Why a World State Is Unavoidable in Planetary Defense: On Loopholes in the Vision of a Cosmopolitan Governance

  • Pavel DufekEmail author
Part of the Space and Society book series (SPSO)


The main claim of this chapter is that planetary defense against asteroids cannot be implemented under a decentralized model of democratic global governance, as espoused elsewhere in this book. All relevant indices point to the necessity of establishing a centralized global political authority with legitimate coercive powers. It remains to be seen, however, whether such a political system can be in any recognizable sense democratic. It seems unconvincing that planetary-wide physical-threat, all-comprehensive macrosecuritization, coupled with deep transformations of international law, global centralization of core decision-making powers, de-stigmatization of nuclear weapons and the like can proceed, succeed, and be implemented in a non-hierarchical international system where planetary defense constitutes only one regime among many, and where states basically remain the decisive actors. Although rationally and scientifically robust, the project suffers from oversimplification, as well as naivety with respect to how both international and domestic politics works. Among other topics, this chapter discusses problems associated with the rule of law and constituent powers, political representation and sources of legitimacy, conditions of multilevel collective action, or limits of theoretical idealization. The general message is that the planetary defense community needs to be more aware of the social and political context of its own enterprise.


Cosmopolitan governance World state Global macrosecuritization Democratic legitimacy Collective action Common identity 



The text is an output of a research project supported by the Czech Science Foundation (code GA16-13980S). I thank Nikola Schmidt for many suggestions regarding the shape of my argument, as well as for heated debates, both past and future, about real and imaginary limits to idealistic visions of global governance.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social StudiesMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic

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