Beyond Sovereignty
Issues for a Global Agenda (2nd Edition)

Love, Maryann Cusimano
Publisher:  Wadsworth/ Thompson Learning
Year Published:  2003  
Pages:  365pp   Price:  $48.75   ISBN:  0534608930
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX8391

Discussion of the increasingly transnational structure of power in today's world and proposals forabandoning nation-state sovereignty for more integrated, cooperative rule between different types of governance bodies.

Abstract:  This book discusses the increasingly transnational structure of power in today's world. Love begins by discussing the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 - the beginning of the nation-state's supremacy. However, she argues that state power is becoming more peripheral as borders between societies, economies, and technologies are disappearing globally. The growth of multi-national corporations (MNCs), non-governmental-organizations (NGOs), and inter-governmental organizations (IGOs), Love argues, has also undermined state power, and IGOs like the UN have begun to supersede the will of individual countries.

Because globalization has caused great changes in the ways countries deal with one another, there are often problems of accountability. For example, countries are becoming increasingly incapable of stopping international crime organizations - especially terrorist networks, drug and prostitution rings, and nuclear arms cartels. With the growing prominence of transnational crime, she proposes the abandonment of nation-state sovereignty for more integrated, cooperative rule between different types of governance bodies. In other words, all the aforementioned institutions would have to start working collectively in a system of checks and balances to fix global problems.

Although the focus is on broader global issues and institutions, the third chapter on NGOs is very helpful for those interested in studying the effectiveness of grassroots organizations. It's essentially an appraisal of the contributions that NGOs have made to civil rights. Love mainly attributes this to their non-hierarchical power structure (in contrast to the hierarchical structures of states, corporations, and most IGOs), and subsequent ability to empower people traditionally excluded from mainstream political structures. Particularly interesting is the mentioned "paradox" of globalization. She argues that the potentially negative, exploitative aspects of globalization - the expansion of trade and communication technologies - are often the very things which allow NGOs to grow and succeed.

The chapter also discusses examples in which NGOs have won international battles against the abuses of MNCs and other states when a country couldn't intervene with political impunity. In fact, examples of individual citizens who have been able to build and mobilize organizations against global issues and abuses are listed - one prime example being Jody Williams and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL). It also provides fundamental information on the various structures and operations of non-governmental organizations, depending on location and purpose.

The chapters are written by different authors, usually in conjunction with Cusimano Love. Each takes an in-depth look at specific types of the global governance bodies (e.g. NGOs, IGOs, nation-states, transnational cartels, global corporations, etc) and how they interact with one another. Overall, the book is an excellent resource for NGOs and how they have managed to combat global problems. Bibliographies for each chapter are included.

[Abstract by Sieglind Gatewood]

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