Discussion paper

Globalization 4.0: shaping a new global architecture in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (white paper)

A call for engagement
Globalisation Innovation Economics International relations Fourth Industrial Revolution

Major shifts underway in technology, geopolitics, environment and society are combining to give birth to a new phase of globalization – Globalization 4.0 – whose trajectory will depend in large measure on how well governance at multiple levels – governmental, corporate and international – adapts to these changes. Strengthening our governance architecture to ensure its effectiveness in this new era will require deeper engagement and heightened imagination by all stakeholders, beginning with robust and sustained dialogue among them.

This white paper is intended to help concretize such a call for engagement and place it in a systemic context. The introductory section describes how the interplay of technological progress, business strategy and international economic policy shaped previous phases of globalization and has begun to do so again. It highlights the crucial role the multilateral system has played in human progress and argues for strengthening and anchoring it in a wider geometry of cooperative arrangements and norms.

The second section argues that the transformations driving Globalization 4.0 require an “operating system upgrade” for global cooperation and domestic governance and presents a blueprint of eight general design parameters for strengthening and adapting them to this new context.

The paper’s third section highlights many existing initiatives and proposals that, with sufficient support, would go a long way towards modernizing our cooperative architecture and policy models in line with these design specifications. This is an actionable roadmap of practical opportunities for governments, companies, civil society institutions and other actors to work together to address many of the most pressing challenges our societies are facing. These ripe opportunities for governance reform and innovation are presented first in three traditional domains of global governance: trade, finance and global public goods, including climate change and the environment; second, in the relatively new areas of technology and cybersecurity governance, which require a stronger international and domestic response; third, in two critical areas of domestic governance and institutional strength, workforce and human capital development as well as corporate governance; and, finally, in the overarching area of geopolitical and geo-economic cooperation.

The aim in publishing this white paper is to encourage everyone to consider more seriously how they and their organizations could contribute concretely to the policy and enabling architecture improvements needed in this new era by engaging in one or more of these worthy initiatives or by bringing others to the table.

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