GFB Update

A monthly newsletter on the vast and underappreciated world of current affairs books


Michael Marien, Director

1:9, September 2011

In This Issue
Book of the Month: An Israeli View of Global Mega-Trends and Likely Ruptures
Introduction to Global Governance
General Titles on Global Governance
World Economy: A Global Governance Issue
Climate/Environment in Global Governance
Security in Global Governance
Law/Justice/Ethics/Human Rights in Global Governance
Miscellaneous Titles on Global Governance
Normative Futures in Global Governance
Taming the Chaos in Global Governance Ideas
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Book of the Month

Global Mega-Trends and Likely Ruptures: An Israeli View

Israeli Statecraft CoverIsraeli Statecraft: National Security Challenges and  Responses.  Yehezkel Dror (Prof of Pol Sci and Public Admin Emeritus, Hebrew U of Jerusalem).  London & NY: Routledge, July 2011, 246p, $121.95.

A former senior staff member at RAND and author of 15 books, notably the prescient Crazy States (Heath, 1971) and the far-ranging overview, The Capacity to Govern: A Report to the Club of Rome (Frank Cass, 2001), focuses on "statecraft" as long-term and broadband paradigms, frames of appreciation, stances, principles, etc. dealing with issues of great importance to national security.  Although much of this book concerns Israel's precarious position, Chapter 5 on ten long-term "megatrends of profound importance for Israeli statecraft" provides a valuable non-European/American perspective.  The trends cover intensified faiths (including aggressive fanaticism), the very likely rise of Islamic power, continuous crucial importance of leaders, growing significance of nonstate actors, radically novel sci/tech impacts, proliferation and intensification of kill and damage capacity, harder competition for resources such as water and land, diminishing US hegemony, slowly strengthening but inadequate global governance (with a possible quantum leap), and more of "one world" but not a "flat" one.

Adding to this is a "mega-invariance" (the factors that made the 20C the bloodiest in human history "are likely to continue and escalate," while the ability of a few superpowers to impose limits on violence is likely to decrease), and four likely "ruptures" involving expensive and difficult global action on climate issues, rapid change in violence modalities, new global ways of thinking as Asian countries increase their standing, and the increasing power of civilizations and faiths not based on the Bible (and for which the idea of a Jewish state lacks legitimacy).

Dror then goes on to discuss many matters such as the Arab Spring (unlikely to reduce anti-Israel attitudes and may well augment them), a wide range of contingencies that may confront Israel in the next 10-20 years, "fuzzy gambles" for Iran policy, serious weaknesses of Israeli statecraft, a realistic positive vision for Israeli national security by 2050, a "realistic nightmare" by 2050, a paradigm change to promote peace, and a "Dwelling in the World" global paradigm for the Jewish people.

This sobering book serves as background for a survey of recent thinking on global governance, below. 

Global Governance



Global Concerns

How important is global governance?  Is there a growing need?  If so, as many argue, is progress being made relative to the need?  Who is saying what?  Are there important trends in thinking?  And patterns of similarity in ideas, or wide divergence?

It is certainly a rapidly expanding topic for books.  Click on "Global Governance" at Google Books, and one can find 128,000 titles published in the 21st century, contrasted to 62,700 titles in the 20th century, and a bare trickle of five titles in the 19th century.

But what do we make of this?  Most of the items listed by Google are marginal or trivial, but still there are many worthwhile books on this topic to ponder.

What follows is a preliminary survey of some 150 titles largely published in the past three years, most of them posted on  Abstracts are organized in seven overlapping categories: 1) General; 2) Global Economy; 3) Climate/Environment; 4) Security; 5) Law/Justice/Ethics/Human Rights; 6) Miscellaneous; and 7) Normative Futures. A conclusion suggests next steps for Taming the Chaos in Global Governance Ideas.

