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Taming Global Governance Idea Chaos: A “Frontier Frame” for Recent Books

BOOK REVIEW | | BY Michael Marien

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” on 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, as identified on my experimental website,  The brief 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.  Most of these books have not been seen directly; rather, information has been gleaned from publisher catalogs, which is usually sufficient to get a rough sense of what a book is about.

But first a Prologue of 16 generalized items from the 1990-2004 period, many by WAAS Fellows, of books that were abstracted for Future Survey, a monthly publication of the World Future Society that I edited in the 1979-2008 period.  This Prologue is not comprehensive, but merely a highlighting of some important items from the period, to indicate how global governance thinking was broader and bolder one to two decades ago, arguably for better and worse.  Several books from this period are also included in the Normative Futures section.

PROLOGUE, 1990-2004

          Thinking about global governance began to accelerate in the early to mid-1990s, with the 50th anniversary of the United Nations celebrated in 1995.  Five years before that milestone, WAAS president Harlan Cleveland published The Global Commons: Policy for the Planet (Aspen Institute and University Press of America, Oct 1990, 118p), offering 60 propositions about the Global Commons as a new policy frontier, including not only the physical and biological commons, but the “brainwork commons” that requires managing the flow of information.  This was followed by Harlan Cleveland’s Birth of a New World: An Open Moment for International Leadership (Jossey-Bass, April 1993; Foreword by Robert S. McNamara), on the growing list of functions that only credible international organizations or regimes can perform, international arrangements that work, and managing a world economy with nobody in charge.  Two years later, Harlan Cleveland, WAAS Fellow Hazel Hazel Henderson, and Inge Kaul edited a Special Issue of Futures (27:2, March 1995, pp107-269) entitled The United Nations at Fifty: Policy and Financing Alternatives, with essays on funding as the key to the future of the UN (by Harlan Cleveland), the UN as the world’s de facto superpower that should help tame the global financial casino (by Hazel Henderson), charging for use of the global commons, a radical restructuring of the UN so it could levy taxes and borrow funds, a surcharge or tax on all arms sales and foreign exchange transactions, rethinking the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, etc.  

Slightly earlier, Mihaly Simai, Director of the UNU World Institute of Development Economics Research, published The Future of Global Governance (US Institute of Peace, June 1994, 402p), arguing that future needs of collective risk management will require membership of most states in IGOs and a change of attitudes toward international cooperation in a new and more complex era of uncertainty and dynamic change.  Uncommon Opportunities: An Agenda for Peace and Equitable Development (Zed Books, Oct 1994, 210p; ), the very uncommon Report of the International Commission on Peace and Food, was edited by WAAS Fellow (now CADMUS managing editor) Garry Jacobs, who served as executive director of the Commission.  This extraordinary report, with prefacing messages by the UN’s Boutros Boutros-Ghali and by UNESCO’s Federico Mayor, argued that global governance, security, democracy, employment, adequate food, and human development are interlinked and cannot be addressed in isolation.  The ambitious agenda included guaranteed rights to human security in its widest meaning, a global cooperative security system, employment as a basic human right, restructuring the UN, halving global defense spending by 2000, reversing proliferation of small arms, building an international development force, creating one billion jobs in the next decade, global education, and nurturing a worldwide culture of peace.

            James N. Rosenau, a WAAS Fellow and former president of the International Studies Association, was especially prolific in this period with a number of original and useful ideas.  Turbulence in World Politics (Princeton UP, July 1990, 480p) argued that the notion of “international relations” was obsolete, and that “post-international politics” would better describe the shift from some 200 actors in a state-centric world to the multi-centric world with hundreds of thousands of essential actors in temporary coalitions with situational rules.  Governance Without Government: Order and Change in World Politics, edited by Rosenau and Ernst-Otto Czempiel (Cambridge UP, March 1992, 311p), expanded on the themes of a polyarchical world, international regulatory ventures, and strategies to support democratization.  Along the Domestic-Foreign Frontier: Exploring Governance in a Turbulent World (Cambridge UP, 1997, 467p), pointed to the growing need to treat domestic and foreign affairs as a seamless web, at a time when “fragmegration” (Rosenau’s ungainly but accurate term) should be seen as a synthesizing worldview.  Also in this period, WAAS Fellow Steven A. Rosell, president of Meridian International Institute, published Changing Maps: Governing in a World of Rapid Change (Carlton UP, March 1995, 293p), on constructing shared mental maps in a world of eroding boundaries, multiplying interest groups, and fragmenting institutions and belief systems.  Rosell also posited four scenarios, of which the dark “Titanic Scenario” (of low or no economic growth, lost jobs, increasing unrest and violence) has proved eerily close to the sobering realities of 2011.

The seminal book in this period was the Report of the Commission on Global Governance, Our Global Neighborhood (Oxford UP, April 1995, 410p), which defined global governance as better management of survival, sharing diversity, and living together in the global neighborhood with a global ethic of common rights and shared responsibilities.   Four central areas for the conduct of world affairs were highlighted: promoting security by broadening the concept of global security, managing economic interdependence, reforming the UN (e.g., by expanding the Security Council), and strengthening the rule of law worldwide.   The quarterly journal Global Governance ( was accordingly founded in 1995, exploring “the impact of international institutions and multilateral processes on economic development, peace and security, human rights, and the preservation of the environment.”

