Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Globalisation: Trends and Issues for Government

Michael Wild

CSGR Working Paper No. 54/00

May 2000




Globalisation has many faces, and they do not always align neatly with the organisation of government. For example, some aspects of globalisation - trade, foreign investment, merger policy - fall clearly within the remit of the UK Department of Trade & Industry (DTI). But as well as these economic and commercial globalisations, Anthony Giddens and others have drawn attention to others - social, environmental, cultural, and political. These are interrelated in ways we do not yet understand, still less control - yet they have clear impact on policy areas which are of great interest to DTI. In particular, issues of ethics and sustainability, and the way in which they will interact with personal value systems, are probably the single largest imponderable for all parts of government over the next 20 years.


Multi-faceted, rapidly changing globalisation will profoundly affect the way corporations and other institutions operate. These changes will challenge the existing ways of government, extending into and beyond all areas of DTI’s work. Government more than other actors has power to shape the future by arranging itself to deal with a range of possible futures; but incremental changes to structures designed for an earlier age may not achieve this. Scenario planning techniques make it possible to "think aloud" about the co-evolution of governmental institutions with the environment in which they operate, and open up the possibility of steering that process better by thinking about different possible futures. When other actors adopt new global ways to organise, co-ordinate, and achieve agility at scale, what should be the response of government?

Keywords: globalisation, scenario planning, ethics, sustainability, government, trade, industry, policy.

Download the Full Document PDF icon