Good Things About
Global Issues Networks
Global issues networks are a messy concept. 1 But this messiness heralds great flexibility in adapting basic methods to the specifics of each issue and over time. I could go on and on, imagining new details and variations. But the visualization here—that's all it claims to be—is enough to show the general idea and its strengths and weaknesses.
Global issues networks embody four overriding themes that, in one way or another, could advance the state of global problem-solving.
The networks are geared to rapid norm production and rapid activation of reputational effects. That's why there is a practical "let's-get‐ down-to-work" immediacy to the methods described here. What are the issues? How much time do we have? What would be the vision of a successful effort twenty years out? How would we get there? What are the options? How do the options come out in polling? Contrast this with the time lost in moral pontificating, overly abstract statements, and vacuous calls for action that characterize much of the record on global issues so far.
Another speed effect: through the political energy and urgency that they will generate, networks will pressure the existing international system into responding at a much faster pace than it would naturally adopt.