What are the dangers and the answers? Clashes over globalisation

David Held
10 October 2004

Thank you openDemocracy and all those who have taken part in the debate on my essay “Globalisation: the dangers and the answers’. I have learnt a lot. Given how serious and demanding the issues are, it is important to remain open to learning from other voices –and it would be hard to imagine that anyone is entirely right about them all.

I am grateful in particular to Maria Livanos Cattaui, John Elkington, David Mepham, Roger Scruton and Grahame Thompson for their constructive engagement, and to Kofi Annan for the essential reminder he provides of the gravity of the issues facing us.

But the polemical stances of some contributors – notably Jagdish Bhagwati, Meghnad Desai and Martin Wolf – make me uneasy. In the search for what they take to be enemies of economic globalisation, they too often misconstrue, mischaracterise and mislead. If they were my students they would be lucky to have a pass; I would probably send them back to the original source and ask them to reread it!

David Held’s essay “Globalisation: the dangers and the answers”, and the responses it sparked, is in our Globalisation – visions and reflections debate area

Worse, I fear that they wilfully refuse to take on board the fact that those of us who are critics of the present form and character of economic globalisation do so from a positive point of view. We recognise the material advances the global economy has achieved, but cannot accept the high costs to many communities and the environment. I strongly support international trade, but argue that it needs good, strong government to achieve its full potential. Bhagwati, Desai and Wolf misrepresent my argument and too often project it as a form of opposition to globalisation in general.

The most important argument today, in my view, is over how globalisation can and should be governed. This is the debate that really matters. My reply will be centred here, engaging with the lively responses to my essay and then refuting in closer detail the misrepresentations mentioned above.

The anti–globalisers: Patrick Bond

But first I will respond to Patrick Bond who does indeed reject globalisation as we know it. Bond argues that my critique is not tough or deep enough. I respect that he takes a different view of the form and limits of contemporary capitalism. His response to me is a clear and concise overview of the thinking behind the global justice movement. It deserves a fuller counter–critique than I will present here. But to make the fundamental differences between us as clear as possible in a short space, it seems there are four key issues over which we disagree profoundly.

First, Bond believes that political reform will always make things worse. He calls them “reformist reforms”. By this he means politics as we know it. His is an argument that grossly underestimates the hugely significant welfare, democratic and human rights agendas that have made positive differences to millions of lives. Moreover, the counterfactual – that sweeping the existing system away with genuinely “non–reformist reforms” would make for a radically better basis for human development – is entirely unproven. The history of Soviet communism starkly warns against such ambitions.

Second, he thinks that “bottom–up” is always better and wiser. But this is surely not the case. Social movements are by no means necessarily noble or wise. They are (naturally) riddled with disagreements and conflicting views. They may generate many important ideas and pressures, and his list of ideas that have emerged recently from the South African social justice movement is impressive. Against this, it needs to be borne in mind that opposing social groups exist on almost every issue and that is why the institutions and mechanisms of a responsive democracy matter.

Third, he clearly takes the view that all politics is essentially an expression of economic interests. Hence his disparaging remarks about how I characterise the post–Holocaust international reforms. His view here is typical of the deep Marxist misunderstanding of politics. Many currents of Marxism have tried to explain the political solely by reference to the economic and so have missed what they must learn from liberalism and other political traditions: that politics exists in its own distinct realm and that a preoccupation with the nature and limits of politics is a question independent of economic matters. True, liberalism massively underestimates the significance of economic power. But critics of liberalism should not countenance the reverse error.

Fourth, Bond believes that the current crisis of globalisation is really a crisis of world capitalism. I am unconvinced of this for many reasons. Among these are the diversity of forms of capitalism that exist in different regions of the world, the extraordinary durability of capitalism in its various guises (always underestimated by critics), and the clear absence of alternative political economies. Where we agree is that the “neo–liberal project” has often had pernicious effects and the move to replace it is of the utmost urgency for the life–chances and life–expectancy of the many.

These four positions typify a certain left attitude which bases its appeal on a humanism of the exploited but rests its logic on an unacceptable economic determinism. The two come together because the economic system of global capitalism is projected as one of systemic overproduction and super–exploitation whose crisis will open the way for those untainted by their allegiance to the false–consciousness of “non–reformist reforms”.

However, for all the appalling and well–recorded consequences of contemporary globalisation, it is a dynamic system that helps engender development and growth. That the United States may be heading for a crisis thanks to its trade and fiscal deficits and the recklessness of the Bush administration does not mean that capitalism is on its last legs. On the contrary, the all too likely brutal “correction” which many expect will be a sign of its continuing vitality and durability.

