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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. 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. 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.

Fragmentation is thus likely to grow further along with multipolarization. Worst of all, according to the authors, gridlock is likely to continue to be pervasive, and there is no easy way to solve it. That poses great risks, potentially making great power rivalry the sole driver of world politics. Most leading thinkers would agree. We may, instead, embrace the unknowable, embrace our unintelligible world, our futile struggle to come to terms with its incomprehensibility. Global Governance, Poverty and Inequality.

Rorden Wilkinson. An Unfinished Foundation. Ken Conca. The Fate of Young Democracies.

Moving Through and Beyond Multilateral Gridlock

Ethan B. Globalization's Contradictions. Dennis Conway. A History of Development Economics Thought. Shahrukh Rafi Khan. The Endless Crisis. John Bellamy Foster. Development Organizations.

Rebecca Schaaf. The End of American World Order.


Amitav Acharya. Understanding Development. John Rapley. Migrant Workers in China. Changfu Han. Whose Canada? Ricardo Grinspun. The Quest for Security. Joseph E. Mely Caballero-Anthony.

Beyond Gridlock in World Politics | Polity

The European Union and Global Governance. The Politics of the European Union. Herman Lelieveldt. Doughnut Economics. Kate Raworth.

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Linking Global Trade and Human Rights. Daniel Drache. Globalization, Institutions and Governance. James A. Planet of Slums. Mike Davis. Shifting Global Powers and International Law. Rowena Maguire. On Empire. Eric Hobsbawm. Security and Development. Robert Picciotto. When Globalization Fails. James Macdonald. Carbon Coalitions. Capitol Reader.

Gridlock: Why global cooperation is failing when we need it most

China's Resource Diplomacy in Africa. The Debt Threat. Noreena Hertz. Caroline Knowles. Global Governance and Japan.

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International Organizations in World Politics. Tamar L. Tony Lane. Governance for Pro-Poor Urban Development. Franklin Obeng-Odoom. Is the Planet Full? Ian Goldin. Connected Sociologies. Globalization is now one of the defining characteristics of world politics, and one of its most contentious. In Gridlock, Thomas Hale, David Held, and Kevin Young offer an ambitious and sweeping treatment of contemporary global issues that combines sociology, political economy, and international relations.

The architecture of global governance

They argue that although post-World War II international institutions encouraged globalization, they have failed to keep up with the challenges of globalization. Post-World War II institutions contributed to improved prosperity, free trade, a managed peace, and spreading democratization.

The institutions were backed up by a stable bipolar balance of power, common global norms of embedded liberalism, and a willingness to delegate to experts.