Gridlock : Why Global Cooperation is Failing when We Need It Most

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The issues that increasingly dominate the 21st century cannot be solved by any single country acting alone, no matter how powerful. To manage the global economy, prevent runaway environmental destruction, reign in nuclear proliferation, or confront other global challenges, we must cooperate. But at the same time, our tools for global policymaking - chiefly state-to-state negotiations over treaties and international institutions - have broken down.
The result is gridlock, which manifests across areas via a number of common mechanisms. The rise of new powers representing a more diverse array of interests makes agreement more difficult. The problems themselves have also grown harder as global policy issues penetrate ever more deeply into core domestic concerns. Existing institutions, created for a different world, also lock-in pathological decision-making procedures and render the field ever more complex. All of these processes - in part a function of previous, successful efforts at cooperation - have led global cooperation to fail us even as we need it most.
Ranging over the main areas of global concern, from security to the global economy and the environment, this book examines these mechanisms of gridlock and pathways beyond them. It is written in a highly accessible way, making it relevant not only to students of politics and international relations but also to a wider general readership.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 368 pages
  • 161 x 235 x 25mm | 686g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745662382
  • 9780745662381

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Table of contents

Figures viii
Boxes and Tables x
Abbreviations xii
Preface xvii
Introduction 1
The Postwar Legacy 4
Overview 9
1 Gridlock 14
Building the Postwar Order 18
Explaining the Postwar Order: Hegemony versus
Institutions 21
The Effect of the Postwar Order: Self-Reinforcing
Interdependence 25
Roads to Gridlock 34
Conclusion 48
2 Security 49
Introduction 49
The Interstate System 51
Postwar Developments: From the UN to the Cold War 55
Institutional Developments and Successes 65
Shifting Principles of Global Order 72
Post-9/11 Global Security 81
The UN Security Council and the Disarmament Regime 85
Complex Intermestic Issues 93
Paradigm Shift or Realist Status Quo? 105
Conclusion 112
3 Economy 113
Introduction 113
The Imperial System and Its Demise 116
Bretton Woods and the Creation of Multilateral Economic Institutions 120
Self-Reinforcing Interdependence and the End of Bretton Woods 130
Gridlock in Multilateral Trade Negotiations 154
Gridlock in Global Financial Governance 162
Global Financial Governance Reform 171
Conclusion: A Reembedded Global Market? 182
4 Environment 189
Introduction: A Zanjera for the Globe? 189
Industrial Globalization and the Origins of Modern Environmental Governance 194
Postwar Internationalization 198
The Modern Environmental Movement 201
An Environmental Bretton Woods ? The Stockholm Compromise and UNEP 206
Early Successes, Lingering Challenges 215
A New Foundational Moment? From Compromise to Gridlock at Rio 226
Self-Reinforcing Interdependence and the Global Environment 232
Forests 237
Climate Change 251
Conclusion: Increasingly Linked Problems, Increasingly Fragmented Governance 269
5 Beyond Gridlock? 273
From Self-Reinforcing Interdependence to Gridlock 276
Trends toward Deepening Gridlock 279
National Trends and Gridlock 286
The Changed Global Landscape 296
Pathways through Gridlock 300
Politics beyond Gridlock 306
Notes 312
References 319
Index 350
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Review quote

"A must-read for those thinking about a better global governance." Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organization "Their book is convincing, well written, and sobering." Perspectives on Politics "International institutions are less and less able to solve global problems even as we need them more and more. Gridlock offers a lucid and concise set of explanations for the dysfunction we observe across the security, economic, and environmental arenas. Best of all, by identifying systemic patterns of failure and the underlying causes, the authors are able to put forward a useful set of practical solutions. A great read for policymakers and experts." Anne-Marie Slaughter, Princeton University "There is no shortage of books that make the case for global cooperation; this one explains why we are not getting it. Ranging over international security, the global economy, and the environment, this excellent and sensible book elucidates why our global commons is becoming increasingly unmanageable, as a result in part of the very success of the post-war international system." Dani Rodrik, Harvard University "An eye-opening and encouraging book. Not only does it present an analysis of why global cooperation is failing, but it also offers pathways out of gridlock." Ulrich Beck, University of Munich "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." Peter M. Haas, University of Massachusetts Amherst "It is an accessible, pleasant read thanks to its eloquent prose and remarkable storytelling." Global Policy
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About David Held

Thomas Hale is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford.
David Held is master of University College and professor of politics and international relations at Durham University
Kevin Young is assistant professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
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