April 13, 2024
World Economy

No one wins in a lose-lose world

If the international community was ever on track toward a more peaceful and just global order, it was during the early post-Cold War years. While global governance was not free of flaws, the risk of a great-power war seemed low and poverty was declining. Moreover, the initial results of summits dedicated to promoting development and safeguarding the environment raised hopes for breakthrough solutions to humanity’s most pressing problems.

But geopolitical tensions and economic uncertainty have long since crowded out the optimism and ambition of that era. Rather than working together to address urgent challenges, the international community is now “gridlocked in colossal global dysfunction,” as U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres put it.

Worse, many states no longer seem to care about the wider benefits of the liberal world order; they are more worried about their own slice of the pie. Key actors in the trans-Atlantic community, powerful autocracies and the so-called Global South have all become dissatisfied with what they perceive as an unequal distribution of the gains from global cooperation.

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