Monday, April 16, 2007

A World Transforming from Nation States to ...?

Nation States have not always been the defining way the globe's very essence has been divided up. In fact -- a transcendent thought here -- the Earth has not always been divided or even conceived as property. That in itself is an entrenched culturally structured idea one needs to step back from to recognize.

I want to recall the global map I found at the Wiki site on colonialization, and just have it here to look at it for a moment, because it shows a world of conceptual changes from 1492-2007, tracing those changes through the heart of the period of Europe's colonializing of the rest of the globe, and how that transformed from colonial territories to nation states through that period. Consider that in 1492, much of the world was not defined as nation states:

Now here's what I want to call to attention from this: we are always in a period of transition. I argue that the ideas in Fukuyama's The End of History and the Last Man published fifteen years ago is already history. Just look at the wealth of ideas presented as criticism. It's not easy to keep that sense of ongoing process and change in mind. It's almost a spiritual self-awareness that one must actively cultivate in an ongoing meditation with life. As a child it's not uncommon for most of us to assume the world we encounter and learn is the world as it's always been, and that "attitude" that tends to be inherent in that process can be hard to shake, even as we age and find out differently from our own direct experience and memory. The nation states we think of as defining the world we live in today may not -- I'd suspect will not -- remain as they are, just as they have not, and transitions will continue to occur in ways that will be as surprising to us now as they may have been to our forebears. I don't pretend to be the only one with these thoughts, and here is only one of many one would find: Globalization and the Nation State.

I acknowledge that the following is grossly oversimplified, but just to offer a broad structural overview to work with: Pre colonialism, where much of the globe was not defined, we can find such descriptions of Kingdoms, empires and such, some of which transformed to these geographic expansion entities through colonializing ("the sun never sets on the British Empire," and such) and that transformed into cases where colonies became independent nation states, just as the US did in the late 1700s. The above global map with its colored patterns showing the increase to colonies, then the decrease to what amounts to nation states, illustrates that pattern.

Recognize, too, that this overview is uniquely EuroAmerican-Centric. In regards to that I want to call attention to a book by anthropologist Eric R. Wolf who, himself, as an anthropologist conscious of this ethno centric thought process, calls attention to this important feature in the make up of our world views with the title of his classic and important analysis of this period of history: Europe and the People Without History

If there are connections everywhere, why do we persist in turning dynamic, interconnected phenomena into static, disconnected things? Some of this is owing, perhaps, to the way we have learned our own history. We have been taught, inside the classroom and outside of it, that there exists an entity called the West, and that one can think of this West as a society and civilization independent of and in opposition to other societies and civilizations. Many of us even grew up believing that this West has a genealogy, according to which ancient Greece begat Rome, Rome begat Christian Europe, Christian Europe begat the Renaissance, the Renaissance the Enlightenment, the Enlightenment political democracy and the industrial revolution. Industry, crossed with democracy, in turn yielded the United States, embodying the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (Wolf 1982:5).

A third person overview of the process Wolf analyzes in the book:


Wolf criticizes the division of the world into East and West, and the pyramidal classification of developed, developing countries and the third world in the second half of the twentieth century. He argued the interconnected relation of a world system. In this issue, social sciences such as political economy worked in the production and distribution of the wealth of the nations and sociology as antidote against the poison of social disintegration in the theory of social order. The division of history into history and ethnohistory, our history and their history had ideological interest. There can be no “Black history” apart from “White history,” only a component of a common history suppressed or omitted from conventional studies for economic, political, or ideological reasons.

In his analysis uses principally Marxist categories such as production, social class and the state, although Wolf warned that these categories are before Marx. The nature of production of the human being, the rise of social class in the process of production, and the allocation of resources, and the exercise of power by the state. He assumes also that in social sciences is avoided these categories, but in fact scholars are in constant dialogue with them. The last but not the least is the concept of modes of production dispersed throughout his writing.

