What Must We Do Confronted with Globalization?

What Must We Do Confronted with Globalization?
Author: Chumakov, Alexander N.
Journal: Journal of Globalization Studies. Volume 4, Number 1 / May 2013

The article is devoted to the process of globalization initially seen as an objective historical process. The author reveals main problems and contradictions engendered by globalization, of which lack of governance in the contemporary world is the most dangerous. It is discussed how global governance is possible and who is responsible for it. The author analyzes lessons of the world financial crisis and concludes that dialogue is the most effective means to overcome the contradictions of the contemporary world.

Keywords: globalization, contemporary world, cultural-cum-civilizational systems, regulation, governance, global governance, world crisis, cooperation, dialogue.

General Remarks

The current global financial crisis is not over. This crisis once again has clearly demonstrated that financial markets can become a source of serious socioeconomic tensions. The crisis has also shown that without an adequate system of control and coordination of activities of the bodies regulating the world economy, the financial markets transform from a creative force into a destructive one.

Documents of international organizations as well as many economists' investigations maintain that financial crises are inevitable for the market economy evolving in a cyclical manner.

It is important, first, not to commit subjective errors which can exacerbate or provoke crises. Second, we need to take well-timed and proper measures in order to mitigate consequences of crises.

As for specific decisions made by certain countries or regional organizations such as, for example, the European Union, they should be left to politicians and specialists in economics, management and so on. However, taken out of the world context and without taking into account globalization processes, such decisions will never be efficient.

An adequate understanding of the world situation in general and of globalization in particular becomes the task of utmost importance. Mere technological solutions are insufficient to solve it. We need a philosophical analysis of the contemporary situation and of earlier trends of the world development. The concept of globalization acquires the primary importance here.

Globalization as Reality

Today almost everyone seems to be interested in globalization, including scholars, politicians, artists, businessmen, journalists. However, this does not mean that in this field one can find any general, though vague, concepts, consolidated opinions or, at least, a substantial understanding that alongside with new problems, dangers and negative consequences globalization also brings new opportunities and prospects. On the contrary, we doubt even the fact that global society itself is now emerging on the planet, although many things seem evident, such as a full closeness in geographic space, universal interdependence, common environmental and nuclear threats, planetary information system, and world transport communications, etc.

To assess the global world properly, one should understand that from the very beginning its processes, including globalization itself, are first and foremost objective. Of course, the global processes are somewhat influenced by subjective factors, but, nevertheless, in their progressive development they occur basically irrespective of the will and subjective aspirations of individuals, social groups, corporations, or even separate states. Globalization processes and global problems of modernity have emerged not spontaneously or by mistake, not due to somebody's good or wicked plan. They resulted from an objective and logical development of society and its new relations with the environment.

The contemporary world seems to have dramatically changed virtually within the last decades; but it is not so. True globalization started in the age of the great geographical discoveries. By the beginning of the 20th century, globalization became fundamental after it had strengthened and expanded to new spheres of social life. Today globalization is total and multi-faceted as economic, political, cultural and information flows, links and relations have irreversibly transcended the boundaries of countries and nations, being no longer their domain and prerogative.

I can hardly agree with a widely-held view that globalization was born by the 20th century. It would also be a mistake to equate globalization with modernization or mostly with economic integration. Unfortunately, this simplistic vision of a complex issue is common even among scholars, engendering numerous debates about ‘waves’, ‘intensification’, or ‘stagnation’ of globalization.

It is important to emphasize that up to the early 20th century different parts of humankind had been developing mostly fragmentary and separately. Originally there were local, later regional, cultural-cum-civilizational systems, which had relatively insignificant influence on each other or did not even interact. Now the world cultural-cum-civilizational system is being formed. Its shape became clear by the beginning of the 20th century. With the emergence and exacerbation of the global problems in the 1970s and the 1980s, the global significance of changes became evident also in the broad public consciousness. Humankind became a planetary phenomenon. It entered the age of universal interdependence of different countries and nations. In spite of the emergence of the foundations of universal culture they still preserve their national cultures, but at the same time some signs of civilizational unity are increasingly manifest.

It is impossible to dwell more on these ideas, so I would like to emphasize the main point. Now one can speak about the global society or the single world civilization being really formed. With increasing persistence, more and more countries and nations are required to follow universal norms, rules, bans and prescriptions. Having entered the era of transformation from ‘local’ and ‘regional’ cultural-cum-civilizational systems to universal cultural-cum-civilizational system, we should act in an appropriate manner.

Perceptions of Globalization

In real life even an obvious necessity of changing human behavior quite often produces no desired results. In other words, people either completely ignore the changes around them, or react inadequately. This is absolutely true in the case of globalization as well.

Today globalization is as real as a sunrise. The contemporary world, beyond question, has radically changed under the influence of globalization and faces dangers, which have never existed before. Even mass consciousness, not to mention the academic community, understands it as an axiom.

It can be both good and bad. It is good because there is no need to prove that globalization is a topical issue. Thus, we have more opportunities to find constructive solutions and reasonable practical responses. It is bad because even sound experts in Global Studies start to see the contemporary situation through the lens of habit. Thus, they are able to see only one aspect of the situation, from the position of their long-held views. As a result, attention is focused, as a rule, on what is conventional and evident. All other secondary or nascent problems (dangers, obstacles to social development) remain without due consideration. For example, there is a common statement that the world community has never been so endangered in its history as today, in the 21st century. It is usually associated with the threat of nuclear war and environmental disaster, which is true, but the problem cannot be reduced to these issues. The point is not that we just have nuclear weapons, poorly controlled and threatening humankind with a real possibility of self-destruction. The increasing human pressure on the environment definitely worsens the tough ecological situation, but it is not the greatest danger.

What is more important now is that humans and their behavior in the global world is not an integral part of this world. In other words, in the last decades the whole complex of global problems has been enlarged by a new danger, still hardly comprehended – a cardinal and rapid change of the architectonics of world interconnections and interrelations. At the same time, the world community demonstrates the inability to react adequately to such changes.

We need a new approach to world problems and we should rethink the priorities of their solution. One should emphasize that by the end of the 20th century globalization made the world community fully global and that relations, communications and information flows became crossborder. Humankind has become a holistic system with respect to all the main parameters of social life. Nation-states (now their number reaches 200) have ceased to be the only international actors. Numerous multinational corporations, international organizations (including criminal ones, connected with drug trafficking and international terrorism) have also become actors. And as before, this world with many interdependent and confronting actors is simply spontaneously self-regulated and does not have the governance that it needs.

The situation is exacerbated by the fact that humans are naturally biosocial beings. They still combine good and bad, kind and evil, love and hatred, peacefulness and aggression. Of course, culture, upbringing and education make people humane and tolerant. But we cannot change human nature and biological essence: aggressiveness, lust for domination, struggle for survival, violent solutions etc.

As before, these things can be traced in the behavior of separate communities and in the nation-states' policy. Now the whole world community as a holistic system behaves selfishly toward the natural environment. The one who does not notice or pays no attention to it will lose firm soil under her feet, becomes deluded by abstractions and has no prospects for changes for the better.

It is also important that the number of earth inhabitants has exceeded seven billion people and continues to grow. At the same time, the planetary resources needed to support human lives are limited. They are also unevenly distributed (as well as the population) and some are scarce or extinguished. There is overt and covert struggle for the access to natural resources. Most likely, this conflict of interests is going to increase in the future and confrontation is going to become more severe.

The Main Issue of the Contemporary World

As a result, the global world, facing essentially new challenges and having no adequate system of governance, gets more and more into the situation of increasing contradictions and uncertainty. This is the main problem, the main contradiction of our epoch! We can also say that under the influence of globalization processes the world community, in fact, becomes more and more a single holistic system with respect to all parameters of social life. At the same time, there are no governance mechanisms adequate to this holism.

The most striking in this situation is not that this governance does not exist as such, but that it is not purposefully constructed. Moreover, even theoretical discussions about it are rather infrequent today, not being the focus of public attention as they deserve to be (although concerns about the situation in question grow).1 Besides, governance in general and global governance in particular, unlike regulation, cannot emerge spontaneously. This issue is to be discussed below; here I would like to make some points about the reasons why this happens.

