With the world no longer ‘balanced’ between the superpowers, and with the (apparent) instability this caused now behind us, increasingly authoritative voices are calling for supranational rules and bodies and the setting up of a true world government. There is a call to move on from the current ‘anarchic’ Westphalia System to a world order that is accepted by all and governed for all. The Westphalia System is based on a fiction, but the acceptance of this fiction perpetuates the conditions needed for inequalities in power between states to continue.

In effect, an informal system of world government is already in place founded on the principle of hegemony. But within this system, the establishment of supranational governmental bodies is hampered by contradictions between principles (democracy, the common good, human rights and so on) and the need – created by the state of hegemony – to act hierarchically and ‘from above’. It is possible to imagine a balanced and peaceful international system only if one use (or ‘rescue’ dialectical concepts regarding the centrality of the nation-state.