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Mahatma Gandhi Community Forum

PERSPECTIVE EMERGENCE OF ECONOMIC GLOBALISATION : GANDHIAN VIEW


THE EMERGENCE OF New Global Economic System, has entirely changed the concept of regional peace and security at the global level. In the last decade of the twentieth century, a very powerful international lobby has built a strong public opinion through electronic and print media that there was a universal need for more and more liberalization in the field of trade, commerce, and industries. This process of globalization culminated in the formation of World Trade Organization. More than one hundred and seventy nation-states have come to globalize their approach in the field of economic activities. In the form of WTO, cutting across geo-political boundaries and political ideologies. Apparently, this new phenomenon of economic globalization
appears to be very lofty.

The idea of WTO was floated by the rich countries, in the name of so-called universal progress and development. The WTO brought a diabolical change in global politics. Until recent past, it used to be the “political powers” that have been influencing the economic policies of a particular nation-state. With the emergence of GATT and WTO, the “economic powers” have taken the upper hand by acquiring the power to decide, direct, and dictate the “political leadership” of its member countries at the nation-state as well as the overall global situation.

The WTO has virtually become the deciding as to which economic policy has to be adopted in order to serve a particular economic interest. Before the emergence of GATT and WTO, the economic powers at the national level had been influencing the policies and political of the nation-state from behind the scene. But now these forces have come to the fore and have sidelined the “political power” by taking over the decision-making authority on the economic politic. The nation-state agencies are being forced to act as a corolla of the WTO in economic matters. For example, it is the WTO, which is dictating what is to be produced and how much is to be produced, how much a country can import, and how much it can export. No individual nation, which has signed the GATT agreements, can henceforth decide its economic policies unilaterally. It has to go through the WTO.

The New Global Economic System has overtaken the existing “political system” for a ride. Therefore it has become imperative that the vital issues like “the Emerging Order for Regional Peace and International Security” the “New Economic Order”, "The New Information Order”, and “the Emerging Social and Cultural Order”, must be analyzed in the light of the changing global scenario. The existing political system will hereafter be controlled, influence, and ultimately forced to accept the policies, decided by the “New Global Economic System”, which currently is being dominated by the “capitalist” forces. In this changed situation a “New Global Political System” has become a dire of the hour. Whether the international agency like the United Nations has the political will power and moral support from its dominant member-nations is a million-dollar question. It is a must, in order to keep checks and balances on the emerging NGES paradigm.

GLOBAL IMPACT OF EXISTING POLITICAL & ECONOMIC SYSTEMS :-
Evaluate the two existing political and economic system are democracy and democratic socialism. These two systems, have been influencing the issues of “regional peace and international security” till the last decade of the twentieth century. These two popular political systems were gradually evolved to replace the centuries old redundant political and economic systems such as monarchy, feudalism, and colonialism. Democracy in most of the countries was based on the British parliamentary system. Democratic socialism was based on the Marxist theory of egalitarian society. The Communistic system came into existence after the 1917 revolution in Soviet Russia, while democracy was born in Britain in the eighteenth century and has since partly in practice in most of the countries of the world.

At the end of the eighth decade of the twentieth century in 1989, the USSR got dissolved and many of its republics disintegrated and became independent countries. They were forced to adopt the free market-based capitalistic system. Till then, all diplomatic purposes, most of the nation-states were identified as direct or indirect supporters of either Eastern block or of the Western bloc, barring a few exceptions. The Western bloc was the open and free world based on democratic values. Under this system the ordinary people have full freedom and liberty. On the other hand, the Eastern bloc was named as “Iron Curtain World” where the citizens have no freedom and civil liberties. It remained a hard fact that none of the two systems could fulfill their commitments and both got into a long-drawn Cold War and have been busy in a MAD race of building armies and armaments, totally forgetting the promises that their political leadership made to the people.

