G-20 problems: Why there is no global leadership on climate change, trade policy, and energy.

Commentaries on economics and technology.
Feb. 15 2011 3:30 PM

A World Adrift

Why there is no global leadership on climate change, trade policy, energy, and too many other issues.

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Finally, rising powers like China, India, and Brazil are far too focused on managing the next stage of their domestic development to bear the financial and political costs that come with new international responsibilities.

In short, for the first time since the end of World War II, there is no nation—or strong alliance of nations—with the political will and economic leverage to secure its goals on the global stage. As in previous historical periods, this vacuum may favor the ambitious and the aggressive as they seek their own advantage. In such a world, the absence of a high-level agreement on creating a new collective-security system—focused on economics rather than military power—is not merely irresponsible, but dangerous. A G-Zero world without leadership and multilateral cooperation is an unstable equilibrium for global economic prosperity and security.

This article comes from Project Syndicate.

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Nouriel Roubini is chairman of Roubini Global Economics and professor of economics at New York University's Stern School of Business.