The Globalist Takeaway: The Constant Emergence of World Orders

by Ruth Montiel:

In a world of competing nation states, how do we address supranational issues? Is our international system equipped to deal with the problems of the 21st century? How can states reconcile their competing goals for the future? Bo Ekman, a visiting scholar with the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization, addressed these and other questions of world order in a seminar-style presentation on Tuesday afternoon.

Ekman is the founder of the Tallberg Foundation, an organization that has organized conversations between foreign leaders about issues of global governance and world order. These conversations have led to a perilous conclusion: each nation state has its own vision of its future, and these competing visions are incompatible. Therefore, Eckman asks, “How on earth can we live together—we the humans and we with nature?”

Bo Eckman is the founder of the Tallberg Foundation and has organized dialogues between foreign leaders about issues of world order (Yale Center for the Study of Globalization)

Eckman lists several issues that the international community must govern. Climate is first on his list, followed by arms and weapons of mass destruction, energy, food, and water. The uniting principle of these problems is their supranational nature. They are neither the sole fault nor focus of any one state. Thus they are in no state’s national interest, but rather the global interest.

Unfortunately, Eckman argues, our international system is far too reliant on the priorities of the individual nation-state. To effectively combat these most pressing problems, a notable shift in our world order system must occur. Eckman explained, “My thesis is not to do away with nation-states because we need them for many purposes, but we need to redefine the concept of sovereignty. A 350-year-old doctrine has to be redefined to deal with the complexity of a world whose complexity we could not imagine in 1648 or even in 1945.”

Eckman finds optimism in the limitless potential for human development, as evidenced in ever improving technologies. Additionally, he believes that cosmopolitan institutions including the EU and the G20 are positive signs that supranational interests are gaining prominence. However, the failures of such organizations to effectively deal with certain issues show that a new international world order system has a long way to go.

Ruth Montiel ’13 is a Political Science major in Trumbull College. Contact her at