The Great Debate UK

from The Great Debate:

Why G-Zero is a good thing

This is the second in a series of responses to Ian Bremmer’s excerpt of Every Nation for Itself: Winners and Losers in a G-Zero World. The first response can be read here.

It’s said that predictions are risky business, especially those about the future. No one knows that better than Ian Bremmer, who in addition to his multiple books has created one of the more successful risk analysis organizations. Being in the business of highlighting risks, he has for the past few years focused on the breakdown of the world order most of us grew up with, whether a 20th century world of great-power struggles or an early 21st century world of American economic and military preponderance. Now, says Bremmer, those systems are finished and in their stead we have... nothing.

It’s a compelling, alarming and yet exhilarating vision – though few probably embrace that last adjective. Compelling because it admits that most of the models we use to predict what will be are based on a world that no longer exists and hence are likely to be wrong. Alarming because it leaves us with a tabula rasa whose outcomes are utterly uncertain. Yet exhilarating because it offers the promise of a brave new world that may go in any direction, including more productive and positive ones than many observers currently assume.

Bremmer extrapolates from current trends about what this world might look like, and tends to focus on the dangers that lurk rather than the diamonds in the rough. He sees tough times for China, whose model, he predicts, will be less able to adapt to a world of increased competition for natural resources and more state capitalism that competes directly with the Chinese. He sees hard roads for weak states and troubled societies, with Syria’s grinding civil war and lack of international action just a harbinger. He sees a United States constrained by debt and a public looking inward, and a euro zone mired in years of crisis. And while he does acknowledge that even a G-Zero world will have winners such as Brazil and Turkey, he sees the emerging vacuum as more of a challenge than an opportunity.

from The Great Debate:

Does the Kony video point toward global problem-solving?

The  Kony 2012 director who was found naked in the street will remain in the hospital for several weeks. Danica Russell, Jason Russell’s wife, attributed her husband’s “reactive psychosis” to the “sudden transition from relative anonymity to worldwide attention – both raves and ridicules, in a matter of days."

“Relative anonymity to worldwide attention” is an understatement. The Internet gives new meaning to Warhol’s observation about 15 minutes of fame. Russell is striving to bring Joseph Kony, the Ugandan leader of the violent Lord’s Resistance Army, to justice for crimes against humanity, and his video exploded onto the global stage. More than 100 million people viewed the video the first week it was online. Many of these people expressed support and donated money to Russell’s cause.

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