Skip to main content

dervis88_GettyImages_businessmeetingcomputermap Getty Images

Closing the Global Governance Gap

The current wave of new technology is likely to transform the world, perhaps more deeply than ever before, and will potentially accelerate economic growth. Finding effective ways to govern in this digital milieu will be the biggest global challenge of the twenty-first century.

WASHINGTON, DC – Technological waves have always driven social and political change and progress, along with economic growth. Gutenberg’s printing press democratized communications, which had long been monopolized by church scribes. The Ottoman Empire’s long ban on printing presses may have been a key reason for its eventual decline. Later on, the steam engine, and then railways, revolutionized production, transport, and trade, and electricity changed almost all aspects of our lives.

Contrary to the view of Northwestern University’s Robert Gordon that current advances in technology are small by historical standards, I believe that today’s technological wave will be at least as transformative as previous waves. Finding effective ways to govern this new technology and its social, political, and economic consequences will be the biggest challenge of the twenty-first century.

At the center of the new technological wave is artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet, complemented by cyber applications, biotechnology, and big data. These technologies have helped to expand globalization by facilitating the establishment of global value chains, the rapid spread of information, and increased financial flows. They have also contributed to large economies of scale in many sectors, producing revenues corporations such as Amazon, Huawei, and Facebook that are an order of magnitude larger than most countries’ gross output.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/a83ysUF;
  1. haass105_Gustavo BassoNurPhoto via Getty Images_amazon Gustavo Basso/NurPhoto via Getty Images

    The Amazon and You

    Richard N. Haass

    Sovereignty entails obligations as well as rights, and where compliance cannot be induced, pressure must be applied. And though positive incentives to encourage and enable compliance would be preferable, Brazil's government is showing that there must be sticks where carrots are not enough.

    1
  2. GettyImages-1151170958 ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

    The Meritocracy Muddle

    Eric Posner

    Although populism in Western democracies is nothing new, resentment toward elites and experts has certainly been on the rise. Does this trend reflect a breakdown in the system, or a system that is actually working too well?

    7

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions