is expected to have 66 drones flying over global skies, surveilling everyone and everything. Other countries are expected to acquire them too. The US has already sold some surveillance drones to Iraq.
Another example is an increasing division between peoples. In the US, there is an intelligence class comprised of around 850,000 individuals who have top security clearances, but are not accountable to the average American taxpayer. Instead, the average American taxpayer is accountable to them.
There is also a rising trend in protection of the traditional elites. Globalization has not only brought along the increased movement of capital. Elites are just as mobile as their highly liquid assets. And elites are leading the globalization on their terms. Schools such as Avenues do indeed offer international experience to their students; they connect international elites and give them insight into the dynamics of globalization. However, diversity is excluded. The poor especially are left voiceless in the process.
In the end, one should end up with a world state, at least for security reasons. Wendt (2003) argued that anything other than a world state is unstable. Arms races lead to balancing, and balancing leads to collective action, which leads to common goals and common security. Inequality of recognition leads to nationalism, which (surprisingly) increases diversity and leads to more recognition. In the end, one will obtain a global state where every individual or group of individuals is different and their difference will lie in the recognition of the state by “the Other” (Wendt, 2003, p. 527). Problems that would be left would be crime and temporary disruptions caused by its presence (Wendt, 2003, p. 528).
The benefits might be reaped by a few. The disruptions will have adverse effects on many groups. The weakest will suffer from the disruptions and alignments, as they have in the past as well. The elites will benefit as they lead the globalization process, and have so far. The world state might become another pre – World War I world, where elites are one global family, and everyone else is meaningless.
Thus, it is important to promote diversity and the interests of the weak as well. However, such achievement can mostly be done through a long run project such as global citizenship education and respect for our differences.
Many thanks to Ellie Price, United Kingdom, and Gunvant Govindjee, South Africa, for their insights.
Wendt, A. (2003). Why a world state is inevitable. European Journal of International
Relations, 9(4), 491 – 542.