A quick overview of the twentieth-century social, political, and economic outcomes that have immensely affected the common masses all over the world:
In the first decade, Gandhi and others gave a clarion call to fight at the people’s level, the cult of colonialism and feudalism of the rich West. This struggle for basic human rights began from South Africa in a small but in a very unusual way, by adopting the innovative human technology of nonviolent struggle, the Satyagraha. This unique movement slowly got spread all over the world, particularly in the Afro-Asian countries, which were mostly under the colonial rulers.

In the second decade, people had to witness the First World War which had brought about innumerable deaths, immeasurable destruction of human and material resources, besides leaving behind awful miseries and sufferings to face, for millions in the decades that followed. The horrors of this ugly war brought into being the League of Nation with a hope to establish global peace and security. But not much could be achieved in the direction to build a “global order for peace And security”. In the later part of this decade emerged the 1917 Revolution in Soviet Russia. It came with a ray of hope of building an egalitarian society based on Marxist theory of economic equality and social justice.

In the early 1930s, Gandhi gave a new dimension to his nonviolent civil disobedience movement through his historic Salt March. It not only shook the Indian masses but also drew the attention of the global community. It brought a global awareness about the basic human rights, and gave a new impetus to the struggle of the oppressed and the depressed all over the world. The whole world was badly hit by the worst economic recession in the mid-1930s in which the poorest had to suffer the most. Then came the Holocaust of the Nazi Regime followed by World War II in the mid-1940s. For the first time in human history, the nuclear weapons were used in this war. More than three hundred fifty thousand innocent people, men, women, young, old and infants; were killed in the two cities of Japan, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Thousands were left to die a slow death to delayed radioactive effects, which has been continuing till today. This perhaps was the worst tragedy of the millennium.

The horrors of World War II again compelled the political leadership all over the world to constitute a broad-based international forum, which could effectively work for peace and international security. Hence the League of Nations was thus replaced by the formation of the United Nation Organization. Unfortunately, it remained a daydream. In spite of the endless efforts of the UNO and its various forums like Security Council, the world has witnessed many dreadful wars in the second half of the twentieth century. Besides, a long-drawn Cold War also did continue after World War II, between the two Super Powers. It had brought the world almost to the brink of a third world war. Human and material resources worth billons and billion of dollars had been spent in pilling up nuclear as well as conventional weapons at the cost of millions and millions dying of hunger, poverty, and disease. Even after a decade of the post-Cold War period, there seems to be no end to this MAD race. Many people have now started thinking that the UNO has also lost its purpose and direction. It has practically been reduced to a tool in the hands of a few vested interests and the lone Super Power. Secretary General of the United Nations, in his Millennium address to the UN General Assembly on 8 September 2000, himself expressed his doubts about the future role of UNO in the fast changing global scenario.

The outgoing twentieth century has been very unique and eventful in many ways. On the one side, the world has moved much ahead in the direction of the so-called “material progress and economic development.” Scientific and technological discoveries and inventions have totally changed the face of our planet Earth. The electronic highways have practically demolished all geo-political boundaries and have reduced the planet into a “global village”. There has been tremendous progress in the field of technical education, physical health, communications, information technology, and the transportation systems. These material changes have revolutionized the standards of living and quality of life for only a few. But, on the other hand, unfortunately, there has been an ever-increasing gulf between the haves and the have-nots. Almost two-thirds of the people living on this globe are still half-fed, and half-sheltered.

None of these two political systems, that dominated the polity and economy of the twentieth century, was able to face the real and genuine problems of the teeming millions.
In the former USSR and other communist countries, their political system has failed due to the wrong policies of its exponents. The political leadership in these countries totally ignored to fulfill the promises that they made to work for economic equality and social justice to the masses. The countries under the Iron Curtain of the communistic regime got totally lost in the made race of building armaments. Common people in the communist world neither could get their personal freedom nor economic equality and social justice. A false fear psychosis was created by the political leadership in the minds of the ignorant people that it is imperative to build armaments in order to meet the potential war threats from the USA. This artificially created fear totally ruined their economy and made the USSR bankrupt. The obvious result had to be the unfortunate end of the Communist Era.

