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Global Governance

1 (1995), 367-372

What Is Global Governance?
Lawrence S. Finkelstein
he n a m e given this journal reflects inescapable ambiguity about the
nature of the "international s y s t e m , " indeed about what the international system is, or what it e n c o m p a s s e s . Does global mean what
has been signified by international,
interstate, intergovernmental,
or even,
o f t e n , transnational?
If so, w h y not use one of those terms, instead of
choosing a more ambiguous o n e ?
Evidently, something else is intended. That intention reflects the great
changes that have been occurring both in the d y n a m i c s of relations in the
world of states and in understandings of those dynamics. In the first issue
of this journal, for e x a m p l e , UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali
e m p h a s i z e d the internationalization of the problems of human rights and
d e m o c r a c y , previously thought of as issues for states to deal with within
their own boundaries. He also d e m o n s t r a t e d how the pursuit of d e m o c r a c y
as an international goal involves the cooperation of a range of international
agencies and also of m a n y n o n g o v e r n m e n t a l a c t o r s — i n c l u d i n g "political
internationals," which he saw as "the first signs of an e m e r g i n g transnational democratic politics." 1 We understand that there are m a n y new actors
in the world of states and that they play increasingly significant roles. We
understand that nongovernmental actors are an important part, although by
no means all, of what drives the interdependence that presses on and qualifies sovereignty. We recognize the interconnectedness of the decision processes a m o n g and within states in that world. We k n o w that international
negotiations involve what has been termed " t w o level g a m e s " or " d o u b l e edged d i p l o m a c y . " 2 We appreciate what J a m e s Rosenau has referred to as
"the crazy-quilt nature of m o d e r n i n t e r d e p e n d e n c e . " 3 It is hence reasonable to be u n c o m f o r t a b l e with traditional f r a m e w o r k s and t e r m i n o l o g i e s
associated with the idea of international relations in an interstate system.
A m b i g u i t y a f f e c t s not only what is meant by global but also what is
meant by governance.
While the latter word turns up often in scholarly
discourse about how states relate to each other in the international system,
little attention has been given to what it means. 4 At least, it must be clear
that it does not mean " g o v e r n m e n t , " or we would say that instead. S i n c e
the international system n o t o r i o u s l y lacks hierarchy and g o v e r n m e n t , the
fuzzier word governance
is used instead. We use the word also in another
case of ambiguity as to the p r e s e n c e of g o v e r n m e n t — t h a t is, when we

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It is. To begin with. . T h e s e a m b i g u i t i e s s e e m t o j u s t i f y R o s e n a u ' s v e r y b r o a d use o f the term global governance in his article in the first issue of this j o u r n a l : " s y s tems of rule at all levels of h u m a n a c t i v i t y — f r o m the f a m i l y to the international o r g a n i z a t i o n — i n w h i c h the pursuit o f g o a l s t h r o u g h the e x e r c i s e o f control has t r a n s n a t i o n a l r e p e r c u s s i o n s . h o w e v e r . " 6 G l o b a l g o v e r n a n c e . a g o v e r n a n c e o r g a n i z a t i o n or a g e n c y .368 What Is Global Governancef refer to part of what f a c u l t i e s are s u p p o s e d to do in u n i v e r s i t i e s . i n t e r g o v e r n m e n t a l organizations. o c c u r r i n g at other l e v e l s . p r o j e c t s i n f l u e n c e into that arena. i s a n y p u r p o s e f u l a c t i v i t y i n t e n d e d t o " c o n t r o l " o r i n f l u e n c e s o m e o n e e l s e that