General Titles
on Global Governance


GovernanceCan the World by Governed?  Possibilities for Effective Multilateralism, edited by Alan S. Alexandroff (Wilfred Laurier UP and Centre for International Governance Innovation, March 2008, 436p; views multistate international organizations as key to global governance and its reform, and notes proliferation of global governance structures, current and looming crises requiring multilateral solutions, and difficulties of governing the international system.  Rising States, Rising Institutions: Challenges for Global Governance, edited by Alan S. Alexandroff of CIGI and Andrew F. Cooper of U of Toronto (Brookings Institution Press, May 2010, 360p) notes institutions rising to meet the demand for new forms of governance, models of international cooperation, emerging institutions such as the G-20, the advent of sovereign wealth funds, and forums to foster cooperation on terrorism.  Global Governance Reform: Breaking the Stalemate, edited by Colin I. Bradford Jr and Johannes F. Linn (Brookings, 2007, 142p) covers reform of the UN, IMF, World Bank, G-8, global health governance, and global environmental governance.

Click here for more general titles on global governance.

World Economy 

A Global Governance Issue

Global EconomyThe most significant and immediate global problem is the Great Recession, which has led to scores of books called for more financial regulation at the national and/or global levels.  Running the World's Markets: The Governance of Financial Infrastructure by Ruben Lee of the Oxford Finance Group (Princeton UP, Jan 2011, 416p) laments that there is little global consensus about governance and offers guidelines for an optimal governance model.  The Politics of Global Regulation edited by Walter Mattli of U of Oxford and Ngarie Woods of the Oxford Global Economic Governance Programme (Princeton UP, June 2009, 288p) shows challenges of a global economy where many institutions are less transparent and held much less accountable than domestic counterparts.  Rules for the Global Economy by Horst Siebert of the Johns Hopkins SAIS Bologna Center (Princeton UP, Aug 2009, 328p) considers ethical norms and human rights in defining global regulations, arguing that the benefits of any rules system should be direct and visible.  CIGI'09: Towards a Global New Deal by Manmohan Agarwal and Agata Antkiewicz of CIGI (Centre for International Governance Innovation, Jan 2010, 12p) summarizes an Oct 2009 conference on the need for greater regulation, transparency, and macro-coordination.


Click here for more titles of the governnace of world economy.


in Global Governance


Climate ChangeClimate change is widely acknowledged as the most significant long-term global problem at present.  And many books urge extensive and short-term action at global, national, and local levels.  The Global Deal: Climate Change and the Creation of a New Era of Progress and Prosperity by Sir Nicholas Stern of the London School of Economics (Public Affairs, April 2009, 400p), is a popularized version of The Economics of Climate Change: The Stern Review (Cambridge UP, Jan 2007, 712p), a thorough independent review reporting to the UK Prime Minister, viewing climate change as "the greatest market failure the world has ever seen" and calling for action by all countries-the earlier the less costly.  A similar argument is made by OECD in Costs of Inaction on Key Environmental Challenges (OECD, Sept 2008, 213p), and in The Economics of Climate Change Mitigation: Policies and Options for Global Action (OECD, Sept 2009, 305p).  Economic Choices in a Warming World by Christian de Perthuis of U Paris-Dauphine (Cambridge UP, April 2011, 260p) explains the difficulties of reaching a global agreement, risks of inaction, and how a post-Kyoto climate regime could emerge.


Click here for more titles on the governance of climate and environment. 

in Global Governance

SecuritySecurity is at or near the top of global concerns, recently expanding to include terrorism, climate change, and the UN-promoted notion of "human security."  Threats to security by any definition are expanding, and no writer has argued the contrary.  Power and Responsibility: Building International Order in an Era of Transnational Threats by Bruce Jones of the NYU Center for International Cooperation, Brookings VP Carlos Pascual, and Stephen John Stedman of the Stanford Center for International Security (Brookings, March 2009, 360p) warns that the post-WWII fabric of global security does not meet today's challenges, and proposes a new concept of "responsible sovereignty," new commitments to rule-based international order, an Inter-Governmental Panel on Biological Security, a new climate change framework, global economic security, etc.  Securing Freedom in the Global Commons by Scott Jasper of the Naval Postgraduate School (Stanford UP, March 2010, 312p) points to an ever-expanding range of threats to global security and defense of the global commons as a growing challenge, and offers frameworks to minimize vulnerabilities.  Hyperconflict: Globalization and Insecurity by James H. Mittelman of American U (Stanford UP, Jan 2010, 288p) views hyperconflict as a consequence of globalization, with intense interaction of systemic drivers heightening insecurity at a world level; concludes with scenarios for future world order.


Click here for more titles on security governance.

