Challenges of globalization require greater international cooperation, says former World Trade Organization head Pascal Lamyand Anna Windemuth | Nov 6, 2013
Harnessing the volatile effects of globalization will demand collaborative changes to the bureaucratic system that currently governs international diplomacy, former head of the World Trade Organization Pascal Lamy argued in a lecture on Wednesday evening.
Lamy outlined the various effects of globalization before describing possible avenues — Westphalian, neo-, post- and a-Westphalian — that could be taken to improve the international cooperation system, which he said is “weak” at addressing modern global issues.
The lecture included ideas discussed in "Now for the Long Term,"a report released by the Oxford Martin Commission for Future Generations, to which Lamy recently contributed.
Although increased globalization improves market efficiency and therefore carries great potential for growth and welfare, the benefits of a more integrated global market are “intrinsically connected” to its deficits, including increased inequality, resource depletion and contagion, Lamy explained.
“It works because it’s painful, and it’s painful because it works,” he said of globalization, a tradeoff that characterizes the need for global governance.
“The international system at the moment is not up to addressing the challenge,” he added.
Lamy began by describing the Westphalian approach to international order, which is exemplified by the United Nations, where countries act as sovereign individuals and attempt to construct a common set of international laws.
Lamy described the approach as “slow, painful” and “subject to formative diversity,” as sovereign nations inevitably disagree on establishing universal laws due to differences in “ideological, spiritual and cultural approaches to problems.”
Lamy then described the neo-Westphalian approach, which does not focus as much on binding nations together through the rules of law and is therefore sometimes more efficient. Lamy cited Transparency International’s index of global corruption as a primary example of the neo-Westphalian movement, which caused a “reverberation in local media” and local political impact.
The post-Westphalian model is unique to Europe and involves building “a new Westphalian animal on top of existing 28 nation-states,” which gain influence through their combined size.
“In many ways the EU experience has worked, but in many ways it hasn’t worked,” Lamy said. He said the European Union has effectively achieved policy integration, including on trade and competition, but said that political integration — particularly the concept of a unified EU citizenship — is still lacking.
The final structure that Lamy outlined is the a-Westphalian approach, which he said offers a “fresh look at the mega-trends and challenges for future generations.”
“You have to move out of the monopoly which the Westphalian approach establishes in saying international relations are a matter of sovereign nation-states. There are other global players today than nation-states. There are multinationals, there are global NGO’s.”
One of the “new, more creative coalitions” he cited is the impact of cities, which have the power to circumvent the “formidably thick, bureaucratic system of private diplomacy."
Lamy concluded that a combination of these four related approaches is needed to harness globalization most effectively.
The lecture took place in Bowl 16 of Robertson Hall instead of Dodds Auditorium, which experienced technical difficulties.