Since social sciences emerged as an antidote to revolution and disorder, social scientist must have instruments for the analysis of the world system. Wolf points out three main aspects:

First, we shall not understand the present world unless we trace the growth of the world market and the course of capitalist development. Second, we must have a theory of the growth and development. Third, we must be able to relate both the history and theory of that unfolding development to process that affect and change the lives of local populations.

Wolf begins studying the political geography of the Old World around 1400: 1) trade throughout the water routes of the Mediterranean rounding the European peninsula, 2) the silk road to China, the Persian Gulf, India, South Asia; the Caravan routes which crossed the Sahara. Between 1300 and1590, the Ottoman expansion blocked the direct access of Europe (Venice, Genoa, and Florence) to the East. Regions such as North and West Africa, East Africa, South and East Asia (India, China), Southeast Asia, South America, Mesoamerica and North America, each developed interconnected trade relations.

Wolf understood mode of production as “the major way in which human beings organize their production”, which also implies the relation of nature and human being. The capitalist mode of production came to being when monetary wealth was enabled to buy labor power, in a social relation. In this process of production, the product of the labor is alienated from the laborer. The three characteristics of the capitalist mode of production are: 1) control of means of production, 2) buy and sell labor, without access to the means of production of the laborer, and 3) a process of ceaseless accumulation of capital.

In 1400, the tributary mode of production was dominant in the rest of the world. Here the laborer has access to the means of production with the obligation of tribute to a lord or a ruling elite, the owner of the land (“Asiatic mode of production” and “feudal mode of production”). Civilizations on the other hand are defined as cultural interaction zones pivoted upon a hegemonic tributary society and replicated by other elites in a wider political-economic orbit of interactions. Among other modes of production he identified the Kin-Ordered mode of production in which he states that kinship can “operate at two levels, that of the family or the domestic group and that of the political order”. “The combination of biological reproduction and cultural construction lead to an operational view: Kinship thus involves (a) symbolic constructs (‘filiation/marriage; consanguinity/affinity’) that (b) continually place actors, born and recruited, (c) into social relations with one another. These social relations (d) permit people in variable ways to call on the share of social labor carried by each, in order to (e) effect the necessary transformations of nature. The problem of chiefdoms is in the potential development of the chiefly lineage as an incipient class surplus taker in the tributary mode” (p. 97) and redistribution as strategies of class formation.

And the mercantile wealth was extracted in three ways: a) buying stocks of surplus from tributary overlords and providing goods in return, b) open exchange with primary gatherers and producers, and c) trading slaves. In the process of European expansion, mercantile wealth pioneered routes of circulation and opened up channels of exchange.

After 1,000 A.D. Europe began its political consolidation through 1) war abroad for the extraction of tribute, 2) commerce through the discovery of source internally and externally either by trade or war, and 3) enlarging the royal domain from where the king draw direct support without intermediaries. With the formation of states and the expansion of Portugal, Castile-Aragon (Spain), the international circuits of mercantile wealth and the united provinces of France and England helped the consolidation of Europe after the sixteenth century.


After the expansion of Europe in 1415 by the Portuguese in the North African coast to Asia, followed by Castile-Aragon in 1492 to America, they broke in conflict in the colonization and exploitation of the latter one. The impact of the European expansion on the native population was the destruction of their economic system, submission, control and exploitation. Around 1520 the population had declined significantly because of intense exploitation, and pathogenic organisms to which native population were not immune. Among the wealth of Spanish America was the silver and gold found in Colombia, Bolivia and Mexico extracted by the natives, and sent to Spain. Other secondary products were cochineal, indigo, and cacao, also sent to Spain as export products and tribute. The exchange of commodities were restricted and without the free working principles of demand and supply. The new systems of supply were based in new forms of economic institutions and exploitation of row material and laborers: ecomiendas, repartimientos, haciendas and indian communities. In Brazil and the Caribbean islands began to be exploited with the sugar production. At the end of the seventeenth century others European countries started to trade with Spanish possessions. Contraband, slave raiding, and pirates were also part of the economic activities.

