Jeremiah Kure
Jeremiah Kure

The battle for the heart and soul of a new world order

The naïve amongst us really believed that Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala stood a fighting chance at landing the World Bank presidency. The realists and the cynics knew that the whole thing was but a mere charade. As things eventually turned out, the decision had already been made. If anything, the formality of going through the election process gave more credence to the stark reality that the US is still very much intent on holding to whatever vestiges of influence and power remaining at its disposal. It is a reality which the Brics member states are fully cognisant of and now seem ready to change.

We are currently living the effects of the worst financial crisis since The Great Depression. It is a crisis which in so many ways has signaled the implosion of America’s brand of capitalism. Most importantly, the crisis has confirmed the waning influence of the West and increased the urgency for an alternative system of development and wealth creation to be found.

More harm than good has resulted from the current system of capitalism as championed by the US. Countries with resources are exploited and impoverished. Capitalism in the form that it exists today has resulted in a grossly inequitable world where less than 5% of the global population (primarily residing in the US), consume more than 25% of the resources.

Inequality aside, capitalism has more dire consequences which threaten our world not least with global warming and terrorism pursued by those who seek redress against the theft and plunder of their resources, cultures and religion through violence.

All told, there is plenty of evidence around that the geopolitical center of the world is shifting from West to East. Most fair-minded people are convinced that a prolonged recession could in the end deal a body blow to the US economy and spell the end of America’s dominance in our world. And that is really not a bad thing. If anything it is a good thing that countries endowed with resources should benefit directly and fully from the exploitation and beneficiation of their oil and minerals.

It is in this context that the case for Brics is not just a compelling proposition but one which could save capitalism and civilisation as we know it from self-destruction. Brics should forge ahead with its initiatives to establish an alternative center of economic power. Recent efforts to set up a Brics development bank must be supported and substantive plans drawn up for a fast tracked implementation.

In March 2012, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa signed a new financial cooperation agreement in New Delhi geared at boosting trade amongst themselves. In 2010, trade between the Brics countries stood at $230-billion. It is their stated aim to double the trade volumes to $500-billion in the next three years. We know that collectively, Brics is home to 40% of the world’s population and approximately 20% of global GDP. All things considered then, there is absolutely no reason why Brics should pander to the whims of the US-led World Bank and IMF.

For decades, the IMF and World Bank has waged and sustained an economic war of attrition against the Third World using weapons such as Structural Adjustment Programmes which saddled developing countries with insurmountable levels of debt. In effect, unprecedented and unrelenting acts of economic terrorism have been waged by the IMF against Third World nations. The World Bank which has among one of its stated objectives, the alleviation of global poverty has done more to worsen the plight of the poor than improve it. It is therefore very disappointing that when the opportunity arises for the World Bank to change tack and appoint a well-qualified and experienced resource from a Third World nation, they chose to thumb their nose at us. It was an indefensible gesture and one that must be treated with the contempt it deserves.

As with all crises, the current one presents opportunities which BRICS must capitalise on in order to ensure a safer and sustainable civilisation. Brics has an opportunity to pursue a more responsible and equitable form of capitalism which ironically has the potential to save the world from America’s dangerous version of the same. As the world makes the transition from one order to the next, this is indeed a battle Brics cannot afford to lose.

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    • ian shaw

      An excellent piece or worjk which must b+ appaluded,

    • http://none Lyndall Beddy

      Ngozi Okonjo is a Harvard trained neo-liberal and very unpopular in Nigeria for removing the subsidy on petrol, thereby doubling the petrol price. She would not have changed existing policy at all.

      Obama’s candidate is a socialist who has written books and successfully implemented socialist health reforms.

    • Rich Brauer

      Well, let’s start with the mighty simple: If you thought that Barack Obama, widely seen as a crypto-Kenyan by the American Right, was going to allow an African, let alone a Nigerian (to Americans, the land of 419 scams and Boko Haram), to take post that has always been held by an American (adding fuel to the fire that he’s not a proud American), in an election year where the results will be much closer than they were in 2008, then yes, you were painfully, *painfully* naive.

      As for the current depression “confirming” the decline of the West, and in particular, America: the same was confirmed in the 1970s, with defeat in Vietnam and the oil crisis, and again in the 1980s with the meteoric rise of Japanese economic power. In both cases, pundits and policy-makers were absolutely convinced, and dozens of books and hundreds of articles all leapt to assure us of its reality.

      And yet, it didn’t actually happen.

    • Sterling Ferguson

      @Kure, the only way that these BRICS countries can beat the west, they have to out produce the west. The US is the world leader in food production, technology and is loaded with natural resources. If one look at the BRICS countries, China and India are both overpopulated and can’t hardly feed its people with their few resources. Russia is loaded with resources and they don’t have the capital to develop these resources. In the case with Brazil, this country is a great food producer but have very little technology and the president of Brazil was just here trying to get the US to let Brazilians come study in the US. The Brazilian president also wants to increase trade with the US after shooting off her mouth in India. In the case with SA, her economy is so small that she has no impact on the world economies. There are many countries with a larger economy then SA and are not members of BRICS.

      Moreover, it was the western countries that developed the resources in Africa and the leaders in Africa stole all the money from the government. The biggest enemies in Africa is not the west but corruption by the government officials.

    • Rich Brauer

      To continue:
      “Countries with resources are exploited and impoverished.”

