Since When Has G-Anything Run the World?

Since When Has G-Anything Run the World?

Ian Bremmer has, as always, made a perceptive and provocative observation about the state of the world. Where I would respectfully differ from him is over the true significance of this observation.


It really comes down to what is meant by “global leadership,” on the one hand, and “global governance,” on the other. It is conventional to call for more of the former and to bewail the weaknesses of the latter. And with Bremmer I would accept that there is a shortage of such leadership and that global governance is patchy at best. The world is certainly not being run by the G-20, or by a G-anything else.


But the question we should ask is: “So what?” Or, by way of extension: “So what’s new?”


For a start, I do not recall a time during my working life of, so far, 32 years, when the world was truly being run by G-anything. I remember being more than a little excited when in 1982, as a cub reporter at the Economist, I was sent to cover the Williamsburg Summit of the G-7. I felt flattered to be sent, until I realized that nothing really happened at these summits beyond the slight editing of a banal communiqué.

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