In North America fur trade was the dominant economic activity in the early contact. In the expansion westward, native population became part of the conflict between French and British. The European traders with the goal of a direct trade with the hunters became colonizers and a Pontiac’s revolt rose up. Horse began to be part of the life of natives as well as guns supplied by the European companies. In the Northwest Coast white and native population started to share eventually the same slavery system.

Slave trade by Portuguese and latter by the Dutch, French, and English from Africa to America was part of the European expansion. Spanish, Portuguese and British colonies used slave labor in the production of sugar cane and in mines. Slavery and servitude were already part of the European economic system, not only in the Mediterranean but also in Scotland and Ireland. African slaves were preferred since them could not escape as the native American, and also the latter eventually helped to control and return runaway slaves.

The beginning of state formation in the regions of Kongo, Benin and the Gold Coast facilitate the formation of a dominant class and the domination of other sector of the population as potential slaves. The introduction of firearm by the Turkish of the Ottoman Empire and latter by the Europeans, became important in the acquisition of captives, helping the trade of slaves. Areas of slave supply were: 1) West Africa: The Gold Coast, Oyo and Dahomey, Benin, The Niger Delta; 2) Central Africa: The Kingdom of Kongo, Imbangala, Luba-Lunda, Ivory and Slaving in Eastern Africa, The Bemba.

During the sixteenth century Europeans began to expand trade in Asia, and at the end of eighteenth century British moved to take over a land-based empire. The Portuguese found an Islam domain first as imperial and religious enterprise, latter by the Dutch as a strong political private company and the English in India as private economic enterprise. The British accepted eventually the sovereignty of the local rulers as an elite alliance. This form of commercial relation made possible the expansion of local production, recollection of commodities and a monopoly of export and trade. English rule took place latter on tax and land distribution. The English formed a new army, a bureaucracy and a rural oligarchy. The destruction of the Indian economy by the British economy was in conflict, but tallow made from cow and pig fat break up the rebellion of Hindus and Muslims.

After the consolidation of the British in India, they moved to China, where only silver was accepted as currency flowing it from America, Europe to China until the beginning of the nineteenth century. The British began to trade opium for tea in China and by the end of the nineteenth century one out of every then Chinese was addict. Opium did more than undermine the health of Chinese addicts; it began to subvert the social order in the countryside. In the Pacific islands sandalwood for incense, sea cucumber, firearms and guns were traded.

In India the casts were maintained and also intensified, opium opened Chine to foreign trade and British sold Indian textile in Europe, Africa and Indonesia as in a global system of free trade.


The industrial revolution changed the mercantile production of textile into capital with purchasing machines and row material on the one hand, and buying human energy to power their operation on the other hand. The industrial production moved England to a capitalist mode of production. The Dutch and Indian competition in the textile production could not compete with the English, with a rural cheap labor and mechanized production.

The new entrepreneurs began to compete with control of finishing, the production of improved yarn and new machine. Concentration of labor in factories came to take place but conflict between Irish and English workers intensified. India and England imported cotton from the United States and South America, in plantation with slaves labor. Egypt also supplied cotton for the production of English textile. The English and Indian textile industry in Bombay was the vehicle to the capitalist mode of production.

Now capitalism created two zones: the core and the periphery. It brought the entire world under its dominance in a hierarchical system with the use of capital as stock of wealth and strategic financial element combined with machinery, raw materials, and labor power. Regional specialization in the world took place in the production of row material, food crop, or stimulant, demanding a mechanism of social articulation. Different faces of acceleration and deceleration of capitalism produced a great depression in the USA, in the nineteenth century, with direct and indirect effect in the specialized regions.