First, we deal with a principally new, unprecedented situation related to governing an extremely complicated and huge socio-natural system, which human beings have never encountered in their history. This situation is exacerbated by the fact that the humankind's experience and the proven practices of resolving complex problems are not valid any more. At the same time, no new approaches have been worked out yet.

Second, the world community, in spite of the increasing interdependence of different countries and peoples, still remains fragmented, divided into autonomous and self-organized structures, which function in accordance to their own laws targeting, first of all, their private profits and interests. These are nation-states, multinational corporations, and confessional systems, such as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, etc.

And third, globalization itself and its numerous consequences remain a subject of serious discussions. Such discussions often conceal the main thing: globalization is, first of all, an objective historical process and not a project specially designed by someone, or someone's insidious plan and intention. We should emphasize this point because if in rethinking globalization processes and their circumstances we proceed from a subjective factor and pay attention mainly to those who benefit from it, and then we would start to search for perpetrators and discuss globalization scenarios. In this case we face our inability to distinguish between an objective, natural course of events of social development and subjective human activity. The former, of course, is the basis of social development but it is not sufficient to provide governing complex systems without adequate structures and mechanisms. Thinking globally, one cannot help recognizing the state of affairs: there are no structures and mechanisms of government adequate to the holistic global world. That is why, in my opinion, it is useless to look for perpetrators or those responsible for globalizations. Moreover, such approach engenders illusions and is dangerous because it complicates the matter and distracts from the search for real solutions for the urgent issues.

When considering globalization first of all as an objective historical process (which is my position), one should look for means of solving globalization-engendered problems (including governing social systems) in the sphere of structural changes of the world society. This approach is based on a proposition that complex systems, or, at least, biosystems (of which human beings are a part) in their development are regulated naturally, based on natural laws. Here one can talk about the self-regulation of complex systems.

Apart from that, social systems are also governed, because an active element plays an important role in their development. This active element is human beings who, due to their abilities, consciously influence various parameters of development. It is evident that the planetary-scale social system, which is being formed now, should not be just self-regulated but also governed. It is important to distinguish between regulation and government, because they are not the same.

Regulation (from Latin ‘regulo’ – to set up, to fix, to order) should be understood as a spontaneous process or intentional activity aimed at providing functioning of this or that system within a framework of parameters, set up naturally or intentionally.

Via regulation (as well as self-regulation) one can solve the task of the optimal functioning of a system, creating the most favorable conditions for interaction of different components of this system. Regulation is aimed at consolidated actions of various parts of a whole and can be done consciously (when human beings play a regulative role), or spontaneously (when we talk about self-regulating systems). Population numbers constantly changing within some limits is an example of natural (spontaneous) regulation of a system. It depends on the presence of food supplies, or on obtaining its external parameters based on its genetic code and specific environmental conditions.

The biosphere as a whole is also a self-regulating system, whose balanced development is supported by the law of the struggle for survival. Regulation becomes purposeful when it is done with participation of a subjective factor, introducing some order to this or that system. This is how a traffic-controller acts at a crossroads or a specialist regulating, for example, the functioning of an engine, the level of water in a basin or tuning an antenna. Regulation can be conducted automatically, for example, on roads via traffic lights.

Governance, unlike regulation, never occurs naturally and spontaneously. It always assumes the presence of subjective factors and is characterized by more complex structure of relations between the subject and the object. Governance is associated with such notions as ‘justice’ and ‘law’; it is a conscious process or activity aiming at achieving a specific result. This activity is based on predetermined order of conduct combined with creative acts of an agent making decisions not only on the basis of already set norms and rules, but depending on situational changes.

So, unlike regulation, governance is always connected with conscious human activity based on setting goals, feedback and creativity. In other words, government is always performed consciously and purposefully. It presupposes both getting this or that result and finding the most optimal means to achieve the goal. Thus, general governance and global governance in particular cannot emerge spontaneously or naturally. It only can appear in a society and can only be developed consciously, purposefully and following certain logic, which provides specific parameters of such governance. Here, unlike regulation, one always can find an active source – subjects of governance, setting some goals and providing their achievement.

Governance is, thus, a higher level of regulation, as well as development is a higher form of movement. That is why there can be no development without movement while we can commonly see movement without development. Similarly, governance presupposes regulation, while regulation can take place (occur) without governance.

