Contribution of the emerging economies to global governance

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In my view there is a parallel contribution from the emerging economies in terms of global governance than in the global economic growth.

The global governance refers to all organizational aspects of the international system, whether institutional, regulatory or political (Fratianni, Savona & Kirton 2007, p.149). In other words, the term describes the establishment and development of multilateral rules and management system to promote global interdependence in term of both economic cooperation and political cooperation and other forms of cooperation. Another widely used definition of global governance is that it refers to collective actions to establish international institutions and norms to cope with the causes and consequences of adverse supranational, transnational or national problems (Väyrynen 1999, p.25). This definition focuses on the initiative of the government which is to resolve the various problems in the world which could be economic development related issues such as trade barriers and imbalance of development, social issues such as AIDS and environmental issues such as environmental destruction and deforestation.

When we talk about emerging economies, as suggested by Anthony Payne (2008, p.526) that we do not intentionally think about “from what they are supposedly emerging or at what point they began visibly to emerge or indeed what it means to emerge”, and it is meaningful for us to understand the emergence of these raising economies in another dimensions, the global governance to see how well they contribute to the global rule setting and problems solving rather than simply focusing in the GDP growth. Below we will discuss the contribution and performance of the economies to the global governance in two aspects: managing global problems and contributing to the growth of (liberal) world order.

Managing global problems

As there are too many problems globally to be dealt with which request for the joint contribution by both the leading economies and the emerging economies, below we will discuss three key global problems that concern people a lot: a CO2 emission that leads to the widely concerned global warming and world poverty.

Figure 5. Total 2008 CO2 emissions and emissions per capita
Source: 2009

Regarding the global warming issue, as we can see from the figure that shows the 2008 CO2 emissions in the major economies, in term of the total country emission though China was ranking as no.1 with 6534 million metric tons of CO2 emitted, it is closely followed by the United States and the digit is 5833 million metric tons. Similar cases could be found between some emerging economies and leading economies such as Russia and India, Mexico and Australia. In another word, it is true the emerging economies are becoming more and more polluting than they used to be which contributes to the increase of the global CO2 emission but as we can see from the figure, other major developed countries also are occupying top positions and the increase of the emission from the developing economies could be understood as they are walking through the old ways that the developed economies had done decades ago. Also in term of per capita CO2 emissions, Australia, United States and Canada are the top three polluters and the developing economies such as India and China are far away from being a top polluter due to their large population base. According to CO2 Energy Emissions Index (CEEI), released by UK in 2009, Australia, USA, Canada, Netherlands and Saudi Arabia were ranked as the top five offenders based on the per capita CO2 emissions ( 2009).  Take the Kyoto Protocol issue as an example which entails emission reduction commitments and was opened for signature on December 11, 1997, China signed the pact on May 29, 1998 and even approved the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and even though all European Community members and Japan ratified the agreement the world’s largest polluter, the United States still refuses to ratify the protocol with the excuse that large developing countries are exempt from the restriction. But the fact is that many of these developing and advanced developing countries such as South Korea, Brazil and India are already concerned that if the protocol is extended beyond 2012, their economies will suffer as they must comply with the emissions reductions (Monroe, Wicander & Hazlett 2007, p.29).

Figure 6. Absolute poverty rate in major emerging economies
Source: World Bank, World Development Indicators Database


Regarding the world poverty reduction, as we can see from an earlier summary in 2005, the economy development in the major emerging economies since 1995 had made substantial contribution to the global poverty reduction by developing their own economy though with different changes in poverty reduction. The largest contribution comes from China, the most popular and fastest growing economy, and the continual growth of these emerging economies will be critical to the global poverty reduction. According to estimation from The World Bank (2009) an additional 120 million people will be pushed into absolute poverty in the end of 2010 in the developing world due to the slowdown of the economy caused by the global financial crisis. But it is believed that the actual number will less than 120 million due to the continual growth of the emerging economies and so we can see that the poverty reduction has greatly contributed by the emerging economies’ economy strong growth which if slow down to a large extent will revert the trend. Another issue that reduce the effect of the economy growth on poverty reduction is the increased inequality which have been found in China, India and other developing countries, the reasons for the inequality are a lot and the policy makers should pay attention to the evolution of the income inequality for both their own sake and also for the improvement of the poverty dividend that contribute to the poverty reduction (OECD 2010, p.109).

Contributing to the growth of (liberal) world order

As the major economies such as Brazil, China and India increasing turn to international trade as a critical component of their development strategies, many of them are actively participating in the shaping of the international new order and building of the strategic trade partnership. In the world’s largest economy constitution, WTO, the emerging economies have been playing a more and more influential role. For example, China in September 2007 had the first time filed a complaint individually challenging the US preliminary anti dumping the countervailing duty determinations on imports of the Chinese glossy paper (Sornarajah & Wang 2010, p.189). And there are more and more emerging economies enter into WTO and using the WTO dispute settlement process to resolve the trade conflicts.

Another trend that comes together with globalization is regionalism by using which regional states often move towards cooperation to find regional solutions to common problems and compete with other regional competitors (Leong 2009, p.220). For example, with the increasing integration of the Asian economy and its global rise that asks for deeper and more extensive cooperation, one important fruit of the Asia regionalism is ASEAN. ASEAN or Association of Southeast Asian Nations is a geo-political and economic organization of ten countries located in Southeast Asia which was formed on 8 August 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand ( Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam joint afterwards). ASEAN is set up with the initiative to enhance the connection between the region’s economies in trade, finance, technology, labor and the macroeconomic linkages (Kawai, Lee & Petri 2010, p.5). With the rapid raise of China, in November 2001, agreement was reached between China and ASEAN to establish a free trade area within 10 years. Between 2003 and 2008, trade with ASEAN grew from US$59.6 billion to US$192.5 billion (Capling & Low 2010). The ASEAN-China FTA has provided another important mechanism for shoring up economic stability in East Asia and drive the economic growth in the region.

In conclusion according to what we have discussed above there is a parallel contribution from the emerging economies in terms of global governance and in the global economic growth, though they are not shaping the global governance in term of shaping the world order and common rules as strongly as what US and EU has done so far, it is important to for to understand that even in term of economy the emerging economies are still playing within the rule made long ago by US and it takes time for the emerging economies to change such rules.

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