The post-World War II economic doctrine that guided the West -- international cooperation in line with a global market system of rules largely defined by United States and its allies -- has been under growing pressure since the turn of this century. Scepticism in the model was fuelled by the global financial crisis triggered in the US and the painfully drawn out Eurocrisis. Recent political events have delivered a bigger shock to the system, most strikingly from US President Donald Trump's decision to leave the trans-pacific partnership (TPP) trade agreement, the Paris Climate accord and the Iran agreement. In Europe, challenges to the doctrine have come from Brexit, weakened mandates for government in Germany, uncertainty in Italy and challenges to Western-style rules in Poland and Hungary. How can policy-makers today best react to these challenges, and what is the role for the much-maligned experts in manoeuvring in this political economy?
Caroline Atkinson was head of global policy at Google, where she advised Google’s leadership on policy issues and leads Google’s work with policy makers, government officials, and key political stakeholders. Prior to joining Google, Caroline served as President Barack Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economics. During her tenure, she was the US “sherpa” at G7 and G20 summits, and helped to drive global agreement on a diverse set of issues, including global trade, employment, climate change and the response to the Ebola crisis. Before working directly for President Obama, Caroline held senior roles at the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. Treasury Department, and the Bank of England, and worked as a journalist for The Washington Post, The Economist, and The Times.