How to Start Thinking About Conflict of Interest in Global Governance?
Anne Peters and Lukas Handschin (eds.), Conflict of Interest in Governance - An Interdisciplinary Outlook on the Global, Public, Corporate and Financial Sphere (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012)
34 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2013
Date Written: June 20, 2010
This paper presents four theses. First, I argue that the role of conflict of interest regulation in global governance is essentially different from its domestic namesake. Second: that difference is due to the all-important role that expertise plays in global governance. Third: the role of expertise in global governance triggers a paradox, which can be put as follows: regulation (and control) of expert power in global governance is dependent in its legitimacy on the very expertise it tries to regulate and control. The fourth thesis is that in order to escape a conceptual dead-end that may emerge from such a paradox, it seems promising to turn to the language of virtue ethics, in order to rethink conflict of interest at a truly global level. This chapter introduces such a possibility, but does not seek not to develop it further. Ultimately, the thrust of this chapter is not normative, but rather descriptive. It seeks not to claim that different conflict of interest rules should operate in global governance, but rather to explore the role played by such rules in the constitution of global power. The question of control, though, is indeed dealt with at the end, when the text turns normative as it discusses the challenges and opportunities of the language of ethics.
Keywords: international law, conflict of interest, global governance, expertise
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