Multilateralism is giving way to minilateralism — argues Chris Brummer (Georgetown University) in his new thought-provoking book Minilateralism How Trade Alliances, Soft Law and Financial Engineering are Redefining Economic Statecraft, that analyzes the global political economy in the post-hegemonic era and offers a compelling history and theory of how economic diplomacy works.
The multilateral organizations that dominated the last half of the 20th century (the WTO, the World Bank and the IMF) no longer monopolize economic affairs. Instead, countries are resorting to more modest “minilateral” strategies like trade alliances, informal “soft law” agreements, and financial engineering to manage the global economy. Like traditional modes of economic statecraft, these tools are aimed at both liberalizing and supervising international financial policy in a world of diverse national interests. But unlike before, they are specifically tailored to navigating a post-American (and post-Western) world where economic power is more diffuse than ever before. This book incisively and elegantly explains how these strategies work and reveals how this new diplomatic toolbox will reshape how countries do business with one another for decades to come.
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