Noteworthy books around the turn of the millennium must surely include The Capacity to Govern: A Report to the Club of Rome by WAAS fellow Yehezkel Dror of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Frank Cass, Oct 2001, 264p).  Yehezkel Dror noted an accelerating age of radical transformations which require guidance and the radical redesign of governments at all levels.  He described ten characteristics of global change (increasing uncertainty, multiplying complexity, intense frustrations, etc.), ten facets of high quality governance (learning, knowledge-intense, deep-thinking, holistic, etc.), the need to foster raison d’humanite as a moral imperative in decisions, empowering people with “public affairs enlightenment,” and making global governance more resolute.

Similarly, WAAS Fellow David Held of the Open U, along with Anthony McGrew and two others, published Global Transformations: Politics, Economics, and Culture (Stanford UP, May 1999, 515p) on the widening, deepening, and speeding up of globalization.  Eight key elements: emergence of global politics and multilayered governance, military globalization and the global arms market, global trade, financial globalization, MNCs and globalized production, global migration, cultural globalization, and environmental globalization; in sum, a growing litany of problems and threats leading to international regimes and treaties.  This outstanding scholarly overview was supplemented by The Global Transformations Reader edited by Held and McGrew (Polity Press/Blackwell, Jan 2000, 480p), with 43 essays on such topics as mechanisms of global governance, models of global democracy, transnational justice, and the cosmopolitan project to regulate globalization.   WAAS president Walter Truett Anderson provided a somewhat more popularized version of this topic with All Connected Now: Life in the First Global Civilization (Westview, Sept 2001, 301p), on the “huge and many-sided evolutionary development that is taking place,” including governance with and without governments, the spread of democracy and human rights, the growing role of NGOs, etc.  At the same moment, Federico Mayor (former head of UNESCO) with Jerome Binde (director of UNESCO analysis and forecasting) published The World Ahead: Our Future in the Making (UNESCO/Zed Books, Aug 2001, 496p), on four major challenges of the next few decades (involving peace, poverty, environmental management, and lack of direction), while proposing four ambitious “contracts” (social, natural, cultural, and ethical) as pillars of a new international democracy.  Several years later, Anne-Marie Slaughter (dean of the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton and later director of policy planning at the US Dept of State, 2009-2011) published A New World Order (Princeton UP, 2004), viewing global governance as a world of government networks and building blocks for a future world order based on parts of states: courts, regulatory agencies, ministries, etc.  In a brief recent article (Foreign Policy, Sept-Oct 2011, p89), Slaughter states the “the world will be much more multilateral by 2020,” with  the UN Security Council expanded to 25-30 members and much stronger regional organizations on every continent.


All of the books mentioned in the Prologue treat global governance in very broad terms.  Many recent books on general global governance are somewhat more specific.

Can 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.

Problems abound for global governance organizations to address, and for their design.  The Dark Side of Globalization, edited by Jorge Heine of CIGI and Ramesh Thakur of nearby U of Waterloo (UNU Press, March 2011, 320p) looks at the transnational “uncivil society” forces unleashed by globalization (terrorism, drug and human trafficking, money laundering) and explores how governments, IGOs and civil society can deal with these problems.  World Rule: Accountability, Legitimacy, and the Design of Global Governance by Jonathan GS Koppell of Yale U (U of Chicago Press, Aug 2010, 392p) looks at accountability challenges in 25 global organizations such as the WTO, their rulemaking process, adherence and enforcement, and interest group participation.  Good Governance in the 21st Century edited by Joachim Ahrens et al. (Edward Elgar, April 2011, 392p) considers global, regional, and national governance mechanisms and appropriate strategies in a globalizing world.  Governance in a Disenchanted World by Helmut Willke, Prof of Global Governance at Zeppelin U in Germany (Elgar, Jan 2011, 176p) notes that the nation-state is losing some regulatory prerogatives while also extending its legitimacy base in “chains of legitimacy.”  But, as noted in The New Global Rulers: The Privatization of Regulation in the World Economy by Tim Buthe of Duke U and Walter Mattli of Oxford (Princeton UP, April 2011, 312p), governments lack expertise and resources, and have delegated extensive regulatory authority to private sector organizations such as the International Accounting Standards Board , the International Organization for Standardization, and the International Electrotechnical Commission.  Contracting States: Sovereign Transfers in International Relations by Alexander Cooley of Barnard College and Hendrik Spruyt of Northwestern University (Princeton UP, May 2009, 280p) notes that nation-states increasingly enter into agreements that involve sharing or surrendering parts of their sovereign powers.  Governance without a State by Thomas Risse of Freie Universitat Berlin (Columbia UP, Sept 2011, 320p) discusses security governance by nonstate actors, public-private partnerships to promote the UN Millennium Goals, the role of business in environmental governance, and strategies for effective governance in a framework of weak and ineffective state institutions.

Updated textbooks that provide an introductory overview include The Politics of Global Governance: International Organizations in an Interdependent World edited by Paul F. Diehl of U of Illinois and Brian Frederking of McKendree U (Lynne Rienner, 4th edition, 2010, 419p), an anthology of major themes and theories; International Organizations: The Politics and Processes of Global Governance by Margaret P. Karns of U of Dayton and Karen A. Mingst of U of Kentucky (Rienner, 2nd edition, 2009, 600p), on the evolving role of IGOs, NGOs, state and non-state actors, norms and rules, etc.; and The United Nations and Changing World Politics by Thomas G. Weiss of CUNY Graduate Center et al. (Rienner, 6th edition, Jan 2010, 480p).