Another important universal phenomenon of socio-culture change in the late twentieth century has been the ever-rising trends of hidden violence in the personal life of the individual. It is very often reflected in the society in the form of social and political violence. People are still divided over the color, cast, and creed and of course by the ill-founded concept of “majority and minority”. Most of the wars that have been fought in the later half of the twentieth century in many parts of the world have their roots in ethnicity. It is basically a human-attitudinal problem deeply rooted in human psyche.
How can we bring a fundamental change in the human attitudes at the personal level and the circumstantial changes at the society level so as to combat personal and social violence? This change has to come at the level of the socio-political systems. Is it not a big challenged before humanity? This, I believe, is the real riddle to be solved to build a “new order for regional peace and international security” in any part of the globe.

Gandhi in 1908 had warned the world about the ills and limitations of the parliamentary system of democracy in his controversial book Hind Swaraj. His own political party Indian National Congress disagreed to his theory. He was left alone when India got independence from British colonialism in 1947. Nehru had tried the Soviet model for development against Gandhi’s will and he miserably failed. Now we have gone for the economic globalization on the GATT and WTO lines. It is like going from the frying pan to the fire.

We have to look back to Gandhi. After the near failure of both communism and capitalism, we have to look for a Third Power which could provide a better and more positive “humane system” for building a better world, a new system that would be free from any sort of violence at the individual as well as at the social level. Here comes the relevance of Gandhi who advocated a new socio-political system based on human values of love and compassion. It could be achieved, firstly, by invoking the sprit of voluntarism, which is hidden inside every human being, to serve the downtrodden, and secondly, by imbibing the life of complementarily in place of competition, to complement the life of the local community or village through social and economic activates, without exploiting one another’s skill and also without exploitation of the Mother Earth, for satisfying lust and greed of material powers and consumerism. This pattern of life at the local and global level can build “Regional Peace And International Security” at the global levelWith the fall of USSR and the end of the Cold War, the situation in the Asia-Pacific has taken new dimensions. USA Administration’s foreign policy of keeping strong army bases in the Asia-Pacific region has slowly been changing. Asia-Pacific countries are emerging as regional Super Powers, economically as well as militarily. Take the example of Japan; it has challenged the Super Powers like America in the field of economic prosperity. Similarly small countries like Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong have developed their economies in a a marvelous way and have become prosperous. India has also made its place in the IT sector.

To conclude, I have the following humble suggestions to make as a way to build a new Asia-Pacific region for permanent peace and security:All disputes in the Asia-Pacific region must be solved across the table without involving outside forces and intermediaries.

Countries of Asia-Pacific may start a process of having a common Minister of Defense and Minister of Affairs, as 170 countries have accepted the WTO as their common Minister for Economic Affairs.

Providing merely the “vote power” to the voter will not strengthen the roots of democracy at the local level. We must think of providing” note power” to the voter. That means making a voter an equal partner in the Gross National production so that the national wealth could be shared equitably. This will reduce the gap between the haves and have – nots that is the root cause of hidden social violence. The decision making power should also be vested in the local democratic institutions as had been visualized by Gandhi in his concept of “village republics”.

Wherever there are violent struggles for local autonomy in the Asia-Pacific region, local people should be allowed to decide about their future instead of forcing them to accept the status-quo position like the situation in Kashmir, Sri Lanka, Tibet, and other parts of the region.

The Indian government should start normalizing its relations with the neighboring countries. Recently there have been sincere efforts at the people’s level of normalize relations between India and Pakistan from both sides. These efforts must continue and moral pressure on both the governments must be brought. Top leadership must refrain from creating a warlike situation.

All head of the Asia-Pacific region should meet once in a year in order to develop more and more mutual understanding and avoid confrontation on the issues of mutual interests.

Last, but not least, a five-year moratorium should voluntarily be enforced on the military budgets in the region and the money thus saved should be spent on improving the lot of the poorest of the poor.

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