Conditions and Possible Directions for the Development of a World-State

The idea of monarchy fails as a method for unification of the world due to both world-conditions and the trend of history.  The idea of representation of the populace through the mechanisms of a republic set up to capture the sentiment of the individuals of the society and distill them into a representative body over which they have at least partial control, whether through election or through the weight of public opinion, is the strongly developing trend in the modern age.  We seek hints about the development of a world-state through the process that occurred in the amalgamation of individuals and their families and clans into nations.  Yet that process used kingship as a mechanism of its achievement.  There are differences between that original process and the need to amalgamate separate nations into a larger world-state, as Sri Aurobindo describes:

“The two determining facts in modern conditions which alter the whole problem are that in this kind of unification nations take the place of individuals and that these nations are mature self-conscious societies, predestined therefore to pass through pronounced forms of social democracy or some other form of socialism.  It is reasonable to suppose that the World-State will tend to strive after the same principle of formation as that which obtains in the separate societies which are to constitute it.  The problem would be simpler if we could suppose the difficulties created by conflicting national temperaments, interests and cultures to be either eliminated or successfully subordinated and minimised by the depression of separative nationalistic feeling and the growth of a cosmopolitan internationalism.  That solution is not altogether impossible in spite of the serious check to internationalism and the strong growth of nationalistic feeling developed by the world war.  For, conceivably, internationalism may revive with a redoubled force after the stress of the feelings created by the war has passed.  In that case, the tendency of unification may look to the ideal of a world-wide Republic with the nations as provinces, though at first very sharply distinct provinces, and governed by a council or parliament responsible to the united democracies of the world.  Or it might be something like the disguised oligarchy of an international council reposing its rule on the asset, expressed by election or otherwise, of what might be called a semi-passive democracy as its first figure.  For that is what the modern democracy at present is in fact; the sole democratic elements are public opinion, periodical elections and the power of the people to refuse re-election to those who have displeased it.  The government is really in the hands of the bourgeoisie, the professional and business men, the landholders, — where such a class still exists, — strengthened by a number of new arrives from the working-class who very soon assimilate themselves to the political temperament and ideas of the governing classes.  If a World-State were to be established on the present basis of human society, it might well try to develop its central government on this principle.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Ideal of Human Unity, Part Two, Chapter 23, Forms of Government, pp. 200-201