Global Governance through the Institutional Lens

  • Matthias Finger


There is, so far, little or no concern about the organizational and institutional dimensions of global governance. In the minds of our leaders and many academics, global governance still appears to be a simple mechanism—a technical fix, rather than a set of organizations and institutions, whose coming about is merely a matter of political will (Strong 2001). In other words, global governance is not seen as a matter of contingencies reflecting interests and power structures among strategic actors. Consequently, global governance has been viewed so far mainly from a functional—as opposed to an institutional—perspective (Held 1995), if it is not outright wishful thinking (Commission on Global Governance 1995). This chapter takes a different approach and examines global governance essentially in terms of historical and sociological constraints. In doing so, I proceed by first presenting a conceptual framework and then by reviewing the international institutional system as set about by the former colonial powers and cemented in the UN system. The pressures on the UN system, resulting in particular from the various dimensions of globalization, are highlighted in a third section. The fourth section describes how the international institutional system today is reacting, adapting, and rearranging itself in light of these pressures. Finally, I outline the possible future perspectives of institutionalized global governance.


International Monetary Fund United Nations World Trade Organization United Nations Development Program Global Governance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Markus Lederer and Philipp S. Müller 2005

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  • Matthias Finger

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