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

8. Normative Futures
Many books point to desirable and often idealized directions for global governance. An appropriate albeit generalized lead-off is The Unfinished Global Revolution: The Pursuit of a New International Politics by former UN Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch-Brown, urging a system of international institutions that has strength and flexibility to handle the unexpected. “We must harness globalization to a vision of bringing benefit to all, at least a basic threshold of human security, well-being, and opportunity. We must demonstrate that global governance can deliver economic fairness between nations; security for people from overbearing states; and agreed rules for sharing our finite natural resources, and above all the processes to manage global change.” Creation of a global contract (probably never to be captured in a single document, name, or even concept) is critical—the anchor by which new and strengthened institutions will be attached to a global purpose that makes sense to people—“the anchor for our shared future.”
The 15th edition of the Millennium Project’s annual report, 2011 State of the Future by Jerome C. Glenn, Theodore J. Gordon, and Elizabeth Florescu (, Aug 2011, 117p,) updates 15 Global Challenges (including encouraging genuine democracy and long-term global perspectives, ethical market economies and ethical global decisions, and dealing with transnational organized crime), concluding that global challenges facing humanity are transnational, requiring “a world increasingly governed by coordinated and mutually supporting global policies implemented at national and local levels.” Commonwealth by Michael Hardt of Duke University and Antonio Negri considers models of governance adequate to a global commonwealth, and proposes a constitution for our common wealth and an ethics of freedom for living in our common world.88 Global Politics in the Human Interest by Mel Gurtov of Portland State University proposes a Global Humanist Framework
and a “new realism” agenda to transform world politics in positive ways through common security, stronger global standards, and education for a global citizenry.89
Global Civics: Responsibilities and Rights in an Interdependent World edited by Brookings senior fellow Hakan Altinay argues that we cannot achieve needed cooperation for a globalizing century without some sort of “global civics” curriculum for institutions of higher learning.90 Global Action Networks: Creating Our Future Together by Steve Waddell of Boston College views world governments as overwhelmed with problems, and looks at the promise of GANs to mobilize resources, bridge divides, and promote long-term deep change and innovation.91 Another important NGO is the WSF, described in the Handbook on World Social Forum Activism edited by Jackie Smith of University of Notre Dame et al., describing the WSF process that began in 2001 united by the slogan that “Another World is Possible,” one more democratic and just.92 Building Global Democracy? Civil Society and Accountable Global Governance edited by Jan Aart Scholte of the University of Warwick describes how civil society can make global governance institutions such as the UN and WTO more democratically accountable.93
Another ongoing movement is the Global Marshall Plan Initiative based in Hamburg, begun in 2003 by 16 NGOs including the Club of Rome and the Club of Budapest, seeking a better design of globalization and global economic processes. Towards a World in Balance: A Virtual Congress for a Better Balanced World proposes a Virtual Planetary Congress that would gradually establish a worldwide Eco-Social Market Economy.94 The Earth Charter: A Framework for Global Governance edited by Ron Engel and Klaus Bosselmann describes the Charter as the leading ethical framework for global governance, and discusses challenges surrounding current international law and governance.95 A Global Green New Deal: Rethinking the Economic Recovery by Edward B. Barbier of University of Wyoming presents a strategy for ensuring a more economically and environmentally sustainable recovery.96 Similarly, Achieving Global Sustainability edited by Takamitsu Sawa et al. also proposes a “Green New Deal” along with a paradigm shift on economic growth.97
2048: Humanity’s Agreement to Live Together by J. Kirk Boyd of the UC-Berkeley School of Law argues that the provisions of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights are not viable and its promise has not been fulfilled; an enforceable International Convention is proposed by the 100th anniversary of the UDHR to guarantee five freedoms: of speech, of religion, from want, from fear, and for the environment.98,99 Patterns of Potential Human Progresss. Vol 1: Reducing Global Poverty by Barry B. Hughes of the University of Denver Pardee Center for International Futures argues that the horizon of global goal-setting should be at least to 2030, and 2050 seems reasonable.100 And there are several even more ambitious schemes for global governance. The Grand Convergence: Economic and Political Aspects of Human Progress by James A. Yunker of Western Illinois University advocates sweeping changes in economic and political structure to ensure the prospects of global human civilization, arguing for both the Global Marshall Plan and for a limited federal world government.101 World Federalist Manifesto: Guide to Political Globalization by WAAS fellow and Club of Rome USA president Francesco Stipo proposes unification of the UN system through a single budget and voting system, and a Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Area merging NAFTA with the EU and leading to a North Atlantic Confederation.102 Symposium: Envisioning a More Democratic Global System edited by Andrew Strauss of Widener University looks at ways to create a Global Parliamentary
Assembly and the E-Parliament ( as a new global forum for democratic problem-solving.103

