Handbooks of Research on International Political Economy series
Edited by Anthony Payne and Nicola Phillips
Chapter 4: The ethical dimensions of global governance
Global governance has steadily emerged as the background concept for thinking about a range of issues and practices in global politics. From finance to trade, environmental issues to health, and many pressing social concerns besides, global governance serves as a convenient - and constitutive - signifier for contemporary politics. Despite several rounds of well-weighted critiques of the content, purpose and form of global governance, the idea and practice has grown and adapted. Part of the reason for this emergence, at least, is expedience. State-level policy-makers have encouraged their electorates to view a range of difficult issues as a - or the - primary concern of global governance. Witness the resurgence of the Group of 20 (G20) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during the period of the global financial crisis that began in the late 2000s. Equally, a number of international institutions have sought, often in times of crisis, to foster agendas of good governance on a global scale, whereby (apparently) neutral ideas such as transparency, human capital and community have become a key focus (as opposed to, say, domination via class, race or gender structures). In this way, the 'global' in global governance is always and already conceived as both spanning and ordering relations between levels. The idea of global governance meets a widespread and pressing sense that globalisation entails certain political requirements for coordination, authority and legitimacy in complex and interconnected social contexts.
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