Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
The William R. Rhodes Center

Sir Paul Tucker ─ Global Discord: Values and Power in a Fractured World Order

Global Discord

Friday, March 3, 2023

12:00pm – 1:00pm

Joukowsky Forum, Watson Institute, 111 Thayer Street

Lunch will be served.

Sir Paul Tucker will join the Rhodes Center to discuss his new book Global Discord: Values and Power in a Fractured World Order.  Discussants will be Jeff Cogan, Richard Holbrooke Associate Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs and Director of the Climate Solutions Lab and Aditi Sahasrabudde, incoming Assistant Professor in Political Science at Brown University.

Can the international economic and legal system 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. In Global Discord, Paul Tucker lays out principles for a sustainable system of international cooperation, showing how democracies can deal with China and other illiberal states without sacrificing their deepest political values. Drawing on three decades as a central banker and regulator, Tucker applies these principles to the international monetary order, including the role of the U.S. dollar, trade and investment regimes, and the financial system.

Combining history, economics, and political and legal philosophy, Tucker offers a new account of international relations. Rejecting intellectual traditions that go back to Hobbes, Kant, and Grotius, and deploying instead ideas from David Hume, Bernard Williams, and modern mechanism-design economists, Tucker describes a new kind of political realism that emphasizes power and interests without sidelining 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.

Sir Paul Tucker is a Research Fellow of the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at the Harvard Kennedy School.

He is the author of Unelected Power: The Quest for Legitimacy in Central Banking and the Regulatory State (2018). Described as “masterful” by Dani Rodrik and “profoundly important” by Larry Summers, it charts how the extraordinary power of unelected central bankers and regulators needs to be structured and checked in the interest of democratic legitimacy. His new book, GLOBAL DISCORD: VALUES AND POWER IN A FRACTURED WORLD ORDER, due out in FALL 2022, is about the geopolitics and legitimacy of the international economic and legal system. Both books are at the interface of political economy and political philosophy.

His other current activities include being a director at Swiss Re; a senior fellow at the Harvard’s Center for European Studies; President of the UK’s National Institute for Economic and Social Research; a Governor of the Ditchley Foundation; a director of the Financial Services Volunteer Corps, and a member of the Advisory Board for Yale’s Program on Financial Stability.

Tucker spent more than three decades in central banking, occupying senior positions in the international policymaking world, and was knighted by Britain in 2014.

From 2016 to 2021, he was the chair of the Systemic Risk Council, the independent body of former top central bankers, government officials and financial experts dedicated to a stable financial system.