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A Great Breakdown?

ISTANBUL – This month – the centenary of the outbreak of World War I – is an opportune time to reflect on big risks. As Michael Spence recently warned, the international order’s widening security deficit, reflecting the weakening of whatever global governance we have, is fast becoming the biggest risk facing the world economy. The same point could have been made a century ago.

On July 30, 1914, Austrian warships bombarded Belgrade, five weeks after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. By mid-August, the world was at war. The armistice that was agreed four years later, after about 20 million people had died, amounted only to an interlude before the horror of World War II.