[P2P-F] Fwd: [CommonGood] FYI: 1 interesting event, 1 remarkable document

Michel Bauwens michel at p2pfoundation.net
Mon Jul 24 08:48:01 CEST 2017

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Birgit Daiber <bir.dai at hotmail.com>
Date: Sat, Jul 22, 2017 at 5:41 PM
Subject: [CommonGood] FYI: 1 interesting event, 1 remarkable document
To: "commongood at listi.jpberlin.de" <commongood at listi.jpberlin.de>

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

1)From 30 August to 2 Sept, an  intersting conference will take place in
Buenos Aires: "La Economia de los/la Trabajadores/las"  concentrating on
workers occupied factories and self-organised cooperatives. The conference
is organised by the Open Faculty Programm of the Faculty of Philosophy,
University of Buenos Aires and it's place is Piqué in Buenos Aires.

2) Tina Ebro is distributing the newest article of Walden Bello  "It’s Not
Only Necessary to Develop an Alternative to Globalization — It’s Entirely
Possible" enjoy reading it!

Yours, Birgit

*Foreign Policy In Focus, 17 July 2017*
It’s Not Only Necessary to Develop an Alternative to Globalization — It’s
Entirely Possible

It was the left who diagnosed the ills of globalization. So why is the
right eating our lunch?

*Foreign Policy In Focus columnist Walden Bello is an international adjunct
professor of sociology at the State University of New York at Binghamton.
He’s the author of Capitalism’s Last Stand? Deglobalization in a Time of
Austerity (London: Zed, 2013), an associate of the Transnational Institute,
and co-chair of the board of Focus on the Global South.*

*by Walden Be <http://fpif.org/authors/walden-bello/>ll
<http://fpif.org/authors/walden-bello/>o *

[image: democracy-free-trade-TPP-oligarchy-neoliberalism]

 (Photo: StopFastTrack / Flickr)

Free trade and the freedom of capital to move across borders have been the
cutting edge of globalization. They’ve also led to the succession of crises
that have led to the widespread questioning of capitalism as a way of
organizing economic life — and of its paramount ideological expression,

The protests against capitalism at the recent G20 meeting in Hamburg may
seem superficially the same as those which marked similar meetings in the
early 2000s. But there’s one big difference now: Global capitalism is in a
period of long-term stagnation following the global financial crisis. The
newer protests represent a far broader disenchantment with capitalism than
the protests of the 2000s.

Yet capitalism’s resilience amidst crisis must not be underestimated. For
trade activists, in particular, who’ve been on the forefront of the
struggle against neoliberalism and globalization over the last two decades,
there are a number of key challenges posed by the conjuncture.

*Neoliberalism’s Surprising Strength*

First is the surprising strength of neoliberalism.

The credibility of neoliberalism, to which free trade ideology is central,
has been deeply damaged by a succession of events over the last two
decades, among which were the collapse of the third ministerial of the
World Trade Organization in Seattle in 1999, the Asian financial crisis in
1997-98, and the Global financial crisis of 2008-2009, the effects of which
continue to drag down the global economy.

Most of us in the field remember the time late in 2008, when after hearing
accounts of the Global financial crisis from an assembly of orthodox
economists at the London School of Economics, Queen Elizabeth posed the
question: “Why didn’t anybody see this coming?
None of the dumbfounded economists could answer her then — and last I
heard, the queen is still waiting for the answer.

What one finds puzzling is despite this loss of credibility, neoliberalism
continues to rule. Academic economists continue to teach it, and
technocrats continue to prescribe it. The false assumptions of free trade
theory underlie the free trade agreements or economic partnership
agreements into which the big powers continue to try to rope developing

To borrow an image from the old western films, the train engineer has been
shot and killed, but his dead hand continues to push down on the throttle,
with the train gathering more and more speed. The takeaway from this is
that so long as there are interests that are served by an ideology, such as
corporate interests and knowledge institutions that have invested in it,
even a succession of devastating crises of credibility isn’t enough to
overthrow a paradigm.

*Export-led Growth Is Still on Course*

The second challenge is especially relevant to developing countries. It is
the persistence of the model of export-oriented growth.

Now, this model of development through trade is shared both by neoliberals
and non-neoliberals — the difference being that the former think it should
be advanced by market forces alone and the latter with the vigorous help of
the state. Now, over the last few years, the stagnation of the once dynamic
centers of the global demand — the U.S., Europe, and the BRICS — has made
this model obsolete.

It was, in fact, the non-viability of this once successful model of rapid
growth in current global circumstances that pushed China, under Hu Jintao
and Wen Jiabao, to push the country away from an export-oriented path to a
domestic demand-led strategy via a massive $585 billion stimulus program.
They failed, and the reason for their failure is instructive.

In fact, a set of powerful interests had congealed around the
export-oriented model — the state banks, regional and local governments
that had benefited from the strategy, export-oriented state enterprises,
foreign investors — and these prevented the model from being dislodged,
even given its unsuitability in this period of global stagnation.

These same policy struggles are going on in other developing countries. In
most cases, the outcome is the same: The export lobbies are winning,
despite the fact that the global conditions sustaining their strategy are

*The Right Eats Our Lunch*

A third challenge has to do with the fact that when major changes in trade
policy do take place, it’s not because of the actions of progressive groups
but of demagogues of the right. I think this is clearest in the case of the
United States.

It was Donald Trump who shot down the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that
had been the object of so much criticism coming from the left. Trump may be
a demagogue and his motives may be opportunistic, but it was he who came
through on one of the central demands of U.S. labor — not the Democrats —
with the consequence that he’s been able to win over large parts of the
white working class.

In Europe, working classes are moving to right wing parties in significant
numbers as well, not only owing to a racist response to immigration, but
also because these far-right parties are espousing anti-globalization and
anti-free trade rhetoric. As in the case with the Democrats in the U.S.,
the Social Democrats in Europe are identified with financialization and
free trade, and this is a central reason for their loss of credibility.

But it was the *non-establishment* left, the left of social movements, that
began and developed the critique of globalization, neoliberalism, and free
trade in the 1990s and the 2000s. But for a variety of reasons, we weren’t
able to translate our politics into an effective movement. The extreme
right, on the other hand, opportunistically expropriated our message,
rebranded themselves as anti-neoliberals opposed to the center-right as
well as the center-left, and now they’re eating our lunch.

*The Alternative*

The final challenge has to do with coming up with a credible alternative

My first two points stressed the importance of powerful interests in
sustaining a paradigm despite its loss of intellectual credibility. But
this isn’t sufficient to explain the continuing powerful influence of
neoliberalism. Our failure to move from a critique of neoliberal capitalism
to a powerful alternative model — like socialism provided to so many
marginalized classes, peoples, and nations in the 20th century — is part of
the problem.

The theoretical building blocks of an alternative economic model are there,
the product of the work of so many progressives over the last 50 years.
This includes the rich work that has been done around sustainable
development, de-growth, and de-globalization. The task is to integrate them
not only into an intellectually coherent model, but into an inspiring
narrative that combines vision, theory, program, and action, and one that
rests firmly on the values of justice, equity, and environmental

Of course, the work towards this goal will be long and hard. But we must
not only be convinced that it’s *necessary* but also confident that it’s
*possible* to come up with an alternative that will rally most of the
people behind us. Ideas matter. To borrow the old biblical saying, “Without
vision, the people perish.”

These are some of the central challenges confronting trade activists. We
cannot leave the field to a neoliberalism that has failed or to an
extremism that has appropriated some of our analysis and married them to
hideous, reactionary values.

A progressive future is not guaranteed. We must work to bring it about, and
we will.


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