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Abstract

The contemporary global order is widely said to be in crisis. But despite a rapidly proliferating literature on the subject, there is little clarity or consensus about wherein the 'crisis' consist, or what precisely is under threat. We offer a restricted characterization of the post-war global order based on its fundamental substantive and procedural ordering principles: sovereign inter-state relations and a relatively open global economy, characterized by practices of inclusive, rule-bound multilateralism. We argue that only if one of more of these foundational principles are systematically violated, can we speak of a demise of the order. To this end, we consider the extent to which each of these basic principles is currently endangered. We conclude that what we are witnessing is not the collapse of the current world order, but rather its transformation and adaptation into a broader, more flexible and multifaceted system of global governance – a change within the order rather than of the order.

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