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Regulating the Market in an Era of Globalisation:\ Global Governance via the Forest Stewardship Council

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conference contribution
posted on 2023-05-26, 09:19 authored by Frederick GaleFrederick Gale
While the recent process of globalisation has been underway for at least 50 years, its extensity, intensity, velocity and impact propensity have never before been so great (Held et al 1999). In the past two decades, globalisation has been facilitated by neoliberal ideas promoting a reduced role for the state and an increased role for the market dramatically increasing the number, reach and power of multinational corporations (Harvey 2005). Although it is evident that the global market system has grown beyond the control of individual states and inter-state organisations, many analysts continue to seek national, inter-national and regional regulatory arrangements (Cerny 2006). Yet expecting such institutions to regulate the global market in the interest of good economic, social and environmental outcomes misunderstands the new role of the state in a globalising world, which is to capture as much of the economic surplus generated by globalising capitalism as possible within its borders. Despite its regulatory weakness, the state will continue to play a crucial role in creating the base conditions for society and the good life in any neo-medieval, poly-centric future (Ruggie 1993; Cerny 2006). Increasingly, however, the regulation of global capitalism for the economic, social and environmental benefit of all rests with global civil society, which must empower itself directly via its own institutions. In this paper, I focus on one specific global civil society organization - the Forest Stewardship Council - and examine its formal organisational features to demonstrate two key points. First, the uniqueness of FSC's organisational structure, constituting it as a sui generis institution in the world of global civil society; and second, its fitness and capacity to regulate the emerging global forest "polity", reconceptualized in non-spatial terms for the new, globalising world.


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Australasian Political Studies Association

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Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

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