With the end of the Cold War, many commentators believed a new world order to be on the rise. But what where the contours of that order? The two most prominent interpretations disagreed fundamentally on this very basic question: Some saw American hegemony or even a US empire; others a system of global governance in which myriads of overlapping spheres of authority were organised in a largely decentralised fashion. So who is right and who is wrong? In their review essay, Rainer Baumann and Klaus Dingwerth discuss both views in conjunction and come to the conclusion that world politics is in fact characterised by a concentration and a dispersion of power and authority. Curious? Subscribers to the Journal of International Relations and Development can access the full article here; others can e-mail the authors here.
Reference: Baumann, Rainer and Klaus Dingwerth (2014) ‘Global governance vs empire: Why world order moves towards heterarchy and hierarchy’ Journal of International Relations and Development advance online publication 11 July, doi:10.1057/jird.2014.6
Looking for some summer reading? Well, Darrel Moellendorf’s new and long-awaited book on The Moral Challenges of Dangerous Climate Change will soon be out with Cambridge University Press. With some of Darrel’s carefully argued ideas about the topic having appeared in an earlier piece in the journal Climatic Change, the book now provides a more complete account of how we can understand “dangerous climate change” and of what such an understanding implies in terms of our moral obligations. For those interested in the topic, the book will be launched together with two related books – Henry Shue’s Climate Justice and Dale Jamieson’s Reason in a Dark Time – at at book launch event at the Goethe University Frankfurt on Thursday, 25 June. If you thought that everything interesting has been said about climate justice – a subject on which there is certainly no shortage of book-length treatments – there’s a fair chance these books will prove you wrong.
The European Journal of International Relations has just published my new article “Global Democracy and the Democratic Minimum – Why a Procedural Account Alone is Insufficient”. In the article, I ask how we should best spend one billion US dollar to make global governance more democratic. In answering this question, I argue that the public and academic debate about democratic global governance are headed the wrong way: Instead of calling for institutional reforms of the UN and other international agencies, ‘global democrats’ should pay greater attention to informal mechanisms of exclusion from policy-making processes. Doing so would, I hold, lead us to invest not in fancy ideas like that of a world parliament, but in much more mundane measures that help the weaker members of global society to make effective use of that democratic potential which already exists in contemporary international politics. So: If you want global democracy, invest in people, not in institutions! You’ll find the abstract and full article on the EJIR website.