e i t h e r o c c u r s i n the arena o c c u p i e d by n a t i o n s or. D o e s i t really c l a r i f y m a t t e r s . " which r e q u i r e s o n l y that " t h e c o n t r o l l e r s . . across a broadening range of issues. d o i n g s o m e t h i n g .l i k e e v e n t s that o c c u r in the w o r l d of s t a t e s e v e n in the a b s e n c e of government. w e say " g o v e r n a n c e " b e c a u s e w e d o n ' t really k n o w w h a t t o c a l l what is g o i n g o n . " 7 are a f a c t o r to be dealt with in i n t e r n a t i o n a l relations. thus. h o w e v e r . It should be p o s s i b l e to d e f i n e g l o b a l g o v e r n a n c e in a w a y that g i v e s greater direction to the r e s e a r c h e n t e r p r i s e w i t h o u t a b a n d o n i n g c o n c e r n f o r or sacrificing a c c e s s to an e x p a n d i n g u n i v e r s e of actors. of c o u r s e . we s h o u l d be r i g o r o u s in insisting that g o v e r n a n c e is an a c t i v i t y — t h a t is. to t o s s t h e m in a h o p p e r a l o n g with s t a t e s . H i s v i g o r o u s s c h o l a r l y i m a g i n a t i o n g e n e r a t e s a g e n e r o u s s p e c t r u m o f t y p e s o f a c t o r s a n d a c t i v i t i e s that e x e m p l i f i e s his e x p a n s i v e d e f i n i t i o n o f g l o b a l g o v e r n a n c e . . it is i m p o r t a n t to r e c o g n i z e that we n e e d the t e r m b e c a u s e g o v e r n m e n t is l a c k i n g in the w o r l d of s t a t e s . " 5 H e g o e s o n t o b r o a d e n the definition even f u r t h e r b y s a y i n g that " r u l e " m e a n s " c o n t r o l " o r " s t e e r i n g . It is not w r o n g to wish to u n d e r s t a n d such p h e n o m e n a . we must say the i n s t i t u t i o n in q u e s t i o n is a m e a n s of g o v e r n a n c e . T h o s e events occur. and M o o d y ' s Investor's S e r v i c e ? " G l o b a l g o v e r n a n c e " a p p e a r s t o b e virtually a n y t h i n g . . w h i c h R o s e n a u labels " T C O s " o r " t r a n s n a t i o n a l c r i m i n a l o r g a n i z a t i o n s . or an a c t o r in g o v e r n a n c e . o r f a c i l i t a t e the r e s e a r c h e n t e r p r i s e . In o t h e r w o r d s . T h e t r o u b l e is. issues. seek to m o d i f y the b e h a v i o r . W i t h g o v e r n a n c e d e f i n e d as such activities. a n d a c t i v ities. as Rosenau and others have insisted. h o w hard it is to k n o w what is e x c l u d e d by that d e f i n i t i o n — o r w h e r e to dig into the spaghetti bowl he puts on the table. correct that international c r i m e s y n d i c a t e s . Q u i t e the c o n trary. B e y o n d t h a t . the way is cleared to i d e n t i f y a n d e x a m i n e the p r o c e s s e s of i n f l u e n c e . If we need to i n s t i t u t i o n a l i z e it. n o n g o v e r n m e n t a l organizations. R o s e n a u is p e r s u a s i v e in a r g u i n g that o u r c o n c e p t u a l s c o p e m u s t be b r o a d e n e d if we are to u n d e r s t a n d w h a t we h a v e until n o w called i n t e r n a tional relations in the c h a n g e d c i r c u m s t a n c e s that surely will prevail in the twenty-first c e n t u r y . . 8 W h a t we n e e d is a c o n c e p t u a l i z a t i o n that e n a b l e s us to p e n e t r a t e and u n d e r s t a n d the g o v e r n m e n t . o f other a c t o r s .

