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The discourse is what we know as "liberalism," or rights-based discourse, which provides for individual human rights and private property rights as the basis upon which other discussions of how to interact across borders begins.

Bullshit.

There is no discourse on individual human rights and private property. What there is is a "consensus discourse" that what English-speaking white people do is always right, and what everyone else does is always wrong if they disagree with English-speakng white people. How can you tell the difference between this and a rights-based discourse? Because when Russia or China tries to interact with the world in terms of a rights-based discourse - when, for instance, Russia tries to get paid for the gas it sells to Ukraine - the world pretends to be offended.

My hypothesis is that without a powerful sponsor to champion a world-consensus on basic things such as individual rights to private property and freedom from government persecution, globalization will be reversed and transnational relationships will dwindle

Leaving aside the fact that no such discourse actually exists, except as ritualised genuflections, the fact remains that the second-tier economic and political blocs - India, China, Europe, NAFTA, Mercosur and ASEAN - have fully the weight in both economic capacity and population that any pre-WWI empire. If the empires of the 19th century could guarantee transnational relationships, these organisations can do so as well, and for the same reasons.

What you will see is not a cessation of international relationships, but the cessation of the US function as a clearing house of international relationships. You'll see economic blocs engaging in bilateral relationships with each other, rather than bilateral relationships with the US. Now, from the perspective of the US, this will, of course, look like a diminution of the volume of international relationships. From the perspective of the rest of the world, however, it will look like a diversification and restructuring.

The joker in this game, of course, is that the transnational corporations will die in this change. If you view transnational corporations as media of exchange between different societies, this will look like a diminution of international exchange. But the honest way to analyse the transnats of today is not as exchange between the different societies in which they are based. The honest way to analyse the transnats is as quasi-sovereign societies of their own, with which other societies can interact. And in that picture, destroying the transnats of today is similar to Germany and Russia carving up Poland, or treating the €-zone as one country for purposes of measuring international trade. In absolute terms it is a diminution of international trade, but in terms of trade between the surviving nodes of the network it is not necessarily so.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Sep 16th, 2010 at 11:05:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jake:
There is no discourse on individual human rights and private property. What there is is a "consensus discourse" that what English-speaking white people do is always right, and what everyone else does is always wrong if they disagree with English-speakng white people.

His assertion and your objection are part of that ongoing discourse, how ever much some may find it objectionable and hypocritical. It is,IMO, better to acknowledge the existence and power of that discourse, however much you want to undermine it. There is validity both to Santiago's statement and your response. Thesis and antithesis.

Santiago's statement:

My hypothesis is that without a powerful sponsor to champion a world-consensus on basic things such as individual rights to private property and freedom from government persecution, globalization will be reversed and transnational relationships will dwindle.

...may well be true and predictive of the nature of international relations if/when the USA is no longer able/willing to bear the costs of being the global hegemon. But the benefits of that hegemony are now going almost exclusively to the financial elites in the USA, so a decline of the power of the USA on the international stage MAY result in at least a relative improvement in the position of the vast majority of the population vis a vis the elite. And it may be found that the majority of the benefits of hegemony can be had at half or less of the costs. It is a long way from a unipolar world to a multilateral world with no one dominant player and there may well be many meta-stable nodes along that spectrum.

Among other possibilities is that many of the formal values of the current international system will come to be voluntarily accepted by more nations than will accept the current coercive system. That would be consistent with a fairer application of those values as embodied in rules. That is, of course, the optimistic outcome....

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Sep 16th, 2010 at 12:39:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
His assertion and your objection are part of that ongoing discourse, how ever much some may find it objectionable and hypocritical.

I'm not disputing that there is a Washington Consensus discourse. I'm disputing that it has any but the most strictly ceremonial connection to individual rights and private property.

Claiming that there is a unifying international discourse on individual rights and private property is akin to claiming that Islam provides a unified discourse between Iraqis and Iranians because both genuflect towards Mecca. The actual international discourse is in terms of clients and sovereigns - a discourse that is not particularly American and which does not need an American hegemon to continue functioning. Pretending to a universalist discourse when in fact employing a colonial one is a typical conceit of colonial powers, and not one that particularly endears them to their colonies.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Sep 16th, 2010 at 07:13:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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