Former British Prime Minister Discusses Globalization in Special Lecture
The NYU Office of the President welcomed NYU Wagner, Stern, and CAS students to a special lecture with The Right Honourable Gordon Brown MP, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, on September 22 at the Kaufman Management Center at NYU Stern. Mr. Brown led a discussion on developments in globalization.
During his talk, Mr. Brown addressed issues relating to globalization, with a focus on fledgling political movements arrayed against it. He started with the growing tide of secessionist sentiments that have manifested themselves in such countries as Scotland, Belgium, Spain, and Italy. Mr. Brown, who is a native of Scotland, took questions regarding Scotland’s recent vote not to secede from the U.K., and stated that such reactionary responses as xenophobia and protectionism are counterproductive to the pursuit of the global solutions.
Mr. Brown then emphasized the importance of global cooperation; especially in an era when individual governments are not able to tackle today’s global concerns alone. As an example, he pointed to the UN Climate Change Conference of 2009. He argued that this was the kind of multi-lateral summit needed to address global problems, even though several issues emerged, such as reporting and enforcement challenges, that eventually ensured the conference’s unsuccessful outcome.
He also discussed the global economic recession of 2008, noting that many European countries initially believed the financial crisis would only affect the United States. However, as countries throughout Europe began having similar economic collapses, the realization of an inter-connected economy quickly emerged. This led to another global and multi-lateral approach as the G20 was created to address these economic issues. Unfortunately, Mr. Brown pointed out, global cooperation faded later that year and these types of economic calamities were soon labeled as a Greek crisis or an Ireland crisis.
The former prime minister closed by stating that without serious global leadership and multi-lateral cooperation, perennial crises such as child trafficking, global poverty, and global epidemics will continue to endanger our future. He emphasized that it is imperative that we reform our global institutions, inform public opinion on the positives of globalization, and encourage political leaders to focus on important issues through a global, not a national lens. Only then, he said, will we begin to see true positive change for global challenges.
Author: Jayson W. Browder (Global Executive MPA, 2015), is an Air Force and Iraq Veteran and U.S. Fulbright Scholar (Turkey)