The history of capitalism in the social science had been the history of the elite. Until recently historians moved toward the writing of processual and relational history of the working classes as well as the history of people contacted by the European expansion.

Implied in that overview description is the underlying structure of Western institutions, themselves, and how they set patterns within which all these processes find forms to work themselves through. Among those institutions are the hierarchies of various collective institutions, chief now among those of capitalist systems is the transnational corporations. This institution has been evolving in parallel with nation states, and as such perhaps has been "maturing" to a new level of sophistication in an increasingly globalized world. That sophistication may indeed challenge the meaning and purpose of nation states. I offer the following analysis that considers that possibility; it's one of many:

Has Globalisation Really Made Nations Redundant?
By Noëlle Burgi and Philip S. Golub
Le Monde Diplomatique
April 2000

From Gerhard Schröder to Massimo D'Alema, via Tony Blair and the apostles of the Third Way, Europe's politicians go on and on about less government and the weak state. In the same vein, many scholars argue that the nation state is a thing of the past. But these myths do not stand up to analysis. Worse still, they conceal the new configuration of power in the international system and lend legitimacy to the antisocial policies accompanying globalisation.

For 200 years capitalism was inextricably linked to the nation state. It emerged in the form of national markets, was based on national territories and relied on the state for support. Two nation states - Britain in the 19th century and the United States in the 20th - successively formed the hegemonic core of capitalism: each of them set the technological pace, set the rules of trade and production, and imposed the constraints of the world system. According to current wisdom, however, the bond between the nation state and capitalism is now coming to an end. Globalisation is said to be making the nation state obsolete, politics irrelevant and national sovereignty an empty shell.

This alleged demise of the nation state and national sovereignty is part and parcel of the universalist claims of contemporary capitalism. For the first time in history, capitalism has spread its reach to the remotest parts of the world and posits itself as a global system. Neither British capitalism in the 19th century nor even the American post-1945 version was truly universal. Today, capitalism is said to have finally broken away from its national moorings. It has become, as it were, extra-territorial, rootless, identity-less.

Hence the withering away of the nation state. Reduced to a managerial role in which it strives to cope with economic constraints that are beyond its control, it watches helplessly as the balance of forces swings towards the global markets. Within its historical borders it has ceased to be the locus of political action and identity, of social cohesion and the general interest. Beyond its frontiers it often retains only the formal attributes of sovereignty. In short, the state is supposed to have become, at best, just one among a number of otherwise private players in the international system. At worst, to have lost control altogether and to be no longer capable of influencing the course of events.

This view is particularly fashionable in Europe, where unification is proceeding by way of agreed transfers of sovereignty, but it does not stand up to an analysis of the origins of globalisation. It ignores the decisive role of the state in creating the global free market paradigm. It conceals the underlying aims of social policy. And it fails to appreciate the balance of power in the international system resulting from globalisation. Though in many parts of the world the state has indeed lost control, the fact remains that the American state has not withered away in the new free market utopia. On the contrary, US hegemony and sovereignty have been strengthened in spectacular fashion. In Europe, state power has been redeployed in accordance with the logic of globalisation to achieve economic unification. While the role of the state has been redefined (at the cost of growing social hardship), there has been no automatic weakening of state power.

Just as the intervention of the British state was decisive in establishing a free labour market to promote the expansion of industrial capitalism in the 19th century (see 'Globalisation then and now'), so the necessary conditions for the emergence of a global free market at the end of the 20th century have had to be created. The capitalist world economy in the period following the second world war was by no means a "free market". It was subject to a system of monetary regulation that ensured its stability and predictability. The state, as guarantor of social cohesion, coordinated economic, industrial and labour policy at a national level.

Globalisation is tearing apart this post-war social contract. The creation of a worldwide free market is rooted in a series of decisions taken by the US over the last 30 years which dismantled the post-war international monetary system, liberalised world markets and granted the financial sector an autonomy and power unparalleled since the golden age of British finance. The industrial capitalism of the "30 glorious years" after the second world war gave way to finance capitalism. And it is the financial sector - divorced from the economic foundations on which it rests - which now sets the pace, generates systemic constraints, and imposes normative behaviour.

