Paul Lachine

The New Grammar of Power

Our globalized world has a dark side: contamination, contagion, instability, interconnection, turbulence, shared fragility, universal effects, overexposure. In this environment, we cannot continue to pursue strategies that ignore our common exposure to global risks and the mutual dependence to which it has given rise.

MADRID – Humanity’s main concerns today are not so much concrete evils as indeterminate threats. We are not worried by visible dangers, but by vague ones that could strike when least expected – and against which we are insufficiently protected.

There are, of course, specific, identifiable dangers, but what worries us most about terrorism, for example, is its unpredictable nature. What is most disturbing about the economy these days is its volatility – in other words, the inability of our institutions to protect us from extreme financial uncertainty.

Generally, much of our uneasiness reflects our exposure to threats that we can only partly control. Our ancestors lived in a more dangerous but less risky environment. They endured a degree of poverty that would be intolerable to those in advanced countries today, while we are exposed to risks whose nature, though hard for us to understand, would be literally inconceivable to them.

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