The Big Downturn? Nanogeopolitics, ETC Group’s new 68-page report on global governance of nanoscale technologies, is an update of our 2005 Nanogeopolitics survey. In the intervening five years, policymakers – some kicking and screaming – have begun to acknowledge that fast-tracking nanotech has come at a price and that some sort of regulation is needed to deal with at least some of the risks nanoscale technologies pose.
As global crises of food, finance and the environment converge and powerful new technologies accelerate far-reaching social and ecological change, the need has never been stronger for coordinated and equitable global decison-making. Unfortunately, at the same moment, multilateral institutions, such as agencies of the United Nations, are experiencing a crisis of legitimacy as power moves to the international financial institutions and the corporations that structure the global economy. ETC Group has been active in various UN and other international and regional fora for the past thirty years, pushing for greater involvement of farmers, civil society and social movements in decisions that affect them, proposing new treaties and governance frameworks and warning against the corporate takeover of our international institutions.