The US began by abandoning the system of fixed exchange rates established by the Bretton Woods Agreements in 1944 (1) and introducing a system of generalised floating exchange rates. There was a strong economic motive for the decision, which the US authorities took unilaterally in 1973. They were seeking to compensate for declining competitiveness and a growing national debt by exporting the country's macroeconomic imbalances. The floating exchange rate system provided a flexible and efficient monetary tool that enabled them to avoid the adjustments that would otherwise have been required by America's new situation as a debtor. In a system of fixed exchange rates and gold convertibility, the US would have been obliged, like every third-world country today, to pay for its indebtedness with a relative loss of sovereignty and highly unpopular domestic austerity measures.

The new system also allowed the US to maintain a high standard of living at home by dipping into the planet's savings. Thanks to its political power and to the dollar, which was the world's only reserve currency, the US was able to keep its monetary sovereignty intact. Its allies could not question American policy without destabilising the institutional fabric and the cold-war security system from which they derived undoubted benefits. The burgeoning US deficit was funded for decades by Japan and Europe.

A decisive step was taken in the 1980s with the deregulation of the US finance industry, which paved the way for its globalisation via the Wall Street banks, brokers, hedge funds (2) and pension funds that dominate the world's financial flows. Worldwide liberalisation in the 1980s and 1990s gave the US finance industry access to the savings of the newly industrialised and emerging countries, where rates of return were very high. In short, the establishment of a global free capital market was essential for the economic and financial wellbeing of the world's leading debtor (3).

This explains the continuity of US policy on financial liberalisation, the "Washington consensus". In 1985 Ronald Reagan set out to knock down barriers to trade, foreign investment and the free movement of capital between industrialised countries, especially in Japan. His successor continued this effort though the Enterprise for the Americas Initiative, designed to support free markets and the free movement of capital in the western hemisphere. "Previous administrations had pushed for financial liberalisation principally in Japan, but under President Clinton it became a worldwide effort" directed in particular at the new area of wealth accumulation in East Asia, "seen as a potential gold mine for American banks and brokerages" (4).

The US secured the liberalisation of the Japanese financial system and the revaluation of the yen under the 1985 Plaza Accords through a mixture of coercion and cooperation typical of a hegemonic power. In so doing it inflated the bubble that eventually burst at the end of the decade. However, when it came to organising the forced march towards liberalisation of the newly industrialised countries, the government set itself on a war footing. The overall plan, coordinated by the US Department of Commerce, identified 10 rising economic powers from the Pacific to the Atlantic whose economies were to be opened up, and it called upon all government departments from the CIA to US ambassadors abroad (5).

As an emanation of the most powerful Western states that make up its membership, the International Monetary Fund legitimised this strategy. While some emerging countries and ruling castes have benefited from liberalisation, this does not alter the fact that it was imposed by coercion. As Robert Keohane and Helen Milner have pointed out: "During the 1980s intense political pressure was exerted by advanced industrialised countries on developing countries to open their economies ... the national economic regulations of developing countries were called into question" (6).

Hegemony has many faces. In the early 1990s Washington set itself three objectives: to maintain the global balance resulting from the end of the cold war, to ensure its technological lead and military supremacy, and to create an economic environment favourable to its own interests. For the most part, these objectives have been achieved. Admittedly, international balances are not static and hegemony does not mean absolute freedom of action. But no country or group of countries appears able to constitute a political counterweight to the US in the foreseeable future, let alone call into question its primacy in the hierarchy of nations. As political pundit Thomas Friedman puts it: "In the globalisation system, the United States is now the sole and dominant superpower and all other nations are subordinate to it to one degree or another " (7). In other words, they ought to accept America's "benevolent global hegemony".

