Taming Global Governance Idea Chaos: A “Frontier Frame” for Recent Books

How important is global governance? Is there a growing need? If so, as many argue, is progress being made relative to the need? Who is saying what? Are there important trends in
thinking? And patterns of similarity in ideas, or wide divergence?
It is certainly a rapidly expanding topic for books. Click on “Global Governance” at Google Books, and one can find 128,000 titles published in the 21st century, contrasted to 62,700 titles in the 20th century, and a bare trickle of five titles in the 19th century. But what do we make of this? Most items listed by Google are marginal or trivial, but still there are many worthwhile books on this topic to ponder.
What follows is a preliminary survey of titles largely published in the past three years, as identified on my experimental website, The brief abstracts are organized in seven overlapping categories: 1) General; 2) Global Economy; 3) Climate/ Environment; 4) Security; 5) Law/Justice/Ethics/Human Rights; 6) Miscellaneous; and 7) Normative Futures. Most of these books have not been seen directly; rather, information has been gleaned from publisher catalogs, which is usually sufficient to get a rough sense of what a book is about.
But first a Prologue of 16 generalized items from the 1990-2004 period, many by WAAS Fellows, of books that were abstracted for Future Survey, a monthly publication of the World Future Society that I edited in the 1979-2008 period. This listing is not comprehensive, but merely a highlighting of some important items from the period to indicate how thinking two decades ago was broader and bolder.

