The presentation will assess the impact of the internet and internet-enabled technologies on institutional choice and design. By facilitating a set of trans-governmental contacts, as well as the increased usage of higher-level Informal Intergovernmental Organizations, the internet has had a disintermediating effect on social relations and led to the increasingly informal design of international institutions. The availability of rapid and cheap means of communication has given rise to alternatives to the more centralized and hierarchical modes of cooperation established in formal intergovernmental organizations. As a result, formal organizations are managing a shrinking proportion of consequential international activity. To illustrate initial conjectures about the impact of the internet on institutional choice and design, the presentation will include an exploratory case study of the institutional design of the Proliferation Security Initiative in 2003. The presentation will examine the implications of informality for the exercise of power in the international system and for the future of international institutions.
About the speaker
Michael W. Manulak is a fellow at the Balsillie School of International Affairs and an analyst in the Government of Canada. His doctorate is from St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford.