Working Paper

Global Governance: Old and New Issues


  • Hufbauer
  • G.C.
Publication Date

This paper opens with a short recollection of the Kiel Week Conference of 2002, recorded in a volume edited by Horst Siebert, titled Global Governance: An Architecture for the World Economy. Assess-ments and forecasts made at that time are scored against subsequent developments. Security relations between the great powers are asserted to define the space for global economic governance. Over the next thirty years, the security context is not likely to provide the same inspiration for global economic institutions as the Cold War once did; instead, economic institutions will stand or fall on their own merits in meeting urgent challenges. The paper identifies and evaluates six challenges that are already with us, but which do not impose immediate acute costs on the great powers: climate change, financial crises, the world trading system, oil supplies, immigration, and economic responses to political chaos. A few of these, but not the majority, are seen as good candidates for global governance in the next decade. The paper concludes with speculation on four very low probability challenges that would im-pose acute costs (or present great opportunities) if they occur: pandemics, terrorism on the high seas, treasures from the deep seabed, and the prospect of a killer asteroid.


JEL Classification
Q54, F36, F13, Q41, F22

Key Words

  • climate change
  • Einwanderung
  • Financial crises
  • Immigration
  • Klimawandel
  • oil supplies
  • the world trading system