In examining trends and transformations in world politics, the concern is to identify how the tension between governing and being not-governed may be captured in the political imagination, and reflected in theory and practice. If governance and resistance are mutually constituting, there nevertheless remains the issue of designing government in that context: even anarchy is more than chaos. The means of coping with chaos are various, yet there are patterns sufficient for the purposes of identifying these as issues of world politics. We may consider the progress of world politics as historical (or historiographical) movement along a spectrum of accounts from the focus on the exercise of power by sovereigns and states (for example, by Thucydides) to a now more socio-cultural understanding, reflecting an evolution of world politics from events to processes; from acts of government to processes of governance. An abiding counter-theme in this story of progress, operating in the background of aspirational attempts at global governance, is dystopia – or rather anti-utopia – in which flaws in utopian good intents lead to a bad outcome. One thinks of cautionary tales, such as Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four; or Huxley’s Brave New World – perhaps in particular his ‘world state’, organized at every level, as distinct from the savage reservations. This lingering anxiety about designs for peaceful and progressive world politics reveals the underlying issue of individual freedom in the context of social order – what is the price of stability?