I mentioned briefly two posts prior that the world will increasingly involve international coordination in order to tackle a number of problems like climate change, resource depletion and poverty become more sustainable.
I want to colour in this image a little more before sketching the small picture stuff in my next post.
Global governance and coordination already takes place through the UN and countless international bodies and treaties. But there’s still a lot of what you might term anarchy and unanswered questions in the international system.
Countries and multinational corporations still have a lot of power and freedom to pursue their own interests even at the cost of others. (Troubles with exploitation and management of global commons are a great issue to read more on here).
How do we manage depleting fish stocks in international waters? How can we feed a global population heading towards more than 8 billion by 2025?
Many of the environmental problems we face today have arisen because of international anarchy, a winner-takes-all world and the lack of measurement, planning and coordination.
Managing the world’s limited resources to provide sustainable prosperity for all will require scientific measurement and modelling to coordinate our use of resources. The will still be freedoms; there will still be global markets but they will be guided by data-driven policy and coordination.
With many aspects, in the West at least, policy informed by science and research has had to play catch up with the free market (see cigarettes and CFCs). This is happening now on a global scale with science slowly informing global climate change action and national policy and it will have to happen with a lot of other issues.
This future sustainable world will be one not where science continues to play catch up with the market and a chaotic world of nations but one where science is used to monitor global systems (be they economic, social or environmental) to inform sustainable policy in order to avoid problems like climate change arising.
Essentially, global coordination based on scientific measurement and modelling will help us manage our resources and systems more efficiently and sustainably providing enough for all.
[This touches a little on resilience thinking which I’ve come across recently but I’ll leave that to a later post.]
PS. Indeed, and I’m far, far from being an expert in this area, the same principles would apply to global macro-economics and markets in the sense that data-driven economic regulation and policy would promote equality, prosperity and sustainability over profit and growth.
(Photo at top: Fetching water at a borehole in the village of Bilinyang, near Juba, South Sudan. Photo: World Bank/Arne Hoel)