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The "Good Governance" Crusade in the Third World: A Rich, Complex Narrative – Magic Wand or Smoke Screen?

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image of International Community Law Review

The project of governance, which has been heralded as a contemporary advance in the development of international law, has a very old lineage. Since the beginnings of the modern discipline of international law in the sixteenth century, international law has devised a number of doctrines directed at shaping and reforming the government of the non-European State. This Paper argues that good governance exerts an extraordinarily powerful influence on the thinking of the international community in part because it is connected with human rights, the universal language in this "age of rights". The link suggests that the Third World State is the focus of concern: it is the aberrant Third World State which both violates rights and engages in bad governance. The Paper critiques the stance that the problem of addressing international justice can be largely achieved through the project of good governance which would reform the Third World State. It seeks to argue that democratic experimentalism, not the so-called "McDonaldization" (globalization as homogenization) of the world, is important. This is based on the premise that "McDonaldization" minimizes the complex way in which the local interacts with the international.

Affiliations: 1: Senior Lecturer in International Law, University of Newcastle (Australia)


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