Global View - Globalization & Governance
Last updated 10/13/2006 at Noon
In an era of rapid globalization in which far-reaching decisions are being made in international forums and organizations, civil society, public opinion, the media, and parliamentarians who take on global roles play an increasingly prominent part. Today’s big issues are very different from those the world faced when the United Nations was born. Nations are no longer as unified by the imperatives of preventing future world wars, rebuilding devastated states, and making colonies independent.
Globalization, new information technology, and the low cost of all forms of communication also mean that the world order has become more open and interconnected than ever before. This brings new opportunities but also new threats, as problems spill swiftly over national frontiers. This has profound implications from governments and their work at the international level, as well as for democratic processes and the work of civil society. Governments alone cannot resolve today’s global problems. Many argue that global change widens inequalities and heightens risks for vulnerable populations. Even the most ardent proponents of globalization now agree that it must be managed to promote inclusion.
Three aspects of global trends are particularly relevant to influencing how it has approached its task: (a) Deficits of democracy in global governance: One of the key principles of representative democracy is connecting citizens to the decisions that affect them and ensuring public accountability for those decisions. This principle underlies decentralization, community empowerment, and participatory development. It also underlies widely accepted elements of good governance---transparency, accountability to citizen’s representatives, independent scrutiny, clear laws predictably applied and effective mechanisms to ensure checks and balances. (b) The growing capacity and influence of non-state actors: Non-State actors are becoming more important in society and in governance. It has become almost as easy for advocacy groups to be global as local. Traditional electoral processes group people by physical communities, by their locality. The new channels form “global communities of interest.” (c) The rising power of public opinion: Civil society organizations, through their websites and other channels, are informing citizens about policy choices. Civil society can strengthen intergovernmental deliberations by informing them, increasing public understanding of their decisions, and enhancing their accountability.
Global networks of activists, parliamentarians, journalists, social movement leaders, and others are also influencing policy debates, especially on international issues. All this is reinforced by the impact of the mass media on current affairs — and by the diverse sources that most people can turn to for information. And all this is creating a new phenomenon — global public opinion — that is shaping the political agenda and generating a cosmopolitan set of norms and citizen demands that transcend national boundaries. Civil society and citizen action have contributed to the opening up of a global public space for debate. In this sense, civil society is as much part of today’s global governance as are governments. Governance describes a human process or system for organizing or ordering life so that problems can be solved and there can be harmony, cooperation, and prosperity. In my opinion, good governance contributes to peace and seeks to fulfill the mission in any given realm, and to bring about peace. The concept of governance applies to any realm of human relationships, from the family to voluntary associations, religious institutions, and the nation.
Good governance is centered on a good purpose. In particular, the purpose should not be self-centered but should be oriented toward the well being of the whole community. According to God’s original ideal, Adam and Eve would have perfected their love and formed the first human family centered on God’s love. This ideal family would have formed natural relationships of true love, cooperation, harmony, and prosperity. This model would have been extended through multiplication. Very naturally, the true love system of governance with an ideal family would have become the basis of governance in the wider society, nation and world.