In this context we can talk about historical dynamics of development of social relations when their natural regulation was eventually complimented by governance. For example, in the period of savagery and, to a large extent, in the period of barbarity, primitive people's relations were regulated by force and the survival of the strongest. As for governing social relations in the full sense, it emerges later, together with settled way of life, labor division, formation of a state and, finally, formation of the first civilizations. Such governance is already based on the realization of certain interests and purposefulness. It does not substitute natural regulation, but rather supplements it, making social development more predictable and less controversial. This is how all social systems evolve, of which nation-states have become the largest and the best organized.

From the mid-20th century the situation has principally changed because due to globalization processes the whole humankind has become a holistic system. It more and more resembles a single holistic organism based on the central parameters of social life (economic, political, and informational, etc.), on its interaction with natural environment, on exploring world oceans, outer space, etc. At the same time, in spite of the fact that international anarchy of the past gradually became more ordered, this order is not satisfactory when one takes into consideration contemporary challenges to humankind.

From this viewpoint, it is evident that humankind has reached a threshold, beyond which spontaneous regulation of social relations cannot continue any longer. It should be supplemented with conscious and purposeful building of systemic governance, because the world of global relations without effective global governance would encounter serious testing.

Nowadays our world is like a tall ship, which has so far no steering wheel, but is already being brought by wind from a relatively safe haven to the open sea. Its crew, stuck in conflicts and making no efforts to governing the ship, inevitably becomes hostage of circumstances and natural elements. The world community, having entered the era of global interdependence, should acknowledge the danger of uncontrolledness of the modern world and to start acting in concord and with purpose. If not, this state of affairs promises nothing good for the world community. Without effective governance, the world community will only slide more and more into the abyss of increasing conflicts and contradictions.

There can be another analogy to the contemporary global world – a period of human history, which Th. Hobbes metaphorically called ‘war of everyone against everyone’. We all know that in that time the problem was resolved through the emergence of state as an artificial body able to provide peace and order both locally and globally. Hobbes compared it to Leviathan – a biblical monster possessing immeasurable power (see Hobbes 1991).

Has the situation changed much? The world community seems to have reached the same situation of ‘war of everyone against everyone’. The difference is that this now global and, in fact, non-regulated confrontation is not between separate people but between sovereign nation-states together with various international bodies and organizations.

How is Global Governance Possible?

This state of affairs in the absence of global ethics, global law and universally recognized human values, drags the world community into the situation of struggle for survival.

As a result, most international contradictions and discussions are resolved by power policy. Power is not necessarily represented in a brutal and rough form. Quite often, especially in the economic sphere, coercion is exercised through soft power. Anyhow, the one who is stronger and more sophisticated, the one with advantages and pursuing uncontrollably selfish interests, wins.

In this situation, the UN is practically powerless, although seems to be the only institution for us to rely on. This organization was created in a different epoch and for resolving issues other than governing the global world, such as, first of all, prevention of the new world war and performing regulatory functions worldwide. It would be naïve to think that the reform of the UN as such can change anything cardinally.2 At the same time, new attempts are made to respond serious challenges. New global and regional supranational organizations emerge, such as G8, G20, the World Trade Organization, the European Union, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, etc. But one should not be mesmerized by these structures. They are built to provide cooperative efforts at regional and global levels and they somehow manage to do it. At the same time, these organizations do not solve and are by and large unable to solve the main contradictions of our time formulated above.

First, all of them represent only a certain part of humankind, a region or a separated sphere of social activity. Without representing the world as a whole and in its different aspects, any governance is doomed to be, at least, limited.

Second, such organizations at the worldwide scale are only able, at their best, to perform some regulative functions, being not appropriate for governing the world system as a whole.

It is not surprising that nearly all global projects of the last days, of which ‘Peaceful coexistence’, ‘Sustainable development’, ‘Multiculturalism’ and some other are the most well-known ones, provide no desirable results or even prove to be invalid. It happens because, as it has been mentioned above, we have no adequate mechanisms to realize them successfully.

As a result, the conflict of interest in the global world increases, reinforced by growing openness and accessibility of information, which becomes the most important resource and an effective tool for governing social processes, including distant governance. This is why dispersed oppositions in various countries act with such coordination and can overthrow governments in the course of so-called ‘colored’, or ‘Twitter’ revolutions.

Thus, modern humankind simply has no alternative but global governance, which should be created at all costs and as soon as possible. It does not matter, whether it will be something like a world state or some supra-national structures to govern the world community. Evidently, the world government, so much spoken about, would be insufficient. It is important to understand that executive power (government) without other branches, structures and institutions of power would not be able to act. I will return to this issue; now I should stress that to solve this task, one should answer several principal questions:

– How is global governance generally possible and what is the logic of this governance?

– What are the main tasks of global governance?

– What preconditions for the creation of the global governance already exist in contemporary world?

– What kind of present international organizations and bodies fit (or will be able to fit after some degree of reform) the essence and principles of global governance?

– What obstacles can be found on the way towards creating global governance?

– What principal decisions and at what level should be made as the first and the following steps in achieving the goals set?

– Who can and should take responsibility for developing global governance?

– Finally, what are the costs and who should pay them?

So, to answer the above-listed questions, one should first answer the most important one: is global governance generally possible, and if ‘yes’, then, ‘how’?

History allows us to face the future with some optimism. Since the modern age and the emergence of the first ideas to make social life peaceful universally and up to now, when this task became paramount, humankind, beyond doubt, has collected some theoretical and practical results in this sphere. Serious contributions to the theory and philosophy of human unity and world (planetary) government were made by John Lock, Immanuel Kant, Vladimir Solovyov, Nikolai Berdyaev, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Vladimir Vernandsky, Karl Jaspers, Ferdinand Tönnies, Thorstein Veblen, Bertrand Russell, Albert Einstein, Norbert Elias, Saul Mendlowitz, Helmut Schmidt, Aurelio Peccei, Andrei Sakharov, Amitai Etzioni, Richard Falk, Friedrich Kratochvil, Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker, Ervin Laszlo, Glen Martin and others.

Summing up the heritage in this sphere of knowledge one can say that all speculations, theories and ideas on common destiny of humankind, global governance, world government and so on, have, as a rule, one goal: to find ways and means to achieve peaceful coexistence of peoples while preserving their cultural identity. Kant, for example, as early as in 1795 when thinking about possibility and principles of reason-based social governance wrote in his famous treatise ‘Zum Ewigen Frieden’ that eternal peace is not an empty speculation but a task which is being gradually solved and is approaching its realization (Kant 1966: 309).

To confirm that the famous philosopher was right one can point to a constantly growing interest in this problem and to numerous public organizations that emerged in the last decades. Their names speak for themselves: the World Constitution and Parliament Association, World Federalist Association, World Federalist Movement, World Union, World Citizens Movement, etc. (Mazour and Chumakov 2006: 131).

If one looks at practical issues, it cannot go unnoticed that the world community has accumulated, during its long history, a significant experience of governing large social systems – states, empires, kingdoms, confederations, unions, blocs, etc. The state has proven in practice to be the most widespread and enduring form of organizing social life.

Morality and law are central instruments of social governance, through which one can provide the strongest influence on social consciousness and human behavior. We should also emphasize ideology, politics, economy, finance, culture, etc., through which social systems are also directly or indirectly governed. But morality and law, no doubt, dominate these factors, because they literally penetrate and link together all other spheres of social life, being, in this or that way, subdued to moral and legal norms and laws.

Today, when multi-aspect globalization makes the whole world community a holistic planetary system, governing this mega-system becomes a demand of the time and it should be built taking into consideration the whole experience accumulated by humankind in this sphere. It seems evident that global governance should be based on the historically tested principle of separation of legislative, executive and judicial powers.

In this regard one can and should talk not just (as usual) about World Government (executive power) but also about a World Parliament (legislative power) and Global Law System (judicial power),based on global law. To see them realized, as well as to form an effective planetary system of governance, we should create adequate conditions, of which the most important are the following:

Universally recognized moral foundations, meaning that we should form universal values and universal morality for the planet. They should not replace, but enforce and amplify morality and values of different peoples. It seems that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, equating all people in their right to life, freedom and property, should be the starting point for the formation of such a morality.

