In general, three types of global government structures, short of a unified world state, are possible: alliance, confederation and federation.

The least defined of these is the alliance of which both the Axis and the United Nations are typical. In alliances there are practically no permanent common organs for policymaking and administration. Decisions are made by conferences of heads of national governments or their representatives and by consultations of general staffs. During emergencies coordination of supplies may take place. Alliances tend to disintegrate after the emergencies have passed, when suspicion of motives between the allies rises to the surface and considerations of national interest outweigh the artificial unity created and held together by fear of a common danger. Lack of popular control over alliances is a serious disadvantage, for decisions made at secret conferences are withheld from the people until resulting actions can no longer be affected by popular influence. The constant danger of counteralliances is another factor which adds to the instability of this type of organization.

If an alliance develops permanent policymaking and administrative organs, it becomes a confederation.


  • Georgia Lloyd, Edith Wynner; E.P. Dutton and Company, Inc. (1944). Searchlight on Peace Plans: Choose Your Road to World Government, p. 534.