Xiamen Summit Doomed: Capitalist 'Deglobalisation' Could Crack BRICS

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By Patrick Bond for Borderless HK. The Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa summit in Xiamen from September 3-5 is already inscribed with high tension thanks to Sino-Indian border conflicts. But regardless of a new peace deal, centrifugal forces within the fast-whirling world economy threaten to divide the BRICS. 1brics Beijing’s logo designers for this summit, perhaps unconsciously subversive, illustrated how the formerly overlapping, interlocking BRICS are now thin and flimsy, wedging themselves apart. Such a prospect was predictable earlier this year as a result of Donald Trump’s ascendance. Both Washington’s neo-conservative ‘Deep State‘ and the (fast-disappearing) paleo-conservatives were intent on ramping up conflict with China – though early on, BRICS splintering towards the US included not only proto-fascist India, for elites in Russia and Brazil also sought friendly relations.

Globalization’s Blowback

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By Alex Jensen for Local Futures – A recent study of air pollution in the western United States made a startling finding: despite a 50 percent drop over the past 25 years in US emissions of smog-producing chemicals like nitrogen oxides (NOx), smog actually increased during that period in the rural US West – even in such ‘pristine’ environments as Yellowstone National Park. Most of this increase was traced to “the influx of pollution from Asian countries, including China, North and South Korea, Japan, India, and other South Asian countries.”[1] That’s because over the same period that NOx emissions declined in the US, they tripled in Asia as a whole.[2] In media reports of the study, China and India are described as the “worst offenders” of this fugitive “Asian pollution”.[3] Left only with these findings, a reasonable conclusion would be that the US has become more environmentally enlightened in recent decades, while Asia – particularly ‘developing’ Asia – is a veritable eco-reprobate, sacrificing not only its own but global airsheds to choking pollution. The new, anti-environmental EPA director, Scott Pruitt, recently expressed this view in explaining why the US should exit the Paris Climate Accord: “[China and India] are polluting far more than we are.”[4]

The End Of Globalisation

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By Stuart Jeanne Bramhall for Dissident Voice – In From Global to Local: The Making of Things and the End of Globalisation, Finbarr Livesey challenges the common neoliberal claim that globalization is the be-all and end-all of global prosperity. Livesey’s premise, which he supports with an impressive array of data, is that globalization peaked shortly after 2008 and the world economy is in a period of deglobalization. World trade is slowly declining as a percentage of GDP, and many companies who moved factories to the third world are improving their bottom line by reshoring them to the US and Europe. Livesey contends that, to a large extent, last year’s vote for Britain to leave the EU and for a US president who promised to withdraw from the TPP and bring back American jobs, merely reflect an economic trend that began nearly a decade ago. The present deglobalization was triggered by the 2008 financial crash that sucked trillions of dollars out of the global economy. However, Livesey identifies a number of other factors that influence this trend – chief among them the volatility of oil prices and shipping costs (containers must be booked months in advance) and the growing cost of labor in China and neighboring countries.

It’s Not Only Necessary To Develop An Alternative To Globalization — It’s Entirely Possible

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By Walden Bello for Foreign Policy in Focus – 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, neoliberalism. 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.

Newsletter: Power Dynamics Changing In World Order

Solidarity without Borders G-20 Hamburg by Reuters

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The G-20 summit highlighted a transition in geopolitical power that has been developing for years. The process has escalated in recent months since President Trump took office, but its roots go much deeper than Trump. The United States is losing power, a multi-polar world is taking shape and people power is on the rise. The G-20 bordered on being a G-19, with the US a loner on key issues of climate change, trade and migration. These are some of the biggest issues on the planet. German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been saying lately “We as Europeans have to take our fate into our own hands.” This is an indication they no longer see the US as the leader or even a reliable partner on some issues. In a summation of the G-20, Politico writes: “Hamburg will also go down as a further mile marker in Europe’s slow emancipation from the U.S.”

First Day Of G-20 Mass Protest, Tear Gas and Water Cannons

G-20  German riot police clash with protesters on July 6, 2017. By Fabrizio Bensch for Reuters.

By Staff for Popular Resistance. The meetings of the G-20 began on July 6 with President Trump and other foreign leaders arriving. They were met with immediate mass protests of globalization policies that urge corporate trade agreements, neoliberal privatization and austerity as well as inadequate action on climate change. More than 100,000 protesters are expected and 20,000 police are on hand to control and arrest them. The Huff Post reported: Violent clashes erupted Thursday between police and protesters in Hamburg, Germany, as world leaders are set to attend the G-20 summit in the city. Several people were injured, according to HuffPost Germany reporters on the scene. Hamburg police said 76 officers were injured. Earlier the department said three were hospitalized for the injuries. They implicated small groups of protesters in the violence. Police used smoke grenades and water cannons on protestors, reporters said, while activists threw stones, bottles and explosives, and set at least one car ablaze. Fires were still burning in the street as of 11 p.m. local time.