A revolution, driven solely by bottom–up politics and aiming to sweep aside liberal democracy and a supposedly fatally–weakened global capitalism, is a wholly implausible objective. This leads us back to the debate about how most effectively to transform globalisation today.

The real argument: Maria Livanos Cattaui

Maria Livanos Cattaui thinks my overall proposals are “pie in the sky”. She is a tireless participant in international negotiations. I respect her greatly for this. But I am not convinced by her claim that she champions practical and realistic ways forward, with sovereignty recognised as the single basis of politics. If only the matter were so straightforward.

Increasingly, our world is one of overlapping communities of fate, not of the national determination of destiny. Whether one is concerned with trade, finance, drugs, security or the environment one is inescapably concerned with a range of processes and forces which cut across borders and require global public goods for their open and effective regulation. This interconnected world is, of course, heavily shaped by the huge imbalances of power relations found in the interstate system. The decisions of the most powerful countries about many matters that appear domestic, can ramify across borders and make others into passive recipients of the effects of these decisions. If we add to this the way in which the global economy, global communications and global politics generate processes and forces which wash across borders, it is easy to see that it is Maria Livanos Cattaui who is the idealist – an idealist for the lost world of discrete national states and their discrete national fortunes.

We live with, and we need, multilayered, multilevel governance for different kinds of political challenges at different levels, local, national, regional and global. The question is: will such governance arrangements be accountable and democratic, or will they be a reflection of the existing asymmetries of power which privilege some political and economic actors?

Cattaui asks, who would govern a global covenant? I find this an odd question. You could ask who would govern a human rights regime and conclude that because there was no single relevant agency there should not be a human rights regime. A new global covenant, like the covenant that emerged at the international level after the Holocaust, would offer a new framework of understanding, agreement and rules for governments, civil society and business.

There is no single answer to who would govern such an understanding, for it would of course be a diversity of actors, agencies and institutions at different levels. But unlike the current motley set of interstate organisations and agencies, the functions and operations of these actors and collectivities would be bound by the requirements of democracy and social justice.

Cattaui strongly disagrees with monolithic answers; so do I. Hence I take issue with the policy packages of the Washington Consensus and the Washington security doctrine. As I have said, a global covenant would comprise many different agencies and policy initiatives operating in many different domains within and across borders. This is not a monolith: it is about diverse bodies and organisations working within rule–systems which entrench social, welfare, environmental and human rights concerns. The difference with the status quo is that these concerns would be central to the processes of globalisation –not marginal as at present.

The political problems we face today also include the fragmentation of jurisdictions. In the current global order there are distinctive sets of rules and domains of law which diverge from each other and often do not inform each other. If the rules concerning economics, human rights and the environment do not mesh with each other they risk simply referring to distinct and separate spheres, with the likely result of generating massive unregulated externalities affecting health and the global commons, among other areas.

Cattaui is in favour of networks of change, like those initiated by the global compact. These are important indeed. But as John Elkington reports, they can be weak with little enforcement capacity. The essential rationale of political authority is to uphold the rule of law and impartial application of rules. Thus, I argue, in the world of multilevel problems we need effective multilevel political powers. Terrorism, global warming, HIV/Aids will not be resolved by loose networks of change. These networks need enforcement capacities and need to be accountable to public governance structures if democracy, not sectional interests, is to prevail.

To put it simply, in response to Cattaui: there needs to be global governance, but this does not mean that there has to be a single “government” of globalisation.

America and globalisation: Roger Scruton

Roger Scruton also attacks my call for global forms of political authority. I agree with aspects of his anti–statist arguments, both as they relate to communism and as they relate to traditional conceptions of social democracy. For over two decades I have been writing about necessary limits to state action and the importance of civil society (see, for instance, my Models of Democracy). I see my work as part of a larger effort to rethink social democracy, preserving its focus on liberty and social justice, while remaining flexible about the instruments to achieve these values.

Scruton is concerned that I elide inequality and injustice. Looking back at my essay I can see why he might have this impression. Global Covenant – the book which elaborates the arguments of my essay – is clearer on the matter. There the focus is not on equality as such but on social justice focused, in particular, on a concern with the avoidance of serious harm and the remedying of urgent need. In the current context of global politics this principle is already radical enough to generate profound questions about the existing distribution of life–chances and about how we need to act, in trade, the environment and many other spheres, to avoid some of the most serious outcomes that profoundly affect the life–chances and life–expectancy of millions of people.

