Bertrand offers the Roman Empire as a model for World Government

- Peter Myers, September 12, 2001; update December 25, 2008. My comments are shown {thus}.

Write to me at contact.html.

You are at

Bertrand Russell here outlines his blueprint for a World Government, and describes one attempt to create such a body, the Baruch Plan of 1946.

Bertrand Russell, Has Man a Future?, Penguin (paperback), Hammondsworth, 1961.

{p. 17} When, however, the German war was finished, the great majority of those scientists who had collaborated towards making the A-bomb considered that it should not be used against the Japanese, who were already on the verge of defeat and ... did not constitute such a menace to the world as Hitler. ... Many of them made urgent representations to the American government advocating that, instead of using the bomb as a weapon of war, they should ... explode it in a desert, and that future control of atomic energy should be in the hands of an international authority. Seven of the most eminent of nuclear scientists drew up what is known as 'The Franck Report' ... It goes on to point out

{p. 18} ... that Russia will certainly be able to make an A-bomb within a few years. It took Russia, in fact, almost exactly four years after Hiroshima. ... {assisted by some of those atomic scientists}

Niels Bohr - after Einstein, the most eminent of physicists at that time - approached both Churchill and Roosevelt ...

Indignant atomic scientists, after Hiroshima, inaugurated a monthly review, The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists ...

I expressed a view in a speech ...

{p. 23} 'I do not see any alternative to the proposal which is before the world of making the United Nations the repository. I do not think that there is very much hope in that, because the United Nations, at any rate at present, are not a strong military body, capable of waging war against a great power; and whoever is ultimately to be the possessor of the atomic bomb will have to be strong enough to fight a great power.

{p. 24} The United States Government ... did attempt

{p. 25} ... to give effect to some of the ideas which the atomic scientists had suggested. In 1946, it presented to the world what is now called 'The Baruch Plan', which had very great merits and showed considerable generosity, when it is remembered that America still had an unbroken nuclear monopoly. The Baruch Plan proposed an International Atomic Development Authority which was to have a monopoly of mining uranium and thorium, refining the ores, owning materials, and constructing and operating plants necessary for the use of nuclear power. It was suggested that this Authority should be established by the United Nations and that the United States should give it the information of which, so far, America was the sole possessor. Unfortunately, there were features of the Baruch Proposal which Russia found unacceptable, as, indeed, was to be expected. It was Stalin's Russia, flushed with pride in the victory over the Germans, suspicious (not without reason) of the Western Powers, and aware that in the United Nations it could almost always be outvoted.

{p. 26} When, in August 1949, it became known that Russia also had atomic weapons, it was supposed that this was due to spies and traitors, although, in fact, they probably accelerated the process very little. {according to Pavel Sudoplatov, they were a great help} Unfortunately, the conviction that it was traitors ... which had deprived America of its monopoly ... gave rise to the reign of McCarthy ... {but McCarthy is now vindicated by Sudoplatov}

{p. 72} A much more desirable way of securing world peace would be by a voluntary agreement among nations to pool their armed forces and submit to an agreed International Authority.

{p. 73} A World Authority, if it is to fulfil its function, must have a legislature and an executive and irresistible military power.

All nations would have to agree to reduce national armed forces to the level necessary for internal police action. No nation should be allowed to retain nuclear

{p. 74} weapons or any other means of wholesale destruction. The World Authority should have power to recruit in every country and to manufacture such weapons as might be deemed essential. In a world where separate nations were disarmed ... each fairly large unit should be of mixed nationality. There should not be European contingents or Asian contingents or African contingents or Ameriean contingents, but there should be everywere, as far as possible, a balanced mixture . ... There would, of course, have to be a right of inspection by the World Government ...

The constitution of the legislature would, of course, be federal. ...

{p. 75} Whenever a number of States were combined in ... subordinate federations ... each federation should be represented in the world legislature in proportion to its population.

{p. 76} ... one other matter of very considerable importance ... is international law ... a legal institution like The Hague Court should have the same authority as belongs to national courts. ... there should be an international criminal law

... an International Authority ... will have to work towards ... economic equality in the standard of life in different parts of the world.

