New Global Governance Is In The Making, And It Looks Good

New global governance is in the making, and it looks good


If governance is the art to govern, then it is clear that governance is in crisis, at every level. The level at which governance is most often conceived – the nation state – is simply unworkable. International organizations lack of legitimacy and are stuck by vested interests and the majority rules. Nobody believes anymore in reforming the UN Security Council. What is striking is our level of awareness that most of the pillars of our society are shaking:  family, trade unions, enterprises, political parties, universities, religion and the like.


We feel that something is happening beneath the surface. We know that an individual based approach is leading us to situations that collectively none of us wishes. Yet it threatens our own survival as a human species. It threatens ‘our’ planet as well. We have broken the link that unites us to nature. Decade-long efforts to educate or predict frightening futures do not work as catalysts for action.  We do not make a proper use of the privilege of being alive. However, times are changing, and Mr. Jones now knows the ‘something’ which is coming up. Uncertainties have no boundaries. Change is marked with speed and disruption. Our values also are changing.


We have gone a long way from tribes and agriculture to industry.  We are now at the tipping point of a new paradigm based on co-creation, of which the knowledge society and information age are only transitory steps. The co-creative paradigm reflects the shift from vertical control and command towards horizontal peer sharing among and between communities, where exchanges cover both material aspects and meaningful relations. Openness, adaptation, interdependence, speed, participation, networks, trust, integrity, passion, sharing, holism, non linearity and, above all, self-organization and emergence have become pervasive: we live in a complex world.


The co-creative paradigm brings along unprecedented change in governance, and these changes look good for humanity and the planet. The transaction and collaboration costs are minimal giving a chance to many stakeholders to play a role, including on global issues. This ensures that the views and values of the world’s people inform and shape the decision taken at any level. The change goes beyond governance; it reaches the modes of production and of property as well. It is distributed, including in terms of responsibility. Rather than a revolution, or a reform, it is a subterranean and self-nurturing wave.


So, how much we know is simply striking. We also understand the necessity of going from knowing to knowing and doing. This is not enough. What matters is less what we do or how we do it thanwho we are, each of us and collectively interconnected. Interactions tend to take first place over entities. This chemistry is happening at every instant. Going beyond individual and self-based interests allows blending the individual and the whole. This happens through the relations we have with others, because we interact for the sake of an emerging and multiple identity. Through this process we are building self-generative and sustainable global governance.


Our unique strategy should focus on being ourselves, inspired by a collective purpose. What do we want as a Human Species living on this planet? Is conquering new territories in the galaxy part of ourselves? How do we internalize artificial intelligence, which will be even more disruptive than the internet?  How do we digest the blurring distinction between reality and virtuality? What will be our biological component as the distinction between human, machine and nature is fading away? How will the reversal from information scarcity to information abundance impact us? Will we be propelled beyond individual values towards uncharted identities? Are new insights and passion sufficient as the fuel for the co-creative engine? How can the myriads of contributors on the web and on the ground get an income? All these questions are about global governance. They are part of an invitation to crossing the river by feeling for stones.


We need a common intention made of collective wisdom in global governance to substitute for the current mechanics of voting and consensus building. This intention will emerge from the story we are making ourselves every day. Storytelling is not enough, we also need storydoing. Everyone can be an active player in this collective endeavor. There is no problem to be solved. As the Chinese proverb says, it is less like throwing a rock and more like relaxing a live bird. It is a permanent inspiring source made of inner peace, delicate attention, active listening and harmony with the universe. A simple and deep intention is also made of inaction and subtle, permanent abandonment. It is a constantly updated product of interactions. This is what makes us human. There is a necessity to broaden our ‘scientific’ rationality, currently limited to a third person.  We also need a subjective first person experience, sense-making and feeling.   We need as well a second person dimension expressed in our contact with others.


A global intention calls for a flexible global governance permanently enriched with spontaneous actions adapted to the instant. Awareness and presence are not enough. Rather than elaborating strategies that will never materialize, the question is where to put our attention in the complex and rapidly changing world that surrounds us. Therefore we need to recognize patterns to condense experience, to go beyond theory and make the right decisions in practical situations. The collaborative practices which are spreading everywhere are born from the digital revolution and the coming back of the Commons. They are source for optimism. There is no need to scale up, as practices crystallize through self-organization. They are already generating global networks of several kinds, to produce new ideas, create policy making, scrutinize or advocate, creating new platforms for governance or setting standards, and also global networking communities.  Governance by governments will not disappear- in a foreseeable future – but its form and essence will change. Possibly networked models of nation or regional governance will emerge. The nature of governance itself will become an evolving concept, with a built-in capacity to adjust to unprecedented change at all levels of human experiences.


Incoming changes on global governance are only one aspect of an emerging planetary transformation, marked by its spiritual-ecological and integral orientation. The intangible aspects of global governance – in particular peace and collective wisdom- will complement the tangible aspects –like poverty, climate change, and security. The consumptive-materialistic, atomistic orientation still prevailing today will disappear as we become aware of a planetary consciousness other than the ego.  This can draw us to re-imagine concepts we believe are part of our identity, like humanism and individualism. Representative democracy is also under a severe stress. We tend to think democracy an attribute of political regimes rather than that of political practices. Our assumption that capitalism and modernity have an exclusive and intrinsic relationship with democracy might need to be re-assessed.


The task now is to build a narrative for a corresponding policy making. This opens prospects to reconcile what we see as paradoxes among values and among cultures. The Western mindset – focusing on rights and the Eastern mindset -focusing on one’s duty to others, will mutually nurture themselves.  An integrated geography of thought and action will appear. A real worldview – a unified society of mind – will emerge with enriched normative standards reflecting multiple histories and futures on democratic thinking.




                                                                                                                              Alain Ruche

                                                                                                                          28 August 2013



Bibliography : Thanks to  Richard Hames, Esko Kilpi, Michel Bauwens, J. Quilligan, Franz Nahrada, Otto Scharmer and Rakesh Kapoor, Nelson Ruben, Verna Allee, Andreas Weber, Don Tapscott, Mary Kaldor, Bishnu N. Mohapatra, NESTA and Kosmos Journal.   

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