An elected body of world government should be formed to increase international security and stability, says a Kansas University scholar who won first prize in an essay contest on global disarmament.
David Burress, assistant professor of economics and research economist at KU's Institute of Public Policy and Business Research, wrote the winning essay earlier this year.
He was one of four people who won an $8,000 first prize in the contest, sponsored by the New York-based Economists Allied for Arms Reduction. About 850 essays from 49 countries were entered in the contest.
"The ultimate arbitrator within a nation is its own government; the ultimate arbitrator between nations is war," Burress wrote. "The only possible lasting solution is a legitimate and strong system of international cooperation."
Burress argues that the United Nations, the World Court, the International Monetary Fund and other organizations are "woefully weak" toward improving international security.
"Each agency is a voluntary association of sovereign states; therefore each agency lacks its own sovereignty," he wrote.
Burress proposes that an elected world government be created, beginning with democratic nations. Other countries would join the organization, he says, out of economic and political need.
"The permanent absence of a formula for sharing economic power is a formula for war," he wrote.
Burress said Wednesday that "it seemed logical" that an elected world government is the solution for reducing international problems.
"Democracies are the only set of institutions that are best able to solve conflicts non-violently because everyone is involved," he said.
The United Nations, he said, is not effective because it is a "debating society" comprised of appointed representatives from various countries.
"What we need is a house of the United Nations that is directly voted on by the people," he said.
Burress says he has no blueprint for establishing an elected world government. And he admits it would be difficult for nations to turn from national sovereignty to create such a system.
Eliminating arms buildups and the international defense industry would be beneficial, he said.
"Ten percent of the gross world product goes to defense and it's a wasted effort," he said. "An atom bomb in and of itself has no value. It only has value in the sense that it keeps other countries with atom bombs from using them."