{p. 83} So far, I have been considering the psychological obstacles to World Government, but, as against all these, all technical developments since the Industrial Revolution have afforded reasons for increase in the size of States and, since our planet is finite in size, these technical reasons lead very powerfully towards a unified Government of the whole world. The size of States in the past has been governed in the main by an equilibrium be-

{p. 84} tween two opposing forces: on the-one hand, love of power on the part of the govermnent; and, on the other, love of independence on the part of the governed. The point at which these two forces find themselves in equilibrium at any given stage of development depends mainly upon technique. Increase in the speed of mobility, and increase in the cost of weapons, both tend towards larger governmental units. Where weapons are cheap and mobility is slow a large governmental unit is apt to be unstable when faced with local revolt. For this reason, there has, on the whole, been a tendency for States to grow larger when civilization is advancing, and smaller when civilization is decaying. Some of the earliest events in recorded history are concerned with early amalgamations of previously hostile Governments. The oldest civilization known through records, and not only through archaeology, is that of Egypt. Originally, Upper and Lower Egypt were completely independent of each other, but they were united into one kingdom somewhere about the year 3,500 B.C. This unification was facilitated by the Nile, which made cornmunication between different parts of Egypt easy and; for those times, fairly swift. The same sort of thing happened in Mesopotamia. Originally, there were two very distinct groups, one called Sumer and the other called Akkad. These two were completely distinct in race, religion, and language. At last they were united by a great conqueror, Sargon, or possibly by his immediate successors. According to the Cambridge Ancient History (Vol. I, p. 38) this happened about the year 2,872 B.C. The increased power which resulted from unification led gradually to the creation of the Babylonian Empire. For those days, this Empire was very large, though it would not seem so by modern standards. The first really

{p. 85} large Empire in history was that of Persia which, like those of Egypt and Mesopotamia, resulted from the union of two previously hostile groups, the Medes and the Persians. The ability of a single-central government to control the whole area depended upon roads. In those days, and, in fact, until the nineteenth century, neither men nor goods nor news could travel faster than a horse. The Persians were the first to construct great roads, more especially the road from Sardis to Suza which was about 1,500 miles long. A messenger on horseback could cover this distance in a month, but for an army with baggage, the jaurney tool about three months. In consequence of this, when the Ionian Greeks rebelled against Persia, they had plenty of time to make their preparations, and, although they were defeated in the end, it was with great difficulty. Persian dependence upon roads was inherited by the Macedonians, but it was the Romans who brought it to perfection. Rome, until it was overtbrown, brought to its subjects many of the benefits for which, now, we must look to World Government. A man could travel from Britain to the Euphrates without ever coming across a frontier or a customs barrier. The civilization of this enormous area was completely unified, and far a long time it did not seem as if Rome had anything to fear fom outside nations. When Rome fell, an opposite process to that which had marked the growth of civilization hitherto, set in. A large numer of small and mutually hostile States replaced the previous unified Government. The level of civilization fell catastrophically, and the roads, upon which Roman power had depended, were allowed to fall into decay.

{p. 87} ... technical advances ... have also made it technically possible to establish a World Government which would be able to exert its power everywhere and could make armed resistance virtually impossible.

{p. 94} U N O {the United Nations} is defective, not only because it excludes certain countries, but also because of the Veto. U N O cannot lead on towards a World Government while the Veto is retained ...

It is because of the imperfections of the U N O that an ad hoc Conciliation Committee would, at first, be a better body than U N O for initiating schemes of conciliation. One may hope that, if such a body, while still only having an advisory capacity, did its work wisely, it might, in time, acquire such moral authority as would make its proposal difficult to resist and would give it, in embryo, an influence that might facilitate the ultimate establishment of a World Government.

{p. 95} I should wish to see Britain leaving N A T O and trying to inspire wise action by a neutral bloc.

{p. 97} After the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it was felt ... that atomic energy should be internationalized. The American Government employed Lilienthal to draw up a proposal in this sense for the consideration of the American Government. It was an admirable proposal, but it was felt that it could not be offered to the other powers exactly as it stood. What emerged as an international offer was the Baruch Proposal ...

{p. 122} If a World Government is to work smoothly, certain economic conditions will have to be fulfilled. One ... is the raising of the standard of life in what are now under-developed countries to the level which prevails among the most prosperous populations of the West ...

{p. 123} Various raw materials are essential to industry ... There is no justice in the private ownership of such essential raw materials - and I think we must include in undesirable private ownership, not only that by individuals or companies, but also that by separate states. ...

There should be a very radical change in education. The young should no longer be taught to over-emphasize the merits of their own countries ...

{p. 124} The education authorities of a single country should not be permitted by the International Government to stir up chauvinist feeling ...

{end of selections}

The 1946 Baruch Plan for World Government: baruch-plan.html.

Russell condemns the practice of Communism in the Soviet Union, but retains Marxism as an ideal. H. G. Wells put similar proposals.

Roland Perry: Lord Victor Rothschild was a Cambridge Spy, the Fifth Man; his involvement with Russell & the One-World Movement.

Write to me at contact.html.