Clearly, the nations of the world are moving away from traditional sovereignty towards greater mutual dependency. That much is obvious. However, what shape this process will eventually take is not so obvious. In broad outline, Singer's book attempts to lay out the ethical foundations for a more just, humane, and sustainable global process. Of course, it's hard to argue with that, given so many present trends away from those laudable goals. On the other hand, it's certainly possible to take issue with Singer's consequentialist approach to these problems, as I'm sure ethicisists other than Singer will do. But that academic issue aside, the book's main value lies in the author's penetrating analysis of the WTO and its hypocritical foundations which he locates in the conflict between "process" and "product". The fact that the conflict is buried in the organization's misleadingly titled "10 Common Misunderstandings About the WTO" makes for an amusing irony. That section alone is worth the read. There are other less concentrated nuggets scattered throughout, including some shrewd and telling observations on the work of the renowned John Rawls.
My reservation is with the book's safely liberal framework. When all is said and done, Singer's prescriptions raise no issues beyond those of market reforms (reform of WTO), greater world democracy, and more generous foreign aid. In short, there is nothing there that the liberal wing of the Democratic party could not at least pay lip service to. Nowhere does his work suggest that the barriers confronting a more humane and sustainable planet are structural and non-negotiable, that wealth and power may have to be seriously redistributed, or that the problems may be more systemic than piece-meal. I don't fault him for not writing a work on political economy where these issues could be thematically addressed; I do fault the book overall for structuring its discussion around these tacit and constricting assumptions. For a thinker who has fearlessly exposed himself to insult and ridicule by championing the rights of all of Earth's creatures, I know this is a sincere work. Still, I have the impression that One World could have been written by a hundred ethicists much less distinguished than the good professor. All in all, the book is hardly an extention of his other ground-breaking work, and, in that sense, amounts to a disappointment. For those wishing a more challenging ethical approach to globalization from a philosopher of similar stature, check out Ted Honderich's After the Terror.