Handbook of Research on Global Corporate Citizenship
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Handbook of Research on Global Corporate Citizenship

Edited by Andreas Georg Scherer and Guido Palazzo

The Handbook of Research on Global Corporate Citizenship identifies and fosters key interdisciplinary research on corporate citizenship and provides a framework for further academic debate on corporate responsibility in a global society.
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Chapter 12: Globalization, Transnational Corporations and the Future of Global Governance

Stephen J. Kobrin


Stephen J. Kobrin Introduction Globalization is still very partial and incomplete. While the world economy may be global, law, regulation, politics and society are still largely national, only slowly emerging from bounds imposed by the modern international or Westphalian states system. There is a governance gap as politics lags behind markets which extend beyond the reach of nation-states (Habermas 2001); global markets have grown rapidly ‘without the parallel development of economic and social institutions necessary for their smooth and equitable functioning’ (World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization 2004, p. xi). We are in the midst of a transition from an international to a transnational or post-Westphalian political–economic system and have not yet developed the modes of cooperation, institutions or even the language necessary to govern an integrated world economy effectively. My concerns in this chapter are the implications of this asymmetry and of the emergence of a transnational world order, for problems of economic governance. I shall focus on problems rather than solutions, on the changing parameters of a new governance regime rather than its precise definition. My objective is to frame the problems that systemic evolution poses for societal control of the economy and economic actors. The post-Westphalian transition The modern Westphalian international order was a coherent system with a well-defined structure. First, it was state-centric: states were the only actors in international politics and the only subjects of public international law. There was a clear distinction between the public sphere of politics...

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