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The World Community: A Planetary Social Process (with W. Michael Reisman and Andrew R. Willard), 21 U.C. Davis Law Review 807 (1988)


The specialized process of interaction commonly designated international law is part of a larger world social process that comprehends all the interpenetrating and interstimulating communities on the planet. In the aggregate, these lesser communities comprise a planetary community. We use the expression "world community" here not in a metaphoric or wistfully aspirational sense but as a descriptive term. "Community" designates interactions in which interdetermination or interdependence in the shaping and sharing of all values attain an intensity at which participants in pursuit of their own objectives must regularly take account of the activities and demands of others. It is this "taking into account" which generates claims perforce resolved by decision processes.

A community does not presuppose that its members operate with reciprocally amiable perspectives. Certainly large numbers of the world's population view their counterparts with fear and, in many instances, with hatred. Nor does community assume that all participants operate with overt recognition of community. Indeed many members of the world community, as of less inclusive communities, betray little understanding of the impact their behavior has on others and that of others' has on them. There is, thus, no necessary correlation between the facts of interdetermination and the perception of that interdetermination, including a recognition of the necessity for the clarification of common interest. When community as a fact is more clearly perceived, the observer is more likely to find that participants actively seek to clarify common interests with other community members and make more explicit demands for the establishment or improvement of authoritative decision processes. It is the perception of interdependence in community process that leads participants to appreciate the relevance of pursuing common interests and motivates them to clarify it.

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