The World in 2030: Are we on the path to convergence or divergence?

Written on June 1, 2012 by Ángeles Figueroa-Alcorta in News

By Myron Brilliant

For much of the last fifty years, the international system – its structure, operations and goals of its key institutions – remained remarkably stable.  Now that is all changing.  The international system — as we know it today and as represented by such organizations as the IMF, World Bank, WTO, WHO, OECD, United Nations and NATO — has to reform or the institutions at the core of the system will become marginalized or even obsolete.  Moreover, we should expect new institutions to develop that will contribute to a reshaping of the global landscape with profound implications for America and the Western world in geopolitical, security and economic terms.

The reasons why are obvious.  With the economic rise of China, India, Brazil, Russia, Turkey and other emerging economies, these countries rightly are exerting more influence in world affairs and changing the way business is conducted in the international system.  Witness the growing role of China and other leading economies in the global response to the financial crisis of 2007.  Already the G-20 group of developed and developing countries has assumed a more prominent role than the G8 forum, comprising only developed economies, in mitigating the risks associated with the financial crisis and in setting forth a global response.

Building a consensus in any of these institutions for global action in areas as diverse as security and trade is now increasingly difficult, with the addition of more players in decision-making and due to the fact that emerging economies often have very different immediate goals and agendas.  It was never easy to negotiate a multilateral trade round when Europe and the United States largely drove the agenda.  Yet, now we struggle to even get to first base with India, China and other emerging economies in setting forth a serious effort on market access, let alone addressing new impediments to trade and investment stemming from regulatory divergence and state-owned enterprises (SOEs).   When China and India dug in and resisted our charm offensive for more market access and improved disciplines on subsidy practices, it was hardly a surprise that the Doha Round went into deep freeze. Read more…

Myron Brilliant is senior vice president for international affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

As published in gt2030.com on May 29, 2012.


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