Imagining Attractive Global Governance


Anthony Judge – TRANSCEND Media Service

Questioning Possibilities and Constraints of Well-Boundedness


It is striking to note the number and variety of indications of what people, groups and nations believe the world ought to do. It is equally striking to note the manner in which implementation of precepts, injunctions, recommendations, resolutions and plans is systematically avoided in some way — irrespective of whether they are compatible and invite a degree of consensus. Claims to the contrary may well be vociferously made.

The process can be observed through various frameworks. These include: respect for any global ethic (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Declaration Toward a Global Ethic); response to issues of climate change; implementation of resolutions of intergovernmental organizations; etc.

The issue is notable with respect to the environment through recent recognition of “planetary boundaries” (Anders Wijkman and Johan Rockström, Bankrupting Nature: denying our planetary boundaries, 2012) — although totally lacking in any consideration of the neglect of remedial action (Recognizing the Psychosocial Boundaries of Remedial Action: constraints on ensuring a safe operating space for humanity, 2009). Advocacy of unilateral geoengineering remedies for global warming is especially noteworthy (Geo-engineering Oversight Agency for Thermal Stabilization, 2008).

As currently envisaged, there is every possibility that global governance of any kind is inherently questionable, as separately argued (The Consensus Delusion, 2011; Ungovernability of Sustainable Global Democracy? 2011). The strategic dilemma can be represented — although to little avail — through various mapping exercises (Map of Systemic Interdependencies None Dares Name, 2011; Mapping the Global Underground, 2010; Mind Map of Global Civilizational Collapse, 2011; Convergence of 30 Disabling Global Trends: mapping the social climate change engendering a perfect storm, 2012).

The approach here is to explore whether there is a case for framing such matters otherwise, through a pattern of questions — rather than focusing on definitive answers to which the majority are expected to subscribe. The argument is that this pattern might help to frame the “language” through which attractive global governance of any viability can be usefully envisaged — prior to articulating the content of any global governance proposal. The approach is partly inspired by the initiative of Johan Galtung with respect to Forms of Presentation in the context of the UNU project on Goals, Processes and Indicators of Development (Forms of Presentation and the Future of Comprehension, 1984).

Any such pattern could call itself into question in a spirit of self-reflexivity consistent with the argument of Douglas Hofstadter (Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid, 1979), as discussed previously (Consciously Self-reflexive Global Initiatives: Renaissance zones, complex adaptive systems, and third order organizations, 2007). With the focus on questions, rather than aspiring to be definitive, the possibility of its refinement could be an active concern built into the pattern. Some consideration has previously been given to this possibility (Strategic Implications of 12 Unasked Questions in Response to Disaster, 2013)



This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 2 Dec 2013.

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