The Concept of Global Commons as a Factor of Global Instability

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2019-63-8-55-63
Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University), The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, 76, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation;
Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO University), The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, 76, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation;
Institute of Europe, Russian Academy of Sciences (IE RAS), 11, build. 2, Mokhovaya Str., Moscow, 125009, Russian Federation

Abstract. Environmentalism as a global environmental ideology in its various aspects has had a serious impact on world politics; as a result, comprehensive international agreements were signed. Thus, environmental ethics has become a practical imperative. But at the same time, the implementation of many provisions of environmental doctrines faces sometimes tacit but tangible resistance. This is due to the fact that global environmental ideologies are often perceived as a challenge to the sovereignty of states and the competitiveness of corporations. Over the past decade, the term “global problems” crystallized into a new concept of “global commons”, understood both in a narrow ecological sense and in a broader social one. The modern development of mankind and global inequality raises the question of access to the public domain, which in the future will lead to a fundamentally new type of conflict. Already, the most acute problems arise in the context of the interrelation of global ecology and demography. The contradiction between natural and social aspects of the “global commons” is becoming increasingly apparent. In particular, calls for limiting consumption due to the exhaustibility of the Earth’s natural resources conflict with the right for development (including the right to develop the middle class) in countries of the Global South. Furthermore, the emerging value of planetary unity and equality within human society as a social “global common” is transformed into the right for equal access to global benefits arising from it. Thus, the ideology of “global commons” can lead to a clash between the dynamics of environmental regulation and social development of a global society. Therefore, the international community is faced with the question of joint efforts to find a very delicate balance between these areas and to prevent possible conflicts in the future.

Keywords: global commons, ecology, ecological ideologies, environmentalism, ecological footprint, environmental policy, sustainable development, global inequality


1. Law J. And if the Global Were Small and Noncoherent? Method, Complexity and the Baroque. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 2004, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 13-26.

2. Hall M. Beyond the Human: Extending Ecological Anarchism. Environmental Politics, 2011, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 374-390.

3. Smith M. Wild-life: Anarchy, Ecology, and Ethics. Environmental Politics, 2007, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 470-487.

4. Mies M., Shiva V. Ecofeminism. London, Zed Books, 1993. 328 p.

5. Shantz J. Scarcity and the Emergence of Fundamentalist Ecology. Critique of Antropology, 2003, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 144-154.

6. Carter E.D. Population Control, Public Health, and Development in Mid Twentieth Century Latin America. Journal of Historical Geography, 2018, vol. 62 (October), pp. 96-105.

7. Straubhaar T. Are There Ecological Limits to Population Growth? Revue Suisse d’economie politique et de statistique, 1989, vol. 125, no. 3, pp. 473-485.

8. Gimenez M.E. Does Ecology Need Marx? Organization and Environment, 2000, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 292-304.

9. Coan T.G., Holman M.R. Voting Green. Social Science Quarterly, 2008, vol. 89, no. 5, pp. 1121-1135.

10. Biermann F. “Earth System Governance” as a Crosscutting Theme of Global Change Research. Global Environmental Change, 2007, vol. 17, no. 3–4, pp. 326-337.

11. Bullkeley H. Reconfiguring Environmental Governance: Towards a Politics of Scales and Networks. Political Geography, 2005, vol. 24, no. 8, pp. 875-902.

12. Maler K.-G. International Environmental Problems. Oxford Review of Economic Policy, 1990, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 80-108.

13. Savorskaya E.V. Ottenki zelenogo: envaironmentalizm v kontekste klassicheskikh ideologicheskikh techenii [Shades of Green: Environmentalism in the Context of Classical Ideological Trends]. Polis. Political Studies, 2015, no. 6, pp. 103-115.

14. Hoffmann M. Climate Governance at the Crossroads: Experimenting with a Global Response after Kyoto. Oxford University Press, 2011. 224 p.

