Global Systems and Global Governance 7


The world is governed by norms, laws and institutions:

A lot of the issues the world faces today are global and go beyond the scope of national laws. 

A number of global norms, laws and institutions have been formed to deal with issues like:

  • International laws are rules that are established by countries through international agreements. They are legally binding. International laws cover human rights, labour standards, trade regulations, etc.
  • Norms are accepted standards of behaviour. There are usually negative consequences for countries, companies or individuals who don't follow them.
  • Institutions are political and legal  considerations. They exist to pass and enforce laws, decide whether a law has been broken, or actas a forum for different groups to discuss issues and sort out their differences. At the global scale, they include the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation and the International Criminal Court.

Global governance regulates global economic and political systems by setting up rules countries and companies should follow, monitoring whether they follow the rules, and enforcing the rules if they aren't followed. Enforcement includes taking a country or company to an international court, or imposing economic sanctions

By setting rules, global governance makes everyone taking part in the global system act in a certain way. This ensures that newcomers also act in that way. Global systems are reproduced and spread.

Global governance aims to promote growth and stability:

International institutions are designed to provide growth and stability:

  • The laws and norms that international institutions enforce mean that countries must abide by common rules. This gives greater sustainability because countries know how other countries are likely to react to a situation, making conflict less likely. Trade  rules mean countries cannot take advantage of each other, so all countries can develop.
  • The World Trade Organisation (WTO) aims to increase global trade through common rules - more trade leads to economic growth


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