A single legal system is another necessary condition for global governance, together with a planetary system of adaptation and implementation of legal norms universal for all countries and peoples. We should emphasize that here we speak not about international law, which is already well-developed at the level of interstate and regional relations, but about global law, which would be really universal. Such a law does not presuppose abolishment of legal systems of separate states or regional structures, of international legal acts and institutions. It is important, but the national/regional law should be brought with correspondence with the global law and should not contradict it.

Global governance also means providing cooperative security and uniting efforts in maintaining it through various forms of cooperation. First of all, we talk about economic cooperation, which already successfully evolves in the modern world in the form of multinational corporations, consortiums, joint ventures, etc. World trade has already made all peoples of the planet involved into the single market of labor, goods and services.

Planetary political cooperation is the next necessary condition for global governance. It should provide resolution of conflicts and peaceful coexistence through compromising and resolving disputes taking into consideration the maximum of interests of different parts. Global political cooperation, unlike economic cooperation, still is to be developed because in this sphere relations are built so far on the absolute priority of national and corporative interests.

Military cooperation, existing nowadays at the regional level and meeting the defense tasks of separate countries and peoples (i.e. protecting them from external threats), should be replaced by police forces providing law and order, protection from criminal activities.

The recent world financial crisis has shown once again that coordinated planetary financial policy is a necessary condition for global governance. It is evident that it is hard and even impossible to implement coordinated financial policy without a single currency.

Religious tolerance and separation of church (religious institutions) from institutions (structures) of global governance is necessary as the most important condition for peaceful coexistence and constructive interaction of different people, independent of their religious beliefs or non-beliefs.

Scientific and technological cooperation as well as cooperation in the sphere of health and education presupposes creating conditions for a balanced cultural and social development of various continents and regions of the planet.

A common (world) language for international communication is needed to support conversation in various spheres of social life and to develop intercultural interaction. A well-known Korean philosopher Yersu Kim mentions (2009: 191) that language may be compared with culture: as well as culture itself is a system of symbolic meanings serving common needs of its members.

Of course, we have not listed all conditions needed for creating a system of global governance. But these are the most important ones, without which all the rest will make no sense.

Who is Responsible?

Now a few words regarding what principal decisions and at what level should be made initially and afterwards to achieve the goals set.

Decisions concerning building the global system of governance should be made, of course, at the planetary level. A World Conference, roughly analogical to the World environmental conference in Rio de Janeiro (1992), could become the first step. It could also be a world summit of heads of all states, which would work out principal approaches to global governance. In the future operative-tactical and strategic decisions would become more and more the prerogative of the emerging structures of global governance.

Finally, who can and should take responsibility for building global governance and what are the costs and who should pay them?

First of all, this responsibility lies on the world academic, political and business elites, that is on people having adequate worldview, possessing necessary knowledge, have the strongest authorities and material resources. On the other hand, the most affluent countries and alliances (the USA, the EU, China, Russia, India, Brazil and others) should take initial basic responsibility for building the system of global governance. They also should carry the main burden of financial support of a reform of modern international relations. This does not mean, however, that there should be countries or nations at our planet, which would be free from their own reasonable contribution into common expenses.

Some may say that this is all a utopia, and that global governance is impossible, and the supporting arguments listed above are insufficient. This viewpoint has its right to exist, because we cannot so far provide a final proof of the truth of our statements. Some can question the appropriateness and sequence of the steps proposed and they may also be right, because we discuss a topic unprecedented in human history. That is why it is so important to consider the issue of global governance in all its aspects, including philosophy, which, unlike science, is oriented not so much towards finding concrete, final solutions but towards broadening the scope of various approaches to solve a problem. Such philosophical analysis is especially valuable where exact scientific methods have not been worked out yet, but the situation does need immediate resolution. The problem of governing the contemporary global world is such a case.

Dialogue as a Way to Overcome Problems

So, if we take into consideration the above said, today in the global world political decisions between rationality and demands of wisdom and the dialogue of cultures and civilizations are the only possible way to resolve contradictions in a constructive way and to provide a balanced social development both at the national and global levels. But they have their limits defined by the following points.

First, approaches based on a separate ‘dialogue of cultures’ or ‘dialogue of civilizations’ are not successful, because they do not reflect the genuine (cultural-cum- civilizational) nature of social life, which is a combination of cultural achievements and civilizational relations of society.

