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The Case For And Against Global Governance Politics Essay

Info: 3520 words (14 pages) Essay
Published: 1st Jan 2015 in Politics

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The wish to rule the world has always been a part of the human experience throughout recorded history. Broadly speaking, global governance is an international and political system of ruling at all levels or human activity. In other words, this type of governance can be associated with multilevel governance in the sense that governance does not only take place at the national and the international echelon but also at the local, regional as well as subnational levels. Globalisation is a term that has been spoken about worldwide since 1990 and it has given a rise to intense arguments about the supply of losses and gains resulting from it. From a political point of view, many authors have also tried to define the subject matter which will be discussed throughout this essay. This essay examines not only the pessimistic and optimistic sides of global governance but will also explain the concept, how it works together or in cooperation with the United Nations. Meaning, this piece of work will also explain a bit about the UN’s contribution towards global governance by giving supportive examples in order to back up the argument. It will also analyse what authors think about global governance and how they define it. It will then suggest a model for enhancing global governance within the conclusion.

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As explained within the introduction, global governance could also be considered as a political interaction of transnational actors aimed at solving issues that have an effect on more than one state or area in case there is no authority of imposing compliance. Global governance makes rules intended for the worldwide scale. However, the world governance model only takes as fact the emergence and intensification of interdependence conditions between states and not a monopoly of the legal practice of force. To be more specific, it is a model of international relations that does not presume the alteration of the material constitutions of the international relations from anarchy to hierarchy. Nevertheless, it represents a noticeable change of the social structures in which international relations are taking place. Fundamentally, this transformation is characterized by the rising significance of norms and set of laws which are globally agreed (Volker R and Bernhard z 2006). Governance in this particular case designates official political establishments that seek to organize and control co-dependent social relations and that also have the capacity to implement decisions. In fact, many authors have defined the concerned topic according to their ideology. Global governance is basically the sum effort of managing global affair. The commission of Global Governance which was established in 1995 provided the following definition:

“Global governance is the sum of many ways individuals and institutions public and private manage their common affairs. It is a progressing process through which conflicting or diverse interests may be accommodated and co-operate actions may be taken. It includes formal institutions and regimes empowered to enforce conformity, as well as informal arrangements that people and institutions either have agreed to or perceive to be in their interest. At the global level, governance has been viewed primarily as intergovernmental relationships, but must now be understood as also involving non-governmental organisations (NGOS), citizens’ movements, multinational corporations and the global capital market.

