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Building Cooperation in an Unsettled World

While the changing nature of global power may tempt some actors to seek advantage through confrontation, the expanding field of stakeholders offers the possibility of a course correction. With the geopolitics of the new era currently in flux, there is still an opportunity to steer the world toward cooperation and away from potentially damaging competition.

DAVOS – The world is at a turning point, with power shifting and dispersing in ways that signal the emergence of a new multipolar era. In the resulting turbulent global environment, opportunities to compete or cooperate are increasing across several domains. In areas such as the economy, technology, and the environment, the question is whether parties will seek progress toward common objectives or strategic advantages over competitors.

For much of the post-Cold-War era, issues like trade, scientific research, and climate change were largely insulated from considerations of global competition. For example, the US and Chinese economies prospered together for 20 years, boosting market and investment opportunities for others through an open global system of finance and trade.

Similarly, the Internet boom of the early part of this century was made possible by a common and easily accessible platform that stood largely apart from national rivalries. As a result, the number of people worldwide using the Internet increased exponentially, from just over 400 million in 2000 to approximately two billion in 2010.

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