I find it odd that Scruton thinks I argue against America. America is a wonderful place in many respects! My argument in the openDemocracy essay is about (and against) two dominant United States– led policy packages. These packages are willed and enforced by the current administration; but they are certainly open to change. My preoccupation is with the way these two policy packages are making many already acute transnational problems (development, the environment, security) harder to solve, and thus in part have become an element of the problems themselves.

Of course US policies are neither the sole origin nor the main cause of many aspects of the structure and dynamic of contemporary globalisation, as I have argued, for example, with Anthony McGrew and others in Global Transformations. Nor do I argue that “the market” as such to blame for the impoverishment of the world’s poorest countries.

I hold that the current form of market rules and regulations, which strongly favours the developed world, does not provide adequate access points into the world economy for the world’s poorest countries; and that the building of political, social and environmental governance capacity – at local, national and global levels – is a crucial step on the road to effective development.

East Asia and globalisation: Martin Wolf

Martin Wolf’s new book, Why Globalisation Works, makes many important points in this respect. He and I would agree that it is not the market alone that generates many of the worst difficulties faced by the poorest countries, but that this is the result of a complex mixture of actions including the outrageous and hypocritical position that the US and the European Union take on many trade–related questions (for example, agriculture and textiles).

But Wolf is hostile to my characterisation of the policies of the Washington Consensus as “too narrow”. He rejects my view that the Washington Consensus needs to be thoroughly overhauled if a focus on sustainable development, the creation of sound political and social institutions and sustained investment in human capital is to be achieved.

Yet this is precisely the direction in which the policy package of the Washington Consensus has itself been reshaped in recent years, although this process has not gone as far as it must. Joseph Stiglitz has made these points well in Globalization and its Discontents where he shows how the practice of the Washington Consensus has often led to programmes which have undermined the development of human capital and the protection of the poor during phases of economic adjustment.

Stiglitz also shows that the Washington Consensus’s overall policy range is excessively restrictive and that globalisation needs to be carefully sequenced and balanced with policies that focus on poverty reduction, social protection and the nurturing of new competitive industries. Quite so. My point about the Washington Consensus is that its policy range is too limited to achieve prosperity, development and renewed human capital investment. What is missing can be addressed.

Wolf’s failure to acknowledge the excessive narrowness of the policies of the Washington Consensus goes hand–in–hand with the claim that the rapid economic successes of Asia can be explained by liberal market thought. What is missing in both cases is an adequate grasp of the complexities of the social and political conditions of development. China has staggered and regulated its entry into the global market. While it has progressively liberalised its trading policy it has highly regulated capital movements.

In general, China has practised “governing globalisation” and “sequencing” entry into the global market. This is consistent with the policies of selective openness practised by many East Asian countries, as Stiglitz and many others have pointed out. The development of the East Asian economies is better represented by a theory of staged global market entry, attentive to the complex social and political conditions of any kind of successful entry, rather than by liberal economic philosophy as such.

Development and human security: David Mepham

David Mepham points out that I say little in my paper about multinational companies and how their operations and practices might be better regulated. This is true, but in Global Covenant I seek to provide an account of how important it is to reconnect the economic with human rights, and the commercial with the environmental. There is much to be learnt from the global compact in this regard but, as I have just said in response to Cattaui, without some enforcement capacity the compact is vulnerable to failure. I myself argue for a stronger “reframing” of the market with rules which entrench economic activity in social, welfare and environmental standards.

Mepham also argues that my work in openDemocracy has focused too much on the global and too little on domestic issues when it comes to thinking about the problems of development. I agree that the essay has this bias. Mepham argues that alongside a focus on global governance we need a deep analysis of the structures of governance within some developing countries, “the extent to which these may hinder rather than advance the interests of poor people”. The points he makes on this matter are compelling and I share his view that much can be learnt from initiatives such as the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad) and the UN’s Arab Development Report.

A focus on global obstacles to development must not blind us to the importance of developing strong domestic standards with respect to market governance, corporate policies, corruption and the environment. As Mepham also points out, many of the bitter conflicts which constitute obstacles to a state’s stability and prosperity have local and regional origins – not necessarily any relation to wider geopolitical structures. Yet, overarching global security structures have a profound bearing on how many of these security issues are dealt with. The narrow security doctrine of the current American administration will not provide a security environment that helps tease out and address the political and human rights issues often at stake.

