The United States, world, globalization, historical perspective, UN Summit of October 2005, UN United Nations, global elite, subprime crisis, NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization, globalization, the US, US United States, history, economists, political scientists, social scientists, historians, theoretical perspective, IMTFE International Military Tribunal for the Far East, international military court, European concert, Cold War, EU European Union, globalization of culture, globalization of information, free trade, free market, multinational corporations, back offices, research centers, world population, world economy, NAFTA North American Free Trade Agreement, ALENA Accord de Libre-Échange Nord-Américain, MERCOSUR Mercado Común del Sur, unipolar world, multipolar world, regionalism, unbalance
The concept of globalization is not new: in his Communist Manifesto, in 1848, Karl Marx underlined that the bourgeoisie needed constantly expanding markets.
Some distinctions are important. Globalization happens, or at least is discussed, in the context of several different fields, in which it does not necessarily evolve in the same way or at the same rate. A big question: is globalization just a general, inescapable phenomenon? Or also the result of a strategy? Who profits from globalization? Does one country (the US) or several countries profit from it more than others? Will it be a unipolar world or a multipolar one? An historical perspective, not just a theoretical one, is here useful.
[...] About world politics: in the 90s there were three main theories: A new role for the UN after the Cold War would emerge; it's a fact that the UN could intervene in several crises (from Bosnia, Kosovo - with NATO-, Timor, Africa) to maintain or restore peace. It has been much more active than before. But there have been also failures: Somalia, Rwanda, Darfur . At the same time, the UN Summit of October 2005 was supposed to reform the Charta in order to make the UN more effective in a changing world: enlarging the Security Council, developing new voting rules to allow prompt intervention against genocide, and so on. [...]
[...] Savings by the private households in the US is now less than 1%. People borrow for everything durable they buy. US trade deficit, its budget deficit and the capital flow towards the US are thus closely linked. We witness a Chinese-US tandem, with many consequences, also political ones, but which are often quite unhealthy. It cannot last forever: at some point confidence will disappear and the dollar will begin to be attacked and come down. Of course, if its decline is not too quick, it might be a good thing for American exports, and thus restore the US balance of trade. [...]
[...] That evolution was predicted in the thirties by the opponents to liberal globalization, to a united world market. In a partial way, it's happening. Regionalism is a reality, as much as globalization. And opposition to globalization, and particularly to its social consequences with the outsourcing of production towards counties with lower wages, is rising, particularly in Europe and South America. New political groupings could slow it down, at least up to a point. Especially because competition covers more and more of the whole range: high-end products are less and less a preserve of the developed West, and even high-tech companies and jobs are no longer secure. [...]
[...] For the US a positive effect since the crisis and the side of the dollar has been a quick reduction in the trade deficit. Apparently, the US is managing an economic soft landing? But the problem has been passed over to the Europeans. With a very high Euro their exports begin to suffer, and their growth rate, already sluggish, begins to slow down even more after less than two years of timid recovery. And they are in a fix: either they suffer from a low dollar, or, if the dollar recovers and the US economy slows down which would be now a consequence of a rise of the dollar, they suffer from a US recession. [...]
[...] That would be a system based on the major powers, not only on the UN or a benevolent hegemon, and on a series of regional subsystems, even if the US is certainly going to play a big role in all those regional subsystems. Also, at the political level, globalization is not a one-way street. Conclusion Globalization is a fact, but much more complex than usually assumed. It is too simple an expression to describe a complex reality. It's certainly a trend, despite its limits. But it's above all a thought-provoking methodological problem, it's a question we must ask to analyze current evolution, without believing that the concept of globalization explains everything. [...]
Online readingwith our online reader
Content validatedby our reading committee