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Concept by Bob Jessop: If the market, hierarchies, and peer governance are three modes of managing human affairs, then each has a meta-level where they are balanced and calibrated to deal with failures. The calibration of the three in an overall framework, is the subject matter of meta-governance.


In the context of Crypto Governance:

"Metagovernance describes these two related roles:

(1) enabling and constraining users’ ability to create their own institutions, and

(2) governing the interaction between separate institutions, whether they be small groups, large communities, or formal institutional structures."



The problem of metagovernance, by Bob Jessop

“The most cursory review of attempts at governance, whether through the market, imperative co-ordination, or self-organisation, reveals an important role for learning, reflexivity, and metagovernance. Indeed, if markets, states, and governance are each prone to failure, how is economic and political co-ordination for economic and social development ever possible and why is it often judged to have succeeded? This highlights the role of the ‘meta-structures’ of interorganisational co-ordination (Alexander 1995: 52) or, more generally, of ‘metagovernance’, i.e., the governance of governance. This involves the organisation of the conditions for governance in its broadest sense. Thus, corresponding to the three basic modes of governance (or co-ordination) distinguished above, we can distinguish three basic modes of metagovernance and one umbrella mode.

First, there is ‘meta-exchange’. This involves the reflexive redesign of individual markets (e.g., for land, labour, money, commodities, knowledge – or appropriate parts or subdivisions thereof) and/or the reflexive reordering of relations among two or more markets by modifying their operation and articulation.

Second, there is ‘meta-organisation’. This involves the reflexive redesign of organisations, the creation of intermediating organisations, the reordering of inter-organisational relations, and the management of organisational ecologies (i.e., the organisation of the conditions of organisational evolution in conditions where many organisations co-exist, compete, co-operate, and co-evolve).

Third, there is ‘meta-heterarchy’. This involves the organisation of the conditions of self-organisation by redefining the framework for heterarchy or reflexive self-organisation.

Fourth, and finally, there is ‘metagovernance’. This involves re-articulating and ‘collibrating’ the different modes of governance. The key issues for those involved in metagovernance are ‘(a) how to cope with other actors’ self-referentiality; and (2) how to cope with their own self-referentiality' (Dunsire 1996: 320). Metagovernance involves managing the complexity, plurality, and tangled hierarchies found in prevailing modes of co-ordination. It is the organisation of the conditions for governance and involves the judicious mixing of market, hierarchy, and networks to achieve the best possible outcomes from the viewpoint of those engaged in metagovernance.

Thus metagovernance does not eliminate other modes of co-ordination. Markets, hierarchies, and heterarchies still exist; but they operate in a context of ‘negotiated decision-making’." (


New forms of global metagovernance after the 2008 meltdown

Kanishka Jayasuriya:

"In one sense, the common element of both 9/11 and the current crisis lies in the ushering-in of a global state of emergency; and in a distinct form of international emergency regulation and standards – very much in the form of a global administrative law – that reframes the jurisdictional practices that have shaped national constitutional formations. The economic crisis, like 9/11, was a global state of emergency that may lead to the emergence of new jurisdiction of governance layered onto the domains of national and international law.

With the current crisis, we are back to the idea of global administrative law, and here too as in the 9/11 crisis, new forms of state power have been created that allow actors to bypass ‘national’ constitutional and administrative structures. In the case of 9/11 these new forms of state power have made the boundaries between state and nonstate actors and civilians and combatants more flexible.

One of the arguments I make in a paper on the international state of emergency with reference to 9/11 is that society creates distinctions between legal spaces that lead to the construction of new legal subjects and categories — for example, through new forms of preventive detention and control orders — which establish new legal jurisdictions within national constitutions (2008d). Novel administrative forms of power established during the current crisis through the exercise of emergency powers create new administrative domains ‘in’ and ‘out’ of the national state with strikingly similar effects to that produced by the events of 9/11. The crucial point here is the creation of new forms of administrative power that transcend the national and international divide." (