Breaking Out of the Old World Order

Events of the past week confirm the emergence of a new economic order, together with the growing revolt against the western-dictated “rules based order”. In the Global South, the refusal to be drawn into the geopolitical confrontation with Russia and China is growing, as a non-aligned movement takes form to demand an end to the modern form of colonialism, that is, underdevelopment or technological apartheid under whatever pretext.

Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed to the dynamic in a major speech on Oct. 16, saying “the world has once again reached a crossroads in history, and its future course will be decided by all the world’s peoples”. In other words, not only by the powerful (cf. below).

Just a few days before, leaders of 27 nations gathered in Astana, Kazakhstan, for the Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA), which includes China, India and Russia and 23 other countries in Asia and South-West Asia. Russian President Putin, backed by other speakers, took the occasion to declare that “The world is becoming truly multipolar, and Asia, where new centers of power are growing, is playing a major, if not the key role in this…. Asian countries are drivers of global economic growth.”

As in all other recent conferences outside of the strictly Western format, there was much discussion of bypassing the current financial system, and increasing the use of national currencies in bilateral trade.

Even long-standing steadfast allies of Washington and London, such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey, are openly breaking ranks. Riyadh “brazenly” decided to cut oil production, despite intense pressure and threats from the Biden Administration, while Turkish President Erdogan is actively seeking to negotiate with Putin an end to the Ukraine conflict, and recently ordered missile defense systems from Russia.

The International Monetary Fund itself has recognized the failure of the dominant system to alleviate poverty and foster peaceful development. Its Global Financial Stability Report, issued Oct. 11 was blunt: “The worst is yet to come, and for many people 2023 will feel like a recession,” due to an “unusually challenging financial stability environment”.

“Next year is going to feel painful,” Pierre-Olivier Gourinchas, the IMF’s chief economist, told CNBC on Oct. 11. “There’s going to be a lot of slowdown and economic pain.” The World Bank’s Axel van Trotsenburg concurred, noting that “extreme poverty is again increasing”, and that “47% of the world population is living in poverty. So this is very clear, people are hurting.”

Such are the observations of two leading institutions of the current world “order”. What would you conclude from such a situation? Would you want to maintain it? The answer explains why, even in Europe and the United States, so many are taking to the streets to demand a radical change in policy.

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