The United Nations and global government

Wolf, Bhagwati and Scruton do not share my view that the multilateral order is in severe trouble. Clearly, there is room for debate on this question. Kofi Annan’s contribution to the discussion, “America, the United Nations and the world: a triple challenge”, bears rereading.

Annan speaks about the way in which the multilateral order faces a set of profound crises around issues of security, solidarity and division. In his judgment, our multilateral system is currently failing three key tests: collective security, solidarity between rich and poor, and mutual respect between faiths and cultures.

Why does it matter if these tests are failed? Kofi Annan is explicit: millions of people will die prematurely and unnecessarily if UN objectives such as the millennium development goals are not met. I share his view. The multilateral order is in trouble. And the trouble is all the more poignant because we do not have to accept its failures; solutions are within our grasp.

The difficulties of the UN system go back to its foundation in 1945. The geopolitical settlement of that year was built into the UN system; the privileges of the great powers were locked into the operational mechanisms of the UN. The UN proclaimed a hugely significant set of cosmopolitan values (concerned with the equal moral worth, equal dignity and rights of every human being) yet spliced these together with the asymmetrical powers of the state system and the realities of sovereignty. The result has been that its cosmopolitan values are only occasionally upheld, the Security Council rules on some emergency situations and not others according to the geopolitical interests at stake, and the legitimacy and effectiveness of the UN are considerably weakened.

The cosmopolitan values entrenched in the UN charter were painfully articulated in the aftermath of the Holocaust, the horrors of the two world wars, and the separation and the division of Europe. The values remain of enduring significance but the geopolitical settlement of 1945 is the wrong institutional basis to make these values count across the globe.

If the UN was being designed today the Security Council would surely have a very different representative quality; at the very least, Britain and France would not have veto–power status and significant developing countries such as India and Brazil would have more influential positions. Better still, the whole representative basis of the Security Council would be recast to represent all regions on a fair and equal footing.

I agree with aspects of Roger Scruton’s reflections that the UN has often legitimated criminal regimes, but I am not sure we agree on the reasons for this. For me, the heart of the problem is the recognition in the UN charter of sovereignty as effective power, the de facto control over a circumscribed territory. Those who wield such power have often been regarded as the legitimate bearers of public authority irrespective of tests of democracy and human rights.

The position of sovereignty in international law has changed in recent times, as I have documented in some of my recent work (see, for example, the third part of Global Covenant). Nonetheless, the recognition of effective power as legitimate power has a highly problematic history, and has led to many brutal regimes being wrongly regarded as equally legitimate members of the international community.

I also agree with Roger Scruton that the reform of the UN must take account of the exceptional position of the US, and must seek to meet some of its legitimate security concerns. Those concerns which focus on the current wave of global terrorism are particularly pressing, and of course are shared by many nations. But it is one thing to take account of the position of the US and another to write the rules of multilateral coordination and international law according to US interests. The law was never well defined domestically when it was defined to suit the most powerful interests. Why should we accept such a position at the global level?

Many of the problems facing the multilateral order today arise because it does not work fast or effectively enough to resolve many of the pressing issues which affect our lives –from security to poverty and the degradation of the global commons. This matters for precisely the reasons Kofi Annan highlights. The stakes are high, but so too are the potential gains for human security and development if the aspiration to marry liberty and social justice – global social democracy – can be realised.

One thing is clear: existing security and development policies are not working well enough and the case for addressing better many of the critical issues which affect the quality of life of millions of people daily (poverty, HIV/Aids, global warming) is overwhelming.

Regionalism and globalisation: Grahame Thompson

Grahame Thompson makes a number of very telling points of a different kind in his contribution to the exchange. He and I have been debating aspects of global economic change for several years. We disagree on how to characterise and interpret global economic developments on a number of key dimensions, including the role of regionalism. Since I have responded to many of his concerns elsewhere I will not go over this ground now (see, for example, my Globalization/Anti–Globalization with Anthony McGrew).

Thompson’s emphasis on the importance of regionalism is illuminating, but where we differ is on how far one can characterise economic change as regional or global. In my judgment, regionalisation and globalisation have been complementary forces over the last few decades. The dominant forms of regionalism remain open to trade from other areas, and have largely been a force easing the access of clusters of countries into the global market. It is not surprising that these processes have been highly uneven with the result that economic activity is heavily concentrated in some places. To me this illustrates the hierarchical and divisive nature of globalisation in its current form – not the establishment of regionalisation as such. But more research is needed on these key questions and this will have a bearing on policy as well.