Second, every culture is initially self-sufficient and is eager to preserve its identity. Therefore, a constructive dialogue based on culture alone is impossible; one should not expect much from intercultural dialogue and count on bringing different cultural positions close to each other. At the same time, one should not be too pessimistic.

And the higher is the level of civilizational development of the interacting parties, the more productive this dialogue can be. However, the level of civilizational development of various nations and humanity as a whole still remains at a very low level. Even the academic community does not fully understand that the level of development of civilization of this or that people (a country, a collective, an individual) is the other side of their cultural development. That is why the policy of multiculturalism, not considering the civilizational gap in the development of various cultures, has been, in fact, seriously defeated not only in Europe but in other countries and regions as well.

One cannot agree with Samuel Huntington talking about ‘clash of civilizations’. In fact, we deal with confrontation of different ‘cultural-cum-civilizational’ systems (the West and the East, capitalism and socialism, Islam and Christianity, etc.), where they confront one another on the basis of cultures but interact on the basis of civilization. This creates multiplicity of cultural-cum-civilizational systems.

Thus, the cultural-cum-civilizational dialogue implies admitting the multipolarity of the contemporary global world. And to make it effective we need common civilizational principles of social organization, of which the most important are the following:

· recognizing and protecting basic human rights;

· a conventional system of ethical norms and values (universal morality);

· a single legal system (global law);

· religious tolerance and freedom of consciousness.

Responsibility for building such principles and providing conditions for a productive dialogue in the global world lies, first of all, on the world political, academic and business elites, as well as on nation-states as the largest organized social systems.

And, if the measure of responsibility of politicians depends on their position, the level of states' responsibility depends directly on their role in the global system of economic, military, political and cultural relations.

Lessons from the World Crisis and Conclusions

The decisions on the creation of the global system of governance should be made, of course, at the planetary level.

And we must say that apart from states and intergovernmental organizations two major factors have emerged in world policy by now: global business and global civil society. They seem to become the main components of the nascent global governance mechanism.

One should expect the partnership of these structures to become dominant at all levels – global, regional and local – in the near future.

While solving the task of global governance humankind needs to overcome an important psychological barrier. For centuries the state remained at the core of international relations; these relations seem to be impossible without states. Now, globalization more and more eliminates the differences between internal and external economic and social processes. Intrastate regulators are losing their autonomy and have to act in cooperation with other states, large multinational and world civil society. Governing alliances are formed, where the state interacts with civil society and private business.

With increasing globalization, the transnational relations expand and world civil society becomes more and more visible. This process is supported, first, by the growing number of problems encountered by most (or even all) countries. Second, rapid development of the means of international communication, such as Internet, makes the consolidated activity of national civil societies much easier.

Thus, the global civil society as a system of non-governmental and non-commercial organizations, concerned with the destiny of the world community, will increasingly play its role of one of the regulators of the world society, alongside with business and, surely, the state.

At the same time, in this emerging global governance system the separate states are expected to be not sovereign and all-powerful masters of their territories, but one of the elements of a supra-state mechanism for regulating global processes. This mechanism will not be habitually hierarchical, but rather network-like. National power structures, being remnants of the previous era, may become hubs of the nascent global governance network.

In conclusion, I would like to note that it is impossible by simple means to overcome the differing interests of the countries that are at different stages of economic development. Possible compromises are also very limited, as the range of differences is too great. But the path of small compromise is, apparently, the only one which in the future could reduce global risks associated with inequality. The development of new and the reform of existing principles of global governance should be among the priority tasks of all national governments and international organizations. No need to tackle the great challenges immediately – it will be very difficult or even impossible to resolve it given divergence of interests. But, taking slow steps to each other, in the future you can get close so that the contradictions will cease to be insurmountable.

If at some point it becomes clear that the bar is set too high and is insurmountable, we should lower it and continue our efforts. The convergence of countries, especially in the sphere of trade, is a necessary prerequisite for reduction of the risks in many spheres, including economy.


[1] An article by Alexander B. Weber ‘Systemic World and the Problem of Global Governance’ published in Vek Globalisatsii journal (Weber 2009) is one of such publications attempting to formulate this problem and to seek approaches to its solution.

2 This topical issue is still widely and vigorously debated.


Hobbes, Th.

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