Benevolent or not, US hegemony is a fundamental reality that conditions the international political economy. The worldwide free market is strengthening the American model, which today relies on its strong comparative advantages in the post-industrial sectors of financial and cultural services, communications, leading-edge technologies and scientific-technical production. At the same time, a normative world culture is emerging in the realms of economic activity, social practice and private international law.

And it is the US which is laying down the new groundrules, i.e. the dominant economic norms (profitability, shareholder value), the regulatory criteria (ratings of companies and states), and the legal rules (international commercial arbitration). For instance, the behaviour of the markets is shaped by the ratings awarded by two major US private rating agencies, Moody's and Standard & Poor. Acting both as judge and party, they are imposing US normative criteria on the rest of the world (8).

American capital thus operates in a universe of rules which it is constantly redefining and which determine the constraints of the international system. The US itself is not subject to those constraints. Nor has the American state lost control of the markets: the Federal Reserve's decisive action following the stock market crash in 1987 and the US Treasury's intervention in 1994-95 after the collapse of the Mexican peso are obvious cases in point. The state also played a crucial though belated role in 1997-98 during the Asian crisis in preventing the collapse of international banking system and ensuring that liberalisation could continue.

Within this overall primary hegemony, the other Western powers participate to varying degrees in a broader pattern of western hegemony vis-à-vis the "third world". Globalisation is institutionalising a new balance of power between states that hardens the sovereignty of some while reducing the autonomy of the others. The worldwide free market accentuates the disparity between the centres of capital and the peripheries. The players with knowledge and power lay down the rules; the others fall into line.

Trapped in an international division of labour that forces them into often harmful specialisation, the most vulnerable third-world countries are losing the last remnants of their sovereignty, while the newly industrialised countries have become even more dependent over the last few years, as recent experience in East Asia proves (9). This is hardly surprising. "Emerging" countries have never had more than limited autonomy, and the formal sovereignty of those on the weakest fringes has always proved more theoretical than real.

While the European Union is an active participant in the worldwide free-market utopia, at the same time it constitutes a potential counterweight. Since the early 1980s European unification has been directed towards the creation of an entity capable of competing with the US, rather than opposing it. By combining forces in a larger unit, the member states have been attempting to assert their sovereignty jointly in response to globalisation, since none of them is any longer able to do so individually.

From 1981 to 1983 France still believed it could go it alone. In the end it was forced to abandon its policy of growth stimulation in favour of an antisocial austerity package chillingly described as competitive deflation. It might seem that the constraints of globalisation and the demands of economic unification were now absolute and left national governments no room for manoeuvre. A closer look at the redeployment of sovereignty and political power in Europe shows this conclusion to be false.

Transfers of sovereignty to the EU - with regard to monetary matters or competition law - do not necessarily imply a reduction of national sovereignty. They are not a zero sum game. Under pressure in the new international political economy, the European nation states are pooling their sovereignty to resist submersion. In other words, they are attempting to recover the sovereignty under threat at national level by relying on the strength of a larger regional entity.

The EU has no central authority. Decision-making bodies vary from sector to sector. But on matters of strategic importance, the influence of the member states often remains decisive. The Council of Ministers (i.e. the national executives of the member states), and especially the ministers of finance and economic affairs, have a privileged position among the EU institutions, at the expense of the European parliament and the national parliaments.

If we consider sovereignty as relative autonomy within the inter-state system, there is little doubt that the national executives have been able to exercise it through the EU institutions, at least in key areas relating to the world economy. If there is one subject of European consensus, it is free competition, which has been raised to the status of an absolute good. There can be no doubt about the concordance of national and European policy on this matter, since many of the reforms introduced by member states at national level preceded the corresponding EU regulations and sometimes go much further than required by strict compliance with EU constraints. France's deregulation of its financial markets in 1984, on Anglo-American rather than German lines, is a case in point (10).

