Scholars of global governance and international organizations have documented the growing gridlock that characterizes multilateral governance (governance which involves three or more states) across a range of issues. As Ian Goldin (2013) recently observed, “The growing disconnect between the need for urgent collective decision making to meet 21st century challenges and the evolutionary progress in institutional capability has led to a yawning governance gap.” Partly in response to the inability of traditional multilateral institutions such as the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, or the World Bank to find consensus among their member states on how to govern global problems, there has been an explosion of alternative bi-lateral arrangements (agreements between two states only), informal governance approaches, and the growing regulatory authority of non-state actors to fill this governance gap.
Why do you think governments have found it so difficult to find consensus on how to manage global problems in recent years? What, in other words, explains the gridlock we see in traditional multilateral institutions? What do you think might be the consequence of the move to informal modes of governance for world politics and for global governance in the future?
** Ian Goldin. 2013. Divided Nations: Why Global Governance is Failing, and What We Can Do about It. Oxford University Press.