This leads to the many books on the UN and needed reforms, of which only a few are mentioned here.  Global Governance and the UN: An Unfinished Journey by Thomas G. Weiss of CUNY and Ramesh Thakur of CIGI (Indiana UP, March 2010, 432p) describe significant gaps between many global problems and available solutions, and the UN role in addressing terrorism, nuclear proliferation, climate change, etc.  The United Nations in the 21st Century: Management and Reform Processes in a Troubled Organization by Marcus Franda of the U of Maryland (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006, 257p) analyzes the “formidable” barriers to reform created by the UN Charter, and major reforms that have been taken up or rejected, concluding that “rapid reform is simply not possible.”  Similarly, The Parliament of Man: The Past, Present, and Future of the United Nations by Yale historian Paul Kennedy (Random House, 2006, 361p) states that the case for reforming the UN is more urgent today, but massive restructuring is not possible and reforms will and should come piecemeal.  ConUNdrum: The Limits of the United Nations and the Search for Alternatives edited by Brett D. Schaefer of the conservative Heritage Foundation (Rowman & Littlefield, Aug 2009, 376p; foreword by Amb. John R. Bolten) notes the long UN history of failing to solve most critical problems, and offers solutions for reforms.  Envisioning Reform: Enhancing UN Accountability edited by Sumihiro Kuyama of UNU and Michael Ross Fowler of University of Louisville (UNU Press, Sept 2009, 402p) discusses legal, managerial, and political dimensions.  U.S. Interests and U.N. Security Council Reform by Stewart M. Patrick of the CFR Global Governance program and Kara C. McDonald (Council on Foreign Relations, Sept 2010, 48p) argues that the Security Council should strengthen collective management of emerging transnational problems and modestly expand to accommodate rising powers.

The OECD: A Study of Organizational Adaptation by Peter Carroll and Aynsley Kellow of the U of Tasmania (Edward Elgar, June 2011, 301p), describes the successful growth of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, now celebrating its 50th year, which “helps provide an important degree of coherence in the system of global governance,” publishing hundreds of authoritative reports on “what works” among its 34 member nations, and, increasingly other major global players.  [For an appreciation, see “The OECD Gold Mine at 50” by Michael Marien (World Future Review, 3:1, Spring 2011, 74-82), for a survey of some 100 recent reports.]  The underappreciated OECD is not only an intergovernmental think tank issuing highly valued policy analyses, but it has also been instrumental is establishing standards of conduct, e.g.: the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution, the Financial Action Task Force on money laundering, the Principles of Corporate Governance, and much more.


          The 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.  Reforming the International Financial System for Development edited by Jomo Kwame Sundaram of the UN (Columbia UP, Jan 2011, 320p), a report prepared for the G24 research program, provides a blueprint for a new global banking model and reserve.  A Safer World Financial System: Improving the Resolution of Systemic Institutions by Stijn Claessens of the IMF and Richard J. Herring of the Wharton Financial Institutions Center (Centre for Economic Policy Research/Brookings, 2010, 150p) addresses policies for restructuring “too big to fail” cross-border institutions as an essential part of any attempt to stabilize the global financial system.  Fault Lines: How Hidden Fractures Still Threaten the World Economy by former IMF chief economist Raghuram G. Rajan (Princeton UP, Oct 2011 paper edition with new Afterword, 272p) outlines hard choices to ensure a more stable world economy.  The UN’s Trade and Development Report 2011 (Sept 2011, 200p) makes proposals for reforming the international monetary and financial system, as well as commodity markets.  Global Leadership in Transition: Making the G20 More Effective and Responsive edited by Colin I. Bradford of Brookings and CIGI and Wonhyuk Lim of the Korea Development Institute (Brookings/KDI, May 2011, 300p) considers ways to consolidate the G20 to become the “premier forum for international economic cooperation.”

Dozens of books have been published in critique of the World Bank, IMF, and/or the WTO.  Recent additions to this genre of institutional complaint include Reforming the World Bank: Twenty Years of Trial—and Error by David A. Phillips (Cambridge UP, March 2011, 342p), who offers a governance agenda toward real reform, and Rescuing the World Bank: A CGD Working Group Report edited by CGD president Nancy Birdsell (Center for Global Development, 2006, 201p), on reforming governance and the need for a Global Public Goods Trust Fund.  Governing the World Trade Organization edited by Thomas Cottier and Manfred Elsig (Cambridge UP, June 2011, 368p) maps various pathways to reform, from small steps to radical overhaul for a new global political economy.  The WTO and Global Governance edited by Gary P. Sampson at the UNU Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU Press, Nov 2010, 280p) complains that the WTO has greatly extended its reach into non-traditional areas of trade policy, and discusses its proper role.  Conflict, Chaos, and Confusion: The Crisis in the International Trading System by William A. Kerr of the U of Saskatchewan (Elgar, Feb 2011, 224p) complains that the WTO is not functioning as envisioned and is faced with many new challenges which it is ill-equipped to handle.  Power and the Governance of Global Trade by Soo Yeon Kim of U of Maryland (Cornell UP, Aug 2010, 192p) argues that the rich countries have benefited from trade expansion while developing countries reaped fewer gains, and urges a successful completion of the Doha Round to mitigate “the development divide.”

