To this end, the EU has sought to extend the scope of those rules, both by trying to bring non-trade issues – like relations of trade to environment and culture – into the World Trade Organization, and by increasing the number of WTO members. In this respect, the WTO may thus be assessed as a success in the process of managing globalization. It has resulted in trade globalization being more controlled and more transparent.
Similar attempts in the area of global finance brought more ambiguous results. First, Europeans succeeded in codifying the norm of capital mobility within the European Union and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. But the attempt to do the same at the International Monetary Fund – to make this norm binding for the whole world – failed.
Capital flows are governed by the American model of ad hoc globalization according to so-called Thrasymachean justice – the advantage of the stronger. The common European currency could be interpreted in such a context as an attempt to immunize Europe from international currency fluctuations.
Managed globalization, when adequate, confers legitimacy upon the European Union because it is then perceived as being able to protect its citizens from the negative effects of globalization. When it fails, as with the recent financial crisis, legitimacy is undermined.
What can be done to help restore that waning legitimacy?
One approach is simply to solve the crisis and introduce measures preventing its recurrence. The number of proposals introduced into the public discourse during the last two years is already plentiful enough without adding proposals of my own.