Document Type

Book Review

Publication Date

November 2008

Journal/Publication Title

American University, WCL Research Paper


The Parliament of Man: The Past, Present, and Future of the United Nations (ISBN 978-84-8306-737-6) American University, WCL Research Paper No. 2008-70AbstractThis 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.)

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