By: Julio César Peluffo*
From: Salerno, Italy
During isolation, it is difficult to stop reflecting on the world we have built and the one that we must rebuild after the pandemic, will we face an involution on social rights? Will we create a more democratic global system with developing countries? It is not truly clear today who will pay for the crisis or how we will respond to it, especially since on most issues we have been doing it wrong. We propose six urgent reflections on the future of our global system.
1. The role of banking by subjecting or serving democracies?
As the capitalist system evolves, banks have become from being elementary payment intermediaries into omnipresent monopolists of the economic system. From being secondary servants of industrial businesses (in the activation of monetary capital) to parasitize each productive sector, including fundamental rights (health, pensions, education, etc.). From having fragmented and modest fortunes to take advantage of almost all the monetary capital of the planet. From being hundreds of thousands of establishments in each country to reduce into a handful of rulers of the global financial system, even controlling and profiting at the cost of underdevelopment and debt from poorest countries.
During the financial crisis, banks have imposed their political power for their bailout at the expense of public budgets in health, education and development.
In large part, the world and globalization we have is the one that built the financial capital. Its success is the basis of the dishonorable inequality that governs the planet. The oppression of developing countries is only possible because of the alliance and submission of national elites to the global financial elites of the major powers.
2. Health systems, private profit or fundamental right?
Something has made clear with this health crisis, and it is that public health systems are to countries what the immune system is to our body. Millions of people suffer from Covid-19, but for years the «austerity» and privatization virus are killing the world’s health systems.
In the United States, «invisible market hand» allocates bills of up to $34,000. In Italy, the most affected European country, it is impossible to move away from the analysis of the cuts of more than 37 billion euros to public funding in the last ten years. A similar situation lives Spain as a product of austerity policies adopted after the 2008 crisis and imposed by the European Troika. In our developing countries, we don’t have robust public health systems, but as a billionaire business system with the people health. Shall will we demand social security as a universal right?
3. Decent work for all as an international motto.
The most recent report from International Labour Organization “The Great Problem of Employment in the World: Poor Working Conditions” points to increasing poverty among the population in employment, precisely because of the deterioration of their labour rights. As this globalization has progressed, outsourcing, flexibility, defined-term employment contracts, non-recognition of vacations and other benefits have spread across the globe. Labour precarization has seriously permeated key sectors such as health workers, as revealed by protests and news about the situation of doctors and nurses, unprotected and frontline against Covid-19.
They claim attention to the new trends of labour uberization, where the pattern is detached from the obligations it has with the worker, with euphemisms such as «entrepreneurship» or «being your boss». Of course, the situation is aggravated depending on the latitude where we are located, but even the first world cannot escape that reality. Should we resign ourselves to these labour relations proposed by this liberal globalization at work? Precarious workers of the world, unite!
4. Food sovereignty
This globalization has forged an unbalanced international division of agricultural labour. Most underdeveloped countries have specialized in tropical products (coffee, bananas, cocoa, sugar, etc.), progressively abandoning the production of major cereals, oilseeds and meats, which are supplied by the output of first world countries. This disadvantageous specialization has been forged by massive first-world agricultural subsidies and unbalanced Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). It has caused food and political dependence on the southern countries versus north global powers.
The Covid-19 crisis has once again demonstrated the fragility of global agricultural production chains, as well as the price volatility imposed by the invisible hand on agricultural commodities on stock exchanges. Should developing countries subject adequate nutrition and food of their inhabitants to the swing of international markets, political blackmail and crises of all kinds? Shouldn’t countries like Colombia resume their production of wheat, maize, barley, lentil, chickpea, dried pea, soy, sorghum that today are imported almost entirely, to ensure their food sovereignty? Wouldn’t this be the time to think about renegotiating so harmful FTA?
5. Scientific and industrial development for developing countries
The health crisis has exposed another tragedy, the inability of the poorest countries to deal with the virus from the medical and science solution. The absence of industrial, scientific and technological development prevents them from providing autonomously with surgical materials, medical equipment and chemical compounds necessary to perform the millions of tests required, adequately equipping their medical staff and caring for their patients. This condition makes them more vulnerable and dependent on cost overruns, aid (at best) or international pillage portrayed by the press in these weeks, how much longer should the industrial and scientific development of these countries will postpone? How much more should this kind of neocolonialism rule against the most vulnerable countries?
6. Multilateralism and collective challenges. Globalization: yes, but not like that?
At the center of all questions: The United States governments. World economic center in decline, host of the most sophisticated global financial elite, example and model in privatizations, labour precarization and economic inequality. Its crisis is at the same time the product of the contradictions of capitalism, financial capital and the globalization.
The world must question their role as the leader of this globalization. Their aggressions to other countries and their reluctance to multilateralism. Their constant arms crusade; the threat to world peace and their support (economic, ideological and military) to local elites around the world; especially in the poorest countries to perpetuate underdevelopment.
Therefore, this globalization we are suffering has the character, nature and institutions of the social and economic sectors who manage it. The financial elite has concerns that are not necessarily the challenges that large majorities of peoples around the planet share. In fact, by effect or default, these challenges are contrary to the interests of this elite.
While the elite are concerned with maintaining the rate of profit, global majorities want to find a job that allows them to live with dignity. When the elite talk about the free flow of capital, most of us are concerned about the situation and well-being of migrants. When bankers yearn for privatizations to find new niches to reproduce their money, majorities demand fundamental rights and equity (economic, social, gender, etc.). When global élites organize wars and imperialist interference, developing countries claim for sovereignty and self-determination. When elites impose the selfish culture, what we require is solidarity internationalism at the core of multilateral institutions. As elites announce arms and conflicts scalation, the rest seek more joint scientific work to deal with climate change and global health challenges.
Another world is possible; let´s transform it!
*Professional in Government and International Relations, Master in Integration and Globalization processes. PhD student in Public Sector Economics.