Global civics

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Global civics suggests to understand civics in a global sense as a social contract among all world citizens in an age of interdependence and interaction. The disseminators of the concept define it as the notion that we have certain rights and responsibilities towards each other by the mere fact of being human on Earth.[1]

The advocates of the notion attempt to demonstrate that it is possible to imagine global civics. According to this notion, in an increasingly interdependent world, the world citizens need a compass that would frame mindsets on a global scale, and create a shared consciousness and sense of global responsibility related to specific world issues such as environmental problems and nuclear proliferation.[2]

History of the concept[edit]

The term global civics was first coined by Hakan Altinay, a nonresident senior fellow with the Global Economy and Development program at the Brookings Institution, in a working paper published in March 2010. The concept builds upon the basic tenets behind global ethics, global justice and world citizenship, inviting everyone to question their increasingly important role in a highly interdependent world. In early 2011, Altinay published Global Civics: Responsibilities and Rights in an Interdependent World,[3] a book of articles on global civics put forth by academics and intellectuals all around the world.

Among the many methods adopted by the proponents of global civics to spread an understanding of the concept is Collective Answers, a nonprofit that helps discuss global civics issues through online forums, submissions, and various exhibits all around the globe. Collective Answers began displaying its submissions in a series of exhibitions in the fall of 2010.[4]

Global civics, however, was also enshrined in the American Indian Commandments, to wit: "Treat the Earth and all that dwell thereon with respect. Remain close to the Great Spirit. Show great respect for your fellow beings.Work together for the benefit of all Mankind.Give assistance and kindness wherever needed. Do what you know to be right. Look after the well being of mind and body. Dedicate a share of your efforts to the greater good. Be truthful and honest at all times. Take full responsibility for your actions."[5]

Objections to the concept[edit]

Opponents of the global civics concept argue that even a modest level of exercising responsibility towards all the people living in the world is so overwhelming and nearly impossible to achieve. These arguments also posit that civics assumes an effective state and enforcement. The claim goes that since there is no such thing as a world government, global civics implementation is not feasible. Also, it has been suggested that superpowers of the world are selfish and dangerous nations, and that they do not feel constrained by international legitimacy and laws.[6] Finally, the critics claim that any experience of pan-global solidarity among human beings cannot form the basis of constellation of rights and responsibilities as it is nascent at best and the experience of being a global citizen is a privilege restricted to international elites and a few activists.[2]

The role of universities[edit]

The proponents of global civics also suggest that university campuses play a vital role in spreading a thorough understanding of how today's global world functions and contributes toward preparation of future generations for life in an interdependent world. This view calls for visionary universities that could successfully "provide their students with the forums and the tools to discuss and figure out what their responsibilities are to their fellow human beings." [1]

The role of religion[edit]

Most religions teach global civics either directly or indirectly, ostensibly with the purpose of instilling a common thread of morality and ethics in mankind so as to make advancement as a race highly certain. However, the same mechanisms that cause people to fall short of their mark also add to difficulties in promoting the growth of civil society.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Altinay, Hakan (2010). "The Case for Global Civics". Global Economy and Development at Brookings. 
  2. ^ a b Altinay, Hakan (June 2010). "A Global Civics: Necessary? Feasible?". Global Policy. 
  3. ^ Altinay, Hakan (2011). Global Civics: Rights and Responsibilities in an Interdependent World. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press. 
  4. ^ "Collective Answers homepage". Retrieved July 9, 2010. 
  5. ^ Matali (2013). Manifesting Paradise: The Book of the Manifesting Paradise Teachings. AU: Balboa Press. ISBN 978-1452509754. 
  6. ^ Kagan, Robert (2006). Dangerous Nations. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 

Further reading[edit]