1. Prologue, 1990-2004
Thinking about global governance began to accelerate in the early to mid-1990s, with the 50th anniversary of the United Nations celebrated in 1995. Five years before that milestone, WAAS president Harlan Cleveland published The Global Commons: Policy for the Planet, offering 60 propositions about the Global Commons as a new policy frontier, including not only the physical and biological commons, but the “brainwork commons” that requires managing the flow of information.1 Cleveland’s Birth of a New World: An Open Moment for International Leadership, examines the growing list of functions that only credible international organizations or regimes can perform, international arrangements that work, and managing a world economy with nobody in charge.2 Two years later, Harlan Cleveland, WAAS Fellow Hazel Henderson, and Inge Kaul edited a Special Issue of Futures entitled The United Nations at Fifty: Policy and Financing Alternatives, with essays on funding
as the key to the future of the UN (by Cleveland), the UN as the world’s de facto superpower that should help tame the global financial casino (by Henderson), charging for use of the global commons, a radical restructuring of the UN so it could levy taxes and borrow funds, a surcharge or tax on all arms sales and foreign exchange transactions, rethinking the World Bank and IMF, etc.3
Slightly earlier, Mihaly Simai, Director of the UNU World Institute of Development Economics Research, published The Future of Global Governance, arguing that future needs of collective risk management will require membership of most states in IGOs and a change of attitudes toward international cooperation in a new and more complex era of uncertainty and dynamic change.4 Uncommon Opportunities: An Agenda for Peace and Equitable Development, the very uncommon Report of the International Commission on Peace and Food, was edited by WAAS Fellow (now CADMUS managing editor) Garry Jacobs, who served as executive director of the Commission.5 This extraordinary report, with prefacing messages by the UN’s Boutros Boutros-Ghali and by UNESCO’s Federico Mayor, argued that global governance, security, democracy, employment, adequate food, and human development are interlinked and cannot be addressed in isolation. The ambitious agenda included guaranteed rights to human security in its widest meaning, a global cooperative security system, employment as a basic human right, restructuring the UN, halving global
defense spending by 2000, reversing small arms proliferation, building an international development force, creating one billion jobs in the next decade, global education, and nurturing a worldwide culture of peace.
James N. Rosenau, a WAAS Fellow and former president of the International Studies Association, provided a number of original and useful ideas. Turbulence in World Politics argued that the notion of “international relations” was obsolete, and that “post-international politics” would better describe the shift from some 200 actors in a state-centric world to the multi-centric world with hundreds of thousands of essential actors in temporary coalitions with situational rules.6 Governance Without Government: Order and Change in World Politics, edited by Rosenau and Ernst-Otto Czempiel, expanded on the themes of a polyarchical world, international regulatory ventures, and strategies to support democratization.7 Along the Domestic-Foreign Frontier: Exploring Governance in a Turbulent World pointed to the growing need to treat domestic and foreign affairs as a seamless web, at a time when “fragmegration” (Rosenau’s ungainly but accurate term) should be seen as a synthesizing worldview.8 WAAS Fellow Steven A. Rosell, president of Meridian International Institute, published Changing Maps: Governing in a World of Rapid Change, on constructing shared mental maps in a world of eroding boundaries, multiplying interest groups, and fragmenting institutions and belief systems.9 Rosell also posited four scenarios, of which the dark “Titanic Scenario” (of low or no economic growth, lost jobs, increasing unrest and violence) has proved eerily close to the sobering realities of 2011.
The seminal book in this period was the Report of the Commission on Global Governance, Our Global Neighborhood, which defined global governance as better management of survival, sharing diversity, and living together in the global neighborhood with a global ethic of common rights and shared responsibilities.10 Four central areas for the conduct  of world affairs were highlighted: broadening the concept of global security, managing economic interdependence, reforming the UN (e.g., by expanding the Security Council), and strengthening the rule of law worldwide. The quarterly journal Global Governance ( was accordingly founded in 1995, exploring “the impact of international institutions and multilateral processes on economic development, peace and security, human rights, and the preservation of the environment.” Noteworthy books around the turn of the millennium must surely include The Capacity to Govern: A Report to the Club of Rome by WAAS fellow Yehezkel Dror of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.11 Dror noted an accelerating age of radical transformations which require guidance and the radical redesign of governments at all levels. He described ten characteristics of global change (increasing uncertainty, multiplying complexity, intense frustrations, etc.), ten facets of high quality governance (learning, knowledge-intense, deep-thinking, holistic, etc.), the need to foster raison d’humanite as a moral imperative in decisions, empowering people with “public affairs enlightenment,” and making global governance more resolute.
Similarly, WAAS Fellow David Held of the Open U, along with Anthony McGrew and two others, published Global Transformations: Politics, Economics, and Culture on the widening, deepening, and speeding up of globalization.12 Eight key elements: emergence of global politics and multilayered governance, military globalization and the global arms market, global trade, financial globalization, MNCs and globalized production, global migration, cultural globalization, and environmental globalization; in sum, a growing litany of problems and threats leading to international regimes and treaties. This outstanding scholarly overview was supplemented by The Global Transformations Reader edited by Held and McGrew, with 43 essays on such topics as mechanisms of global governance, models of global democracy, transnational justice, and the cosmopolitan project to regulate globalization.13
WAAS president Walter Truett Anderson provided a somewhat more popularized version of this topic with All Connected Now: Life in the First Global Civilization, on the “huge and many-sided evolutionary development that is taking place,” including governance with and without governments, the spread of democracy and human rights, the growing role of NGOs, etc.14
Federico Mayor (former head of UNESCO) with Jerome Binde (director of UNESCO analysis and forecasting) published The World Ahead: Our Future in the Making), on four major challenges of the next few decades (involving peace, poverty, environmental management, and lack of direction), while proposing four ambitious “contracts” (social, natural, cultural, and ethical) as pillars of a new international democracy.15 Several years later, Anne-Marie Slaughter (Dean, School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton and later US Dept of State director of policy planning, 2009-2011) wrote A New World Order, viewing global governance as a world of government networks and building blocks for a future world order based on parts of states: courts, regulatory agencies, ministries,
etc.16 In a brief recent article, Slaughter states that “the world will be much more multilateral by 2020,” with the UN Security Council expanded to 25-30 members and much stronger regional organizations on every continent.17