Popular sovereignty, on the other hand, is breached with increasing frequency by EU practices that prevent parliaments and, even more so, civil society from playing their proper role in areas of crucial concern. In the context of globalisation and European unification, we have a situation - often referred to as the "democratic deficit" - in which the redeployment of state sovereignty is being achieved at the cost of a considerable increase in the autonomy of the political authorities, barely concealed by a barrage of new regulations designed to attenuate the effects of social distress. And when it comes to social measures, the Commission is deliberately holding back on the grounds that the complexity of national systems of social protection, and the specific historical development in each member state, would make social harmonisation highly problematic if not impossible.

National governments, which are closer to their citizens, are supposed to be in a better position to defend their interests when it comes to respect for social traditions and national temperament. Nevertheless, all the national social reforms proposed or implemented are converging towards the same goal: the liberalisation of labour markets. Contrary to the new conventional wisdom, the fact that such reforms are entrusted to the member states, and are implemented incrementally, by no means indicates any resistance by national governments to the forces of globalisation.

The nation states are simply playing the role which Karl Polanyi identified in the context of the first "great transformation" (see 'Globalisation then and now'), that of "altering the rate of change, speeding it up or slowing it down as the case may be". Governments are defusing resistance by reforming step by step. But as the combined effect of the measures comes to be felt, they too are experienced as faits accomplis.

There is much lamenting over the powerlessness of national governments. Yet these very governments are contributing fully to the elaboration and implementation of the new hegemonic political economy. They have chosen to participate actively, rather than simply adapt (11), and are acting simultaneously at national, regional, local and European levels to redefine the rules in line with current neoliberal dogma and practice. The role of EU institutions has been less to usurp national sovereignty than to enable the member states to pursue their national interests by other means.

Because of the way it was conceived from the outset, European unification is a finality without a goal, a forced and blind march forward towards a final objective that is always receding into the distance (12). Since there is no turning back, member states cannot go back on their word. They are trapped in the machinery. In defining general policy options, they bear responsibility for rules subsequently laid down by the Commission that are binding on all their citizens and take priority over national legislation.

So far, responsibility for the consequences of the policy choices of the nation states has been largely attributed to Europe, thus protecting them from blame. But through this blame avoidance strategy, states could well end up losing control of the process. If that happened, there could be no return to the status quo ante. Left to themselves, nation states would lose the room for manoeuvre they had regained by concerted action. The only solution would be to redefine the purpose of European unification.

The growth of inequalities not only raises ethical issues. In the end it always holds back economic development and undermines social cohesion. The transnational dynamics of the EU could provide an opportunity for upward social harmonisation in line with the most favourable rules and practices (on working conditions, wages, employment, social protection, etc.) That would require political determination that is currently lacking but, if it could be mustered, would set an excellent example. Failing that, the establishment of a European free-trade empire in the face of US hegemony may perhaps result in multipolarity but will certainly not lead to a fairer world.

Noëlle Burgi is a CNRS research fellow at the Centre for Political Research, University of Paris I - Sorbonne. Philip Golub is a lecturer at the Institute of European Studies, University of Paris VIII - Saint-Denis.

(1) The Bretton Woods Agreements of 1944 laid the basis for the post-war international institutional set-up (IMF, BIRD, etc.)

(2) Speculative funds that avoid federal regulation by having fewer than 99 investors.

(3) The net US deficit now stands at $1.5 trillion, i.e. 20% of GDP.

(4) Nicholas D. Kristof and David Sanger, "How US Wooed Asia to let the Cash In", New York Times, 16 February 1999. See also "Les Etats-Unis et la mondialisation financière", Nord-Sud Export, no. 375, 30 April 1999.

(5) Ibid.

(6) Robert O. Keohane and Helen V. Milner (eds.), Internationalization and Domestic Politics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1996, p.24.

(7) Thomas Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, New York, 1999.

