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Pros and cons of neoliberalism

There is no real 'democratic' element to them, except perhaps obliquely through the role that democratically elected states may play, which is often weak compared to that of corporations. Transnational NGOs also offer limited accountability; their most important donors are often kept secret and policy is decided by officials that are often appointed rather than elected. Fontoura, Bharucha, and Bohm highlight the fact that civil society is not homogeneous and NGOs have their own distinct positions, as exemplified in the transnational agricultural and food system. While some NGOs advocate public-private partnerships, others resist or oppose partnerships with the state or firms.

The arena of transnational governance is also a competitive space. This can allow big business to become the dominant player in a particular set of regulations as this leads to markets for regulation, where there are multiple players operating in approximately the same space but with variations in the rules and mechanisms that apply. How are citizens supposed to understand these differences?

Full text issues

How can these soft law systems ensure sufficient levels of monitoring and regulation that are protected from the influence of corruption? These are undeniably important research questions for the future. The interaction between global standards emerging from multi-stakeholder partnerships in the North and local practices in the South is the focus of a paper by Schounten et al.

In analysing the Aquaculture Stewardship Council experience in Indonesia, they show how global standards can transform and guide sustainable change in supply chains. This largely depends, however, on their flexibility and responsiveness to bridging the extensive gap between global norms and the great variety of local cultural, technical and political practices. Why is transnational governance particularly important to the Global South? States in advanced economies have developed their regulatory systems over many decades. These have weakened somewhat under the impact of neo-liberalism and the discourse of deregulation, but they still maintain a role in many areas of social life.

In structure, they are often Weberian bureaucracies that value expertise and neutrality in return for assured salaries and careers. Such systems also tend to have relatively well functioning hard law with a long tradition of jurisprudence and judicial neutrality. These systems can be corrupted, but in institutional terms, they tend to offer a degree of stability and path dependency that makes state regulation work, to a greater or lesser extent.

These then constitute part of the state's capacity in advanced economies. By comparison, nations in the Global South have widely varying capacities on this front, largely the result of their colonial past, civil wars and conflicts and traditions of authoritarianism, militarism and corruption. Efforts to develop state capacities along the lines of a Weberian bureaucracy struggle against rent seeking and notions that the state should 'belong' to a particular class, group or nationality. Reformers in the Global South struggle to create state capacities that are legitimate to the constituents and function as neutral instruments for the benefit of society as a whole.

Kenneth A. Gould and Tammy L. Lewis

Creating a state regulatory system is a difficult process. Recently, some authors have suggested the idea that transnational governance systems could work as substitutes for weak states in terms of building institutions in particular localities. However, this view further undermines the scope for populations to create their own spaces of governance. It could also lead to conflicts between Global South states and NGOs, and Global North transnational social movements and states seeking to impose their agendas on the South.

Whilst problems are global or transnational and impact broader populations, they are often specifically located in particular states. As Fontoura et al. Furthermore, the Global South now constitutes a driving force within the global economy. The MNCs from developed countries have eagerly expanded into the Global South in their search for new markets and production centres to take advantage of cheap labour, existing natural resources, and weak regulatory systems.

There is, therefore an urgent need for institutions and processes that can improve or resist market forces in the Polanyian way in these countries.

Transnational social policies: the new development challenges of globalization.

Whilst creating cross-governmental international alliances as the BRICs did at the Copenhagen climate talks might be helpful, more effective would probably be to develop strong transnational governance mechanisms that link local populations and state agencies into effective alliances with powerful NGOs. This might then help shape agendas and create institutions that socially embed market processes.

How the Global South benefits from transnational governance is an issue addressed by several papers in this Forum. For example, Delgado examines the Nagoya Protocol Access and Benefit-sharing mechanisms developed to protect local communities from bio-piracy. Though traditional knowledge is an important source for new drug development, few indigenous communities receive any benefits from their knowledge.

More commonly, groups face exclusion as knowledge and bio resources become privatised. Delgado examines how global regulation travels to South Africa, India and Peru, where it only materializes when translated into local practices. She concludes that transnational governance is established through translation processes and assumes new forms and uses depending on the interests and experiences of the local actors.

Each translation can be understood as a form of resistance to exclusion in global environmental governance. Srinivas analyses mega events, such as the Olympics and the FIFA World Cup, as a form of transnational governance through which ideas and capital flows. Mega events influence urban redevelopment, reconfiguring declining urban areas and building new infrastructure, while weakening the historical rights of urban residents.


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  4. Additionally, Srinivas argues that mega events also link local urban management and development to new transnational management alliances between market and state actors. As mega events shift to the South, he argues that local elites might begin to foster social and political reforms, drawing on international capital and ideas, while lacking national popular support. Moreover, Bruszt and McDermott conceptualize dramatic variations in the capacities of public sector and non-state actors to define, implement and benefit from transnational regulation arising from regional and global integration strategies.

    The inclusion and empowerment of diverse domestic private and public sector actors in the design, monitoring and joint problem solving of transnational governance systems will affect the developmental and distributive outcomes in the Global South.

    Thinking and Nurturing Transnational Activism in Southeast Asia

    The differentiated capacity of states, NGOs, and firms influences the distribution of economic benefits and the possibilities for local development. Finally, Nogueira reviews Mark Schuller's book on humanitarian aid to Haiti. Nogueira emphasises how social and economic factors prevent Haiti's civil society and state from influencing the international aid system, largely because they are in too weak a position to compensate for the failures of international aid. Completing our Forum, Paola Perez-Aleman and Glenn Morgan recommend ten books that they consider classics of literature on this subject and also new and interesting books they consider as cutting edge in the field of transnational governance.

    In this Forum we bring together a range of papers addressing this interaction between states, firms, social movements and transnational governance mechanisms in an effort to heighten awareness of the importance of this area of social research and its implications for public policy. We hope to encourage readers to examine the development of transnational governance in more depth and to consider its promise, limits, and challenges in terms of promoting a better world for all. Bartley, T.

    Looking behind the label: Global industries and the conscientious consumer. Block, F. Polanyi's double movement and the reconstruction of critical theory. Bowker, L. Samarco dam failure: Largest by far in recorded history. Bruzst, L. Transnational regulatory integration and development: A new framework for institutional change. Delgado, N.

    Transnational Social Policies: The New Development Challenges of Globalization

    Community protocols as tools for resisting exclusion in global environmental governance. Djelic, M. Transnational governance: Institutional dynamics of regulation. Fontoura, Y. A transnational agri-food system for whom? Morgan, G. Theoretical contexts and conceptual frames for the study of twenty-first century capitalisms. Whitley Eds. Nogueira, F. Haiti: A tale of two disasters. Perez-Aleman, P. California Management Review. Phillips, D. Brazil's mining tragedy: Was it a preventable disaster?

    Polanyi, K. The great transformation: The political and economic origins ot our time 2nd ed. Boston, USA: Beacon. Rasche, A. Business Ethics: A European Review, 21 1 , Schounten, G. Srinivas, N. Vieira, A.