‘Worlds in Transition’ launch with Helen Clark

‘Worlds in Transition’ launch with Helen Clark

11 Feb 2010

Humanity has evolved through a series of major epochs separated by periods of upheaval – we are now facing another such point of transition.

Globe in HandMarked by a frenetic cycle of invention, construction, consumption and destruction, there is more to this transition than globalization.
So says a new book to be launched in Sydney tomorrow.

Worlds in Transition: Evolving Governance Across a Stressed Planet is written by La Trobe University’s Professor Joseph Camilleri and Professor Jim Falk from the University of Melbourne.

It will be launched by The Hon Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Program and Former Prime Minister of New Zealand, and hosted by the University of Technology, Sydney.  NSW’s Chief Scientist and Engineer, Professor Mary O’Kane, will also comment.

The authors argue that the last century has seen rapid and exponential growth in many areas of human activity, much of it unsustainable. They examine the growth of flows of finance, atmospheric pollutants, information, pathogens, security threats, and the challenges they pose for governance at all levels.

Concepts of boundaries – either between states or between government, market, and civil society – are no longer useful because of the interconnected way the modern world operates across them.  They say modern governance is outgrowing previous structures, developing a new architecture – but there’s no single institutional architect.

So rather than a having a steadying hand at the helm at this time of transition – ‘as critical perhaps as any of the six or seven most significant transitions of the last 100,000 years’ – chaotic voices are pulling us in different directions.
The book argues that during such critical periods of transition, prevailing worldviews, practices and institutions are called sharply into question.

‘The “Modern period”, as we have known it,’ says Professor Camilleri, ‘is rapidly coming to an end. The capacity of Modern institutions – developed in 17th and 18th century Europe – to respond to contemporary challenges has been in steady decline.

‘Copenhagen and the fate of the Rudd Government’s ETS scheme are merely portends of things to come.’

In a world that is simultaneously bordered and borderless, more and more of the key decisions are bound to cut across the boundaries of states.
As Copenhagen has shown, powerful voices are calling for democratic global decision-making. But it is not simply a case of allowing more states to have a say. 

The book concludes that the important thing is to create an environment in which different voices can be heard and listened to – ‘the voices of the powerful and the weak, the North and the South, East and West.’

‘Reconciling the one and the many’ is the supreme challenge confronting contemporary governance. ‘Future human adaptation depends on it,’ the authors say.

* Professor Camilleri is Professor of International Relations and Director of the Centre for Dialogue at La Trobe University. Professor Jim Falk is Director of the Australian Centre for Science, Innovation and Society at the University of Melbourne

* Worlds in Transition is published by Edward Elgar, UK. The book is aimed at a wide international audience, as well as scholars, researchers and students of the physical and social sciences concerned with understanding the complexities of the human predicament.

Media contact:

Professor Joseph Camilleri, Tel: mob 0448 002 483;

Email: j.camilleri@latrobe.edu.au 

Launch details:

Friday, 12 February, 2 .15 pm, The Chancellery, UTS Tower, Foyer Level,
University of Technology, Sydney, 15 Broadway, Ultimo.  Contact: Robert Button, 0418 403 246





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