Global Governance as the Friendly Face of Unaccountable Power

Journal article

Whitman, Jim (2002) Global Governance as the Friendly Face of Unaccountable Power, Security Dialogue 33 (1).

Much of the global governance literature is devoted to the processes and outcomes of globalizing forces for the accrual of power by non-authoritative actors. The emphasis on process at the expense of detailed considerations of agency leaves open considerable questions about democratic accountability for the extension and consolidation of a summative global governance. It is not clear that the kinds of negotiated re-configurations of state and non-state actors and their roles that are possible within states can be ‘scaled up’ to produce a global governance in which public policy and the larger determinants of political and economic life will be open to wide scrutiny or competing claims. The darker possibilities open to a new array of non-authoritative but effective actors are examined, together with a consideration of the prospects for the delivery of global public goods under global governance so constituted. ‘Unaccountable’ is also frequently self-serving, which can only diminish our ability to organize concerted, coherent initiatives needed to deal with the global issues that now beset humanity.

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