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Global Democracy

The Case for a World Government

Torbjörn Tännsjö


Is world government the answer to pressing global issues such as war, global injustices and environmental problems?

Torbjörn Tännsjö puts forward the case for one, single, worldwide government. The notion of a sovereign world government has been defended in the past by philosophers such as Bertrand Russell and A.C. Ewing, but has been eclipsed by less radical ideas to do with peaceful cooperation between sovereign states or, at most, through systems of shared sovereignty. Tännsjö argues that such solutions cannot be effective. Moreover, he argues in response to philosophers such as Kant and Rawls that a world government is not only necessary to solve our pressing global problems, it is desirable in its own right.

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1. The Problem
2. The Argument from Peace
3. The Argument from Global Justice
4. The Environment
5. Democracy
6. A Roadmap to Global Democracy
7. Is Global Democracy Desirable?
8. Conclusion

About the Author

Torbjörn Tännsjö is Kristian Claëson Professor of Practical Philosophy at Stockholm University. He is author of several books including Global Democracy (EUP, 2008), Conservatism for Our Time (1990), Populist Democracy (1993), Hedonistic Utilitarianism (1998) and Understanding Ethics (2002).


Democratisation must take place at all levels of human society - local, national, regional and global. Torbjörn Tännsjö's book is a contribution to the globalisation of democratisation.
- Boutros Boutros-Ghali
The argument is direct, simple (without being simple-minded), and shows how crucially world government affects what we say about global justice, environmental problems, and war. Tännsjö says strikingly, comprehensively, and in a manner that any literate person could grasp, vital things about these matters.
- Professor Kai Nielsen, Concordia University, Quebec