But why bother with the stalled Doha Round?  In The Globalization Paradox: Democracy and the Future of the World Economy (W.W. Norton, Feb 2011; Book of the Month, Feb 2011), Dani Rodrik of Harvard U questions the benefits of the Doha Round, and even whether global governance of the economy is feasible or desirable: “the global governance option is a dead end for the vast majority of nations.”  Rodrik calls for a new narrative to open the next stage of globalization, seven principles for a new globalization, and minimal guidelines for a new global financial system, while pointing to labor markets as the unexploited frontier of globalization.   Is this “new globalization” being debated, or even considered?


       Climate 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 University 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.        

Global Commons, Domestic Decisions edited by Kathryn Harrison and Lisa Sundstrom of UBC (MIT Press, Aud 2010, 320p) describes climate change as a “tragedy of the commons” on a global scale, requiring cooperation of nations that do not necessarily put Earth’s well-being above national interests.  Beyond Resource Wars: Scarcity, Environmental Degradation, and International Cooperation edited by Shlomi Dinar of Florida International U (MIT Press, March 2011, 336p) optimistically argues that scarcity and degradation may help to foster inter-state cooperation and coordination on issues such as climate, oil, water, biodiversity, and ocean pollution.  Managing Institutional Complexity: Regime Interplay and Global Environmental Change edited by Sebastian Oberthur of the Institute for European Studies in Brussels and Oclav Schram Stokke of the Fridtjof Nansen Institute in Norway (MIT Press, Oct 2011, 376p), the product of the International Dimensions of Global Environmental Change research project, offers perspectives on managing institutional interaction to improve synergy and avoid disruption.  Institutional Dynamics: Emergent Patterns in International Environmental Governance by Oran R. Young of UC-Santa Barbara (MIT Press, Sept 2010, 232p) offers five case studies of environmental regimes that exemplify emerging patterns.  Governing Climate Change by Peter Newell of U of East Anglia and Harriet A. Bulkeley of University of Durham (Routledge Global Institutions Series, Feb 2010, 160p) explains how climate change is governed by an increasingly diverse range of actors.  Plundered Planet: How We Can Manage Nature for Global Prosperity by Paul Collier of Oxford U (Nation Books, May 2010, 224p) proposes a series of international standards to help poor countries rich in natural assets to better manage their resources.

Discontent with any progress that is being made is reflected in Global Warming Gridlock: Creating More Effective Strategies for Protecting the Planet by David G. Victor of UC-San Diego (Cambridge UP, April 2011, 392p), who argues that, rather than engaging the whole world at once, a much better approach would be small groups of “climate clubs” where countries band together and entice the less willing.  Similarly, Fast Forward: Ethics and Politics in the Age of Global Warming by Brookings managing director William Antholis and Brookings president Strobe Talbott (Brookings Institution Press, revised edition, Sept 2011, 144p) states that the world cannot wait for a binding global treaty, and that the “Big Four” (US, EU, China, India) must lead the way forward.  Adaptive Governance and Climate Change by Ronald D. Brunner and Amanda H. Lynch of Monash University (American Meteorological Society/University of Chicago Press, March 2010, 344p) refutes reliance on centralized top-down approaches, and calls for a more flexible multi-level approach of “adaptive governance” that would encourage diversity and innovation.

Two updated textbooks supply an introductory overview.  Global Environmental Politics by Pamela S. Chasek of Manhattan College, David L. Downie of Fairfield University, and Janet Welsh Brown of the Environmental Defense Fund (Westview Press, 5th edition, Jan 2010, 384p) describes environmental regimes and their effectiveness, linkages between environmental politics and development, and the growing role of environment in global security.  Green Planet Blues: Four Decades of Global Environmental Politics edited by Ken Conca of University of Maryland Harrison Program on the Future Global Agenda and Geoffrey D. Dabelko of the Woodrow Wilson Center (Westview Press, 4th edition, Jan 2010, 384p) collects essays on the structure of the international system, environmental governance institutions, transnational activist networks, and ecological justice.  A broad overview is also provided in Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges and Decisions by Katherine Richardson of University of Copenhagen, Will Steffen of Australian National University, and Diana Liverman of University of Arizona (Cambridge UP, March 2011, 524p), on climate change impacts, sea level rise, equity issues, low-carbon technologies, geopolitics, governance, and mobilizing the population.

Two important dimensions involve environmental law and finance.  The Future of International Environmental Law edited by David Leary of U of New South Wales and Balakrishna Pisupati of UNEP (UNU Press, Nov 2010, 340p) examines successes and failures of environmental law in the context of an ever-worsening crisis, and argues that future responses will be more about good environmental governance than just more treaties and laws.  The Art and Craft of International Environmental Law by Daniel Bodansky of U of Georgia (Harvard UP, Jan 2010, 330p) describes how environmental problems get on the international agenda, how environmental law develops and is put into practice, and how law can address obstacles to international cooperation.  Climate Finance: Regulatory and Funding Strategies for Climate Change and Global Development edited by Richard B. Stewart et al. of NYU (New York UP, March 2010, 352p) points to the enormous amounts of public and private investment needed to limit emissions, which requires national and global regulation of cap-and-trade and offset markets, forest and energy policy, international development funding and trade, and coordinated tax policy.  Similarly, with an even stronger voice, Global Corruption Report: Climate Change by Transparency International (Earthscan, May 2011, 360p; warns that efforts to address climate change will have an enormous price tag of hundreds of billions of dollars flowing through new and relatively uncoordinated channels; “a dramatic strengthening of governance mechanisms can reduce corruption risk and make climate change policy more effective.”


