High Noon: Twenty Global Problems, Twenty Years to Solve Them
by J. F. Rischard
New York: Basic Books, 2002
In this age of instant communication and biotechnology, on this ever-smaller planet, what kinds of problems have we created for ourselves? How do we tackle them in a world where the accustomed methods used by nation-states may be reaching their natural limits?
In High Noon,J. F. Rischard challenges us to take a new approach to the problems of the twenty-first century. Defining and then offering a brief overview of the twenty most important and urgent global problems, Rischard finds that they all have two things in common: They’re getting worse, not better, and the standard strategies for dealing with them are woefully inadequate to the task. The real problem, in other words, is that in our increasingly crowded, interconnected world, we don’t have an effective way of addressing the problems such a world creates. Our difficulties belong to the future, but our means of solving them belong to the past.
Rischard proposes new vehicles for global problem-solving that would be acknowledged by governments but that would function as extra-governmental bodies devoted to particular problems. Their powers would not be legal but normative: They would produce globally recognized standards and would single out the nations and organizations that were not cooperating.
No previous book has presented such a unified appraisal of this century’s global problems or offered such a consistent and well-defined approach to solving them. With its clear-eyed urgency and refreshing specificity, High Noon is an agenda-setting book that everyone who cares about the future must read.
The World Bank’s vice-president for Europe, J. F. Rischard brought several years of Wall Street experience, as well as an MBA from Harvard and doctoral degrees in law and economics from universities in Europe, to his work at the Bank, where he has held several senior posts in his twenty year career. He has been writing and speaking about global issues, development and the knowledge economy since 1993, giving hundreds of speeches on these topics. He lives in Paris, France.