The Past, Present, and Future of the United Nations: A Comment on Paul Kennedy and the Parliament of Man

Revista de Libros (Madrid), November 2008

American University, WCL Research Paper No. 2008-70

17 Pages Posted: 11 Sep 2008 Last revised: 20 Dec 2008

Kenneth Anderson

American University - Washington College of Law

Date Written: November 1, 2008

Abstract

This is the English language version of an essay (10,000 words) appearing in the Revista de Libros (Madrid), considering the history and future of the United Nations and global governance through the lens of Paul Kennedy's recent work, The Parliament of Man. The essay is highly skeptical of what it describes as platonism about the future of the UN as the seat of global governance. It offers an alternative view of how to consider the work of the UN, in three areas: security, economic development, and values. The essay argues that, particularly with the rise of new great power tensions and multipolarity, the fantastic dream of the UN as the seat of a gradually arising global government, as Kennedy imagines things, should be given up in favor of a UN devoted to a modest set of quotidian tasks and the place for the great powers to engage in multilateral discussion, argument, and negotiation. (This essay will also be posted in Spanish on SSRN in its final published form in the Revista de Libros.)

Notes: The Spanish version is available at http://ssrn.com/abstract=1300693

Keywords: United Nations, UN, global governance, Paul Kennedy, Parliament of Man, multilateralism, collective security

JEL Classification: K10, K33

Suggested Citation

Anderson, Kenneth, The Past, Present, and Future of the United Nations: A Comment on Paul Kennedy and the Parliament of Man (November 1, 2008). Revista de Libros (Madrid), November 2008; American University, WCL Research Paper No. 2008-70. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1265833

Kenneth Anderson (Contact Author)

American University - Washington College of Law ( email )

4300 Nebraska Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States

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