Thompson’s remarks on migration and labour markets are well taken. But again there are differences. While migration levels were historically unprecedented between 1880 and 1914, and collapsed in the 1919–39 period, by the early 1990s migration returned to earlier high levels (see Global Transformations). Migration levels are likely to continue to rise as the OECD’s population stagnates or declines, and the rest of the world’s population rapidly expands. Free labour mobility, as Grahame Thompson points out, is a highly unlikely future, but a new migration regime is an important idea to be explored further.

openDemocracy, in collaboration with the think–tank Demos, presents a rich debate on the possible consequences of migratory “people flow” into Europe during the next fifty years, with contributions from scholars, activists, politicians (and an ex–asylum–seeker) across the continent

A more balanced economic agenda would be one that was concerned not just with the movement of goods and services but also labour flows, including of unskilled labour. For example, a relatively small programme of increasing temporary work visas in the developed countries could generate substantial income gains for workers from the poorest countries. Indeed, it has been estimated by Dani Rodrik that such gains would in all probability exceed the predictions for income gains for all of the proposed Doha reforms.

Grahame Thompson and I disagree on the degree of integration of global financial markets. But his emphasis on rising risks in the financial system is important, as is his stress on the troubled relation of the US economy to the rest of the world. The gross imbalances in the international system that arise from the US’s unsustainable balance of payments and internal budget deficit are likely to be a serious source of future financial market instability. All the more reason, I think, to consider the deepening of the regulatory structures of the financial system.

In this context, the creation of a world financial authority to monitor and supervise global financial markets and capital flows becomes more urgent, not less. New forms of global governance could be given an impetus from the instabilities and crises of cross–border financial activity.

Towards a new coalition: John Elkington

In this regard, John Elkington’s essay makes a number of useful remarks. Elkington stresses the urgent need to scale–up our practical responses to issues like financial market volatility, HIV/Aids, corruption control, global warming and the likely failure to meet the millennium development goals.

Elkington holds that the current combined efforts of governments, business and civil society seeking to deal with these problems is being outpaced by them, and that we face being overrun. Wisdom dictates a re–examination of the limits of current forms of governance, and the significant democratic and justice deficits they manifest. Is there any political momentum toward a new global covenant that might shift the focus of the global governance agenda from liberty and markets to social justice, solidarity and sustainability?

I think there are strong reasons for believing that a coalition could emerge to push these ideas further. It could comprise a wide range of institutions, groups and forces:

  • European countries with strong liberal and social democratic traditions
  • liberal groups in the US which support multilateralism and the rule of law in international affairs
  • developing countries struggling for freer and fairer trade rules in the world economic system
  • non–governmental organisations, from Amnesty International to Oxfam, campaigning for a more just, democratic and equitable world order
  • transnational social movements contesting the nature and form of contemporary globalisation
  • those economic forces that desire a more stable and managed global economy.

Will this happen? There are clearly many obstacles to the formation of such a coalition. Yet each of these forces has been concerned in one way or another to develop a more accountable and effective form of global governance. We cannot know now if such a coalition could triumph. But there are many profound reasons why such a coalition should be created, and change the agenda of contemporary globalisation.

Against misrepresentations

I will conclude by responding to points in the debate where I have been misunderstood and misrepresented, for those who have read the whole exchange.

Martin Wolf alleges that I fail to grasp adequately the meaning of the term “Washington Consensus” and, in particular, the original formulation by John Williamson that did not include the free movement of capital flows. He is wrong. I take considerable trouble to distinguish different senses of the term and I point out explicitly that Williamson excluded free capital mobility.

Wolf seems offended that I make “a false comparison” between the Washington Consensus and the new Washington security doctrine. But I make no such comparison. My point is that these two very different doctrines, which emerged in distinct time–periods, combine to weaken state capacities, and the abilities of multilateral organisations to solve problems.

Wolf argues that there is no evidence to support the claim that the effects of capital mobility on the poorest countries have been damaging. I cite two studies in the article, and further research in Global Covenant. He is particularly concerned about my refusal to understand that many problems of development and security today are due to the asymmetrical nature of political power in the interstate system. But I do not see how he can think this. After all, the essay is about the disproportionate power of the “G1”!

