Global Regulation, Global Business Ethics, and Global Common Good
State Regulation in the Global Context
Markets have been regulated primarily by territorial national states or their integrating blocs. The result of increasing complexity of interrelations and externalities from economic activities is that the regulation, following the restricted interests of national governments, may have negative impacts on others. Restricting imports, altering exchange or interest rates, for instance, may destabilise neighbouring as well as remote economies. The environmental impacts are notorious. In other instances, as a matter of principle, the negative impacts can only be faced under co-ordinated policies of a multinational or global extent, as is the case in combating money laundering, trade in drugs or arms, and crime economies. States often lack resources to face natural disasters, too. Enforceability of internationally agreed principles in respecting human rights, etc., also requires co-ordinated efforts beyond the capacity of individual states.
The global nature of the present-day markets calls for global governance and global regulation, not only concerning ‘hard’ legal rules, but also ‘soft’ rules – standards for behaviour in business ethics, public administration ethics, regulation and self-regulation of lobbying, etc. Certain institutions have been set up and certain codes adopted in both the realms, but the global markets continue to suffer from deficiencies in their governance. The following are of prime importance:
- the United Nations (UN) Charter and the special institutions falling under this global institution, such as its Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Human Rights Committee, and Security Council;
- world financial institutions: World Bank and International Monetary Fund;
- World Trade Organisation with some global roles; and many others.
On a similar note, initiatives have appeared to unify business ethics globally, such as the Caux Round Table or the Chicago 1994 World Religious Congress with a declared global ethical code. After the terrorist assault on New York and the Afghan and Iraq Wars, the inter-religious discourse is now in a lot less hopeful state than it was mere ten years ago. And the incidences of financial crises (Asia, Argentina, and elsewhere) have shown that not even the WB and IMF were able to predict the occurrence of the crises nor resourced and equipped with adequate measures to tackle their consequences.
Assertion of Particular Interests – the Global Implications
Countries of the greatest economic power have grown accustomed to solving only the consequences of global maladies, based on ad-hoc meetings of their heads of states. The partial national interests of these most influential countries often prevent achieving consensus on issues having doubtless global negative impacts. And the current situation in tackling global poverty and environmental problems seems less optimistic than it did around the WB and IMF Annual General Meeting in Prague in October 2000. That was when the world financiers’ vocabulary was first recorded to embrace the term or concept of ‘global good’ referring to such a state in the global economy that would give all participants a chance to develop and would dispose of sufficient resources to prevent the occurrence of serious crises and destabilisation of global markets. Nowadays, the risk of global depression or economic destabilisation in various parts of the world is greater due to the happenings of the first five years of the new millennium than it appeared in the euphoria around the turn of the century.
- Stone, A. H. W., World Business Environment. Survey 2000–2001 for 80 Countries. http://econ.worldbank.org .
- WB (2004). State-Society Synergy for Accountability. Lessons for the World Bank. WB Working Paper No. 30, Washington, D. C. : World Bank.
- Stewart, F., Daws, S. (2003). Global Governance: The Case for a World Economic and Social Council. Finance&CommonGood,Geneva, No.15,p.8–10
- Masciandro, D. (2001). Globalization and Criminal Sovereign States. Finance&Common Good, No. 8, Geneva.