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It is difficult to find much to celebrate about the current conjuncture, marked as it is by deeply destructive incoherence. The best that can be said is that we are in an interregnum. But I suggest that today’s incoherence also includes productive and even transformative moments. I argue that incoherence in global financial governance should be understood as productive in several respects. It is creating and widening alternative spaces in which some of the values, practices, tools, objectives, and goals associated with embedded liberalism can be rearticulated in a world in which there is no “order,” American-led or otherwise. The silver lining of incoherence is that it creates space for experimentation and innovation unconstrained by an overarching “ism.” Incoherence is creating exits or leakages from noxious national and global policy environments, rendering it less poisonous than it would be in the absence of ideational aperture and contestation, competing policies, institutions, networks, and poles of power. The abdication by the US of its traditional role of global coordination and discipline, as exerted under the post-war embedded liberal or the neoliberal American-led orders, is creating opportunities for more permissive and varied “reembededness” and diverse forms of economic integration. The emerging regime reflects neither your grandmother’s American-led order 1.0 or 2.0. In this morbid post- American interregnum there is no singular “ism” or “alternative order,” a fact that I do not mourn.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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