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Keywords:

  • Pax Americana;
  • Pax Mosaica;
  • World Trade Organization;
  • International Monetary Fund;
  • World Bank;
  • G20;
  • global economic governance

While the economic rise of new powers, frequently identified as the ‘BRICs’ (Brazil, Russia, India, and China), has been dramatic, the implications of this emerging multipolarity for global economic governance are not clear. In this paper, we address the question: can the diffusion of power among a greater diversity of countries result in the creation of a new global economic order—a Pax Mosaica—to succeed the Pax Americana of the previous century? Our argument proceeds in four steps. First, we provide a brief overview of the achievements and limitations of the system that was established at the end of World War II, and lasted for over half a century in the form of Pax Americana. In the second section, we investigate the emergence of multipolarity, and highlight the opportunities and costs that this generates. In the third section, we explore the routes whereby the changing balance of power might be harnessed towards the creation of a Pax Mosaica. We do so by posing four sets of questions, which must be answered if the mosaic distribution of power is to lead to greater economic stability, growth, and peace. The fourth section concludes the paper with ideas for reform with reference to the World Trade Organization, the Bretton Woods institutions, and the G20.