          Security 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 University (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.  Enhancing International Preventive Action: Council Special Report by Paul B. Stares and Micah Zenko of CFR (Council on Foreign Relations, Sept 2011, 48p) argues that, with its military overstretched and huge fiscal pressures mounting, the US will find it necessary to work with multilateral organizations and regional organizations. The book offers proposals for how the US can strengthen the global architecture for preventive action.  Global Security Engagement: A New Model for Cooperative Threat Reduction by the US National Academy of Sciences (National Academies Press, Sept 2009, 178p) states that cooperative threat reduction programs must be expanded and redesigned to meet new security challenges.  Human Security: Global Politics and the Human Costs of War by Don Hubert of the University of Ottawa (Routledge, Aug 2010, 176p) discusses the idea of “human security” and its recent influence on global politics, with a focus on three campaigns that embraced a human security approach prioritizing security of individuals.

Specific security topics notably include control or abolition of nuclear weapons.  The Challenge of Abolishing Nuclear Weapons edited by David Krieger of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (Transaction, Dec 2010, 306p) argues that the irrational status quo cannot be sustained and focuses on the role of international law in furthering abolition and post-abolition issues involving state sovereignty.  Strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime by CFR’s Paul Lettow (Council on Foreign Relations, March 2010, 68p) exposes the flaws of the 40-year-old NPT (now “under severe strain”) and proposes a comprehensive strategy for the US, restricting the spread of dual-use technologies and strengthening the ability to detect and respond to noncompliance.  Arms Control and Cooperative Security edited by Jeffrey A. Larsen and James J. Wirtz of the Naval Postgraduate School (Lynne Rienner, 2009, 288p) covers the history of arms control, the evolving international context, new directions in strategic nuclear arms control, and the new cooperative security paradigm.  Often overlooked is the vexing problem of smaller weapons, covered in Small Arms, Crime, and Conflict: Global Governance and the Threat of Armed Violence edited by Owen Greene and Nic March (Routledge, April 2010, 240p), on the nexus between arms availability and armed violence, costs of gun violence, governing small arms and light weapons (SALW), restructuring production of SALW, and issues of governance and control.  This raises issues of the so-called “security industry,” as explained in Beyond Market Forces: Regulating the Global Security Industry by James Cockayne of the International Peace Institute et al. (IPI/Rienner, 2010, 333p), on the increasingly visible role of private military and security companies, and the need for an adequate regulatory framework.

Other specific security topics include the R2P concept, stopping genocide, globalized crime and crime control, and cybersecurity.  International Authority and the Responsibility to Protect by Anne Orford of the University of Melbourne (Cambridge UP, March 2011, 248p) describes evolution of the R2P idea since 2001, and attempts to ground authority on the capacity to guarantee security.  Intervention to Stop Genocide and Mass Atrocities: International Norms and US Policy by Matthew C. Waxman of CFR and Columbia Law School (Council on Foreign Relations Press, Feb 2010, 56p) urges improved responsiveness of the UN Security Council.  Crime and the Global Political Economy edited by H. Richard Friman of Marquette University (Rienner, 2009, 215p) focuses on the internationalization of crime control, sovereignty of the offshore world, illicit commerce in peripheral states, human trafficking, Mexican drug trafficking, and global finance in the war on terror.  Corruption, Global Security, and World Order edited by World Peace Foundation president Robert I. Rotberg of Harvard (Brookings, Aug 2009, 375p) views corruption, criminals, and criminalized states as a threat to global security, and calls for new sanctions and tougher punishments. 

Promoting Cybersecurity through Internet Governance by CFR’s Robert K. Knake (Council on Foreign Relations, Sept 2010, 56p) urges the US to promote its vision for a secure Internet as part of national security interests, and expanding the number of countries that are party to the Convention on Cybercrime.  Networks and States: The Global Politics of Internet Governance by Milton L. Mueller of Syracuse University (MIT Press, Oct 2010, 280p) discusses the Internet as a source of conflict in international relations and a challenge to state sovereignty, new transnational institutions for Internet governance, formation of the Internet Governance Forum, and the rise of national-level Internet control and security concerns.  Governing Global Electronic Networks edited by William J. Drake at the Centre for International Governance in Geneva and USC Annenberg School dean Ernest J. Wilson III (MIT Press, March 2009, 664p) considers the growing importance of governance arrangements, and policies for a more open and equitable networld order.


 Law 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 University (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 University 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 University 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.  The Sun Climbs Slow: The International Criminal Court and the Struggle for Justice by Canadian journalist Erna Paris (Seven Stories Press, April 2009, 400p) explores the emergence of global justice since the end of the Cold War, the global struggle to make world leaders accountable, and US opposition to a permanent ICC.  Recent developments, however, indicate that the US may be moving toward de facto acceptance of the Court, according to Lee Feinstein and Tod Lindberg in Means to an End: US Interest in the International Criminal Court (Brookings, June 2011 revised edition, 178p).  But The Perils of Global Legalism by Eric A. Posner of the University of Chicago (University of Chicago Press, Oct 2009, 280p) worries about a dangerously naive tendency toward legalism—an idealistic belief that law can be effective in the absence of legitimate institutions of governance.

The Evolution of Human Rights: Visions Seen by Paul Gordon of University of Montana (University of Pennsylvania Press, 3rd Edition, Feb 2011, 480p) describes the human rights movement, the new Human Rights Council, the ICC, R2P doctrine, terrorism and torture, and activists in NGOs.  International Human Rights Law: An Introduction by David Weissbrodt of University of Minnesota and Connie de la Varga of University of San Francisco (University of Penn Press, Aug 2010, 448p) covers development of human rights as a domain of international law, emerging rights such as environmental health and peace, UN procedures, and regional systems. Human Rights and the Ethics of Globalization by Daniel E. Lee of Augustana College and Elizabeth J. Lee (Cambridge UP, Nov 2010, 224p) maps out philosophical foundations of an ethics of globalization and considers how to enforce global compliance with basic human rights standards.  The Ethics of Global Governance edited by Antonio Franceschet of University of Calgary (Rienner, 2009, 205p) considers hard moral choices in a complex world order, humanitarian intervention, ethical limits of democracy promotion, ethics of global economic governance, environmental ethics, and UN reform.  Crimes Against Humanity: Historical Evolution and Contemporary Approaches by M. Cherif Bassiouni of DePaul University (Cambridge UP, May 2011, 850p) addresses issues pertaining to categorization of CAH, and lists countries that have enacted legislation specifically directed at it.


          Still 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 University 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.  Institutionalizing Northeast Asia: Regional Steps towards Global Governance edited by Martina Timmermann and Jitsuo Tsuchiyama (UNU Press, Nov 2008, 432p) highlights cooperation through regional institution-building.  New Challenges, New Approaches: Regional Security Cooperation in East Asia edited by JCIE president Tadashi Yamamoto (Japan Center for International Exchange, Feb 2010, 125p) explains regional mechanisms for dealing with terrorism, nuclear development, peacebuilding, and piracy.  International Migration edited by Khalis Koser of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (Global Governance Special Issue, 16:3, July-Sept 2010), considers global governance of migration, a new protection framework for survival migration, climate change migration, etc.  Migration Apparatus: Security, Labor, and Policymaking in the European Union by Gregory Feldman of UBC (Stanford UP, Oct 2011, 264p) sketches the EU’s emerging migration management apparatus that combines a “whirlwind of disparate policies” and attempts to harmonize legal channels for labor migrants.

Illustrative of single-purpose regimes, Global Governance of Hazardous Chemicals: Challenges of Multilevel Management by Henrik Selin of Boston University (MIT Press, March 2010, 240p) suggests the future of the chemicals regime, under continuous development since the 1960s, as states and organizations collaborate at difference governance levels to mitigate related health and environmental problems; four multilateral treaties form the core of the regime, e.g. the 1989 Basel Convention and the 2001 Stockholm Convention.  Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods: Model Regulations (United Nations, 17th revised edition, Aug 2011, 110p), covers classification of dangerous goods, testing and approving of packaging, bulk containers, consignment procedures, etc.  Import Safety: Regulatory Governance in the Global Economy edited by Cary Coglianese et al. of the University of Penn Law School Regulation Program (University of Penn Press, Dec 2009, 224p) provides guidance on improving consumer safety in imported food, drugs, medical devices, etc.  Global Compact International Yearbook 2010 (United Nations, Aug 2010, 194p) reports on the UN Global Compact, begun in 2000 to shape corporate responsibility, which now has over 7,300 business and non-business participants.  The Politics of Space Security by James Clay Moltz of the Naval Postgraduate School (Stanford UP, Aug 2011, 408p) considers trends in military space developments and the need for all countries to commit to interdependent, environmentally-focused space activity.  In contrast to evolving and prospective regimes, the global drug control regime has markedly failed, according to War on Drugs: Report of the Global Commission on Drug Policy (Global Commission, June 2011, 24p), which states that “fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed,” transforming the global drug prohibition regime with fiscally responsible policies grounded in science, health, security, and human rights (members of the Commission include Kofi Annan, George Schultz, and former presidents, of Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico).  Governing Universities Globally: Organizations, Regulation and Rankings by Roger King of the Open University and LSE (Elgar, 2009, 256p) describes the growing influence of global regulatory governance on universities and national higher education systems.

Finally, a small but important handful of books describe processes, movements, or proposals to impede globalization.  Walled States, Waning Sovereignty by Wendy Brown of UC-Berkeley (Zone Books/MIT Press) explains why national boundaries proliferate amid proclamations of global connectedness and a world without borders, and looks at the surge of new walls (e.g., dividing Texas from Mexico) as attempts to control forces unleashed by globalization.  The Struggle for the World: Liberation Movements for the 21st Century by Charles Lindholm and Jose Pedro Zuquete of Boston University (Stanford UP, April 2010, 270p) describes revolutionary movements against modernity and globalization as a prominent and continuing aspect of our current condition.  Soft Despotism, Democracy’s Drift by historian Paul A. Rahe of ultra-conservative Hillsdale College in Michigan (Yale UP, April 2009, 384p) complains about expansion of paternalistic state power that gradually undermines the spirit of self-government, and explains what must be done to reverse this trend.



          Many 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.)