      Really. I can’t help but note that BRICS member Russia has loads of oil and natural gas, and seems to be doing quite well exploiting those resources to its own advantage. If there’s anyone being exploited, it would be Russia’s own citizens, by Gazprom and other parts of the oligarchy. Or, say, China, the biggest producer and exporter of ‘rare earths’, which uses its current near-monopoly on those resources as a geopolitical tool.

      And to continue with China and exploitation, particularly with regard to Africa, just who’s mining, exporting, and buying African resources? Coltan, the mineral arguably most at the root of the continuing conflict in DRC, doesn’t go to Europe or the US. At least, not until it’s exported to China and other countries in the East, where it’s put into phones to fuel their manufactured-goods export-oriented economies. Where’s all that steel & iron coming out of Saldanha going? It’s not the West.

      And I think if you take a look at “fair-minded people”, many of them are deeply concerned about the agreements and plans the Chinese have for Africa. You know, where the Dalai Lama can’t get a visa because it might annoy them?

      No one is going to argue that Western multinationals and their fully funded governments aren’t looking to cadge each and every penny out of Africa. But if you think that everyone else isn’t looking to do the same, you are ridiculously…

    • NATE_IV

      No words can describe how it feels to be theosophical in this kind of times.

    • Seyyi

      @Lynday belly. Dr. Iweala is commited to change. And that is what she is doing presently in the Nigeria finance ministry. Nigeria must is blessed to have her as the head of the economic team.

    • Sterling Ferguson

      @Rich, African leaders have retarded Africa development with their dumb economic policies and the widespread corruption in Africa. The late president had 31/2 billion dollars in the banks in Europe that had been stolen from the government and the people in Nigeria are dirty poor.

    • Sterling Ferguson

      @Beddy, Obama also bail out Wall Street.

    • MLH

      Re Brics: “It is their stated aim to double the trade volumes to $500-billion in the next three years.”

      Pray tell what part in this SA is likely to play. I can only see us holding the aim back considerably.

    • http://none Lyndall Beddy

      MLH

      South Africa has the best infrastructure in Africa, despite it not having been maintained for 20 years, is the most developed country since the 19th century despite being furthest from the markets than Mediterranean Africa by far, and has one of the best climates.

      It is the best base for the BRICS countries to use as a base from which to re-colonise Africa. That is the only reason it was included in BRICS.

    • http://hismastersvoice.wordpress.com/ The Creator

      I see no sign that BRICS is about a new world order. China, and to a lesser extent Russia, might have an interest in reducing American dominance of the world, but India, Brazil and South Africa are much less interested. And although reducing American dominance of the world might appear beneficial, it isn’t automatically an improvement if the decisions are made in Moskva and Beijing rather than New York and Washington.

      Yes, a new world order is necessary if we are to escape global environmental and resource disaster. But — once again I have to agree with Lyndall Beddy — the question of the leadership of the World Bank by a capitalist tool from Nigeria or a capitalist tool from Korea is hardly the road to transformation.

    • Joseph

      Very naive article actually. And the debate regarding making the most with what you have has been dealt an illogical blow.

      ‘Rich’ countries that have been more impoverished than some poorer (or ‘exploited’ as you mentioned) after WW2 for instance found their way back to ‘rich’ muuuuuuuch quicker than some poor ones still sitting there. Brand capitalism has many failings yes, but don’t confuse productivity with capitalism.

      Productivity is a state of mind, not a state of (supposed stolen) resources. Everyone has access to that state of mind.

    • http://www.sane.org.za Yaj

      Good article. Key to any hope left for the global economy is monetary reform with national banking systems based on debt-free credit issued by public banks to finance productive investment both socially and economically in ways that will pave the way to a sustainable and just steady-state economy.

    • Sterling Ferguson

      @Beddy,Creator, the president of Brazil was in the US two weeks ago seeking more trade with the US. she wants to be able to send one hundred thousandth students to the US for training in the universities in the US. China a few months ago president came to the US seeking better trade deals. India president was in the US seeking better trade deal with the US and more investments from the US. Russia has just open her door for western investment in Russia. I don’t why Zuma isn’t coming to the US seeking better trade deals like the other BRICS countries.

      Moreover, the last meeting the BRICS countries passed a resolution about the US dollar and steps will be taken against the dollar. The US has been pressuring China to let her yuan float on the open market and China has refused to do so. If China let her yuan goes up in value, it would create a depression in her manufacturing sector. China has destroyed the SA manufacturing sector since 1994 this where all of the jobs have gone in SA. Brazil has just put up trade barriers to goods made in China because her manufacturing sector was suffering. Finally, instead of having a new world order China and India will create a new world disorder with all of those people.

    • http://none Lyndall Beddy

      Sterling

      The president of Brazil is sending 1000 students to the USA and we are sending 300 students to be trained in Cuba in medicine, when their health services are half a century out of date?

      Where were the first Heart Transplant and the second successful Caesarian in the British Empire done – in Cuba or in South Africa?

      About 7 years ago Brazil had the highest gini – coefficient gap in the world, together with Zimbabwe. Now South Africa has – I wonder why?

    • citoyen

      Good article. The problem is global in scale. We need more brutal honesty in the world about what is really going on.

      Signing this petition is a good place to start: Avaaz has 14 million subscribers and this is its latest petition, launched today.

      Come Clean About the Free Fall of WTC 7 – AVAAZ

      http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Come_clean_about_free_fall_of_the_World_Trade_Center_Building_7/?cUuyGcb