WATERLOO, ONT. — Five years ago, Jim Balsillie put down his BlackBerry, stepped back from his e-mail and took a broad look at the world.

His assessment of "the most important and perplexing issue of our time" was different from what most Canadians would likely come up with. The number one issue was not poverty, not AIDS, not terrorism, not even nuclear proliferation.

Rather it was the mechanism the world uses for dealing with these and many other problems, which in his eyes had grown outdated and ineffective. "The world is orders of magnitude more integrated than 60 years ago, and the...

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