Stewart M. Patrick

The Internationalist

Patrick assesses the future of world order, state sovereignty, and multilateral cooperation.

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Good Enough Global Governance

by Stewart M. Patrick
January 6, 2014

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is seen at the podium of the General Assembly Hall (Mark Garten/UN Photo).


International cooperation is increasingly taking place outside formal institutions, as frustrated actors turn to informal groups and ad hoc venues. The resulting clutter may be unsightly, but it’s here to stay—so the challenge is to make it work as well as possible. Read my latest article in Foreign Affairs, where I argue for good enough global governance. Available in print or online here.

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  • Posted by Gerard Gallucci

    It’s hard to argue against the proposition that the current international system is not up to the challenges we now face or that the UN works as well as we need. But why abandon the UN in favor of regional and other work-arounds? The UN remains our only truly global assembly. It might be that we need instead to work towards increased collective governance rather than less. Aristotle noted long ago that the many are more likely to reach good decisions than the few. If global governance is insufficient to resolve the myriad of challenges the human race faces in the 21st Century, then maybe it’s time to talk about moving toward a genuine world government?

    The EU comes to mind as a possible model to guide evolution of the UN. To begin, might we move toward making the General Assembly an elected body as is the European Parliament? Not much real power but a forum for humanity to begin gaining the experience of acting together as world citizens?

    A fuller reply here:

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