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The ingredients of change

Thus, the challenge is to find ways to align the circles of those to be involved in decision-making with the spillover range of the good under negotiation, i.e. to address the issue of accountability gaps; to create new organisational mechanisms for policy innovation across borders; and to find new ways of financing urgent global public goods. Legitimate political authority at the global level cannot be entrenched adequately without addressing the representative, organisational and financial gaps in governance arrangements.

Surprisingly perhaps, it is an opportune moment to rethink the nature and form of global governance and the dominant policies of the last decade or so. The policy packages that have largely set the global agenda - in economics and security - are failing. The so-called Washington consensus and Washington security doctrines (otherwise market fundamentalism and unilateralism) have dug their own graves. The most successful developing countries in the world (China, India, Vietnam, Uganda, among them) are successful because they have not followed the Washington consensus agenda, and the conflicts that have most successfully been defused (the Balkans, Sierra Leone, Liberia, among others) are ones that have benefited from concentrated multilateral support and a human-security agenda. Here are clear clues as to how to proceed in the future. We need to follow these clues and learn from the mistakes of the past if the rule of law, accountability and the effectiveness of the multilateral order are to be advanced.

In addition, the political tectonic plates appear to be shifting. With the faltering of unilateralism in United States foreign policy, uncertainty over the role of the European Union in global affairs, the crisis of global trade talks, the emergence of powerful authoritarian capitalist states (Russia, China), the growing confidence of leading emerging countries in world economic forums (China, India and Brazil), and the unsettled relations between elements of Islam and the west, business as usual seems unlikely at the global level in the decades ahead. It is highly improbable that the multilateral order can survive for very much longer in its current form.

The post-1945 multilateral order is in trouble. Clear, effective and accountable decision-making is needed across a range of urgent global challenges; and, yet, the collective capacity for addressing these matters is in doubt. The dominant policy packages of the last several years have not delivered the goods and a learning opportunity beckons. There are, of course, many ways that have been proposed to deepen the accountability and effectiveness of global governance mechanisms - from proposals for global issue networks, the expansion of key "G" clusters (G8, G22, and the like), coalitions of particular nation-states acting in clubs, to the reform of the United Nations and cosmopolitan democracy.

But rather than end by making the case for any one of these, I want to finish by stressing a methodological point. It can be misleading and dangerous to over-generalise about politics or policy from the present, or from a single time period, or from the point of view of one culture, country or region. Instead, the test of deliberative generalisability needs to be built into reflections on "ways forward" in order to help ensure a focus on global solutions to global challenges - not just American, French, British, German, European Union, Chinese solutions. In other words, we require a multi-perspectival mode of forming, defending and defining political preferences - a mode that is in fact, other- and future-regarding.



 


Date: 2015-12-11; view: 185


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