Regulating economic globalization
It is widely accepted that the rising gap in recent years between the global rich and the global poor can be linked to globalization in one way or another, although the strength and causality of the link is debated. Against the backcloth of the havoc wreaked by neo-liberalism and the Washington Consensus, new meta-narratives of global order are emerging to suggest ways of reducing global poverty and inequality. This paper examines two ‘Olympian’ visions of re-regulation along social democratic lines that propose new scalar arrangements. It evaluates these meta-narratives against another spatial ontology of regulation thrown up by the economy of global flows and networks – an unfolding regime of heterarchical order that is topological, hybrid, decentred and coalitional in its workings. The paper argues that these new ‘micro-worlds’ of regulation are as significant as, and equivalent to, so-called macro-orders of regulation in influencing global poverty and inequality, that they throw into doubt assumptions of control and reach held by the meta-narratives, and that their rise amounts to a situation of global regulatory excess, rather than, as some have argued, a condition of regulatory deficit or global disorder.