Worlds in Transition

Worlds in Transition

Evolving Governance Across a Stressed Planet

Joseph A. Camilleri and Jim Falk

The book’s detailed analysis of five strategic sectors (economy, environment, health, information and security) points to an intricate and rapidly evolving interplay of geopolitical, cultural and ecological spaces. It shows that the normative ethos and politico-legal institutions of the modern epoch are gradually being eroded. Despite competing trends and countertrends the authors discern the slow, at times ambiguous, often contentious but unmistakable emergence over the last several decades of a new governance regime, one which is striving for a leap in human reflexivity in response to the challenges of a stressed world that is simultaneously singular and plural.

Preface

Joseph A. Camilleri and Jim Falk

Subjects: politics and public policy, international politics, regulation and governance

Extract

More than sixteen years ago, we wrote The End of Sovereignty? The Politics of a Shrinking and Fragmenting World,1 to which in a sense this is a sequel. With the Cold War still coming to a close, we focused on the extent to which the widely accepted notion of a world of sovereign states was an accurate representation of the world as it was then emerging. Given the origins of the theory of state sovereignty and its role in political discourse, we questioned whether the theory usefully captured the complex economic and political reality of the twentieth century. By examining a number of key areas of social organisation, we were able to offer a number of answers, some more tentative than others. Our conclusion, generally well received but still controversial at the time, was that state sovereignty was an increasingly misleading perspective for understanding either the world as it was, or as it could or should be. In the face of the already evident and relentless processes of integration and fragmentation, we suggested that while states would continue to retain many administrative and regulatory functions, ‘the theory of sovereignty [would] seem strangely out of place in a world characterised by shifting allegiances, new forms of identity and overlapping tiers of jurisdiction’.2 In this gradually unfolding social landscape, the central issue was not so much the shape or size of political entities or even the demarcation of their boundaries, but ‘the very meaning of boundaries, the very nature of the...