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New world disorder

February 27, 2011

Alan Beattie in Financial Times:

The earth’s atmosphere is warming; the global economy lurches between imbalance and crisis; peacekeepers and humanitarian aid workers struggle to restrain bloody civil wars; killer diseases remain rampant; the liberal trading order is under threat. These are times that try men’s souls yet put wolfish smiles of profitable anticipation upon the lips of non-fiction publishers.

The latest of a crop of books trying to make sense of the new global order, or absence thereof, start from a similar point: that the world’s leading governments, particularly in the rich parts of the planet, have struggled to cope with problems of growth, the environment and public health. Their solutions vary. Take your pick: better governments and wiser international co-operation; bypassing national authorities altogether; or urging everyone to be more like China. To my mind the “make the system work better” camp, articulated by the veteran policymaker Mark Malloch Brown, is by far the most constructive. But the plaintive tone of even this perennial cheerleader for multilateralism underlines the size of the task.

Lord Malloch Brown’s book The Unfinished Global Revolution is a distillation of thoughts about the need for international institutions and politics to rise to meet global challenges. [More]

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