We Must Rethink Globalization, Or Trumpism Will Prevail

‘The abandoned and decaying manufacturing plant of Packard Motor Car in Detroit, Michigan’ Photograph: Eric Thayer/Reuters

By Thomas Piketty for Le Monde – Let it be said at once: Trump’s victory is primarily due to the explosion in economic and geographic inequality in the United States over several decades and the inability of successive governments to deal with this. Both the Clinton and the Obama administrations frequently went along with the market liberalization launched under Reagan and both Bush presidencies. At times they even outdid them: the financial and commercial deregulation carried out under Clinton is an example.

Explosive Leak: Corporate Demands From The EU For TiSA

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By Deborah James for Huffington Post. Today, for the first time, WikiLeaks released demands by the EU to lock in a wide list of services sectors to TISA’s privatization and deregulation provisions, including public services in developing countries. In the mid-2000s, when European campaigners leaked similar demands during corporate efforts to expand the General Agreement on Trade in Services, the EU was forced to walk back many of those demands. The European pressure on developing countries was widely condemned by the public, and revealed the corporate, antidevelopment efforts behind the deal, just as they are revealed today. Globalization’s cheerleaders are all hand-wringing about the widespread opposition to trade pacts. But what they don’t acknowledge is that people around the world are not rejecting “trade,” they are rejecting corporate control over our lives. People want to live in a democracy; they want quality, accessible public services; a well-regulated financial sector; and decent jobs for all.

When Humanitarianism Became Imperialism

Pashtun fighters. (photo: Nasar/Flickriver)

By Gregory Afinogenov for Jacobin – In 1980s Afghanistan, two world powers converged on each other, obliterating the national borders that stood in their way. The first was the Soviet state, bent on defending the precarious gains of a 1978 Communist coup d’état that it had actively tried to prevent. The second, caught in an even more painful paradox, was an uneasy alliance of foreign-funded jihadists, Western intelligence, and NGOs like Doctors Without Borders.

Globalization And Its New Discontents

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By Joseph E. Stiglitz for Project Syndicate – NEW YORK – Fifteen years ago, I wrote a little book, entitled Globalization and its Discontents, describing growing opposition in the developing world to globalizing reforms. It seemed a mystery: people in developing countries had been told that globalization would increase overall wellbeing. So why had so many people become so hostile to it? Now, globalization’s opponents in the emerging markets and developing countries have been joined by tens of millions in the advanced countries.

Noam Chomsky: We Are Suffering Major Downside Of Corporate Globalization

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By Noam Chomsky for E-International Relations – For better or worse, I’ve pretty much stayed the same throughout my life. When I was a child in elementary school I was writing articles for the school newspaper on the rise of fascism in Europe and the threats to the world as I saw them from a 10-year-old point of view, and on from there. By the time I was a young teenager, I was very involved in radical politics of all kinds; hanging around anarchist bookstores and offices. A lot concerned what was happening during the Second World War: the British attack on Greece and the atomic bomb I thought was shattering.

Review: ‘Global Capitalism And The Crisis Of Democracy’

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By Harry Targ for Portside. The more sophisticated theorists correctly argued that the dramatic increase in cross-border economic, political, and cultural interactions was not merely the result of the collapse of the Soviet Union, or the technological revolution, or the happy dawn of worldwide production and investment. For some theorists, including Jerry Harris, globalization was not even just a byproduct of a systematic policy by international economic institutions (although it was that too) but the development of a new stage in the history and direction of capitalism. This new stage in the development of global capitalism is the subject of this book. It provides the most comprehensive analysis to date of how neoliberal globalization shapes politics, the role of the state, and the possibilities for the creation of a new kind of socialism, a twenty-first century socialism.

People Increasingly See Themselves As Global Citizens

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By Naomi Grimley for BBC News – People are increasingly identifying themselves as global rather than national citizens, according to a BBC World Service poll. The trend is particularly marked in emerging economies, where people see themselves as outward looking and internationally minded. However, in Germany fewer people say they feel like global citizens now, compared with 2001.

Transforming The Global Economy Before It’s Too Late

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By Martin Kirk and Alnoor Ladha for Truthout – Saying “everything is connected” is pretty popular these days. “Systems thinking” is the discipline du jour. Everyone, it seems, is becoming aware that the challenges we face do not stand alone. Climate change, for example, is not just about carbon emissions, but also about economics, race relations, patriarchy and power. There is no line of disconnect, except where we draw it with our minds. Simply saying that everything is connected doesn’t get you very far, though. The real challenge is to understand how.

TPP & SOTU: The Facts vs. Obama

TPP Protest photo Monsanto wants it . . . any questions

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Flush The TPP. President Obama will make his push for the ratification of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) a major part of the State of the Union as this is a major goal of his final year in office. This is an opportunity for a widespread discussion of the TPP and what impacts it will have on the economy, workers, the environment and more. Just yesterday the World Bank published a comprehensive analysis of the TPP and concluded that by 2030 the TPP will have a miniscule 0.4% impact on US trade. The economic impact for the United States is minimal but the impact on workers, the environment, food safety, traditional energy and the overall balance between corporate power and government is dramatic. The president’s claims about the TPP should be examined closely and measured against the facts of what the TPP will actually do and the impact similar trade agreements have had. We know from past comments by the president and the US Trade Representative that their sales pitch for the TPP is not always consistent with the facts.