Global governance reflects a new way of thinking about world systems and the interactions among global actors --state governments, NGOs, multinational corporations, international institutions-- and their civilian equivalents. Eleven years from today, global governance may exhibit two interconnecting effects and focus attention on two distinct responsibilities: governing for the globe and governing globally.
The current global economic crisis has been covered by news and industry analysts as evidence of the world’s interdependence and of the disadvantages involved in assuming self-sufficiency across states’ manufacturing, energy, financial and technical needs. However, through a governing for the globe model, shared norms and appreciation for interconnectedness will dominate over governments and international organizations which focus on narrow interests. Beyond ideology and proximity, global governance concerning trade and finance will force states to create new alliances based on need and opportunity. There will also be a growing proliferation of unique and unusual joint ventures and shared initiatives across the world. Just as Disney Corporation developed research with China’s Communist Youth League and South Korea seeks arable land in Madagascar, the next decade will witness growth in analogous transactions.The mantra for this method of global governance may be “what matters there, matters here.” It will also promote non-traditional actors, beyond the realm of Westphalian states. Corporations, connected individuals, and best practices in technology, industry and capital are the most equipped to encourage and advance these transactions and relationships. They will also be the quickest to manage and execute a governing for the globe model. Devoid of nationalities and agile in multi-continental mobility, these actors have the ability to establish a global system which answers to a larger diversity of populations.
Within the governing globally model, the focus shifts from non-state actors to traditional state control. Despite discussions on the withering of state power, the institution will not disappear any time soon. A country’s leaders and the allegiances and institutions to which they subscribe will need to enact practices and policies that respect concerns and issues beyond their imaginary borders. There may also be increasing pressure for inward looking policy as economic strategy is directly related to a state’s national security. This will obscure a clear picture of the global financial system. Recently, the capitalism of the 20th century has suffered a decline in reputation. It may be that individual states will now be more willing to implement their own practices and ideology upon domestic industries and financial regulation. Just as India and China have taken two distinctly separate routes to becoming the world’s fastest growing economies; other states may follow the same route of individuality. In the governing globally model, state leaders will need to understand and respond to global interactions when making decisions. However, there is a growing chance that a homogenous model for international trade and finance systems is largely implausible.
While the models described above are only predictions for global governance within the next decade, the ideal would be a balance between centralizing and decentralizing forces. While a global central bank represents an extreme reaction to fragmentation and diffused global power, recommendations for achieving this balance may center on establishing a trusted global society. Regulators should coordinate across countries and maintain updated dialogue and interest in a variety of locales. There should also be a centralized effort, perhaps through international institutions and tribunals, to end cronyism and corruption. As the global system for trade and finance becomes more porous and demands interaction among dissimilar actors, states should increase investment in education and social safety nets including relatively unexplored areas such as intellectual property law assistance. Ultimately, global governance will demand change in how states prepare their citizens and their regulatory regimes in a new economic world order.
Niketa Kumar is a junior studying International Affairs at the George Washington University in Washington, DC.
This article has been shortlisted for the Atlantic Community's "Global Governance in 2020" student competition.