A Better Globalization: Legitimacy, Governance, and Reform

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A Better Globalization: Legitimacy, Governance, and Reform

By Kemal Dervis
Brookings Institution Press, 2005
301 pp. $26.95
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In this social democratic proposal for reforming global governance, Dervis, a Turkish economist and former government minister who now heads the UN Development Program, argues that the central weakness of the international system is that it reflects outdated post-World War II realities rather than today's globalized, communication-driven economy. With the postwar system disintegrating, the legitimacy of U.S. power eroding, and new threats looming, he calls for an ambitious reform of economic and security institutions, built around democratic values and new commitments to human security. Dervis' most controversial recommendation is also his central one: that the UN should become responsible for the governance of economic and security relations, led by a reformed Security Council and a new Economic and Social Security Council. In Dervis' view, only the UN has the requisite legitimacy and ability to foster cooperation across the realms of security, trade, human rights, and development. The book's analysis of the failings of the current system is more persuasive than its institutional proposals, and Dervis never addresses concerns about lost sovereignty or the resistance of major powers to the construction of new authorities above the nation-state.