Political Science News

Timothy Burns Debates Alexander Wendt on the Desirability of a World State

April 17, 2014

“The World State Debate”, on February 28, 2014, in which Timothy Burns opposed Alexander Wendt’s argument in favor of a world state, was part of the Garfield Institute for Public Leadership’s Seminar Series, at Hiram College, in Ohio.

Burns Debate

A world state would be a single common political authority for all of humanity. It would entail a military, executive, legislature, judiciary and/or constitution, with jurisdiction over the entire planet. No such authority currently exists.

Wendt, professor of international security and political science at The Ohio State University, is a leading scholar on the inevitability of a world state. He published Social Theory of International Politics in 1999 and has also published “Why a World State is Inevitable.”

Burns, a professor of political science at Baylor has published works on classic and modern political thought, politics and literature, and Shakespeare’s political thought. Burns took the opposing side in the debate, arguing that a world state is neither inevitable nor desirable.

Burns published Shakespeare’s Political Wisdom in 2013 and has written numerous articles on Thucydides and other thinkers in the history of political thought. His edited volumes include a collection of essays, After History? Francis Fukuyama and His Critics.

The Garfield Institute for Public Leadership’s Seminar Series brings to Hiram College persons whose own responsible leadership enables them to clarify issues of public policy and provide opportunities for students to network and interact.

The debate is available on YouTube.