The UN, World Bank, and the IMF were all created in the radically different world of the 1940s. It is becoming increasingly apparent that our global structures are struggling to cope with the new globalized, interconnected challenges of the twenty-first century. Ian Goldin looks to the future to consider radical new approaches to our world order.
Reports from central banks and intergovernmental organizations are known for being high-minded but stultifying, conveying a carefully calibrated consensus. Goldin (Globalization for Development: Meeting New Challenges), former vice-president of the World Bank and current director of Oxford University's Oxford Martin School, has imbibed deeply of this ethos, and his latest book seems designed to solidify his reputation while ruffling few feathers. Mercifully brief, Goldin's book begins with the premise that "our capacity to manage global issues has not kept pace with the growth in their complexity and danger" and focuses on five critical areas including climate change, migration, and finance where global governance and multilateral institutions must be strengthened. Goldin says nothing that is truly controversial or objectionable, and includes little that will catch readers' attention, whether in the way of human interest or deep analysis. Cheap bromides abound. About the earthquake in Haiti, Goldin declares that "connectivity... allows us to react quickly and decisively in the face of natural disasters," while the proliferation of grassroots campaigns via social media prompts the assertion that "the capacity of soft people-power to translate aspirations into sustained actions should not be overestimated." Like the preamble to a U.N. resolution, the book signals that the issues have been considered from all perspectives, and studiously avoids mentioning anything that might induce the raising of eyebrows.