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Briefing paper

The threat to the global economic and financial order: protecting Australia’s interests

20 Aug 2017

Key points:

  • The international economic order reflects the balance of strategic power.
  • The challenge to the post-1945 global economic and financial order will persist as it reflects long-standing trends: perceptions of unequal economic opportunity in developed economies; the increasing economic weight of emerging economies; and the disruptive impact of technology.
  • The world is unlikely to be moving to a new or stable order.
  • The choices Western countries make, especially the US, will have as significant an impact on the future of order as the growth of the major emerging economies.
  • China’s influence will continue to grow and benefit from Trump’s ‘America first’ view of global engagement, but probably won’t want to, or be capable of, supplanting the US at the centre of the global economic and financial order.

Policy recommendations:

  • Australia should focus on the institutions and fora best placed to make and enforce global economic and financial rules and most representative of relative economic power – the G20 is currently the best option.
  • Australia should also be attuned to other alignments, building partnerships and agreements with like-minded countries – large and small – on issues important to us.
  • To maintain a domestic constituency in favour of globalisation, policy will need to continue to focus on the distribution of costs and benefits and provide assistance to those that lose out.
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