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What Role for Global Governance?

Efforts to strengthen global governance have been criticized for promising more than they can deliver and diminishing the importance of national policies. But in an interdependent world, only improved global cooperation can address our biggest challenges, like climate change, taxation, and much else.

WASHINGTON, DC – Can global governance solve most of our economic problems? Or does it too often promise more than it can deliver, and divert attention from more practical reforms that national governments should implement? In a recent commentary, Harvard University economist Dani Rodrik thoughtfully argues the latter. Is he right?

To be sure, national policy has a more direct effect – good or bad – on a country’s citizens. But we cannot ignore the global effects of bad national policies, the most obvious examples noted by Rodrik being greenhouse-gas emissions and infectious diseases. People in the “country of origin” may pay a price, but so will the rest of us.

“Globalization” has been a catchword for decades, and the need for global governance has admittedly been exaggerated in recent years, especially by those on the center left. This has led to calls for new alternatives, such as “responsible nationalism” or “inter-governmental” – as opposed to supranational – decision-making in the European Union.

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