The 15th edition of the Millennium Project’s annual report, 2011 State of the Future by Jerome C. Glenn, Theodore J. Gordon, and Elizabeth Florescu (, Aug 2011, 117p), updates 15 Global Challenges (such as encouraging genuine democracy and long-term global perspectives, ethical market economies, ethical global decisions, and dealing with transnational organized crime), concluding that global challenges facing humanity are transnational, requiring “a world increasingly governed by coordinated and mutually supporting global policies implemented at national and local levels.”  Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy by Peter G. Brown of McGill University and Geoffrey Garver of the Quaker Institute for the Future in Montreal (Berrett-Koehler, Feb 2009, 216p) uses the core Quaker principle of “right relationship” as interacting in a way that is respectful to all and aids the common good, and considers new forms of global governance such as a Global Court, Global Trusteeships, the Global Reserve, and the Global Federation.  Commonwealth by Michael Hardt of Duke University and Antonio Negri (Harvard UP/Belknap Press, Oct 2009, 330p) considers models of governance adequate to a global commonwealth, and proposes a constitution for our common wealth and an ethics of freedom for living in our common world.  Global Politics in the Human Interest by Mel Gurtov of Portland State University (Lynne Rienner, 5th edition, 2007, 391p) proposes a Global Humanist Framework and a “new realism” agenda to transform world politics in positive ways through common security, stronger global standards, and education for a global citizenry.  The Code for Global Ethics: Ten Humanist Principles by Rodrigue Tremblay of University of Montreal (Prometheus Books, April 2010, 290p) offers foundations for a just and peaceable global community, based on principles such as resolving differences cooperatively, political and economic democracy, and universal education.

Citizen of the World: Cosmopolitan Ideals for the 21st Century by Peter Kemp of University of Aarhus in Copenhagen (Prometheus Books, April 2010, 235p) argues that education and politics today must be infused with the cosmopolitan idea—the only viable guiding ideal in an increasingly interdependent world.  Global Civics: Responsibilities and Rights in an Interdependent World edited by Brookings senior fellow Hakan Altinay (Brookings Institution Press, Feb 2011, 145p) insists that we cannot achieve needed cooperation for a globalizing century without some sort of “global civics” curriculum for institutions of higher learning.  Global Action Networks: Creating Our Future Together by Steve Waddell of Boston College (Palgrave Macmillan, Jan 2011, 256p) views world governments as overwhelmed with problems, and looks at the promising invention of GANs that mobilize resources, bridge divides, and promote long-term deep change and innovation.  Another important NGO is the WSF, described in the Handbook on World Social Forum Activism edited by Jackie Smith of University of Notre Dame et al. (Paradigm Publishers, June 2011, 416p), describing the WSF process that began in 2001 united by the belief that “Another World is Possible” that is more democratic and just.  Reforming International Institutions: Another World is Possible edited by Josep Xercavins (Earthscan, Oct 2009, 336p) presents proposals for reform and global democratic governance. Building Global Democracy?  Civil Society and Accountable Global Governance edited by Jan Aart Scholte of the University of Warwick (Cambridge UP, May 2011, 424p) describes how civil society can make global governance institutions such as the UN and WTO more democratically accountable.

Another ongoing movement is the Global Marshall Plan Initiative based in Hamburg, begun in 2003 by 16 NGOs including the Club of Rome and the Club of Budapest, seeking a better design of globalization and global economic processes.  Towards a World in Balance: A Virtual Congress for a Better Balanced World (GMP, Dec 2006, 304p; ) proposes a Virtual Planetary Congress that would gradually establish a worldwide Eco-Social Market Economy.  The Earth Charter: A Framework for Global Governance edited by Ron Engel and Klaus Bosselmann (Kit Publishers, Sept 2010, 200p) describes the Charter as the leading ethical framework for global governance, and discusses challenges surrounding current international law and governance.  A Global Green New Deal: Rethinking the Economic Recovery by Edward B. Barbier of University of Wyoming (Cambridge UP, July 2010, 336p) presents a strategy for ensuring a more economically and environmentally sustainable recovery.  Similarly, Achieving Global Sustainability edited by Takamitsu Sawa et al. (UNU Press, July 2011, 296p) also proposes a “Green New Deal” along with a paradigm shift on economic growth.  How to Run the World: Charting a Course to the Next Renaissance by Parag Khanna of the New America Foundation (Random House, Feb 2011, 256p) views the world as entering a new medievalism that is fragmented and ungovernable, and calls for a “new colonialism” mostly conducted by enlightened and superpowerful “megadiplomats” such as Bill Gates and George Soros who can encourage various coalitions to achieve specific goals.

2048: Humanity’s Agreement to Live Together by J. Kirk Boyd of the UC-Berkeley School of Law (Berrett-Koehler, April 2010, 222p; GFB Book of the Month, June 2010) argues that the provisions of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights are not viable and its promise has not been fulfilled; an enforceable International Convention is proposed by the 100th anniversary of the UDHR to guarantee five fundamental freedoms: of speech, of religion, from want, from fear, and for the environment (see  Universal Human Rights and Extraterritorial Obligations edited by Mark Gibney of UNC-Asheville (U of Pennsylvania Press, Jan 2010, 296p) presents a brief for a more complex and updated approach to protecting human rights worldwide, in that globalization is challenging fundamental principles of international law.  Patterns of Potential Human Progresss.  Vol 1: Reducing Global Poverty by Barry B. Hughes of the University of Denver Pardee Center for International Futures (Paradigm Publishers, Aug 2009, 352p) argues that the horizon of global goal-setting should be at least to 2030, and 2050 seems reasonable.  The Peacekeeping Economy: Using Economic Relationships to Build a More Peaceful, Prosperous, and Secure World by University of Texas-Dallas political economist Lloyd J. Dumas (Yale UP, Sept 2011, 432p) insists that building economic relations based on mutual gain is a far less costly means of maintaining security than military strength.