15. Syvorotkin V.L. Ekologicheskie aspekty degazatsii Zemli [Environmental Aspects of Earth Degassing]. Moscow, 1998. 57 p.

16. Syvorotkin V.L. Glubinnaya degazatsiya i global’nye katastrofy [Deep Degassing and Global Catastrophes]. Moscow, 2002. 251 p.

17. Uekoetter F., ed. The Turning Points of Environmental History. University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010. 220 p.

18. Poguntke T. New Politics and Party Systems: the Emergence of a New Type of Party? West European Politics, 1987, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 76-88.

19. Muller-Rommel F. The Greens in Western Europe: Similar but Different. International Political Science Review, 1985, vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 483-498.

20. Perova A.E. Lokal’nye narrativy “novoi” katastrofy na primere avarii na AES Fukusima-1 v Yaponii [Local Narrative of a “New” Catastrophe Based on the Example of the Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Breakdown in Japan]. Vestnik Moskovskogo gosudarstvennogo lingvisticheskogo universiteta. Obshchestvennye nauki, 2017, no. 2, pp. 226-234.

21. Beck U., ed. World at Risk. Cambridge, Polity Press, 2009. 269 p.

22. Kharkevich M.V. The Critical Experience of Russia in Global Governance. Russian Politics and Law, 2016, vol. 54, no. 5-6, pp. 461-476.

23. Rovinskaya T. Amerikanskii invaironmentalizm kak politicheskaya ideologiya [American Environmentalism as a Political Ideology]. Mirovaya ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya, 2017, vol. 61, no. 7, pp. 64-72. DOI:10.20542/0131-2227-2017-61-7-64-72

24. Canavan G., Robinson K.S., eds. Green Plantes: Ecology and Science Fiction. Middletown, Connecticut, Wesleyan University Press, 2014. 295 p.

25. Morton T. Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World. University of Minnesota Press, 2013. 240 p.

26. Hawken P., Lovins A., Lovins L. H. Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution. Boston, Little, Brown and Co., 1999. 396 p.

27. Von Weizsacker E., Wijkman A. Come On! Capitalism, Short-Terminism, Population and the Destruction of the Planet. A Report to the Club of Rome. New-York, Springer Verlag, 2018. 220 p.

28. Wackernagel M., Onisto L., Bello P., Linares A.C., Falfan I.S.L., Garcia J.M., Guerrero A.I.S., Guerrero Ma.G.S. National Natural Capital Accounting with the Ecological Footprint Concept. Ecological Economics, 1999, vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 375-390.

Registered in System SCIENCE INDEX

For citation:
Barabanov O., Maslova E. The Concept of Global Commons as a Factor of Global Instability. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2019, vol. 63, no. 8, pp. 55-63.

Comments (0)

No comments

Add comment






Dear authors! Please note that in the VAK List of peer-reviewed scientific journals, in which the main scientific results of dissertations for the degree of candidate and doctor of sciences should be published for the “MEMO Journal” the following specialties are recorded:
economic sciences:
5.2.5. World Economy.
5.2.1. Economic Theory
5.2.3. Regional and Branch Economics
political sciences:
5.5.4. International Relations
5.5.1. History and Theory of Politics
5.5.2. Political Institutions, Processes, Technologies


Current Issue
2024, vol. 68, No. 5
Topical Themes of the Issue:
  • Are There Any Ways to Break Through the Korean Nuclear Impasse?
  • Contemporary U.S. Taiwan Policy: Balancing on the Edge
  • The Gulf Monarchies’ Vision of the Global Order Transformations and the Russian Place in It
  • At Post-Soviet Space
Submit an Article
The Editorial Board invites authors to write analytical articles on the following topics:
  • changes in the processes of globalization in modern conditions
  • formation of the new world order
  • shifts in civilization at the stage of transition to a digital society

The editors are also interested in publishing synthesis articles / scientific reviews revealing the main trends in the development of certain regions of the world - Latin America, Africa, South Asia, etc.