August 17, 2010

New challenges of Globalization

New challenges of Globalization

Globalization, the point is frequently overlooked that it is an ancient phenomenon. In the modern world, it began to gather strength at the end of the 15th century and strengthened in the 16th and 17th centuries with the maritime exploration of the Portuguese and Spanish and later the English, French, the Dutch, who put Europe in contact with the rest of the world.

In the 20th century, especially after World War II, Europe lost its global hegemony, and was devastated, along with Japan. Two non-European countries, the United States and the Soviet Union, then became the dominant powers and their ideological, economic, and military rivalry divided the world into two opposing blocs. This was the beginning of the Cold War, which kept the world suspended in an “equilibrium of terror”.

In parallel, in the 50’s and 60’s, the process of decolonization led to the emergence of the Movement of the Non-Aligned Countries and later the Third World movement. Meanwhile the scientific, technological, and cultural revolutions were transforming the earth into “one world” thanks in particular to the extraordinary progress of communications and the ease and speed of travel and the transmission of knowledge.

Towards the end of the last century the communist universe collapsed: the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain in 1989 was followed by the break-up of the so-called “people’s democracies” and the Soviet Union itself between 1990-92.

The collapse left a vacuum on the international scene that was filled almost entirely by the United States, which was unrivalled militarily. Under the command of George W Bush, the US revived its imperial ambitions, began its dangerous but ultimately unsuccessful campaign to marginalize the United Nations, and guaranteed the triumph of neo-liberalism as the dominant economic-political ideology.

In truth, the influence of neo-liberalism was felt most strongly in the last years of the last century and was responsible for giving capitalism an essentially speculative and virtual financial face. One of its characteristics was the expansion of stock trading and the generation of multi-million dollar profits without having a significant impact in the real, productive economy.

Globalization, increased social inequality and the gap between poor and rich nations and people. It brought about a growing concentration in business and the banking sector in particular, the outsourcing of production to areas with low wages if not slave labor, financial scandals, and high-level corruption, all of which are current practices of neo-liberal globalization, which as a result has been thoroughly discredited.

It is no accident that the neo-liberal ideology loses more ground every day or that the world now finds itself on the verge of a grave financial crisis that is manifesting itself in the rapid seesawing of the stock market and is beginning to affect US society: a deepening of the real estate crisis, rising unemployment, fears of inflation, unprecedented increases in the price of oil, not to mention the colossal trade deficit which no one seems able to relieve.

It is a commonplace today to say that the policies of President Bush have resulted in total disaster both domestically and abroad.

Meanwhile, the planet is in the grips of accelerating change. The new emerging countries, in particular the so-called BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) represent uncontrollable forces in the context of the international order, which rapidly shifted from bi-polar to uni-polar and is now on the way to a multi-polar arrangement.

This is the reality that the West must now accept if it wants to contribute to the establishment of a new global order. To achieve this, there must first be a restructuring of the UN to make it more democratic and more capable of intervening to address the major challenges facing humanity: addressing threats to the health of the planet, the eradication of poverty, fighting organized crime at the global level, regulating and guiding globalization, and in general bringing about a system marked by greater justice, equality, and solidarity such that the future is more human and less fraught with conflict.

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