Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
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.


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
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