Arrangements Out of Step

pg. 7 : International institutions and arrangements are now out of step in important respects with a world in which economic strength and political influence are much more widely dispersed among countries and regions, national governments are no longer such dominant intermediaries of relations among nations, and socioeconomic and technological advancement has created a new set of interrelated risks and opportunities for progress. 

Readers' Guide Comment on “political influence [is]much more widely dispersed among countries” 

The concept of enhanced distribution of political governance capacity (i.e. greater equity between states) is not seen as a good direction, but rather as a difficulty because it makes it more difficult for the current leaders to maintain their dominant political positions. While the dispersion of political influence is a clear and accurate statement of fact, it is portrayed here as ‘a problem.’ This anxiety aligns WEF more closely with the old G7/G8 order rather than the newer G20 system, which it otherwise espouses.

Readers' Guide Comment on “national governments are no longer such dominant intermediaries”

This wording avoids a tough issue for WEF: identifying who or what really are the dominant intermediaries between states. The only possible candidates for this role are international firms that have multi-country investments and strive to manage them in a globally coherent fashion. MNCs themselves, however, have been disinclined to explicitly acknowledge this position. The GRI is taking a different direction. It is calling on MNC executives to be more self-consciously involved as global leaders and to recognize that their dominant intermediary role requires greater effective engagement with governments and civil society.

Related Ideas:  dysfunctional governance today; urgency for change; loss of legitimacy; new governing actors; G20: the global leaders

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