9. Taming the Chaos in Ideas
Global governance is clearly taking shape in complex and chaotic ways, with widespread dissatisfaction of present arrangements and numerous proposals for betterment—all at a time when many national governments are also being questioned, arguably due, at least in part, to deficiencies in global governance and international accords. But which proposals, if any, are heeded, and with what influence?
This biblio-essay covers most of the recent English-language books on global governance, arranged in a “frontier frame” of several categories. But it is only a rough introduction. If global governance is very important, attention should be paid to what Harlan Cleveland in 1990 called “managing” the “brainwork commons,” and to building what Yehezkel Dror in 2001 called “the capacity to govern.” As clearly and amply demonstrated here, this multifaceted commons is huge and disorganized. Yet another book on one of the many facets of global governance will be of little or no help; what is needed is a visible synthesizing framework to make sense of it all, and a better and hopefully synergetic balance between horizontal generalizing and specific analyses.
Next steps to tame the unruly Global Governance Information Commons should involve a Task Force dedicated to providing a neutral clearinghouse of ideas appearing in books, reports, and articles, with actions such as:
• More extensive abstracting of items identified here, as well as proposals over the last two decades, with indexes by author and subject;
• Efforts to identify global governance thinking in non-English languages and/or by thinkers in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China);
• Analysis and critique of similarities and differences in proposals for managing the global economy, greenhouse emissions, human rights, migration, cooperative security, etc. to include both near-term cautious proposals and more far-ranging normative visions.
• Maintenance of a website to accommodate the latest thinking;
• Publication of an annual guidebook that surveys all global governance ideas, similar to the innumerable travel guides to countries and cities, with translation into several languages;
• One or more spokespeople writing magazine and newspaper articles and op-eds to promote improved global governance discourse;
• Creation of one or more feature-length documentary films on global governance issues (many excellent documentaries have been filmed in the past few years, appealing to an increasingly visual culture; this could greatly widen the appreciation of global governance issues, while expanding the underdeveloped market for related books).
This proposed Global Governance Clearinghouse seeks to accelerate learning about global governance issues, among both experts and the public, at a time when governance at all levels is a matter of great concern and discontent. The costs of this project are relatively small—far less than a single F-15 fighter plane, for example. The benefits in terms of national and human security and well-being could be huge. Taming the information commons to some degree could work. It is worth a try.
Note: A more comprehensive range of books is reviewed in the online version in the books section of

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88. Harvard University Press/Belknap Press, Oct 2009, 330p
89. Lynne Rienner, 5th edition, 2007, 391p
90. Brookings, Feb 2011, 145p
91. Palgrave Macmillan, Jan 2011, 256p
92. Paradigm Publishers, June 2011, 416p
93. Cambridge University Press, May 2011, 424p
94. GMP, Dec 2006, 304p;
95. Kit Publishers, Sept 2010, 200p
96. Cambridge University Press, July 2010, 336p
97. UNU Press, July 2011, 296p
98. Berrett-Koehler, April 2010, 222p; GFB Book of the Month, June 2010
99. See
100. Paradigm Publishers, Aug 2009, 352p
101. Palgrave Macmillan, Oct 2010, 256p
102. America Telecoms Network, 2007, 213p
103. Widener Law Review Special Issue, 13:2, 2007

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