Can international cooperative institutions survive today’s fractured geopolitics? Democracies are facing a drawn-out contest with authoritarian states that is entangling much of public policy with global security issues. Somehow, democracies must deal with China and other illiberal states as integral parts of the global economy, without sacrificing their values.

Harvard Research Fellow and former central banker Paul Tucker joins the Centre for Geopolitics to discuss his new book, ‘Global Discord’, which combines history, political and legal philosophy, and economics to outline a new international system for today’s world. Rejecting intellectual traditions going back to Hobbes, Kant, and Grotius, and deploying instead ideas from David Hume, Bernard Williams, and modern mechanism-design economists, Tucker describes a political realism that emphasises power and interests without side-lining morality. Incentives must be aligned with values if institutions are to endure. The connecting tissue for a system of international cooperation, he writes, should be legitimacy, creating a world of concentric circles in which we cooperate more with those with whom we share the most and whom we fear the least.

Speaker: Paul Tucker has been a research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School (Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government) since late-2013. His previous book was ‘Unelected Power’ (PUP, 2013). Prior to moving to Harvard, he was a central bank for over 30 years, including Deputy Governor at the Bank of England 2009-13.

Discussant: Richard Bourke was elected to the Chair in the History of Political Thought at Cambridge in 2018. He was previously a professor in the School of History at Queen Mary University of London. His work has focused on the history of political thought, particularly on the political ideas of the enlightenment and its aftermath. His latest book, ‘Hegel’s World Revolutions’, will be published with Princeton University Press this year.

Chair: Dr Hugo Bromley, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Centre for Geopolitics



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