p r o c e s s e s . T h e r e i s n o r e a s o n . Finkelstein 369 d e c i s i o n . T h e d e f i n i t i o n p o i n t s to a very b r o a d r e s e a r c h a g e n d a ..g. a n d a c t i o n that s h a p e o r d e t e r m i n e t h e m . a c o m m o d i t y a g r e e m e n t ) . f e e d b a c k l o o p s b e t w e e n i n t e r n a t i o n a l . G l o b a l g o v e r n a n c e i s d o i n g i n t e r n a t i o n a l l y what g o v e r n m e n t s do at h o m e . w h y c o m p a r a t i v e s t u d y o f the f a c t o r s t h e m s e l v e s a c r o s s g o v e r n a n c e i s s u e s s h o u l d not c o n t r i b u t e t o understanding governance. It e m p h a s i z e s what is d o n e rather than the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l b a s i s f o r d o i n g it. c o m p l i a n c e . T h e definition a c c o m m o d a t e s both governmental a n d " s o v e r e i g n t y f r e e " a c t o r s . an a g r e e m e n t to r e g u l a t e u s a g e of a river f l o w i n g in t w o c o u n t r i e s ) . t h e r e are t w o a n s w e r s . individuals w i e l d i n g i n f l u e n c e w h e t h e r b e c a u s e of position or status or the p o w e r of their ideas.g. e f f i c a c y . it is not the o n l y f u n c t i o n of g o v e r n a n c e p r e c i s e l y b e c a u s e it is not the only t h i n g g o v e r n m e n t s d o . a l t h o u g h a d o p t i n g rules m a y be a p r i m a r y o b j e c t i v e of g o v e r n a n c e . V i e w i n g the matter this way leads to the f o l l o w i n g d e f i n i t i o n of global governance: G l o b a l g o v e r n a n c e is g o v e r n i n g . S c h o l a r s h i p a b o u t g l o b a l g o v e r n a n c e i s c o n c e r n e d not o n l y with d e c i s i o n s but a l s o with t h e i r c o n s e q u e n c e s — e .s p e c i f i c (e. It is n e u t r a l as b e t w e e n the activities and their o u t c o m e s .g. not tacit a r r a n g e m e n t s . m o r e o v e r .. a n d s u b n a t i o n a l actors. . w i t h o u t s o v e r e i g n a u t h o r ity. it a p p l i e s w h e t h e r the participation is bilateral (e.. c o n s e n s u a l k n o w l e d g e . the N P T ) . the W H O C o d e on the M a r k e t i n g of Breast M i l k S u b s t i t u t e s ) . and d o m e s t i c i m p l e m e n t a t i o n . T h e d e f i n i t i o n is f l e x i b l e as to scope. T h e approach is broader than R o s e n a u ' s . g l o b a l security and o r d e r ) o r s p e c i f i c (e. f u n c t i o n . 9 And it a c c o m m o d a t e s both ad hoc a n d ins t i t u t i o n a l i z e d . the T r e a t y of T l a t e l o l c o ) . i n c l u d i n g p o l i t i c a l a l l i a n c e s s u c h a s t h o s e r e f e r r e d to by Secretary-General B o u t r o s . It is f l e x i b l e e n o u g h as to reach. a l l i a n c e s and c o a l i t i o n s o f s t a t e s . as of g o v e r n m e n t . g .g. as well as participants in a n d m e t h o d s of d e v e l o p ing it. C o m p a r i n g g o v e r n a n c e will reveal d i f f e r i n g p a t t e r n s o f factoral p r e s e n c e a n d e f f e c t . r e g i o n a l (e. a l l o c a t i v e e f f e c t s . p r o g r a m s a n d proj e c t s . If it s h o u l d be c h a r g e d that the c h a l l e n g e is o v e r w h e l m ing. i n c l u d i n g r e l e v a n t p o w e r a n d the m e a n s o f e x e r c i s i n g it. it a p p l i e s w h e t h e r the s u b j e c t is g e n e r a l (e. i n t e r n a t i o n a l p r e s s u r e g r o u p s o f n o n g o v e r n m e n t a l actors. from which it departs. T h e g o v e r n a n c e a c t i v i t y b e i n g s t u d i e d d e t e r m i n e s the f a c t o r s of this kind that need s t u d y . a n d i n s t i t u t i o n a l p r o c e d u r e s a n d m e t h o d s that c h a n n e l inputs and d e t e r m i n e t h e i r e f f i c a c y . T h i s d e f i n i t i o n i s c o n c e r n e d with p u r p o s i v e a c t s ..g. It s e e k s to i m p a r t g r e a t e r s y s t e m to the s a m e f a c t o r s by setting " g o v e r n a n c e as a c t i v i t y " as the rubric for analysis. r e l a t i o n s h i p s that t r a n s c e n d n a t i o n a l f r o n t i e r s . p r o p a g a n d a and c o m m u n i c a t i o n . n a t i o n a l .G h a l i .. as well as both i n f o r m a l a n d f o r m a l . . or global (e. and m a y e v e n be the m o s t i m p o r t a n t s e r v i c e p e r f o r m e d .Lawrence S..g. d i p l o m a c y a n d p o l i t i c s b e t w e e n and w i t h i n s t a t e s . N e x t it is i m p o r t a n t to r e c o g n i z e that.

