Refugees and resources: could a one World government be the solution?

A typical, Shatner-era, Star Trek episode would see Captain Kirk and his crew orbit a strange planet before playing host to a suspiciously human-like, green-skinned alien.

After some negotiations, and a brief romantic interlude between Kirk and a female alien, the Enterprise would get its dilithium crystals and the aliens would get something in return. Occasionally this was an actual thing, but more often than not it was a moral tale about what it was to be human, and what positive, life-affirming lessons they could take from us.

If the situation was reversed, and an alien ship was orbiting our planet, would their real-life experience of us still be a positive one? I’m not so sure.

Assuming that the rest of the world isn’t content to be represented by the President of the United States (sorry Hollywood) the aliens would have to find room for delegates from 194 governments. They’d probably then ask, quite reasonably, why we couldn’t just have one government instead of a whole load of competing governments. Once they got to know us a bit more they might also ask why we’re so keen on killing each other.

From their perspective these would seem like blindingly obvious questions, but ones we too easily condemn as only fit for school essays. Perhaps now, in the middle of a refugee crisis (if you don’t believe they’re refugees look at the countries they’re fleeing from) it’s about time we started thinking about them, and about how changing the way we govern ourselves might solve a lot of other problems.

If we had a one World government it wouldn’t have to mean getting rid of countries completely. The same boundaries could still exist, with the same people and cultures, but they would be overseen be a global entity that defines what countries can and can’t do.

That would mean big ticks for things like separation of church and state, democracy, religious and sexual freedom and equality of opportunity, and big crosses against genocide, state sponsored terrorism, persecution, murder, torture, corruption, nepotism and cronyism.

Of course an organization already exists that is supposed to do many of these things. As history has proved though, changes rarely happen without the power to enforce them, and the United Nations has very little power. So whether it’s a United Nations Plus, or a completely separate entity, it would need considerable back up, in the form of a speedy and effective military, to make sure the leaders of constituent countries keep to their promises.

If such an organization existed there would be no need for people to flee their countries in fear. But what about people who want to leave for economic reasons?

By dismantling the dominant economic system of our time, a one World government could also do something about this. But why would we want to get rid of capitalism? It’s done pretty well for us so far, hasn’t it? Well yes, it has, but it can’t carry on forever. Not if it continues to rely on finite resources to fuel infinite growth. Put quite simply, it’s a sum that just doesn’t add up.

By removing the need for countries to compete with each other, we’d be able to make sure resources are spread around a bit more evenly. This would go some way towards reducing the huge gap in living standards between the developed and developing worlds, thus reducing the need for people to leave poorer countries for richer ones. Of course, it would mean giving up any hope of living like a Russian oligarch, but would reducing the odds of this from infinitesimally small to non-existent be anything to shed tears over anyway?

We’d also be able to give the search for alternative energy the prominence it deserves. BP estimated that 2014 current coal reserves are sufficient to meet 110 years of global production. While last year’s study by the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s suggested oil reserves would continue to meet worldwide demand for the next 25 years. Of course, these figures are based on known reserves so new discoveries may postpone the inevitable, but fossil fuels take millions of years to form, so the stuff we do have isn’t going to be replenished anytime soon.

This might sound like pie-in-the-sky idealism but these are questions we’ll have to find answers to at some point. Whilst it’s always tempting to just accept the way things are, we will need to make major changes within the next few generations, so why not make a head start now?

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