A Surprise Consensus that International Institutions Need an Overhaul

December 05, 2007

Here are Donald Rumsfeld, James Wolfensohn and somebody else agreeing on something. Guess who recently said the following:1. "But most (global) institutions are rickety relics of a sixty-year-old worldview, a product of the way the planet looked at the end of World War II or the dynamics that shaped it during the cold war era."2. "In the first years of the Cold War the free world's leaders created the new institutions necessary to prevail against Communism. …Sixty years later….in the face of new challenges… (these) institutions no longer serve our interests well….The next president will face the issue of reforming domestic and international institutions…."3. " institutions have not adjusted to the changes around them… the world has changed much more than they have.... The Brazilian president suggested at a G7 meeting that the following year they ought to meet in Rio because there were so many more people in the developing world and within 40 years they would represent 40 percent of world GDP. The United States and the Europeans have not adjusted. They still think that the core group is the G7... and that the notion of having China or India... is just too exotic for them to take on…."Here are the answers:No. 2 is the former U.S. defense secretary referring mostly to military and defense matters, and the risks of terrorism (log-in required). No. 3 is the former president of the World Bank, referring to the World Bank, the IMF and the UN, and is quoted in Superclass, a smart new book by David Rothkopf to be published (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux) early next year. No. 1 is Rothkopf himself.For more on governance problems in our rickety global institutions,--and what to do about them -- see Kemal Dervis's CGD book A Better Globalization: Legitimacy, Governance and Reform and my essay World Bank: Toward A Global Club, or simply visit the CGD initiative page on The Future of the World Bank.


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