and c e r t a i n l y no rule e n f o r c e m e n t — a l t h o u g h r e c i p i e n t s will p r e s u m a b l y be b o u n d to carry out the u n d e r t a k i n g s they m a k e to r e c e i v e the f u n d s . the UN D e v e l o p m e n t P r o g r a m m e (UNDP). a s d o g o v e r n m e n t s . Yet r e s o u r c e s are d i r e c t e d to a d v a n c i n g a public p u r p o s e a n d to i n f l u e n c i n g national d e c i s i o n s and behaviors. e d u c a t i o n . p a r t i c u l a r i s s u e s o n the i n t e r n a t i o n a l a g e n d a . . b e h a v ior i n f l u e n c e d . the p r o d u c t i o n a n d d i s t r i b u t i o n o f w e a l t h . r e g i o n a l o r d e r s . f o r e x a m p l e . a n d values allocated a m o n g a c t o r s in the international syst e m . T o c i t e j u s t o n e c o n t e m p o r a r y e x a m p l e . T h a t leads to the s e c o n d a n s w e r to the o b j e c t i o n . T h e d e f i n i t i o n is no b r o a d e r than the international a g e n d a is already in the era of i n t e r d e p e n d e n c e a n d d i s i n t e g r a t i n g b o u n d a r i e s b e t w e e n national and international arenas. it s e e m s unlikely that R a n n e y ' s o b s e r v a t i o n will b e s e r i o u s l y f a l s i f i e d . art. has o f t e n b e e n u s e d that way. g o o d o f f i c e s . the UN E n v i r o n m e n t P r o g r a m m e (UNEP) and the W o r l d Bank sponsor the Global E n v i r o n m e n t Facility ( G E F ) to p r o v i d e c o n c e s s i o n a r y f i n a n c i n g necessary to offset costs of e n v i r o n m e n t a l protection p r o g r a m s in d e v e l o p i n g c o u n t r i e s . a n d e f f o r t s to i n f l u e n c e the d o m e s t i c rules and b e h a v i o r of states. S . T h u s . I t d e s e r v e s u n d e r l i n i n g a l s o that the d e f i n i t i o n d o e s not limit g o v e r n a n c e t o t h e r e a c h i n g o f d e c i s i o n s a b o u t r u l e s . mediation. . m o d e r n g o v e r n m e n t s d o just about e v e r y t h i n g . all t h e m a j o r h e a d i n g s are r e l e v a n t a n d m a n y o f the s p e c i f i c f u n c t i o n s as w e l l . is rule o r i e n t e d .370 What Is Global Governance! D e f i n i n g governance this w a y m e r e l y m i r r o r s the b r e a d t h of g o v e r n m e n t a s w e c o m m o n l y u n d e r s t a n d it. g o v e r n a n c e should b e c o n s i d e r e d t o c o v e r the o v e r l a p p i n g c a t e gories of functions performed internationally. Not e v e r y o n e o f thirty-nine m a j o r f u n c t i o n s h e listed a s p e r f o r m e d b y the U . a n d s o o n a d i n f i n i t u m . w o u l d u n d o u b t e d l y i n c l u d e a c t i v i t i e s w h i c h directly a n d p o w e r f u l l y a f f e c t j u s t about e v e r y c o n c e i v a b l e a s p e c t o f h u m a n l i f e — m a r r i a g e . and compulsory resolution of disputes. regime . conciliation. norms and decisionmaking p r o c e d u r e s . r e l i g i o n . a l t h o u g h it also e n c o m p a s s e s " p r i n ciples. T o d o that f a r f r o m e x h a u s t s w a y s in which international e x p e c t a t i o n s are s h a p e d . What R a n n e y said about modern national gove r n m e n t s is i n c o n t e s t a b l y true of the i n t e r n a t i o n a l s y s t e m . T h e t e r m . the international s y s t e m d o e s m o r e t h a n d i r e c t the b e h a v i o r o f the r e l e v a n t a c t o r s . t o cite an i m p o r t a n t e x a m p l e . h o w e v e r . s p o r t . . 1 2 No rule is dir e c t l y i m p l i c a t e d in this activity. g o v e r n m e n t under five h e a d i n g s 1 0 is n e c e s s a r i l y c o n d u c t e d internationally. " D e s p i t e political i n i t i a t i v e s to limit the f u n c t i o n s of g o v e r n m e n t . C o n s i d e r . T h e p r e d o m i n a n t d e f i n i t i o n o f r e g i m e s . " " The definition stretches b e y o n d r u l e m a k i n g b e c a u s e . a c o m p l e t e list o f all the f u n c t i o n s p e r f o r m e d b y g o v e r n m e n t s t o d a y . formulation and promulgation of principles and p r o m o t i o n o f c o n s e n s u a l k n o w l e d g e a f f e c t i n g the g e n e r a l i n t e r n a t i o n a l o r d e r . but. perhaps with m o d i f i c a t i o n . among them: information creation and e x c h a n g e . . the r e a r i n g o f c h i l d r e n . the I n t e r n a t i o n a l M o n e t a r y F u n d ( I M F ) . A u s t i n R a n n e y ' s o b s e r v a t i o n : " F o r better o r w o r s e .

p r e s i d e n t of the Carnegie E n d o w m e n t for International Peace. Ibid. Jacobson. 1966). it is hard to find benefit in e m p l o y i n g the term to duplicate another o n e already in very wide use. 33. 1 (winter 1995): 8. That paper shows the strong influence of earlier work by Rosenau. For a somewhat fuller presentation on this theme. " G o v e r n a n c e in the Twenty-first Century. Austin Ranney. c o d e s . Evans. 4 2 . 5.G h a l i . pp.: Lexington B o o k s . and e x e c u t i o n . 1990). 21 March 1991. In any c a s e . " D i p l o m a c y and Domestic Politics: T h e Logic of T w o Level G a m e s . The term is R o s e n a u ' s . Robert P u t n a m . p." p. 10. 3 ( s u m m e r 1988). The Governing of Men. Governance Without Government: Order and Change in World Politics ( C a m b r i d g e : C a m b r i d g e University Press. eds. Rosenau. Double-Edged Diplomacy: International Bargaining and Domestic Politics (Berkeley: University of California Press. Vancouver. and Peter B. A c c e p t i n g t h i s m e a n i n g o f global governance automatically disposes of the a r g u m e n t that it is e i t h e r s y n o n y m o u s with r e g i m e s or c l o s e l y identified with them. 14. Rosenau.4 3 . and Robert D." Global Governance 1. Harold K. . 1 . see L a w r e n c e S. 36. allocation of material and p r o g r a m resources. " Global Governance I. James N. p. 13. Finkelstein w a s p r o f e s s o r of political science at Northern Illinois University. r e a s o n a b l e u s a g e . He has been v i c e . Finkelstein.C. R o s e n a u . " G l o b a l C h a n g e s and Theoretical C h a l l e n g e s : Toward a Postinternational Politics for the 1990s. Ibid. 7. a n d m a i n t e n a n c e of peace and order. p. Finkelstein 371 f o r m a t i o n . no. see J a m e s N. 1993). 6. and an early m e m b e r of the UN Secretariat. Rinehart & Winston. 2. Perh a p s there can be a g r e e m e n t on a c o m m o n . Putnam. Mass. especially the introductory chapter in Rosenau and Ernst-Otto C z e m p i e l . " International Organization" 42. 4..2 0 . and R o s e n a u ' s chapter. " D e m o c r a c y : A Newly Recognized Imperative. ® Notes L a w r e n c e S. e m e r g e n c y ." in Czempiel and R o s e n a u . Boutros B o u t r o s . 3. eds. and regulations. no. no. " G o v e r n a n c e in the Twenty-first C e n t u r y . a n d it is that p u r p o s e this f o r a y in d e f i n i t i o n is i n t e n d e d to a d v a n c e . ( N e w York: Holt. " W h a t Is International G o v e r n a n c e ? " paper presented at the A n n u a l Meeting of the International Studies Association. relief. and disaster activities.. humanitarian... ed. 1992). 9. tending. 8. T h e t e r m governance has b e e n a p p l i e d to international m a t t e r s in a va- riety of ways that have b e e n at best disorderly and perhaps c o n f u s i n g . I (winter 1995): 15. provision of technical assistance and d e v e l o p m e n t programs. pp. What follows is i n f l u e n c e d by the paper cited in note 4. B. 1.. rev.Lawrence S. 1989). Turbulence in World Politics: A Theory of Change and Continuity (Princeton: Princeton University Press. Global Changes and Theoretical Challenges: Approaches to World Politics for the 1990s (Lexington. deputy assistant secretary of defense. adoption of rules.

International Regimes (Ithaca. 12. "Structural Causes and Regime C o n s e q u e n c e s : Regimes as Intervening V a r i a b l e s . 1983). . p. 2.." Finance and Development 28. ed.Y.372 What Is Global Governance! 11. 1 (March 1991): 24. " in K r a s n e r . N. " T h e Global Environment Facility. no. Stephen Krasner. Cornell University Press.