Negotiation and the Global Information Economy: Implications for Internet Governance

  • Singh J
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Abstract

How do power configurations determine outcomes in global Internet governance? Instead of venerating a hierarchical power structures or positing a ‘flat world,’ this paper instead explores the conditions under which variations in power configurations facilitate particular outcomes. I argue that more the diffusion or decentralization of power among global actors, the more the adjustment of positions through negotiations and the more the mutual gains from outcomes. Diffusion of power includes multiple actors and issues, competitive markets without monopolies, and plural domestic and international alignment of interests or coalitions. Diffusion of power allows for interest alteration and alternatives to arise during global interactions and leads to resilient agreements. This proposition contrasts with a concentration of power in which the strong and the weak are clearly distinct, outcomes always benefit the strong in a hierarchical ordering, and hardly any interest alteration takes place, though coercion by strong powers is common. The empirical evidence is provided by a host of international negotiation cases related to the Internet such as ICANN, WSIS, data privacy (Safe Harbor, and PNR), and ICAIS pricing. The paper extends further research from my book (“Negotiation and the Global Information Economy,” Cambridge, 2008)

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  • JP Singh

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