Forum Debate: A multipolar world?

Michael Hanley
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We’re holding a series of webcast debates in Davos. Join our cast debating the following motion:

Strong global governance requires strong international leadership.

  • Add your voice to this Forum Debate
  • Vote on the motion in the poll below, and comment to support your opinion.
  • The poll will close at the start of the session. Results and comments will be available to the moderator to frame the debate.

On the one hand…

  • The age of America’s hegemony is over, with different countries and regions demanding their place in global decision-making. In 2015, China is expected to grow at 6.8% and India at 6.4%, and the ASEAN is the world’s fastest-growing region.
  • This creates a multipolar world order where control over resources becomes concentrated in different centers of power, whose economic weight is reinforced by intra-regional trade agreements.
  • Accordingly, international leadership becomes increasingly fragmented, divided according to the relative economic weight of each power center and breaking up the post-Bretton Woods arrangements.
  • This leads to a collapse in global governance where states and regions are locked in a Hobbesian state of geo-economic competition.

On the other:

  • While multi-polarity defines the parameters of the new world order, emerging powers have a disproportionally small say in in global decision-making. For instance, China accounts for only a 3.8% voting share of the IMF, compared to 16.8% for the United States.
  • This structural misalignment induces emerging power centres to create alternative institutions more relevant to their needs, such as multilateral development banks or regional trade agreements.
  • These new institutions participate in governance and decision-making on a regional level, creating a wider umbrella for local ideas and solutions.
  • For this reason, there arises an urgent need for alternative mechanisms for global governance, which are able to harness the range of ideas and the diversity of experiences of different countries and regions.

This debate will consider whether global governance will impede integration and derail global economic growth.

Author: Mike Hanley is Senior Director of Communications, Digital Content and Editing, at the World Economic Forum.

Image: The French and European flags fly at half-mast among flags of the other member states of the European Union in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, January 8, 2015. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

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