THE NEW BIPOLARITY: "Neo-Liberal Despotism" versus Pluralist Enlightened Conservatism
Come Carpentier de Gourdon
The thirteenth World Public Forum Dialogue of Civilizations held in Rhodes in early October 2015 (www.rhodesforum.org) presented as usual a diverse and multidisciplinary cluster of ideas, observations and recommendations on the state of the present world. It would be presumptuous and probably vain to try summing up the positions taken by people from many countries in one consistent agenda, but a few general conclusions may be drawn in order to broadly define what more and more "wise" people, not converted to the dominant creed of globalized homogenization under one supra-national technocratic and financial power, think of the present and of probable or possible future developments.
1-Mankind cannot and should not abolish or reduce to insignificance the many traditions, cultures and civilizations which account for the existence of separate national and regional societies. The global, predominantly anglo-saxon and judeo-christian, albeit officially secular or agnostic, ideology and way of life that has developed out of the British and American successive and related empires is only an additional layer on top of many earlier supra-national influences that shaped most civilizations in past centuries. Many speakers reaffirmed this, such the Forum's founder and chairman Dr Vladimir Yakunin, Harvard Professor Tu Wei Ming from the standpoint of Confucianism, Dr Kapila Vatsyayan, the head of India's Asia Project, Dr Johann Galtung, the Norwegian founder of Transcend, Dr Chandra Muzaffar as a representative of the Malaysian multi-religious Indo-Arabo-Chinese identity and representatives of the Roman Catholic, Greek, Lebanese and Russian orthodox churches, among others.
What we call modern global civilization will evolve and be modified by many national and local cultural factors, while the quasi-global imperium built by the political, business and military leaders of the current Euro-American oligarchy will continue to weaken and break up under its own weight and as a result of the increasing resistance it is meeting with in many parts of the globe. This was clearly shown by experts in both political and economic-financial areas, like Professor Richard Werner, Dr John Laughland and Dr Akeel Bilgrami from Columbia University.
2-The countries best placed perhaps to gradually replace the current hegemonic system with one of their own making are the most powerful states of Eurasia, China and Russia as well as the other BRICS members and regional partners like Indonesia, Vietnam, Turkey, Iran and Japan. Although those powers appear to have little in common beyond their interest in surviving the sharp decline of the hitherto sole superpower and of its subordinates, the former European colonial hegemons, they agree on certain principles of co-existence and are interested in combining assets and resources to improve the international situation and their own respective positions.
The extensive presentations and discussions on the new financial and economic mechanisms being set up to complement and eventually replace the World Bank, IMF, WTO and others controlled by western great powers made that clear, while the former president of Czechoslovakia, Vaclav Klaus exposed the inefficiency, wastefulness and political agendas behind the US-centric globalist institutions which perpetuate the Bretton Woods legacy. Manuel Montes, Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Professor Ilios Iliopoulos were a few of those who dissected the fatal flaws of the hitherto dominant structures.
3-It is perhaps easier to define the rules that the current hegemonic system seeks to impose in order to highlight in contrast the issues on which the emerging 'alternative bloc' differs. It must be clarified however, that many people, and probably a majority of citizens within the dominant Euro-American region, disagree with many if not all of the policies and principles espoused and enforced by their leaders, although they may not be in a position to effectively oppose or stop them.
If we are to list the core principles of the current global system, disregarding the many but minor deviations that can be observed in practice, we can retain those which were commented upon by several participants such as Cynthia McKinney, the former US Congresswoman, Teresa Okafor, Director of the Foundation for African Cultural Heritage from Nigeria and Dr Richard Falk, former UN Rapporteur for Human Rights from the USA. They are
(a)-The supremacy of financial capital as a commodity produced by a few globalized credit-creating privately controlled institutions,
(b)-The promotion of individualism and personal choice or whim over and above any spiritual, religious or simply socio-cultural norm or convention,
(c) The almost exclusive concentration on boosting human material consumption of goods and services in order to support an ever expanding and more automated industrial productivity (entailing the unlimited elimination of the human workforce) and ever "freer" global trade,
(d)-the focus on ever faster techno-scientific innovations and enhancements to shape human development, even at the cost of mechanizing human beings and regarding them both as machines and as animals dedicated to certain productive or consuming functions.
4-In practice, the general principles evoked above inspire international and domestic policies that, hidden behind a mask of democracy, are devised and enforced in the interest of certain global elites. They translate into such diverse and apparently unconnected effects as the rise of unemployment and dwindling of stable careers and jobs, the destruction of the environment, the unsustainable and wasteful use of plant and animal species as mere commodities and resources for human over-consumption, the erosion of families and social communities, increasingly replaced by virtual associations often justified only by common material interests (money, sex, drugs or sports) and the dehumanization of people who are either being driven towards a trans-human technocratic dystopia or are pushed into physical self-merchandization to satisfy the desires of others.
All that is being orchestrated and controlled through increasingly sophisticated methods of technological surveillance and repression designed to enforce what is defined as "politically correct". Dissenting states, groups and individuals are being targeted and condemned with a view to their elimination.
These disruptive processes combine and manifest as the seemingly permanent economic and financial crisis which is invoked by governments to justify policies of austerity and cost-cutting that impoverish large sections of the population and rapidly boost inequality to the benefit of the ever wealthier oligarchies. The United States today provides a grim picture of the aforesaid processes, resulting in widening violence, depravity, insanity, the rapid criminalization of society and the spread of sociopathic epidemics such as pornography, child abuse, sado-masochistic practices and other aberrations that are gradually being normalized through the media and changing juridical theories and practices.