The Virtues of Deglobalization

Linked with Walden Bello – Philippines.

Published on Bangla Praxis (first on Foreign Policy in Focus),  by Walden Bello, 3 September 2009.

The current global downturn, the worst since the Great Depression 70 years ago, pounded the last nail into the coffin of globalization. Already beleaguered by evidence that showed global poverty and inequality increasing, even as most poor countries experienced little or no economic growth, globalization has been terminally discredited in the last two years. As the much-heralded process of financial and trade interdependence went into reverse, it became the transmission belt not of prosperity but of economic crisis and collapse.

End of an Era …

… 11 Pillars of the Alternative – There are 11 key prongs of the deglobalization paradigm: 

  • 1.Production for the domestic market must again become the center of gravity of the economy rather than production for export markets.
  • 2.The principle of subsidiarity should be enshrined in economic life by encouraging production of goods at the level of the community and at the national level if this can be done at reasonable cost in order to preserve community.
  • 3.Trade policy — that is, quotas and tariffs — should be used to protect the local economy from destruction by corporate-subsidized commodities with artificially low prices.
  • 4.Industrial policy — including subsidies, tariffs, and trade — should be used to revitalize and strengthen the manufacturing sector.
  • 5.Long-postponed measures of equitable income redistribution and land redistribution (including urban land reform) can create a vibrant internal market that would serve as the anchor of the economy and produce local financial resources for investment.
  • 6.Deemphasizing growth, emphasizing upgrading the quality of life, and maximizing equity will reduce environmental disequilibrium.
  • 7.The development and diffusion of environmentally congenial technology in both agriculture and industry should be encouraged.
  • 8.Strategic economic decisions cannot be left to the market or to technocrats. Instead, the scope of democratic decision-making in the economy should be expanded so that all vital questions — such as which industries to develop or phase out, what proportion of the government budget to devote to agriculture, etc. — become subject to democratic discussion and choice.
  • 9.Civil society must constantly monitor and supervise the private sector and the state, a process that should be institutionalized.
  • 10.The property complex should be transformed into a “mixed economy” that includes community cooperatives, private enterprises, and state enterprises, and excludes transnational corporations.
  • 11.Centralized global institutions like the IMF and the World Bank should be replaced with regional institutions built not on free trade and capital mobility but on principles of cooperation that, to use the words of Hugo Chavez in describing the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), “transcend the logic of capitalism.”

From the Cult of Efficiency to Effective Economics: … (full text).

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