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Problems of Global Cooperation: Causes and Solutions (II)

Class at Faculty of Social Sciences |


In the contemporary world, there is a great need for global cooperation among states. For some given reasons, there are many needed and important policy goals that individual states cannot achieve on their own. These goals include the regulation of the production and use of arms, the reduction of trade barriers, or the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. However, even though global cooperation is nowadays needed more than ever, it is also increasingly difficult to reach. The number of the newly concluded multilateral agreements has been falling. Several important global negotiations are deadlocked. As for the agreements reached in the past, the implementation of many of them is stagnating.

There is no single cause of these problems. Indeed, the obstacles for global cooperation come from several sources. To begin with, a significant power shift has taken place at the global level due to the increasing capabilities of the so-called emerging powers, in particular China, India, and Brazil. As the number of the important global veto-players increased, it is more difficult to find a consensus. According to some interpretations, it is even questionable to what extent the old and new powers can continue to cooperate in global institutions on a long-term basis. Simultaneously, the recent rise of the anti-globalization and nationalist forces in the Western countries also negatively affects the prospects of global cooperation. Yet, not all the sources of the current problems have to do with the preferences and power of states. In addition, the limited performance of global institutions can be caused by their inappropriate design. Among the causes that belong into this category, we may find the limited representativeness of global institutions, gaps in the accountability of international bureaucracies, or the increasing fragmentation of global cooperation.

In this course, we will systematically explore the above-outlined causes of the contemporary problems of global cooperation. More specifically, we will present and discuss the links that exist between these causes and the ability of states to cooperation, and the concrete ways in which these causes exercise a negative influence on global cooperation. To explore these issues in concrete situations, we will deal with them in the context of the key global institutions that operate in the three key areas of international relations: security, economy, and the environment. The institutions that will be discussed in the course include the nuclear non-proliferation regime, the UN Security Council, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), or the climate change regime. The discussion of the causes of the current problems, accompanied with their exploration in concrete practical situations, should also provide us with an opportunity to consider the solutions of these problems.