Global government aims at activities that cross borders and are normally outside the control of individual governments. Commerce and world trade are standard case in points. International crime, drug smuggling, cross-border environmental problems, the internet, tourism, migration of people and the spread of diseases are amongst the cases that covers global governance. The system available for the management of a particular set of issues internationally is referred to as “international regimes. If global governance is the sum of ways that individuals and institutions manage their common affairs across the world, then international regimes are the tool kits for this activity. (Krasner, 1983:2). Global governance includes people’s participation and empowerment with respect to public policies, choices and offices. Global governance can encompass the workings of the world economic market which can be undertaken on the basis of implicit understanding, private agreements and with little input from international organisations. The internet functions world-wide without recourse to any controlling international organisations and indeed often beyond governmental control. It also includes the institutions in which these principles and values find on-going expression. It cannot be argued that Global governance can be good, bad or indifferent refers to active collective arrangements to solve problems. Adjusting our definition, global governance is “the sum of laws, norms, policies and institutions that define, constitute and mediate relations among citizens, society, markets and the state within the international field (reference). Conventionally, governance has been linked with “leading, governing,” or with political power, institutions, and, eventually, control and management of organisations. In the sense, governance signifies formal political establishments that aim to coordinate and control interdependent social relations and possess the capacity to enforce decisions. In recent years, however, authors such as James Roseneau have used “governance” refering to the regulation of interdependent relations in the nonexistence of overarching political authority; such as in the international system. Meaning, even in the absence of an overarching central authority, existing collective arrangements bring more predictability, stability and order to transboundary problems than we might expect. These may be perceptible but quite informal(e.g. practices or guidelines).But they may also be far more formal, taking the shape of rules (laws, norms, codes of behaviour) as well as constituted institutions and practices intended to manage collective affairs by a mixture of actors. Through such methods and agreements, collective interests are articulated, rights and obligations are established and differences are mediated (Thomas G Weiss and R Thakur,2001). International organisations are likely to remain the fundamental pillar of global governance since as being a model of global governance they might not only portray more satisfactorily the reality of today’s international relations but also the reality of international relations in the predictable future.(Volker et all, 2006). The statements above have showed how to some extent, a world can be organised without a central overarching authority (global governance). As mentioned above, global governance could have both positive and negative outcomes which will be discussed within the following paragraphs. On one hand, I believe that there is no government for the world. Yet on any given day, mail is distributed across frontiers, people travel from one country to another via variety of transportation means; goods and services are shipped across lands, sea ,air and a whole range of other cross-border activities takes place in rational expectation of safety and security for the people, firms and governments concerned. Most observers believe that there is no foundation for an over-optimistic evaluation of the impact of globalisation. As a matter of fact, we notice that there is an ever-widening gap between rich and poor people in developing and industrialises countries alike instead of a stable increase and a fair distribution of wealth (UNDP 1999). Additionally, disruptions and threats are rare; indeed in many instances less frequent in the international domain than in many sovereign countries that should have effective and functioning governments. That is to say, international transactions are typically if not to say “naturally” characterized by order, stability and predictability. This simply means that with or without global governance, they are generally and normally characterised by steadiness and preventability. This immediately raises a puzzle and shows that to some extent the world could be governed even in the absence of a world or global government to produce codes of conduct, norms and regulatory surveillance as well as compliance instruments. In other words, there could be governance without a central government. Some allocated values are quasi-authoritative for the world and are accepted as such without a government to rule the world. To back up what has been explained above, I will give an example of what has happened up till now in the world. Asia also underwent a major financial crisis in 1997-1998. Nowadays, the impressive subprime housing loans, banking and financial crisis that began in the US in September-October 2008 is likely continue for several years. That simply means it is also the case that ” normal” periods of calm, stability, order and predictability are interspersed with periodic bouts of market volatility, disorder and crisis. Government may be imperfect, but markets too are defective. Both the Asian crisis and the US market collapse in 2008 express the necessity for transparent, sufficient, effective regulatory, surveillance instruments and institutions. To be more specific, these are crisis of governance in terms of playing proper role of governments and market institutions as well as the appropriate balance in the relationships between them. Furthermore, these are also crisis of domestic governance. The causes of the crisis lie in the inadequate domestic governance and the solution entails responses from both domestic governments and the markets. (Weiss and Thomas George, 2010).Examples above show how the role of global governance institutions is restricted to containing the contagion. For this case, I believe that global governance institutions to some extent are limited in its actions and sometimes do not act beyond its capacity. To be more assertive, Global governance can play a facilitative and constraining role, but it rarely plays a determinant and predominant one. The authority and ability for the latter is vested almost exclusively in domestic public authorities. In fact, the expectations are greater for global governance on the peace and security side, yet here too they may be false or overstated. As financial crisis periodically occurs, armed conflict occasionally breaks out even in the midst of general peace and order. As stated by Weiss and Thomas, 2010, not all emergencies and crisis are human-made. The worldwide response to the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami which killed about 280,000 people provides us with global governance in microcosm, an illustration of how an enormous transborder problem is addressed in a decentralised world. Although it is trite to remark that there is no world government to take charge of international responses, it is less commonly understood that there was such a remarkable assistance which was effectively provided to tsunami victims without a central authority. Within the following paragraph, I will give another example showing how global governance institutions could be unhelpful sometimes. In December 2004, there was an earthquake that registered a magnitude of 9.0 on the Richter scale. This took place in the Island of Sumatra. Consequently, the earthquake and the resulting Tsunami spread mind-boggling destruction across the Indian Ocean. What is more, 12 countries were affected some as far away as the Horn of Africa. The globalizing effect of innovations in transportation and communication were in evidence. The revolution in information technology made global communications instantaneous and also made it possible to mobilize humanitarian assistance for rescue, relief, and the reconstruction in real time. This began to appear on international television news programs and on internet. It has also allowed the scope of the tragedy to become clear. A week after the disaster, experts estimated that as many people would die of disease as were killed by the waved themselves. In fact, help was so valuable that number was close to zero. As a matter of fact, even though the UN can physically deploy humanitarian assistance to help people affected by such emergencies anywhere in the world, it is not puzzling to affirm that millions of lives were saved and rebuilding was started without a central authority (global governance). Moreover, despite the fact that IOs help states to cooperate in the pursuit of shared goals and manage competition and rivalry in order to avoid conflict and violence, countless threats whether natural or unnatural face the human species. For example genocide, weapons of mass destruction, climates change, and financial instabilities. Essentially, the evolution of intergovernmental institutions to facilitate robust international responses lags well behind the emergence of collective problems with transborder, especially global dimensions. This could also be stated as one of the problématiques (negative side) of global governance in our time. Similarly, another pessimistic side of global governance is in terms of security. This consists of the disconnect between the distribution of authority within existing intergovernmental institutions and the distribution of military power internationally. According to Rodern Wilkinson:” Economic governance is the most advanced and comprehensive dimension of emerging global governance”. Yet as in the security sector, there is a growing gap between distribution of authority within existing international institutions and the international distribution of economic power. Regardless of the fact that Global Governance has an unfinished journey with the UN, it is important to acknowledge that it also has limits in terms of attaining their governance goals and thus the reduction of their legitimacy, mainly originates from four governance gaps which are jurisdictional, operational, incentive and participatory. As a result these gaps considerably impair the capacity of international governance systems such as global governance in this case so as not to deal efficiently with urgent problems. (Volker Rittberg, 2001). This also impedes some actors’ opportunities to participate in the public policy-making. In other words, the attainment of governance goals within the global governance as a model of international governance system has gradually become more complex. This is particularly true for trans- sovereign problems. This lack of effectiveness has been referred to as the governance system’s reduced output legitimacy(Zurn 2002, 184,Scharpf 1998a). According to Volker Rittberg, global governance has to be regarded rather as a patchwork of heterogeneous elements deriving from governance under the hegemonic umbrella (e.g. in the security communities) as well as governance without world governance appears to be the most desirable and realistic of realizable governance models. The extent to which the United Nations can help promote international world peace and security is a matter of debate. Evidence indicates that the world organisation still faces many great challenges. Most importantly, insecurity is growing especially in Non-western or developing countries. For the time being, the UN possesses only a limited institutional and logistical capacity to undertake major peace operations around the world. Accordingly, global governance is not a single world order, not a top down, hierarchical structure of authority. It is the collection of governance, related activities, rules and mechanisms, formal and informal existing at a variety of levels in the world today. For purposes of global government, one major limitation of public international law is that it applies only to states except for war crimes and crimes against humanity. At present, except within the EU, multilateral agreements cannot be used directly to bind individuals, multinational corporations, non-governmental organisations, paramilitary forces, terrorists or international criminals. However, they can establish norms that states are expected to observe and where possible enforce against these non-state actors.

