Beyond Transnational Governance

International Journal, Vol. LVI, No. 4 (Autumn 2001), 595-610

16 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2012

See all articles by Amitai Etzioni

Amitai Etzioni

The George Washington University

Date Written: 2001


References to world government have long been treated as utopian notions held by a few visionaries. This much-dismissed vision is re-examined here in light of the fact that self-determination based on national governments, to the extent that it existed a generation ago, is increasingly curtailed by transnational developments. Weapons of mass destruction (and the means to build them) are traded across national borders. Hate materials, drugs, guns, and child pornography banned in one country are readily accessed via the internet in others. Civil war in one country (for example, Yugoslavia) threatens others with massive immigration. Crime is increasingly organized across state lines and is on the rise.' Women and children are sold across borders into slavery for sex and forced labour. A currency collapse in Russia, Thailand, or Indonesia rattles the world's financial markets. A computer virus set loose in the Philippines causes worldwide disruptions. Supranational corporations shift capital and jobs from one nation to another, circumventing national policies, regulations, and taxes. While these problems and others like them differ greatly for one another, they have one common denominator: the national institutions that are supposed to express people's preferences in these matters are increasingly ineffective in coping with them.

This article takes for granted that the old functional approach is properly discredited, that the fact that there is a growing need for some different form for managing transnational problem does not mean that a new system will necessarily develop. Nor does it mean that world government is necessarily the only or the likely response, even if some new global architecture does arise. Rather, the discussion focuses on recent changes in global architecture, whether they might suffice to deal with the increase in transnational problems, and the different types of global architecture that could arise in response to the future escalation of these problems

Suggested Citation

Etzioni, Amitai, Beyond Transnational Governance (2001). International Journal, Vol. LVI, No. 4 (Autumn 2001), 595-610. Available at SSRN:

Amitai Etzioni (Contact Author)

The George Washington University ( email )

2100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Suite 4058
Washington, DC 20037
United States

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