Yes, globalization is a trap. A very good trap though, sometimes comfortable and often misleading, because even Donald Trump and his likes also oppose it and thus hijack the true meaning from here. Despite the boast of lifting more than a billion people out of extreme poverty, it is a trap, and a trap is a trap all the while. And now this beautiful trap is also going to crumble having been incorrigibly rusted from inside. Peoples of the world need a house, not a trap, in fact a World House, as Martin Luther King Jr. once made us all dream about.
Yanis Varoufakis, Greece's former finance minister, wrote in the pre-Trump era (Building a Progressive International, Project Syndicate, Jul 31, 2016), "The only way out of this political trap is progressive internationalism, based on solidarity among large majorities around the world who are prepared to rekindle democratic politics on a planetary scale. If this sounds Utopian, it is worth emphasizing that the raw materials are already available." Internationalism, however, was tried before.
Then, Varoufakis asks, "Why did we lose last time round? Why were we so comprehensively defeated in the 1980s and 1990s? Why did the original Non-Aligned Movement fall prey to Neoimperialism's highest form: Financialised Capitalist Globalisation? ... The short answer is: Because capitalists proved, in practice, better internationalists than we were. Because they understood better the global class war and, thus, won it." (Because we must!, Yanis Varoufakis, Progressive International website, 27.01.2023).
Yanis Varoufakis, gives the answer to the above question raised by himself in his address at the Havana Congress for a New International Economic Order. The questions are serious and urgent and the answers are profound in meaning and scope. Before finding a way out, however, we would do better to look back on those two actors, internationalism and globalization, playing their roles on the twentieth century world stage.
Since modern humans started their journey 70 thousand years ago from Africa, they have been moving from place to place and now have conquered the world, which is no more than a little globe in the vast expanse of the cosmos. Yet humans are still divided into many conflicting countries, unfriendly religions, hostile races, and so many differences. They are far from being united into a single humanity with common ambitions, aspirations, dreams and interests.
But such an effort of making a unified humanity under some universal laws, rules and regulations has also been underway since long past in history. Emperors, religions, ideologies, etc, have emerged one after another to forge a common humanity out of so many conflicting and even warring differences. The destiny of humanity has been to form a one home for all humans on this planet earth. This destiny has caused conquerors to bring down walls, missionaries to cross borders, traders to roam across the globe with their goods to sale and others' to buy, and other courageous extraordinary activities with both happy and sad consequences for many.
The latest big project was communist international, consciously launched by the Marxists in the 19th century. This revolutionary movement had the goal of setting up world socialism by making socialist revolutions in country after country. This was the most serious attempt to form a united humanity based on cooperation instead of conflicts. Tens of thousands of people were engaged in this serious endeavor with their commitment, honesty, sufferings and great ideological underpinnings.
Yet communist internationalism failed and in its place emerged globalization. Though the trend of globalization is not new, it has become part of common parlance since the Second World War. The neo-imperialist capitalism is the fertile field for its growth. Western liberalism also went hand in hand with it. The World Bank, IMF, WTO, etc. played the role of the pushing force behind its high speed, which also put it in danger of falling off the track. It began to reach the top speed after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Globalization especially started to stumble since China, once a third world country, entered the field and began to upset the system for the previous rich countries of Europe and America. Through admission of China into the WTO in 2001, the globalization process consisting of free trade, privatization, structural adjustment in accordance with the neo-liberal ideology fell into a hole dug by itself. It is in a serious trouble now.
From the beginning, globalization had criticisms from both the left and right wing people. It has no theoretical ground or no committee for execution. It is a trend made real by the global capitalism for cheap production of goods by division of labor across the world for any single product. It exploits cheap labor in underdeveloped and developing countries by outsourcing the production but limiting the labor mobility. It is to a good extent free movement of commodities across borders and confining the working people within their own states. But rapid development of science and technology especially the mobile phone, Internet, and modern transportation by air have given ample freedom to people to overcome their national constraints.
The serious backlash against globalization have now begun to happen in the rich capitalist and neo-imperialist countries who started it in the first place and benefitted most from it. But some free movement of labor was enough to shake the cart of globalization. Poor and working people in rich countries began to suspect globalization for their bad conditions. China especially became target for rightwing demagogues in these countries. They tried to put blame for their ills on the immigrant labor from third world and politically troubled countries and also on the cheap goods imported from there.
Now the liberalists and neo-liberalists are in opposite camps facing one another putting the world into a danger of new wars here and there. A new internationalism attempted by Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbin and DiEM25 (the Democracy in Europe Movement), one of whose co-founders is Varoufakis, shows peoples the only possible way of coming out of this trap and building a better world for a happier humanity.
The writer is Editor, Biggan O Sangskriti.
Leave a Comment
The news that the UN’s culture and education arm, UNESCO, has de ...
Russian Ambassador to Bangladesh Alexander Mantytskiy today said they ...