Managed Governance Anarchy versus Rule Based Order

Globalization is a word that encapsulates a number of different processes. Although the literature includes a vast number of definitions for the term [15,16], I prefer to refer to two pathways of globalization [17]. One is governed or managed globalization. This includes the processes of international policy and law making at the global level, or what some refer to as institutional change. The other is the process of "spontaneous" globalization. This includes the spread of the Internet and the World Wide Web, the rise of the global media, market forces and the ascension of multinationals in a world of increasing international economic integration, rapid technological progress, the knowledge economy, the spread of logistics and transport and cultural shifts.

Assuming that governance incorporates "managed" governance and "spontaneous" governance, this managed governance includes the rule-making processes within the UN. In the last few decades, the global community has seen a criss-crossing of global legislation on trade and environmental issues at bilateral through to multilateral levels. These laws increasingly provide a grid of rules and regulations that countries need to abide by.

There are two major schools of thought at the international level on the role and significance of international law and policy. According to one, we live in a global anarchy and the rules at the international level have minimal or no real significant influence on life. Realists and neo-realists are of the opinion that each country focuses on its own population and will use its power at the international level to seek conditions that are most favorable to it. They argue that international rules are at best epiphenomenal and that multilateralism is a poor tool. This is the view also of the dominant political leaders in the United States. The U.S. sees itself as the hub of the world, with spokes leading out to other countries [18]. As a result, the U.S. is declining to participate in a number of international environmental treaties, even though it is fairly active within the World Trade Organization and the Bretton Woods Institutions. The former is seen as promoting its economic interests, and in the latter the U.S. has a major say in policy making through the double majority voting systems that play a role, for instance in the World Bank. In contrast, the Europeans are moving towards a rule-based international order as a means to minimize global anarchy and as a route to achieve the Kantian dream. So these countries are not only developing a rule-based order that has extended from a handful of countries to more than 25 within the European Union, but have also moved towards pushing for international norms and rules [19].

Perhaps the difference in perspective can explain the fact that we do not have "good governance" at the international level. Good governance is participatory and democratic in nature, transparent, accountable, fair, efficient and effective, responsive and observant of the rule of law [20-25]. The rule of law includes clear and non-retroactive rules, but may also be stretched to include equity and democracy; where the former focuses on protecting the status quo, while the latter seeks to promote fairness [26-32]. It normally includes ideas like generality, publicity, non-retroactivity, clarity, consistency in design and application, stability and certainty, equity, and an independent judiciary. While increasingly the literature focuses on how most domestic problems can be attributed to poor domestic governance [33,34], at the international level, we are complacent about accepting a lack of good governance as a corollary of the fact that we live in a global anarchy. While scholars from the developing countries and sometimes Europe promote good governance at the international level [35-40] and the UN sees it as an unfinished project many other scholars argue that good governance and the rule of law are not possible because of global power politics, and because any attempt at promoting global equity will imply structural change—something Western countries are not necessarily willing to accept [36,41-43]. The legalization process, while in theory useful for developing countries as it limits the ability of the developed countries to work in an ad hoc manner, also creates problems for the developing countries, because it often not only reflects mostly the developed countries' positions as a result of power politics, but also because of the major problems faced by developing countries in the negotiating process [44].

The implication of the above is that, on the one hand, managed global governance has moved forward incrementally developing a network of rules to guide and constrain state behavior, while on the other hand the superpowers disagree about such questions as whether these rules amount to anything serious, whether multilateralism is important and whether the rule of law and good governance is necessary at international level.

Continue reading here: Spontaneous Globalization Autonomous versus Orchestrated

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