Global Governance vs. Regional Governance in Social Policy: The Social Policy of the EU

Global Governance vs. Regional Governance in Social Policy: The Social Policy of the EU

Adviye Damla Ünlü (Istanbul University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5201-7.ch054

Abstract

Globalization, the much-debated phenomenon of the last decade, has affected the governance of policies. Social policy governance is one of the most affected notions of the globalization process. Context of debates on social policy governance has been transformed from state-centric analysis to the multi-centric analysis. The future of the social policy is highly linked to both global governance and regional governance. In this regard, the aim of this chapter is to draw attention to the multi-centric nature of the social policy governance and to form a framework for the effects of intergovernmental institutions on social policy governance and to discuss their weaknesses and strengths particularly regarding the United Nations, Bretton Woods institutions and the European Union.
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Background

Strong versions of the globalization claim that states borders get obsolete. “The nation state is no longer an appropriate unit of analysis or agent of governance because economic activity in the global economy no longer coincides with political or cultural boundary lines” (Ohmae, 1995). The only role for governments is to become market states (Bobbitt, 2002) and facilitate the globalization of their national economies. The second perspective of globalization argues that “the new global economy has regional and national foundations” (Zysman, 1996). Nation state conserves its vital importance. The political response of states to globalization is to build new structures. The emerging economic geography is rather regional than global, and a distinctive aspect of the emerging world order is the creation of regional projects (NAFTA in the Americas, the EU in Europe and ASEAN in Southeast Asia).

Interrelated with globalization process, several authors discuss the importance of regional governance in the development of global social policy (Deacon, 1997; Yeates, 2001; Threlfall, 2002; O’Brien, 2000; Yeates & Irving, 2005). In 1997 Bob Deacon and his colleagues published “Global Social Policy”. It was the first book using ‘global social policy’ term (Deacon et all., 1997). Since 2000, “Global Social Policy Journal” has been publishing several articles about the global and regional dimensions of social policy. In 2000, Robert O’Brien and his colleagues published “Contesting Global Governance: Multilateral Economic Institutions and Global Social Movements” to elaborate the relation between inter-state economic institutions such as IMF, World Bank, the WTO and non-elite majority of the World’s population (O’Brien, 2000).

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