The issues that increasingly dominate the 21st century cannot be solved by any single country acting alone, no matter how powerful. To manage the global economy, prevent runaway environmental destruction, reign in nuclear proliferation, or confront other global challenges, we must cooperate. But at the same time, our tools for global policymaking - chiefly state-to-state negotiations over treaties and international institutions - have broken down.
The result is gridlock, which manifests across areas via a number of common mechanisms. The rise of new powers representing a more diverse array of interests makes agreement more difficult. The problems themselves have also grown harder as global policy issues penetrate ever more deeply into core domestic concerns. Existing institutions, created for a different world, also lock-in pathological decision-making procedures and render the field ever more complex. All of these processes - in part a function of previous, successful efforts at cooperation - have led global cooperation to fail us even as we need it most.
Ranging over the main areas of global concern, from security to the global economy and the environment, this book examines these mechanisms of gridlock and pathways beyond them. It is written in a highly accessible way, making it relevant not only to students of politics and international relation but also to a wider general readership.
Thomas Hale is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford.
David Held is master of University College and professor of politics and international relations at Durham University
Kevin Young is assistant professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.