Prospects and Projects

Several features of the present historical setting shape this enquiry.
The world is moving rapidly toward a more integrated economic, cultural, and political reality, a set of circumstances identified here as geogovernance. One consequence of this trend is to diminish the capacity of the sovereign territorial state, as a political actor, to shape the history of humanity, and thereby to dominate geopolitics. The main set of forces now challenging the state is associated with the operation of the global market, creating a new capital-driven geopolitics, but these forces remain largely concealed as political actors. A subsidiary set of forces, variants of the politics of identity, is causing fragmentation of many states, and is a further factor producing a declining governmental capacity at the level of the sovereign state. On this basis, the probable world of the early twenty-first century will be a variant of geogovernance that is appropriately regarded as "inhumane governance," one that maintains continuity with the most recent stages of the state system.

This inquiry relies upon several criteria to classify this probable form of geogovernance as one of inhumane governance. "Inhumane governance" is assessed in relation to the following five dimensions of international political life:

  • the most disadvantaged 20 percent of the world's population are not 'provided with adequate food, shelter, health care, clothing, edu­ cation, housing;
  • the most socially and culturally vulnerable identities (for instance,
  • indigenous peoples, gays and lesbians, women and children) are denied full protection of human rights;

  • there is no tangible, cumulative progress toward the abolition of war as a social institution;
  • there is insufficient effort in relation to the protection and restoration of the environment in its various aspects, resulting in the deterioration of the health of those alive and an impairment of the life prospects of unborn generations;
  • there is a failure to achieve a dramatic growth of transnational democracy for the years ahead, and little progress with respect to the extension of the primary democratic practices of respect for others, of accountability by political leaders as well as by market executives, managers, and traders, and of participation by the peoples or their freely elected representatives in critical arenas of decision.