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To manage the global economy, prevent runaway environmental destruction, reign in nuclear proliferation, or confront other global challenges, we must cooperate. Phrase Searching You can use double quotes to search for a series of words in a particular order. Wildcard Searching If you want to search for multiple variations of a word, you can substitute a special symbol called a "wildcard" for one or more letters.

You can use? Advanced Searching Our Advanced Search tool lets you easily search multiple fields at the same time and combine terms in complex ways. See the help page for more details. Want to get more out of the basic search box? Seen from the United States, unipolarity may be a prerequisite for a stable and functioning liberal order, as such a system allows it to override rules and norms in specific moments.

HKU CC Distinguished Lecture 5 - Gridlock: Why Global Cooperation is Failing when we need it most

After all, hegemons are never entirely constrained, benefiting from exceptions, escape clauses, veto rights and other mechanisms that allow them to use institutions as instruments of political control. In a multipolar order, developing countries believe, these loopholes can be closed or severely reduced. In this context, it often surprises Western analysts when they hear that Brazilian or Indian policy makers, when asked about the greatest threat to international stability, point not to North Korea, Iran or Syria, but to the United States.

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Of course, this does not mean that Gridlock 's basic argument that deals are more difficult to make today than in the past is wrong -- as any observer of the G20 or even larger gatherings can attest. As developing countries will increasingly participate in discussions they previously had no interest in or no understanding of , transaction costs are set to increase.

The second reason seems less controversial, and few would contest that the complexity of problems has increased markedly over the past decades. Environmental degradation, the risk of pandemics, internet governance and financial regulation are in fact so complex that they forced Foreign Ministries across the world to open up and seek help from other ministries as they prepare and conduct negotiations -- interestingly enough, this has been major contributor to broadening the debate about foreign policy in places like Brazil, where the topic has traditionally been of little interest to non-specialists.

Institutional inertia is, without a doubt, a key threat to the legitimacy -- and hence effectiveness -- of global institutions, and the UN Security Council, the World Bank and the IMF best symbolize a growing frustration among emerging powers with these institutions' incapacity to adapt to a more multipolar reality. Interestingly enough, inertia may lead to the demise of some institutions, but not to governance mechanisms in a certain area per se.

Development finance provides a good example: Fed up with the World Bank's Western-centric distribution of voting rights, emerging powers simply set up their own institutions, like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank AIIB and the BRICS-led New Development Bank NDB , yet they do not question the need for international financial institutions to promote the establishment of rules and norms for lending practices. We have not witnessed a similar phenomenon in the area of security since the UN Security Council still reflects the global distribution of military power relatively well.

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Only if countries such as India and Brazil developed military capacities that allowed them to single-handedly carry out complex interventions -- like the NATO campaign in Libya -- would they contemplate setting up a parallel institution. Put differently, the UNSC still faces no competition comparable to the World Bank because the world is still unipolar only when it comes to the distribution of military power, contrary to the realm of economic power.

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Finally, the authors argue that fragmentation -- the growing number of platforms to deal with global challenges -- contributes to today's gridlock. To some degree, this occurs because of growing multipolarity, and emerging powers' desire emuate the successful Western strategy of forum shopping. In "The Art of Power Maintenance: How Western States Keep the Lead in Global Institutions" reviewed here , Robert Wade shows how, in , Western states led by the UK and the United States marginalized the United Nations General Assembly from a role in debating the global financial crisis and its impacts, so as to leave the subject to interstate organizations dominated by the West - which, naturally, were careful not to propose any measures that could be harmful to Western interests.

In the same way, eluding the two facile and overly simplistic extremes of either confronting or joining existing order, the creation of several China-centric institutions will allow China to embrace its own type of competitive multilateralism, picking and choosing among flexible frameworks, in accordance with its national interests.

We can witness similar strategies by regional powers such as Brazil, which has created UNASUR as a means to avoid operating through the OAS whenever it feels the latter reduces its capacity to defend its national interest. While this ensures their long-term survival, it can also enlarge the gap between the current needs of the actors and possible institutional responses.

Gridlock : Why Global Cooperation Is Failing When We Need It Most

Problems have become more complex too, with changes in their intensity and extensity; due to globalisation and the consequent interdependence, they have become more transnational and require larger policy adjustments to be solved—adjustments that are harder to make. Fragmented institutions can hinder the birth and growth of stronger governmental solutions; fragmentation includes weak inter-institutional coordination, excessive division in discrete tasks and forum-shopping by actors to avoid institutional constraints. The authors analyse gridlock in three different fields: security, economy and environment.

In all these sectors, systems that have been built from World War II to the present have changed the nature of the problems they were created to solve, undermining their own utility in the process.

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Gridlock and the paths leading to it are common to all the fields. In the final chapter, the authors look at the current state of affairs and make predictions for the future.

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In the short term, the following trends may compound gridlock, exacerbating it and making cooperation harder: a return to rivalry and unilateral actions for great powers; failed states combined with inter-systemic security threats; and deregulation of markets and the possible growth of technocratic solutions over political ones. Gridlock, however, is not unavoidable, as there are counter-tendency waves that could be ridden to overcome it: integration of national and international political arenas; trans-border governance arrangements; the growing influence of non-state actors; norm diffusion and capacity building in compliance to international agreements; and new types of global governance institutions Track 2 institutions, for example.

The authors conclude that rebuilding the international order is not an impossible feat, as it has been done in the past. The book does not merely point out problems, but also offers concrete solutions. The comprehensive, detailed chapter on environmental institutions—which was the starting point of the book's creation—is extremely valuable for those interested in such topics.