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Global Governance

Kristin Dawkins book Global Governance: the battle for planetary power is an excellent introduction to geo-politics. If acronyms like WTO, IMF, ITO, and GATT leave you lost, Kristin will soon have you making sense of these international institutions. Her explanation of the United Nations will have you understanding each level of the bureaucracy. She explains the working of a global economy and how it has intensified the distance between the haves and the have-nots. Global economies are manipulated to benefit corporate interests. “The complex structure of transnational corporations—with subsidiaries in a number of countries –enables them to take strategic advantage of each country’s economic, social, and political characteristics. Countries with abundant natural recourses are mined for raw materials; those with depressed wages get jobs in manufacturing; those with weak environmental standards become toxic wastelands.”

Kristin explains the difference between the antiglobalization and the pro-justice globalism movements. Particularly relevant to today is her discussion of democracy. “Here in the United States, we tend to associate the term “democracy” with elections. To be sure, the right to participate in the selection of our political leaders is fundamental, but so are freedom of speech, freedom of movement, and freedom of association…The flourishing of such citizens’ organizations is probably the real hallmark of a democracy—even where elections can be rigged and stolen.” At a time when the United States is going abroad in an attempt to spread democracy, Kristin’s understanding of the values fundamental to a just society that must be spread along with democracy are very enlightening.

In order to achieve a more democratic approach to government Kristin feels we must manage markets to achieve full employment, rising incomes, and improved standards of living throughout the world. We must cancel debt and increase foreign aid to alleviate poverty and encourage sustainable development. “Individuals, communities, nations, corporations, the WTO (World Trade Organization) and World Bank and IMF (International Monetary Fund), and all other institutions of our society should be held accountable to the UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights) and all other social and environmental treaties—thus constructing a ‘social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.’ It might even look like democracy and justice.” There must be international standardization of corporate regulations that enable citizens to document and sue corporations for financial, social and environmental abuses. There must be democratic justice and institutional reform. Kristin would like to see national governments embrace global democracy, which “will facilitate the development of strong communities with locally embedded social responsibilities and the capacity to share and care globally.”

Kristin Dawkins a senior fellow at the Institute of Agriculture and Trade Policy. Her book is an excellent resource.


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