Global governance in the aughties

First, bodice-rip­ping as polit­i­cal the­o­ry

We live in an era in which unprece­dent­ed glob­al­iza­tion and eco­nom­ic inter­de­pen­dence, lib­er­al-demo­c­ra­t­ic hege­mo­ny, nan­otech­nol­o­gy, robot­ic war­fare, the ‘infos­phere,’ nuclear pro­lif­er­a­tion and geo­engi­neer­ing solu­tions to cli­mate change coex­ist with the return of pow­er­ful auto­crat­ic-cap­i­tal­ist states, of a new Great Game in Cen­tral Asia, of impe­ri­al­ism in the Mid­dle East, of pira­cy on the high seas, of rival­ry in the Indi­an Ocean, of a 1929-like mar­ket crash, of 1914-style hyper­na­tion­al­ism and eth­nic con­flict in the Balka­ns, of war­lords and failed states, of geno­cides in Bosnia, Rwan­da and Dar­fur, and of a new holy war waged by rad­i­cal Islamists com­plete with caliphates and behead­ings rem­i­nis­cent of medieval times.” Extract from The Nation­al Inter­est

(Nan­otech­nol­o­gy?)

Here’s a more sober, more plau­si­ble, assess­ment of the like­ly route for the glob­al gov­er­nance frame­work (at least) from the U.S. Nation­al Intel­li­gence Coun­cil:

The exist­ing inter­na­tion­al organizations—such as the UN, WTO, IMF, and World Bank—may prove suf­fi­cient­ly respon­sive and adap­tive to accom­mo­date the views of emerg­ing pow­ers, but whether the emerg­ing pow­ers will be given—or will want—additional pow­er and respon­si­bil­i­ties is a sep­a­rate ques­tion. Indeed some or all of the ris­ing pow­ers may be con­tent to take advan­tage of the insti­tu­tions with­out assum­ing lead­er­ship bur­dens com­men­su­rate with their sta­tus. At the same time, their mem­ber­ship does not nec­es­sar­i­ly have to involve heavy respon­si­bil­i­ties or bur­den-shar­ing, allow­ing them to pur­sue their goals of eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment.

That veiw from mid-2008 is hold­ing up pret­ty well, so far…except that ‘accom­mo­dat­ing views’ does not mean doing any­thing. Which explains much about why WTO is stymied and why the Copen­hagen con­fer­ence of the UN Cli­mate Con­ven­tion was a farce (there are oth­er rea­sons, too, in each case).

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