Another issue in the eyes of many is the deficiency of international enforcement mechanisms and the role of self-interest in shaping states’ decisions about whether or not to accept treaties and other forms of international rules. International law has left states to use “self-help” means to secure fulfilment. In reality, The UN charter and the E.U treaties for example, provide enforcement mechanisms yet the threat of sanctions is not a key motivator for compliance with international rules (M Karns and K Mingst, 2004). The complexity of global governance is a function not only of many pieces, but also of many actors that are frequently linked in transnational and trans-governmental networks. Such networks have become increasingly dense since the 1970.Amongst them there are the states, IGOs, NGOs, experts, multinational corporations (MNCS) and global policy networks…

However, it is important to acknowledge the fact that the theory and practice of global governance seeks to provide international government-like services in the absence of a world government and helping to build effective regional organisations and security communities, the UN has a better chance of achieving its goals for global governance. The positive side of global governance will now be discussed within the following paragraphs.

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On the other hand, Global governance is needed in order to stimulate improvement, maintain social stability and to decrease inequality. Meaning, a stronger international cooperation is important so as to make this work in tandem (effectively) with open market abroad. I believe that since more and more problems are global, solutions should also be global to make more sense. That is to say effective cooperation among governments, big business and NGOs is necessary. It is evident that over the past years climate change has been the lightning-road issue for global governance. Therefore it makes sense for global common problems to require a global cooperative solution. The United Nations once dealt only with governments. By now we know that peace and prosperity cannot be achieved without partnerships involving governments, international organisations, the business community and civil society (un.org). In fact, we depend on each other in today’s world. This simply means a nation cannot survive efficiently on its own and will surely need a hand from the outside world. It can be seen that international organisations (IGOS) and INGOS play important roles and undertake particular functions in the world market-place. Therefore it is difficult to imagine the contemporary world without them since they assist the process of the functioning of the international political systems such as global governance. The absence of inactivity of global governance could result in the fact that sovereign states would have to contact one another by the transnational means of diplomacy, at most conference diplomacy. National groupings and individuals might well have contact with those having common interests in other parts of the world but this relationship would not be formalized into a continuous structure with members from several states. Forums for discussion and exchange would be less frequent and would be one-off occasions with no certainty of any continuity. Governments and groupings trying to further their own ends internationally would have fewer instruments. The existence of Global governance, however strong or weak and in whatever form, also allows for action by global civil society. Civil society in the domestic context refers to the social action not organized by governments and its agents but non-governmental movements, associations and organizations. (Clive A, 2001). The U.N system plays a central role in global governance in terms of implementing or adjusting proposals. It seems that the global-governance model is most compatible with our finding that international organisations are able to encourage and stabilize international cooperation among sovereign states

To gain a foothold in the future, global governance will have to overcome the gaps mentioned above, which we have not explained in detail throughout this essay. However, there is no general consensus about how these gaps can and should be narrowed or even closed although they curtail the effectiveness and legitimacy of 20th century international governance systems. In order to fulfil effectively the tasks of governance, it is essential to ensure a well-balanced relationship within the triad of actors and by making it possible for these actors to participate in governance processes adequately and equitably.


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