Global Governance



Credits / Language / Semester

2Credits / English / Summer


Purpose of this course is obtaining a solid understanding and some critical skills at five levels:
1. The theoretical dilemmas of global governance in the current age;
2. The ability to unpack the process of creating global governance (comparing different arenas)
3. The ability to develop a pathway to analyze and solve governance problems;
4. A better empirical understanding of the particular historical juncture of our current period in a larger comparative perspective with a focus on the interplay between the US, the EU, Japan, and large emerging powers (China, India, Brazil) among others.
5. And empirical knowledge on four issue areas: global finance, climate change, and biosafety from the perspective of global governance, and a changing balance of power


Global Governance, G20, global finance, GMOs, climate change, Rise of China, development, global rules, globalization


Global governance constitutes one of the key challenges in current international relations and policy-making. As demonstrated by the global financial crisis of 2008, global forces often overwhelm a political system that is primarily rooted in fragmented national sovereignty. Global markets require institutional foundations; yet, these foundations are either the result of competing national policy processes or fragile efforts toward global coordination. As the global challenges facing the nations of the earth become more pressing, it becomes critical to address the classical political dilemmas of collective action, global commons, and asymmetry of benefits and costs. Are the dominant players in the system able to make progress in this large battle? How does the changing balance of power in the world and the rise of China in particular affect the game of global governance?
At a time when the global governance that sustains globalization is largely in question and in flux, the choices made by China and other rising powers will have a critical impact, whether these choices are made unilaterally, in a condominium with the US (Bergsten, 2008), or in a larger G-20. The historical evidence from previous periods of global economic crisis or uncertainty have shown that the lack of management of the global economy by rising powers or the conflict between existing and rising powers over the management of the global economy could wreak havoc on the global system.

The current period is a critical juncture. Global uncertainties about the stability and sustainability of the current system of global finance and global trade in the context of an additional energy and food crisis have intensified the debate about the need to rejuvenate the post-war institutions that sustain globalization and to rethink our architecture of global governance. The financial meltdown of the fall of 2008 has only accelerated this debate further.

The course begins with an overview of the theoretical dilemmas of global coordination and different approaches to global governance. It unpacks the perspectives and roles played by key large players, particularly the US, the EU, China, and Japan. Much emphasis is also given to the historical trajectory and to the current debates on the impact of the rise of China on global governance. The second part focuses on four thematic arenas: global finance, development models, biosafety (GMOs), and climate change.

The course will include a variety of activities, including lively lectures, movie excerpts, discussions, and debates. Lecture notes will be available by email, as well as additional resources. The instructor will be available for further discussion in person or by email.

Part 1 ?Theoretical Overview ? the Dilemma of Global Governance in the Context of Globalized Economic Forces and Fragmented Sovereignty ? unpacking the process of global governance creation
Part 2 : Historical Perspective on the Global Quest for Coordination and Cooperation since 1914
Part 3: The Rise of China and Global Governance: Understanding Chinese Approaches and Potential Pathways
Part 4: The Global Governance of Finance in the Context of the Crisis and Global Power Transition: National Regulations and G20 Coordination
Part 5: The Battle over Development Norms and Paradigms: Washington Consensus vs new models
Part 6: The Global Governance of Biosafety and Genetically-Modified Food
Part 7: Climate Change and Global Governance: Perspectives on the dilemma of the global commons and the Copenhagen Conference
Part 8: Conclusion and Broader Discussion

Teaching Methods

The course will operate as a combination of both lively lectures (with text available on the website) complemented with occasional documentaries AND class discussion and debates.
From the third session onward, each class will start with a student-led presentation on the topic and a first round of student-led discussion to unpack key issues in an interactive way. This discussion will be followed by a lecture and further discussion.
Readings are important to complement the lectures and material covered in class. You are expected to finish the readings by the night before our class.
There are four assignments for this course.


Class Participation: 25%
Class Presentation: 15%
Think Piece Paper 1 (5-7 pages) 20%
Think Piece Paper (12-15 pages): 40%

Required Textbooks

Detailed reading list will be provided in the class

Notes on Taking the Course

Class Schedule: TBA

Related Websites

Related Resources