Politics and International Relations Professor David Held, whose work has been hugely influential in the areas of political theory, globalization and governance, shared with nearly 200 students, staff, and alumni on the underlying reasons for failures in global cooperation in the 21st century in his lecture “Gridlock: Why global cooperation is failing when we need it most”, which was held on March 19, 2013 in the Rayson Huang Theatre.

Professor Held pointed out that failure in global cooperation could be explained by a number of underlying factors coming together, and he called this situation “the gridlock”. Getting out of the gridlock is inherently difficult, not only because agreement on global policy is hard to achieve, but that the previous phases of successful globalization had made many states increasingly inward-looking, which further exacerbated the mechanisms of the gridlock.

The lecture was based on the book Gridlock: Why Global Cooperation is Failing when We Need it Most, published on 28 May 2013, authored by Tom Hale, David Held and Kevin Young.

Gridlock: Why Global Cooperation is Failing when We Need it Most

Prof Gina Marchetti (Convenor of Global Issues AoI) introduced the speaker
Nearly 200 students gathered at the Rayson Huang Theatre for the last lecture of the year
Prof David Held explained how global cooperation was failing
A student posed a question about the changing role of global institutions in the 21st century
Prof Becky Loo raised a question about the role of leaders in breaking the gridlock
Students had a further discussion with Prof Held at the conversation session on March 21

Across a range of pressing global issues, countries have proven unable to co-operate effectively on issues of global concern: global financial instability and massive economic imbalances within and across countries, the lack of effective environmental governance in a world increasingly vulnerable to climate change, the proliferation of nuclear arms and the basic insecurities that persist from violent conflicts, to name just a few. International negotiations on critical issues run increasingly into cul-de-sacs. Since World War II the world community has been very successful, compared to other historical periods, in generating a wide range of international governance regimes which provide global public goods. Yet many recent efforts to address the most urgent issues of our times have stalled. Why? And can we do anything about it?

About Professor David Held
Professor David Held is Master of University College, Durham and Professor of Politics and International Relations at Durham University. Among his most recent publications are Gridlock: Why Global Cooperation is Failing When Its Most Needed (2013), Cosmopolitanism: Ideals and Realities (2010), Globalisation/Anti-Globalisation (2007), Models of Democracy (2006), Global Covenant (2004), Global Transformations: Politics, Economics and Culture (1999), and Democracy and the Global Order: From the Modern State to Cosmopolitan Governance (1995). His main research interests include the study of globalisation, changing forms of democracy and the prospects of regional and global governance. He is a Director of Polity Press, which he co-founded in 1984, and General Editor of Global Policy.