Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen

The approach of the global climate change convention shines a rude light on the state of so many different global institutions, but some are arguing that, far from being a new type of dialogue, Copenhagen represents a last gasp of the old “great powers” summit.  Is there, then, about to be a new dawn for those global institutions that were created in the aftermath of World War II?  Certainly, the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO that grew out of GATT have had their share of troubles in recent years, and their ability to meaningfully influence the current global recession has been questioned.  Alan Beattie addresses these challenges in a thoughtful analysis in today’s Financial Times but the issue this discussion raises for us is this: how can multinational corporations engage effectively in the process of reforming these important global institutions?  For surely, they must engage, as global governance issues, whether related to trade, currency valuation, intellectual property or climate change, become increasingly important to the management of the multinational enterprise.

Experts cited in Beattie’s article warn against expecting already overburdened institutions to take on new challenges but we propose that corporations need to be pushing for a cross-disciplinary approach to creating new global institutions that can handle entwined issues such as food, trade, energy and climate change in which they can participate.  If they don’t, the ensuing cats cradle of new regulatory schemes will make today’s framework  look like a libertarian free for all.


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