The World Economic Forum and New Global Multipolar Order

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This article was last updated on May 12, 2022

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Not surprisingly, the World Economic Forum, the self-appointed architect of the post-pandemic world, has weighed in on what the global geopolitical reality will look like in the future.

In a series of debates, the Davos crowd has declared that the geopolitical ecosystem will evolve into a multipolar system rather than the unipolar system that is currently dominated by Washington/the United States.  Let’s look at their proposed reset of the global order and how it has evolved over the past few years.  Please note that to keep this posting to a reasonable length, I am only posting a selection of the World Economic Forum’s resources on the issue at hand.

Back in

Here are the two sides of the debate according to the World Economic Forum:

1.) The age of America’s hegemony is over, with different countries and regions demanding their place in global decision-making. In 2015, China is expected to grow at 6.8% and India at 6.4%, and the ASEAN is the world’s fastest-growing region.

2.) This creates a multipolar world order where control over resources becomes concentrated in different centers of power, whose economic weight is reinforced by intra-regional trade agreements.

3.) Accordingly, international leadership becomes increasingly fragmented, divided according to the relative economic weight of each power center and breaking up the post-Bretton Woods arrangements.

4.) This leads to a collapse in global governance where states and regions are locked in a Hobbesian state of geo-economic competition.

and, on the other side of the debate:

1.) While multi-polarity defines the parameters of the new world order, emerging powers have a disproportionally small say in in global decision-making. For instance, China accounts for only a 3.8% voting share of the IMF, compared to 16.8% for the United States.

2.) This structural misalignment induces emerging power centres to create alternative institutions more relevant to their needs, such as multilateral development banks or regional trade agreements.

3.) These new institutions participate in governance and decision-making on a regional level, creating a wider umbrella for local ideas and solutions.

4.) For this reason, there arises an urgent need for alternative mechanisms for global governance, which are able to harness the range of ideas and the diversity of experiences of different countries and regions.

If you have an hour to waste,

Here is a quote:

The world’s political landscape in 2030 will look considerably different to the present one. Nation states will remain the central players. There will be no single hegemonic force but instead a handful of countries – the U.S., Russia, China, Germany, India and Japan chief among them – exhibiting semi-imperial tendencies. Power will be more widely distributed across non-state networks, including regressive ones. And vast conurbations of mega-cities and their peripheries will exert ever greater influence. The post-war order that held since the middle of the twentieth century is coming unstuck. Expect uncertainty and instability ahead.

By 2018, we find

….and here are some key quotes noting the invocation of two of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders/brainwashed individuals, Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron, noting that the article clearly spells out the evolution of the World Economic Forum’s message to a Chinacentric future:

…At least three competing versions of the future world order crashed together at the World Economic Forum’s gathering in Davos last week. There was the one peddled by a combative Donald Trump, calling for a full-scale US retreat from the current order. Another came from Chinese leaders who proposed a new global economic system built around Beijing. Meanwhile, Canada’s Justin Trudeau and France’s Emmanuel Macron urged western leaders to double down on the current liberal order….

We are living in abnormal times. The global liberal order is in an advanced state of meltdown. And as the world rapidly shifts from a uni-polar to a multi-polar reality, the international system itself is exposed to profound instability. If the situation is not handled with extreme care, the potential for a major collapse is real. The question is whether our world leaders are capable of fully understanding what is happening in real time and can muster the collective action to set new rules of the road.

The article goes on to note five reasons why China will play an important role in the new multipolar geopolitical reality:

1.) The size of its economy will surpass the United States which is projected to be in third place after China and India.

2.) It is leading the world’s largest urbanization and infrastructure development scheme – the “One Belt and One Road” project.

3.) It is set to become a global green powerhouse after signing the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

4.) It is setting the pace for a digital economy including the all-important cashless payments system.  It also has a very robust e-commerce system though Alipay and WeChat.

5.) Its university education system is vaulting to the top of international rankings.

Here is a summary:

All the while, the west seems to be asleep at the wheel. There is a certain irony in our current predicament. On the one hand, the world is experiencing unparalleled levels of prosperity and connectivity, due in no small part to the US-backed global liberal order. Yet these advances are associated with ever greater complexity and systemic risks, increasing the liberal order’s vulnerability to collapse. The world’s global and national institutions are increasingly incapable of managing stresses to the system. Democracies, it turns out, lack the incentive systems to address higher-order and longer-term imperatives.

The following month, the same article appeared on the World Economic Forum website with a

In January 2019, we find

Here is a quote:

In 2018, we moved closer to the multipolar world that looks set to replace the bipolar US-Russian geopolitical regime that emerged from the Cold War. 

China’s ascent as a serious economic and geostrategic rival for the US, and its growing assertiveness with programs like “One Belt, One Road” or “Made in China 2025”, has strengthened its influence on the world stage. 

The possibility that the US might withdraw from its nuclear arms treaty with Russia (China was not a signatory and therefore does not face the same limits) is a further testimony to the shifting geopolitics.

This also holds true for historical alliances. Take the US and Europe, for example, which admittedly already constituted two close but distinct economic and strategic poles. Trade and defence issues have recently revealed additional cracks in this partnership, evidenced by their diverging positions on the Iran nuclear deal and sanctions.

The article goes on to note that the middle class in the West is struggling and that inequality is growing in developed nations which resulted in voters moving toward a populist style of government (i.e. Donald Trump).  This has led to growing trade protectionism as populist governments seek to create jobs and increase wages in their nations.

Lastly, in

…we find this quote from the President of the World Economic Forum, Borge Brende:

The world appears to be on the brink of a new era – not since the end of the Cold War three decades ago has the global landscape been primed to be redrawn in such a significant way. New centres of power, new alliances and new rivalries are emerging, putting pressure on institutions governing global trade and security.

As power is shifting and dispersing, domains for geopolitical competition or cooperation are also expanding….

That the world is in a period of significant transition is apparent. In approximately a decade, seven of the world’s 10 largest economies are expected to be from current emerging markets.1 Alongside the rise of new economic powers, increased military spending by several of these countries is creating new regional and global dynamics.”

In the section of the report entitled “Disrupting the International Order”, John Allen, President of Brookings Institution states the following keeping in mind that this was published during the Trump Administration:

The American-led arrangements that emerged have been the backbone of international order ever since, and the systems of alliances and multilateral institutions that have supported this order have been the bulwark of international stability. But as we near the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II and mark the 30th anniversary of the end of the Cold War, a combination of economic and technological shifts is once again driving geopolitical change….

The technological advances and an economic rebalancing under way are causing the world to enter a new phase – one where the non-Western powers, as well as some non-state actors, see low-cost and relatively low-risk opportunities to weaken the United States and the Western alliance.

One area where this danger is pronounced is in East Asia. As China’s growth has vaulted it into the top ranks of global economic power, it has progressively shed its strategy of “hide and bide” and begun to exert itself in political and strategic affairs, in its region and beyond. The economic and export prowess of China is intrinsically challenging the dominance of the Western model in international affairs.

It is very clear that the World Economic Forum foresees a future where China dominates the world and where the influence of the United States wanes as it becomes one of a handful of superpowers.

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