John J. Kirton’s new book G20 Governance for a Globalized World is now published.
‘This is the first serious book-length study of what is arguably the most important forum in the world, the G20. John Kirton’s knowledge of this ‘hub’ of global governance is comprehensive and deeply nuanced. Based on extensive interviews, knowledge of the literature, and personal experience, G20 Governance for a Globalized World will generate keen attention from an extensive readership among both academics and practitioners.’
Andrew F. Cooper, University of Waterloo, Canada and BSIA and Distinguished Fellow, The Centre for International Governance Innovation
From the author’s preface:
This book seeks to be the first full, comprehensive, independent, authoritative, analytical account of the G20 from its birth at the level of finance ministers and central bank governors in 1999 through to its fourth summit in Toronto in 2010.
It avoids the popular, proliferating program of advising G20 governors what they should do or criticizing them for not using it differently. Nor is it a sanitized account as seen from the inside, as is the G20’s own valuable history, published in 2008 before the G20 became a summit club. Instead, it draws on the best concepts and theories of international relations and global governance to offer an account of G20 governance and the G20 itself.
This purpose imposes demands of evidence far greater than those adopted by the many who engage in the abundant advisory, advocacy, or assessment tasks. Such evidence comes from the usual sources: scholarly works on the G20, accounts of think tank analysts, publications by practitioners, biographies of G20 participants, policy commentaries, and, importantly, newspaper and other media accounts.
In addition, this book has benefited from more than 100 private interviews and participation in policy dialogues with key G20 governors, several of whom have reviewed drafts, taking place from 1999 to 2011 and embracing those from almost all the member countries and multilateral organizations of the G20, from the level of leaders on down.
I remain the proverbial pygmy standing gratefully on the shoulders of those giants who have offered inevitably instant or early analyses so I could begin the task of explaining and understanding the G20 and its work. I thus begin each empirical chapter with a summary of their arguments to show the reader where my analysis fits and to allow others to decide for themselves who offers the more convincing account.
To be sure, at this early stage before the archives are open and before practitioners are willing to tell all in publishable form, much of relevance is no doubt missing. But the evidence assembled for this work is sufficient to achieve its purpose of providing the first and most comprehensive, reliable, detailed, independent, and scholarly account of G20 governance for the moment, and as the foundation for others that will follow and build better accounts of G20 governance in the years ahead. This is not a work that will last for all time—only until a better one comes along.
About the author: Professor John Kirton is the co-founder and director of the G8 Research Group and founder and co-director of the G20 Research Group, both based at the Munk School for Global Affairs at Trinity College in the University of Toronto. He is a professor of political science, a research associate at the Munk School’s Centre for International Studies and a fellow of Trinity College.