It is now conventional wisdom to see the great policy challenges of the 21st century as inherently transnational, spilling across national boundaries. It is equally common to note the failures of the international institutions the world relies on to address such challenges. As the acclaimed 2013 book Gridlock argued, the world increasingly needs effective international cooperation, but multilateralism appears unable to deliver it in the face of deepening interdependence, rising multipolarity, and the growing complexity and fragmentation that characterise the global order.
The Gridlock authors have now partnered with a group of leading experts to offer a trenchant—and surprisingly hopeful—reassessment of elements of the Gridlock argument. Comparing anomalies and exceptions to multilateral dysfunction across a number of spheres of world politics, Beyond Gridlock explores seven pathways through and even beyond gridlock. While multilateralism continues to fall short, countries, international organizations, civil society groups, sub-national governments, businesses, and other actors are finding ways to build or defend effective international cooperation. To be sure, gridlock persists across many realms of world politics, but Beyond Gridlock identifies systematic means through which, and the conditions under which, we possess the agency to avoid or resist these forces, or even turn them to the benefit of collective solutions. Combining critical, comparative analysis across issues with forward-looking evaluation of potential strategies, this book offers a vital new perspective on world politics as well as a practical guide for positive change in global policy.