(8) Saskia Assen, Losing control?: sovereignty in an age of globalization, Columbia University Press, New York, 1996, pp. 14-18.

(9) See "La Mondialisation contre l'Asie", Manière de voir, no. 47, September 1999.

(10) See Jean-Paul Fitoussi, Le debat interdit : monnaie, Europe, pauvreté, Arlea, Paris, 1995, pp. 202 et seq. Another example is the change in the legal definition of the state made by France's Constitutional Council in 1987, which removed the reference to the public interest and restricted the definition of the state to the means available to it. The practical outcome is that, as a result of joint European and national measures, activities of public interest are increasingly subordinated to competition law.

(11) Egged on by the EU governments, European banks largely contributed to the bubble in the emerging countries. See Philip S. Golub, "La vulnérabilité des banques européennes sur les marchés émergents", Nord-Sud Export, no. 366, 4 December 1998.

(12) Marc Abélès, En attente d'Europe, Hachette, Paris, 1996.

So this is a point where I would like to enter this matrix of interactive institutions in order to reveal and hopefully examine some of the implications of underlying features in the globalization process and perhaps add contextual meaning to current events that are often cast to us as nation centric based politics. This is the beginnings of an outline of a vision I been assembling of the directions we may be headed right now, with a trend towards multinational corporations become more integrated into the world negotiation process as players with their own diplomatic agents, combined with the planetary challenges to our total, sustainable environment, coupled with the basic resources our various systems require to help us find throughout a common and ongoing sustaining life process. Now that's a big order, and I don't expect to fill it, but I'd like to keep in my mind that I am aware of it.

Next I want to look at the evolution of NGOs over especially the past thirty years or so, in conjunction with the various international trade agreements. In the spirit of Wolf's analysis I'd like to begin to explore the structural basis of our world through its dynamically interacting institutions, and in the process try to see the suggestions of narratives that do not necessarily comply with the one fed to us through our collective media processes.


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Do you want to become an affluent person?
That`s your chance That`s what you wish in the long run!

I`m happy and lucky, I began to get income with the help of this company,
and I invite you to do the same. If it gets down to select a proper partner utilizes your savings in a right way - that`s it!.
I make 2G daily, and what I started with was a funny sum of 500 bucks!
It`s easy to get involved , just click this link
and lucky you`re! Let`s take this option together to become rich

Anonymous said...

Hello everyone!
I would like to burn a theme at this forum. There is such a nicey, called HYIP, or High Yield Investment Program. It reminds of ponzy-like structure, but in rare cases one may happen to meet a company that really pays up to 2% daily not on invested money, but from real profits.

For several years , I earn money with the help of these programs.
I'm with no money problems now, but there are heights that must be conquered . I make 2G daily, and my first investment was 500 dollars only.
Right now, I managed to catch a guaranteed variant to make a sharp rise . Turn to my web site to get additional info.

Anonymous said...

Good day, sun shines!
There have been times of hardship when I didn't know about opportunities of getting high yields on investments. I was a dump and downright stupid person.
I have never imagined that there weren't any need in large initial investment.
Nowadays, I feel good, I started take up real income.
It's all about how to choose a proper partner who utilizes your funds in a right way - that is incorporate it in real deals, and shares the income with me.

You can get interested, if there are such firms? I'm obliged to answer the truth, YES, there are. Please be informed of one of them:
[url=] Online investment blog[/url]

Anonymous said...

nice article. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did any one know that some chinese hacker had busted twitter yesterday again.

Anonymous said...

Glad to greet you, ladies and gentlemen!

For sure you didn’t here about me yet,
friends call me Nikolas.
Generally I’m a social gmabler. recently I take a great interest in online-casino and poker.
Not long time ago I started my own blog, where I describe my virtual adventures.
Probably, it will be interesting for you to find out about my progress.
Please visit my web page . I’ll be interested on your opinion..

madan said...

evision said...