Democracy and Dissent
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Democracy and Dissent

The Challenge of International Rule Making

Frank Vibert

Frank Vibert expertly examines the fundamental issues involved in attempts to rethink international institutions and their rule making procedures. He analyses the basic problems with the existing system and the main approaches to its reform. The book rejects the idea that there are any simple institutional ‘fixes’ for current problems – such as relying on the G20 to coordinate global rule making and also rejects more ambitious attempts to prescribe new general organizing principles for world governance. It calls instead for specific remedies for specific problems. The author recommends new procedures for all international rule making so that both expert groups and governments are subject to much stronger external checks on what they do.
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Chapter 10: Conclusions

Frank Vibert


REFORMING INTERNATIONAL RULE MAKING In the coming decades, international rules will play an increasingly prominent role in the life of nations and in the life of the peoples and communities that live within those nations. It is a development to be welcomed. Global markets need rules to work; rules can help societies to adapt to climate change on the planet; rules can help stem new international public health threats, help address the challenges from technological innovation and both traditional and new security threats can also be averted or mitigated with the help of rules that are respected across the world. This future is far from assured. Internationally respected rules restrict the ability of nations to act unilaterally and individual nation states remain the predominant form of political organisation in the world, the one with the greatest inherent legitimacy. Moreover, there are new powers in the world and the commitment of countries such as Russia and China to rule-based behaviour is in great doubt. There are further shifts in power relationships ahead – possibly dramatic ones. Historically, shifts in great power relationships herald times of great and sometimes disastrous instability. Rule-based behaviour can mitigate the risks associated with changes in power relationships and thus will become even more vital. There are two long-term strategies that aim to place the international order on a more secure footing. The first involves a continued effort to encourage those countries that are not democratic to become so. The second involves a renewed push to extend the...

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