Law/Justice/Ethics/Human Rights

in Global Governance


JusticeLaw without Nations edited by Austin Sarat et al. of Amherst College (Stanford UP, Jan 2011, 256p) examines ways in which the growing internationalization of law affects national law, the relationship between cosmopolitan legal ideas and understandings of national identity, and how law divorced from nations can clear the ground for a universal cosmopolitan vision.  International Law: Contemporary Issues and Future Developments edited by Sanford R. Silverburg of Catawba U (Westview Press, Feb 2011, 640p) covers R2P and universal jurisdiction, international political economics, the International Court of Justice, humanitarian law, the environment, violence and terrorism, etc.  International Law: Classic and Contemporary Readings edited by Charlotte Ku and Paul F. Diehl of U of Illinois (Rienner, 3rd edition, 2009, 509p) shows the influence of law on political behavior, and discusses regulating use of force, protecting individual rights and the environment, management of the ocean and outer space commons, and the future evolution of the international legal system.  More specifically, The Justice Cascade: How Human Rights Prosecutions Are Changing World Politics by Kathryn Sikkink of U of Minnesota (W.W. Norton, Sept 2011, 342p) asserts that, in the past three decades, state leaders have lost immunity from any accountability for human rights violations, and that this shift is changing the face of global politics.


Click here for more titles on law, justice, ethics, and human rights.

Miscellaneous Titles

on Global Governance  


 Dynamics-of-Multilateralism-coverStill more additions to the many dimensions of global governance involve processes of multilateralism and regional regimes, single-purpose regimes, and anti-globalization forces.  The New Dynamics of Multilateralism: Diplomacy, International Organizations, and Global Governance edited by James P. Muldoon Jr. of the Rutgers U Center for Global Change and Governance et al. (Westview Press, Sept 2010, 352p), shows how diplomacy helps to transform the international system of governance, mechanisms of multilateralism, international secretariats, etc.  Upgrading the EU's Role as Global Actor by Michael Emerson of CEPS et al. (Center for European Policy Studies, Jan 2011, 100p) focuses on improving the EU presence in the multilateral system of organizations and conventions of international law.  Cross-Border Governance in Asia: Regional Issues and Mechanisms edited by G. Shabbir Cheema of the East-West Center et al. (UNU Press, Dec 2010, 300p) describes the growing list of cross-border issues addressed by strategic alliances at regional level.


Click here on more miscellaneous titles on global governance.


Normative Futures
in Global Governance 


World FuturesMany books point to desirable and often idealized directions for global governance.  An appropriate albeit generalized lead-off is The Unfinished Global Revolution: The Pursuit of a New International Politics by former UN Deputy Secretary-General Mark Malloch-Brown (Penguin, Feb 2011, 260p), who argues for a system of international institutions that has the strength and flexibility to handle the unexpected and ensure that change is managed peacefully.  "We must harness globalization to a vision of bringing benefit to all, at least a basic threshold of human security, well-being, and opportunity.  We must demonstrate that global governance can deliver economic fairness between nations; security for people from overbearing states; and agreed rules for sharing our finite natural resources, and above all the processes to manage global change."  Creation of a global contract (probably never to be captured in a single document, name, or even concept) is critical-the anchor by which new and strengthened institutions will be attached to a global purpose that makes sense to people-"the anchor for our shared future."  (Malloch-Brown also served as head of the UNDP and as a VP for the World Bank.)
Click here for more titles on normative futures. 

Taming the Chaos

in Global Governance Ideas

MethodsGlobal governance is clearly taking shape in complex and chaotic ways, with widespread dissatisfaction of present arrangements and numerous proposals for betterment-all at a time when many national governments are also being questioned, arguably due, at least in part, to deficiencies in global governance and international accords.  But which proposals, if any, are heeded, and with what influence?


This biblio-essay covers most of the recent English-language books on global governance, arranged in a "frontier frame" of several categories.  But it is only a rough introduction.  If global governance is very important, attention should be paid to what Harlan Cleveland in 1990 called "managing" the "brainwork commons" and building what Yehezkel Dror  in 2001 called "the capacity to govern." As clearly and amply demonstrated here, this multi-faceted commons is huge and disorganized.  Yet another book added to the pile will make little or no difference; what is needed is a visible, synthesizing framework to make sense of it all, and a better and hopefully synergistic balance between horizontal generalizing and specific analyses.


Click here for more on the chaos in global governnace ideas.


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