Academic journal article Global Governance

Possible Future Architectures of Global Governance: A Transnational Perspective/prospective

Academic journal article Global Governance

Possible Future Architectures of Global Governance: A Transnational Perspective/prospective

Article excerpt

Several (normative-analytic) images of (future) global governance architectures are identified. If realized, any of these images would indeed be preferable to the current world (dis)order, as they all fulfill certain core progressive values. Hence, a synthetic transnational perspective on world dynamics over the twentieth century and its implications for understanding current and possible future global governance architectures are needed. The article concludes with some cautious prospective and prescriptive thoughts on future global governance architectures for a transnational world. KEYWORDS: globalization, transnational dynamics, global governance architectures, world orders, networks, states, nation, nation-state system, imperialism, sovereignty, civil society.

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Probabilistic and critical research on the structures and dynamics of contemporary global governance has grown and improved dramatically over the last decade--the founding of this very journal is symbolic of these trends. Much attention has also been given to reforms of particular organizations, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organziation (NATO). But far less possible and creative scholarship on broad, future global governance architectures is available.

In this article, I delineate several normative-analytic images of possible future global governance architectures that have been articulated in some fashion by scholars and practitioners, (1) I then offer a synthetic transnational perspective on world dynamics over the twentieth century and their implications for these possible future global governance architectures. I conclude with some cautious prospective and prescriptive thoughts on future global governance architectures for a transnational world.

I submit that any of the normative analytic images identified here are politically possible. The current transnationalized world we live in seems to suggest that the current hybridity of global governance might persist for some time. But the longer we gaze into the future, the greater the uncertainty over which of these or others is more likely to emerge, particularly when we remember that 300,000 political units once existed in the world, compared with the 200 countries that populate the globe today. (2)

Normative-Analytic Images of Future Global Governance Architectures

At least six normative-analytic images of future world orders might be seen as competing for institutional dominance, if not ideological hegemony, in the contemporary world. I include among these models: (1) multilateralism, (2) grassroots globalism, (3) multiple regionalisms, (4) world statism, (5) networked governance, and (6) institutional heterarchy. These models are clearly internally diverse and by no means fully articulated, mutually exclusive, or necessarily exhaustive. Nevertheless, the survey provided in this article offers an initial analysis of normative-analytic images for further refinement and debate.

Because the focus is on images that are normatively desirable for at least some identifiable social actors, other, perhaps even more likely, future scenarios are not addressed in this article. For example, I do not explore the very real likelihood of global "warring parochialisms" entailing continual conflict among different types and sizes of social formations around the world up to the level of civilizational clashes. (3) Nor do I examine various types of imperial systems that still exist, are reemerging, or may reemerge. And continuation of the current world disorder over the long term is hardly improbable.

Multilateralism, or polyarchic interstatism, is by far the easiest normative-analytic image of global governance to see, and various versions of it are arguably the most discussed, advocated, and practically attempted today. (4) In its mimimal desirable form, this model entails truly functioning and formally equal "sovereign" states (5) covering the planet, all fulfilling more or less democratic procedural standards internally. …

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