Governance in a Disenchanted World
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Governance in a Disenchanted World

The End of Moral Society

Helmut Willke

This book expounds the idea of a disenchanted world composed of nation states and global functional systems. The nation state is losing some of its regulatory prerogatives and, at the same time, extending its legitimacy base in ‘chains of legitimacy’ to transnational institutions. There is neither a global democracy nor a global government. Therefore, establishing alternative forms of legitimacy, accountability and participation in a secular world seem mandatory. Helmut Willke examines the resurgence of moral reasoning in global affairs, pushed by various fundamentalisms, that indicates a real danger of a regression of democracy. The separation of private morals and public policies, the book argues, remains the basis of global aspirations of democracy.
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Chapter 2: Globalization: The Context for Contemporary Governance

Helmut Willke


Many approaches, theories, concepts and ideas compete to explain the logic and the meaning of globalization. Joseph Stiglitz even endeavors to ‘make globalization work’ (Stiglitz 2007) and John Dunning truly sets out to ‘make globalization good’ (Dunning 2003) as if this was a project involving choir boys. More modest authors try to single out the main salient dynamics and driving forces characterizing the present phase of globalization. In a brief exposition we should look at least at three of these main dynamics of globalization in order to gain some firm ground for the more specific questions of governance. The main controversy of the debate about globalization has been a dispute between ‘globalists’ and ‘statists’, pitching the proponents of a market-driven primacy of the economy against the defenders of the primacy of the nation-states (Krasner 2001). The present global financial crisis and its proposed remedies have even intensified this controversy. Globalists believe in the self-organizing power of a global free market, as embodied by the principles of the WTO, and they distrust the narrow and self-interested problem-solving capacities of the nation-states. Conversely, statists believe in the power of public authority and the principles of self-governance of territorially organized states protected by the overriding norm of national sovereignty. This state-centric view has come under severe attack with the ascendance of the ‘free-market ideology’ of the Reagan-Thatcher years, the ‘Washington consensus’ (that is, the common marketliberal position of the main Washington institutions like the World Bank, IMF, Federal Reserve and the US department...

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