Private Standards and Global Governance

Private Standards and Global Governance

Economic, Legal and Political Perspectives

Leuven Global Governance series

Edited by Axel Marx, Miet Maertens, Johan Swinnen and Jan Wouters

The expert contributors assess the state-of-the-art with regard to private regulation of food, natural resources and labor conditions. They begin with an introduction to, and discussion of, several leading existing private standards, and go on to assess private food standards and their legitimacy and effectiveness in the context of the global trade regime.

Chapter 2: Governing Global Commons: Public Private Protection of Fish and Forests

Frans Van Waarden

Subjects: development studies, development studies, law - academic, regulation and governance


26/6/12/Final 2. Governing global commons: the public-private protection of fish and forests Frans van Waarden 1. INTRODUCTION A main task of the state is to protect its citizens against all imaginable kinds of risks and uncertainties; it is its very legitimation. Citizens have entered into an imaginary contract with the state, offering loyalty, obedience and taxes in exchange for security and prosperity. That was already so in the early days of state formation, when state authority was accepted and duties performed in exchange for protection from dangerous nature, animals and humans, foreign armies and criminals. However, in the modern era states, and especially democratic welfare states, are confronted with a double paradox. While advances in scientific knowledge and technologies have led citizens to demand greater levels of state protection from an ever longer list of risks, the state’s capacity to satisfy these expectations has been decreasing. With globalization, more and more sources of risk and uncertainty are beyond the direct control of the nation-state and many emanate from outside its territorial jurisdiction. Thus states are getting squeezed between these contradictory tendencies: more demands, yet less capacity to satisfy them. Re-regulating global forces is understandably not as easy as reregulating the domestic sphere. The former requires nation-states to extend jurisdiction beyond their own territorial borders. How do countries try to influence regulatory standards elsewhere? Economically or politically powerful nations can and do occasionally (try to) impose their standards on other nations, through trade relations, that is, through what...

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