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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We're getting used to seeing a lot of social breakdown within countries. Chile is only the latest in a long list that includes Hong Kong, Ecuador, Spain, and many countries in the Middle East.

Be smart: What's been less remarked on is that we're seeing social breakdown between countries as well. (Brexit, of course, probably finds itself in both camps.)

The IMF, celebrating its 75th birthday, held its 150th semi-annual meeting this week.

  • It had one main job: Finalize the Fund’s 15th quota review.
  • How it works: Each of the 189 member countries pays a certain amount of money as its quota, and that money is then lent to members in need. The higher your quota, the more you can borrow — and the more voting power you have at the board level.
  • The IMF's board and management were very clear on the importance of increasing quotas by this week's deadline. The review would strengthen the Fund financially, and would also help it better reflect the reality of economic power in the 21st century, with China and India in particular getting a larger say.

Yes, but: The review failed. The 15th quota review is dead. Now the process starts all over again, with hopes that the 16th quinquennial review will do better. The main reason for the failure was "stiff resistance from the United States," per Reuters.

Meanwhile, the EU summit in Brussels this week was also a failure.

  • It had one main job: To decide whether or not to admit North Macedonia and Albania into the union. It failed. Both countries remain in limbo, with no indication of when their fate might be decided.
  • EU leaders also failed to set a long-term budget.

The bottom line: The era of international consensus and cooperation seems to be over.

  • Even last year's much-vaunted capital increase for the World Bank happened only because the Bank persuaded the Americans that it was the last-ever such increase, and that it would never again ask them for more money.
  • No multinational institution is strengthening, and most are weakening. That's going to continue for the foreseeable future.

Go deeper: Capital markets feel the global protest wave

Go deeper

Instagram's boss faces Congress' questions on harm to teens

Photo illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for WIRED

The head of Instagram will find himself in Congress' crosshairs for the first time Wednesday in the one area lawmakers have shown they are willing to pass tech regulations — protecting youngsters online.

Why it matters: Republicans and Democrats have found common ground in grilling tech companies on how their products harm children, especially after revelations in The Wall Street Journal about Instagram's potential harm to the mental health of teen girls.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
54 mins ago - Health

Experts fear a bad flu season on top of COVID

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Public health officials are warning that the U.S. may be on the verge of a dangerous double whammy: COVID and flu, spreading simultaneously.

The big picture: The Delta variant is still circulating across the U.S., and the Omicron variant isn't far behind. On top of that, experts see potential warning signs of a bad flu season, which could leave millions of Americans vulnerable and strain health care resources.

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Australia joins U.S. in diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Australia is joining the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games in protest of human rights abuses committed by China's government, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed Wednesday.

Driving the news: After the Biden administration's announcement that U.S. officials won't attend the Games due to the ongoing genocide of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region of China, Morrison said at a Sydney briefing that Australia would follow suit as "it's the right thing to do."