Thierry de Montbrial: Finding an alternative to globalization

    Thierry de Montbrial is the founder and president of non-partisan think tank, French Institute of International Relations. Photo by: Ecole Polytechnique, Department of Humanities and Sciences Sociales

    These days, finding an alternative to globalization is what keeps Thierry de Montbrial busy.

    The founder and president of the French Institute of International Relations - a nonpartisan think tank focusing on policy-oriented research and analysis of global political affairs covering economy, health, energy, migration and environment, among others – recently spearheaded the first-ever World Policy Conference.

    The event aims to uncover what de Montbrial said as “a practical and efficient system to manage the world, which is at present ruled by the law of chaos.”

    “I arrived at the conclusion that bringing together the leaders of the world along with a group of selected people from the business community and the intellectual elite might be quite useful in coming up with a proper system for managing the world,” de Montbrial said of the annual summit in a Gulf News article published on Oct. 3, 2008.

    With the onset of globalization’s demise, government intervention has become more critical than ever as market forces alone cannot solve the various issues that plague our society today, de Montbrial argued.

    “There are financial crises developing in various parts of the world. The intervention of governments has become necessary even in the United States and in the United Kingdom to bail out the markets and restore confidence in the system,” de Montbrial said. “This emphasizes the importance of states.”

    A prolific author on economics and international relations, de Montbrial admits that although “many governments have come up with a disappointing performance … they should not be scrapped and the market be allowed to decide the fate of the people.

    “The problem with governments lies in their disability to adjust to a rapidly changing environment,” he continued.”

    As such, de Montbrial pushed for the restructuring of governments and international organizations, including the United Nations and G-8 to meet the needs and challenges of development.

    “The G8, which met recently in Japan, proved once again that it had become obsolete because it has excluded China and India, which are considered the world’s largest economies.”

    With all these ideas and recommendations, de Montbrial does not intend to wait on politicians to carry out their policy suggestions as the World Policy Conference will employ a follow-up committee to observe bureaucratic resistance in implementing the changes arrived at the forum.

    “I think the exercise might result in a comprehensive proposal on how to manage the world in a short period with political and social significance,” de Montbrial said.

    A graduate of Ecole Polytechnique and Ecole des Mines, de Montbrial received his doctorate in economics from the University of California, Berkeley. He served as the first chairman of the Foundation for Strategic Research and the first director of the Policy Planning Staff at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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