Though he is not widely known nowadays, the works of the French political thinker Émeric Crucé represented an important contribution to the early developments of a theoretical framework for global governance. His studies and his ideas, particularly regarding the interrelations between international trade and world peace, are the subject of the article Émeric Crucé and the 1623 Plan for Global Governance: The Obscure History of Its Reception, which was published in issue 2/2015 (Vol. 58, number 2 – July-December, 2015) of the Revista Brasileira de Polítca Internacional – RBPI by professor Germán de la Reza.
Global governance is an ever-present subject of study by International Relations scholars. It encompasses relatively systematized strategies to structure the way in which states and other transnational actors manage international affairs and negotiate responses to world crises. Especially in the field of International History, analysts have constantly looked to the past, in order to understand how erstwhile States systems were organized and which alternatives could have possibly emerged to confront those systems.
Concerning those alternatives, a myriad of approaches aimed at creating a viable international governing design have been labored by both theorists and politicians, such as the relatively unknown French political writer Émeric Crucé, who in 1623 wrote an embracing plan to establish enduring peace and free trade within the global realm. According to Crucé’s strategy, called New Cyneas, international stability would be achieved under an unique world organization, which would embrace all known nations, from Christians to Turks, and would function as both a forum to solve international disputes and an instrument to foster global trade.
About Crucés ideias and his heritage for the field of International Relations, professor de la Reza was interviewed by Leonardo C. L. A. Bandarra, a member of the editorial team of the RBPI.
1. You highlight the novelty of Crucé’s thoughts, especially regarding the concept of inter-civilization dialogue, for he openly proposes the establishment of a universal international institution, which would also include non-Christian nations. Do you believe that this framework would be viable in the early 15th century global context?
Germán de la Reza: Certainly not. A world organization was unworkable in 1623 among other reasons because it supposed an intellectual grandeur, which was difficult to achieve at that time. Despite his nationality and his ordering as a Catholic priest, Crucé is motivated neither by the position of France in the world, nor by the defense of Christianity. He believes exclusively in humanity, and above all in the advantages of international peace.
2. According to your account on Crucé’s work, a vital issue to be regarded by global leaders is the inalienable relationship between international peace and economic prosperity. Do you believe that this relationship is a good example of a general law to be regarded by international relations analysts or do you think that it is time-bound?
Germán de la Reza: There is no doubt that the biggest intellectual contribution of Crucé is the mutual causality between economic integration and international peace. This idea contradicts the mercantilist hypothesis, according to which trade gains are achieved at the expense of lesser competitive countries, thus stimulating conflict and protectionist policies. Crucé precedes by almost one and half century Adam Smith’s confidence in the economy and in the value of trade. But his proposal includes two policy instruments that go beyond the liberal doctrine: it advocates monetary union and a responsible management of the currency, in order to maintain its course. Despite the time elapsed, both policies have not lost their validity, and in more than one case they should be remembered by decision makers.
3. In your article, you analyze the pioneering spirit of Crucé’s New Cyneas plan for global governance, which is nowadays almost unknown. In a nutshell, why would you consider relevant for a 21st-century scholar to study Crucé’s ideas?
Germán de la Reza: New Cyneas allows us a refreshing and unexpected return to the origins of the internationalist thinking. Crucé speaks a language 21st century scholars understand better than his contemporaries. His plan of global governance through commercial integration, religious tolerance and defeated xenophobia is inconceivable in a 15th century dominated by dynastic prejudices, religious Crusades and the desire for the conquest of other peoples. But it is not so for an humanity that has experienced two world wars, genocidal nationalism and several religious persecutions. The great French pacifist expresses his confidence in multilateralism with the lucidity of our time.
4. Which ideas developed by Émeric Crucé you believe would be the most useful to be taken into account by current politicians?
Germán de la Reza: His proposal includes two policy instruments that go beyond the liberal doctrine and embarrasses a surprising monetary strategy: it advocates monetary union and a responsible management of the currency in order to maintain its course. Despite the time elapsed, both policies have not lost their validity, and in more than one case they should be remembered to decision makers.
Read this article:
REZA, GERMAN A. DE LA. (2015). The 1623 Plan for Global Governance: the obscure history of its reception. Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional, 58(2), 146-160.
Germán de La Reza is a professor of the Metropolitan Autonomous University, Campus Xochimilco, Coyoacán – DF, México (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Leonardo Carvalho L. A. Bandarra, member of the editorial team of the Revista Brasileira de Política Internacional – RBPI is a graduate student at the Institute of International Relations of the University of Brasilia, Brasilia, DF, Brazil.