Global social and civil entrepreneurs: An answer to the poor performance of global governance
[Global agierende “social entrepreneurs” und “civil entrepreneurs” - eine gesellschaftliche Antwort auf die schwache Leistung der Staatenwelt?]
In recent years a new type of political actor has become increasingly important - cosmopolitan individuals acting transnationally in support of the rights and well-being of their “fellow citizens of the world.” The emerging transnational political awareness of private individuals might be seen as a consequence of the poor performance of global governance by international organizations which have been unable to find convincing solutions to global inequality. In response to this failure, individuals like Bono, Al Gore, Muhammad Yunus and Bill Gates mobilize their specific resources, namely, publicity, ideas, and money, to find solutions to international societal problems. These actors often function directly as “change-makers,” bypassing existing institutional arrangements. This paper first assesses the different kinds of social and civil entrepreneurs in global civil society, and identifies the specific features of their type of political action. In particular, it will consider to what extent this political action can be characterized as cosmo-political, independent of state structures and intergovernmental cooperation. It will further consider whether such political action can make a real contribution to political change without relying on traditional forms of governance. Second, the paper considers the influence of global and civil entrepreneurs on international organizations and global governance. Can these new change initiators serve as models for better governance? Can they accomplish tasks that cannot be fulfilled by states? Should they be seen as necessary complements to international organizations?
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