2. General
All of the books mentioned in the Prologue treat global governance in very broad terms.
Many recent books in this overview category are somewhat more specific. Can the World be Governed? Possibilities for Effective Multilateralism, views multistate international organizations as key to global governance and its reform, and notes proliferation of governance structures, current and looming crises requiring multilateral solutions, and difficulties of governing the international system.18 Rising States, Rising Institutions: Challenges for Global Governance edited by Alan S. Alexandroff of CIGI and Andrew F. Cooper of University of Toronto notes institutions rising to meet the demand
for new forms of governance, models of international cooperation, emerging institutions such as the G-20, the advent of sovereign wealth funds, & forums to foster cooperation on terrorism.19
The Dark Side of Globalization, edited by Jorge Heine of CIGI and Ramesh Thakur of nearby University of Waterloo looks at the transnational “uncivil society” forces unleashed by globalization (terrorism, drug and human trafficking, money laundering) and explores how governments, IGOs and civil society can deal with these problems. Governance in a Disenchanted World by Helmut Willke, Prof of Global Governance at Zeppelin University in Germany notes that the nation-state is losing some regulatory prerogatives while also extending its legitimacy base in “chains of legitimacy.”20, 21 But, as noted in The New Global Rulers: The Privatization of Regulation in the World Economy by Tim Buthe of Duke University and Walter Mattli of Oxford, governments lack expertise and resources, and have delegated extensive regulatory authority to private sector organizations such as the International Accounting Standards Board and the International Organization for
Standardization.22 Governance without a State by Thomas Risse of Freie Universitat Berlin discusses security governance by nonstate actors, public-private partnerships to promote the
UN Millennium Goals, the role of business in environmental governance, and strategies for effective governance in a framework of weak and ineffective state institutions.23
Updated textbooks that provide an introductory overview include The Politics of Global Governance: International Organizations in an Interdependent World edited by Paul F. Diehl of University of Illinois and Brian Frederking of McKendree University, an anthology of major themes and theories; International Organizations: The Politics and Processes of Global Governance by Margaret P. Karns of University of Dayton and Karen A. Mingst of University of Kentucky, on the evolving role of IGOs, NGOs, state and non-state actors, norms and rules, etc.; and The United Nations and Changing World Politics by Thomas G. Weiss of CUNY Graduate Center et al.24, 25, 26
This leads to the many books on reforming the UN, of which only a few are mentioned here. Global Governance and the UN: An Unfinished Journey by Thomas G. Weiss of CUNY and Ramesh Thakur of CIGI describe significant gaps between many global problems and available solutions, and the UN role in addressing terrorism, nuclear proliferation, climate change, etc.27 The United Nations in the 21st Century: Management and Reform Processes in a Troubled Organization by Marcus Franda of the University of Maryland analyzes “formidable” barriers to reform created by the UN Charter, and major reforms that have been taken up or rejected, concluding that “rapid reform is simply not possible.”28
Similarly, The Parliament of Man: The Past, Present, and Future of the United Nations by Yale historian Paul Kennedy states that the case for reforming the UN is more urgent today, but massive restructuring is not possible and reforms will and should come piecemeal.29
The OECD: A Study of Organizational Adaptation by Peter Carroll and Aynsley Kellow of the University of Tasmania, describes the successful growth of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, now celebrating its 50th year, which “helps provide an important degree of coherence in the system of global governance,” publishing hundreds of authoritative reports per year on “what works” among its 34 member nations, and, increasingly other major global players.30 [For an appreciation, see “The OECD Gold Mine at 50” by Michael Marien, a survey of some 100 recent reports.]31 The underappreciated OECD is not only an intergovernmental think tank issuing valuable policy analyses, but it has also been instrumental in establishing standards of conduct, e.g.: the Conventional on Long- Range Transboundary Air Pollution, the Financial Action Task Force on money laundering, the Principles of Corporate Governance, and much more.

1. Aspen Institute and University Press of America, Oct 1990, 118p
2. Jossey-Bass, April 1993; Foreword by Robert S. McNamara
3. 27:2, March 1995, pp107-269
4. US Institute of Peace, June 1994, 402p
5. Zed Books, Oct 1994, 210p;
6. Princeton University Press, July 1990, 480p
7. Cambridge University Press, March 1992, 311p
8. Cambridge University Press, 1997, 467p
9. Carlton University Press, March 1995, 293p
10. Oxford University Press, April 1995, 410p
11. Frank Cass, Oct 2001, 264p
12. Stanford University Press, May 1999, 515p
13. Polity Press/Blackwell, Jan 2000, 480p
14. Westview, Sept 2001, 301p
15. UNESCO/Zed Books, Aug 2001, 496p
16. Princeton University Press, 2004
17. Foreign Policy, Sept-Oct 2011, p89
18. Wilfred Laurier University Press and Centre for International Governance Innovation, March 2008, 436p;
19. Brookings Institution Press, May 2010, 360p
20. UNU Press, March 2011, 320p
21. Elgar, Jan 2011, 176p
22. Princeton University Press, April 2011, 312p
23. Columbia University Press, Sept 2011, 320p
24. Lynne Rienner, 4th edition, 2010, 419p
25. Rienner, 2nd edition, 2009, 600p
26. Rienner, 6th edition, Jan 2010, 480p
27. Indiana University Press, March 2010, 432p
28. Rowman & Littlefield, 2006, 257p
29. Random House, 2006, 361p
30. Elgar, June 2011, 301p
31. World Future Review, 3:1, Spring 2011, 74-82

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