NEW ETHICS FOR A NEW LIBERALISM
The biggest economies of our age are also among the poorest, still-developing societies. Their capacity, willingness and political ability to carry the burden of the liberal multilateral order and become the guarantors of global public goods and regimes will be limited. How will the international system fill this gap? Will the quest for order and cooperation become a forlorn hope or can a new compact be shaped?
THE NATION STATE AND OTHER STATES
Innovation and capital have breached the boundaries of the nation-state just when statism, nativism, identity and nationalism are in the midst of a comeback. The nation-state has proved remarkably resilient but it will have to share the global landscape with a variety of non-state actors, some of them almost multinational and transcontinental empires, whether radical and terror groups, giant corporations or information and communication behemoths. Citizens will expect nation-states to ensure access to products, systems and networks over which these very nation-states may have only nominal control.
ROBOTICS, REGULATION AND REGIME CHANGE
The fourth industrial revolution, automation, robotics and innovations like 3D printing are changing the nature of manufacturing, creating huge value but haemorrhaging jobs. To a world still coping with the third industrial revolution and the digital boom, this suggests a rapid and wholly unknown human engagement with the machine. The imminent commodification of a range of new technologies — driverless cars, custom-made bio-pharmaceutical products, lethal autonomous weapons — will invite interrogation and regulation by a separate and distinct branch of diplomacy.
PUBLIC GOODS, PRIVATE PROVISION
From data rollout to urban transport to technology creation and dissemination, many quasi-state tasks, hitherto the preserve of governments and public utilities, are now being passed on to mega global corporations. These corporations are revolutionising trade and economy but also disrupting business sectors, social constructs and local communities. Their engagement with traditional state actors, whose sovereignty they are testing, will inevitably require an upgrade of international relations, in theory and practice.
SMART CITIES, SMART PHONES, SMART DEMOCRACY
The 21st century is the age of the individual. The anonymity of the city — never in human history have so many and such a largely percentage of the global population lived in urban areas — the ubiquity of the mobile phone and the democratisation of information have led to a near libertarian understanding of civic freedoms. At the same time, there is pressure on governments to become underwriters of jobs and livelihoods, economic well-being and security from a variety of threats, often emanating from overseas jurisdictions. This is the Hobbesian proposition. Can we find a Lockean response?