Evolving Governance Across a Stressed Planet
5. Economic governance The previous chapter has argued that in the course of the twentieth century the Modern age appeared to reach the outer limits of its geographic expansion, ecological sustainability, ideological legitimacy and institutional and technical efficacy. These limits impacted with increasing force on the functioning of the dominant legal and institutional arrangements that we associate with the growth of the national industrial state, the international system of sovereign states, and the expansion of Modern empires. As was the case with previous epochs, the combined effect of these limits ushered in a period of transition. In the aftermath of the Second World War states sought to maintain the integrity of dominant institutions and practices, while at the same time accepting the need for a degree of institutional innovation. However, the limitations of existing modes of governance, if anything, became steadily more severe and the pressures bearing upon the international system as a whole correspondingly greater. This chapter examines the complex interaction between these limits on the one hand and the functioning of the world economy and the ensuing attempts at institutional innovation on the other. Much of the literature that purports to make sense of the onset and severity of limits, especially as they impinged on economic governance, does so with reference to the multidimensional notion of globalisation. Predictably enough, globalisation became a catch-all term and a subject of much disputation.1 There is much to be gained therefore from specifying more clearly the multiple, closely interacting, and at times...
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