          And there are several even more ambitious schemes for thinking and governance.  The Grand Convergence: Economic and Political Aspects of Human Progress by James A. Yunker of Western Illinois University (Palgrave Macmillan, Oct 2010, 256p) advocates sweeping changes in economic and political structure to ensure the prospects of global human civilization, arguing for both the Global Marshall Plan and for a limited federal world government.  This updates Yunker’s World Union on the Horizon: The Case for Supernational Federation (University Press of America, 1993, 332p), which proposes a Federal Union of Democratic Nations and a World Economic Equalization Program.  World Federalist Manifesto: Guide to Political Globalization by WAAS fellow and Club of Rome USA president Francesco Stipo (America Telecoms Network, 2007, 213p) proposes unification of the UN system through a single budget and voting system, and a Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Area merging NAFTA with the EU and leading to a North Atlantic Confederation.  Symposium: Envisioning a More Democratic Global System edited by Andrew Strauss of Widener U (Widener Law Review Special Issue, 13:2, 2007) looks at ways to create a Global Parliamentary Assembly and the E-Parliament ( as a new global forum for democratic problem-solving.  WorldShift 2012: Making Green Business, New Politics, and Higher Consciousness Work Together by Club of Budapest president Ervin Laszlo (Inner Traditions, Sept 2009, 128p) looks to fundamental change for a sustainable world respectful of humans, nature, and the planet.

Global Mindset Change edited by Rakesh Kapoor of Alternative Futures in New Delhi and Jennifer Gidley of RMIT U in Melbourne (Futures Special Issue, 421:10, Dec 2010, 97p) optimistically points to signs of an emerging transformation to planetary consciousness and holistic ways of thinking, and to integral consciousness in all dimensions of cultural life.

          Finally, reaching back by some 20 years, Framework for Preparation for the Year 2000: The 21st Century and the Third Millennium by UN University for Peace chancellor Robert Muller (Albert Schweitzer Institute/Quinnipiac College Press, 1994) proposes still-worthy ideas such as a World Peace Service for young people, a World Foundation to allow contributions by private citizens and NGOs, a world Core Curriculum and a Planetary Management Curriculum (promoted by UNESCO as common guides to global education in all schools and universities, a World Organization for the Handicapped, UN delegates elected by popular vote, and new world conferences on the global commons, standardization, a world tax system, etc.  The United Nations and a Just World Order edited by Richard A. Falk, Samuel S. Kim, and Saul H. Mendlovitz (Westview Press, Sept 1991, 589p) assembles 41 seminal articles and documents from the World Order Models Project begun in the early 1970s, e.g. proposing a Movement for a Just World Peace that includes a global tax scheme and complete disarmament.  And The Next Three Futures: Paradigms of Things to Come by the late macrohistorian and H.G. Wells scholar W. Warren Wager of SUNY Binghamton (Greenwood, 1991, 165p) offered a brief non-fiction explanation of Wagar’s long scenario over the next 200 years, A Short History of the Future (University of Chicago Press, 1989, 324p; updated editions in 1992 and 1999), arguing that the next future is almost surely globalized liberal democratic capitalism.  But eventually this system will disintegrate from within, say in the 2030s, to be replaced by a democratic socialist world order that rescues humankind from war, ecocide, and injustice.  In due time, this worker’s republic will become redundant, leading to an Ecotopian league of communities.  In other words, in the long term, our thinking about global governance may change in radical ways that we can scarcely imagine today.


          Global 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.

                Next steps to tame the unruly Global Governance Information Commons should involve a Task Force dedicated to providing a neutral clearinghouse of ideas appearing in books, reports, and articles, with actions including any and all of the following:

  • More extensive abstracting of items identified here, as well as proposals over the last two decades, with indexes by author and subject;
  • Efforts to identify global governance thinking in non-English languages and/or by thinkers in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China);
  • Analysis and critique of similarities and differences in proposals for managing the global economy, greenhouse emissions, human rights, migration, cooperative security, etc. to include both near-term cautious proposals and more far-ranging normative visions;
  • Maintenance of a website to accommodate the latest thinking;
  • Publication of an annual guidebook that surveys all global governance ideas, similar to the innumerable travel guides to countries and cities, with translation into several languages;
  • One or more spokespeople writing magazine and newspaper articles and op-eds to promote improved global governance discourse;
  • Creation of one or more feature-length documentary films on global governance issues (many excellent documentaries have been filmed in the past few years, appealing to an increasingly visual culture; this could greatly widen the appreciation of global governance issues, while expanding the underdeveloped market for related books).

This proposed Global Governance Clearinghouse seeks to accelerate learning about global governance issues, among both experts and the public, at a time when governance at all levels is a matter of great concern and discontent.  The costs of this project are relatively small—far less than a single F-15 fighter plane, for example.  The benefits in terms of national and human security and well-being could be huge.  Taming the information commons to some degree could work.  It is worth a try.

About the Author(s)

Michael Marien

Senior Principal, The Security & Sustainability Guide; Fellow, World Academy of Art & Science