TOWARD A GLOBAL PUBLIC POLICY
Prallagon provides articles and information written by authors noted for their professional achievements in their respective fields of endeavor. Here, the main idea is to provide additional information about the needs, requirements, and structures considered necessary for a global public policy.
The reader can take into account the ideas put forth by Prallagon on this website concerning the requirement for ‘a cohesive global public policy’ and contrast that with the views expressed by Mr. Reinicke. This will stimulate thought and encourage readers to make their ideas known to reveal actionable-knowledge.
International relations is at a crossroads. The interventionist strategies outlined above should not be dismissed as politically ill-fitting. Such strategies are increasingly popular, as seen in the last French election, the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, and Quebec’s attempt at secession. Consequently, external sovereignty will once again come to dominate relations between states, ultimately increasing the risk of territorial conflict.
The alternative scenario, global public policy, does not contest internal sovereignty as an organizing principle, but it does contest its territoriality. It demands political leadership and institutional change, both of which are in short supply. It also requires the willingness of private and nongovernmental actors, especially in the global corporate community, to cooperate closely and share responsibility in implementing public policy while ensuring democratic principles.
The world economy consists of a growing number of global corporate networks. The current state of global governance, however, resembles at best a cross-national policy patchwork, conspicuous for its missing links and unnecessary overlaps. If global public policy is to be an alternative to interventionism, governments must ensure that these patchworks evolve into networks of governance. Their first step should be to commission a global governance audit that would map global obligations and responsibilities along different dimensions, including functional, financial, institutional, and structural. The New York-based Center on International Cooperation has recently initiated an effort along those lines.
The next step would be to fill the most important gaps identified in each policy area. National bureaucracies, not just the top leadership, need to establish permanent channels of communication on cross-border economic activity. The recent failures of financial regulation evidenced in the case of Barings and Daiwa Banks confirm the need for such networking, but it must go far beyond the domain of global financial markets. Policymakers should meet periodically to share experiences and techniques. Greater cooperation between international institutions would prevent unnecessary duplication of activities and an agreed-on division of labor on global governance could contain turf fights that have erupted in recent years. The December 1996 agreement on collaboration between the IMF and the WTO is a welcome start. But as the World Bank’s experience in the former Yugoslavia has shown, the exchange of information and coordination of activities must extend to humanitarian and security organizations, such as NATO and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which are also confronted with the challenges of eroding internal sovereignty.
Finally, while multi-government networks are a precondition for global public policy, they are by no means the only one. Unless governments and international organizations create and use cross-national structures of public interest, global public policy cannot emerge. In policy areas such as environmental protection, humanitarian assistance, and financial regulation, support for such structures has grown. But too often this support came as a hasty reaction to a crisis and not as part of a well-executed strategy. Cross-national social networks will signal the foundation of a global civil society and be vital to the legitimacy and accountability of global public policy.
Probing further into the future, including the future of the nation-state itself, one must recognize that globalization has ended the nation-state’s monopoly over internal sovereignty, which was formerly guaranteed by territory. Outsourcing anarchy to the international system, as Hobbes did, will no longer guarantee internal sovereignty at home. This change deprives external sovereignty of its functional value.
The nation-state as an externally sovereign actor in the international system will become a thing of the past. But this will only happen if internal sovereignty is realized through global public policy. This requires political elites to dissociate themselves to some degree from [a] territory and create more dynamic and responsive institutions of governance. Anarchy is no longer just the outcome of, but also the cause for state interests in the international system. Whether and how long this evolving hybrid is called a nation-state should be of little concern. The administration of sovereignty has changed many times over the centuries; the nation-state is a relatively recent form of governance and it has no claim to perpetuity. While the territorial state may eventually become redundant, the principles and values that govern democracies should not. Steps should be taken now to support the notion of global public policy so that society will be better equipped to respond to the demands of globalization.
Reference: Global Public Policy. By Wolfgang H. Reinicke. Foreign Affairs Magazine. November/December 1997.
Posted globe photo courtesy Reuters.
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