Jagdish Bhagwati (writing in openDemocracy’s debate forum) has come to the view that I think trade is harmful to health. I have no idea why he thinks this, or why he thinks the likes of Joseph Stiglitz and Dani Rodrik are “anti–trade”. He comments negatively on the range of economists I refer to, but if he had only looked at my book he would see that I refer to a diversity of economists, including himself (several times)! His points about my stance towards trade and about the range of economists I refer to do him no credit. He should not name–call and stick to the arguments.

Bhagwati construes my position as hostile to trade, and then says he has strong criticisms to make. I agree that some of the criticisms are strong, but they are not criticisms of me! There are two important issues which he fails to separate: the role of trade liberalisation in explaining economic prosperity, growth and inequality; and the general desirability of trade liberalisation and related policies.

On the first of these, it seems odd that Bhagwati (and Wolf) now want to claim the achievements of Chinese economic development for liberal market ideology and open market integration. Margaret Thatcher used to do something similar claiming that Japan, South Korea and Taiwan were all superb examples of her own political and economic philosophy in practice.

Of course, liberalisation has had a significant role, but so have many other factors. Significant tariff liberalisation occurred in China, India and elsewhere after substantial domestic economic progress had been made, and after a period of economic take–off. Bhagwati’s causal approach here is too simplistic. None of this is to detract, of course, from the view that trade liberalisation has been an important impetus to development for low–and middle–income countries.

Apparently, the liberalisation agenda has no responsibility for the economic difficulties of Latin America or Africa because the period in question is not long enough and only one country is a good model: Chile. Interesting! Thus, Bhagwati defines as irrelevant to the test of the credibility of the liberalisation programme all except one of the countries of these two great continents, and says that the medicine was effective in one “genuine” case. Chile apparently proves the liberal globalisers right.

However, Chile is not in all respects a good example. True, Chile has cut tariffs substantially, but contrary to the dominant economic medicine it has maintained tight control of capital movements. It is only half a globaliser. Elsewhere, in Latin America there are few signs of the liberal globalising agenda delivering sustainable development (despite many countries following Washington Consensus policies), and there has been continuing economic stagnation or decline across many African countries and several transition economies.

On the second point, Bhagwati holds that my views entail autarchy. They do not. As I noted above, trade liberalisation has generally been a positive factor in the development of poorer countries. I endorse it, particularly in the context of an impartial rule system that applies to each and every country. The problem is that the current trading system falls radically short of this impartial ideal, as he knows.

I am also strongly in favour of trade liberalisation when it is combined with policies aimed at growth, an effective safety–net offering social protection during adjustment periods, and well–focused poverty–reduction programmes. These need to be combined with measures offering infant industry protection to developing countries – the kind of protection most, if not all, developed countries have enjoyed in the past. Examples of the successful use of emerging industry protection can be found in South Korea and Taiwan, both of which linked it to performance criteria.

Meghnad Desai’s response to my paper seems more than a little peculiar; for in truth it is an account of his own recent book and he only adds a cursory reference to my work at the outset and conclusion of his article.

Desai alleges that the agenda I set out seeks to create a state at the global level and that the project of social democracy is inherently statist. The emphasis of my work is different. I seek to show how political power has been reconfigured in the last few decades and that it is now multilevel and multilayered. My view is that this trend is on balance a positive one because the key political issues we face are themselves increasingly multilevel and multilayered.

However, I seek to defend a democratic and cosmopolitan conception of governance, guided by the principle of inclusiveness and subsidiarity, and concerned to build transparent, open and democratic governance where it is needed. To argue in favour of a strong and impartial trade system, of organisations to deal with global warming, of transnational regulatory structures that can cope with virulent infectious diseases is to argue in favour of a complex of agents and agencies capable of both rulemaking and enforcement.

Curiously, Meghnad Desai closes his essay with what seems to me a strong plea for a global state and global democracy. His model of these things seems to me far too federalist, hierarchical and … statist! Read some of the cosmopolitan literature, Meghnad!

The way ahead

The core issue, as I see it, is how to transform effectively globalisation today. My arguments for cosmopolitan or global social democracy are just one contribution to this discussion, but they seem reasonably robust, at least for now. But the debate will continue: the shortcomings of the Washington security agenda are increasingly apparent, and further work on what comes beyond the Washington (economic) Consensus has never been more important.

Fortunately there is good work – both imaginative and practical – such as the recently developed Barcelona Development Agenda and the proposals by Mary Kaldor and associates for a New Human Security Doctrine – that points a way forward.

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