Review: Who Governs the Globe?

5 Star, Associations & Foundations, Civil Society, Communications, Politics, Public Administration, United Nations & NGOs, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution
Amazon Page

Deborah Avant, Martha Finnemore, Susan Sell (editors)

5.0 out of 5 stars Pioneering work too slow to be published,July 24, 2011<

This is a very fine book that is also available free in conference form (search for <Who Governs the Globe conference>), but of course not paginated, formatted, indexed, and generally edited, all values of the book form.

I personally missed this book when it came out, just as I missed two other pioneering works, Global Public Policy: Governing Without Government? in 1998 and Critical Choices. The United Nations, Networks, and the Future of Global Governance in 2000. It was the appointment of Reinicke to be the dean of the school of public policy at the Central European University, and George Soros’ essay “My Philanthropy” (the first 57 pages in The Philanthropy of George Soros: Building Open Societies that focused my attention.

Although I have been a student of revolution my entire life, it was not until 2003 when J. F. Rischard, then Vice President for Europe of the World Bank, published High Noon 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them that I started to focus on hybrid governance, and it was in the same year that Dr. Col Max Manwaring edited The Search for Security: A U.S. Grand Strategy for the Twenty-First Century, a book that began my deeper questioning of the lack of authenticity and legitimacy within the U.S. Government.

The book should have been brought to market much sooner–three years in this modern era is very disappointing, especially when combined with the lack of follow-up. The Institute for Global and International Studies appears to have begun winding down in 2009 and its website is a a real disappointment. In brief, the collaboration represented in this book, which is superb, has not been continued. While it does not address the criminal underbelly of what Matt Taibbi calls the blending of finance and government into a massive crime family (see Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America), it is a fine foundation effort that touches on standards, norms, successes, and failures. It does not create a proposed methodology for further research, it does hit on the high points of authority, legitimacy, and accountability–attributes that many governments and corporations and NGO/IOs cannot claim to possess.

Having said that, I consider it to be, along with the books above and a few others, such as A Democratic Approach to Sustainable Futures: A Workbook for Addressing the Global Problematique, Measuring Evolution, and How People Harness Their Collective Wisdom And Power to Construct the Future (Research in Public Management (Unnumbered).), the tip of the iceberg and an excellent starting point.

Everyone else is writing about governments that do not work, or NGOs that lies, cheat, and steal, or corporations that run amok and are predatory and corrupting. This book taps into norms and standards and possibilities, but it leaves a great deal unsaid, and clearly needs a follow-on volume that integrates academics, civil society, commerce, government, law enforcement, media, military, and NGOs/non-profits, with a deliberate focus on how they might strive to achieve what the UN High Level Panel on Coherence called for, the ability of disparate organizations to “deliver as one.” One policy-harmonization option is multinational multiagency multidisciplinary, multidomain information-sharing and sense-making (M4IS2), and sadly no one anywhere seems interested in this foundation topic.

With my last remaining link, I will mention Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, a book that was recommended to me by Tom Atlee (see his two books here on Amazon, one on co-creation the other on evolutionary activism). Today’s “system” is corrupt in the extreme, not least because of the information asymmetries between the 1% wealthy and the rest of us. What the book–and the general literature on IO/NGO empowerment with information technologies–do not address is how one achieves shared intelligence (decision support) such that corruption and waste are eradicated, and disparate entities are harmonized into delivering just enough just in time voluntarily–sharing information in real time is the key. If the authors and the Institute can delve into this more deeply, their potential contribution is potentially priceless.

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