Just a few weeks after releasing its official forecast for the next year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) adjusted its growth estimates downwards, predicting that poorer countries will see big losses in GDP over the next two years as a result of the global financial meltdown. Independent assessments estimate that developing countries’ losses between now and 2010 will be in excess of $300 billion.
Rumors of the International Monetary Fund’s demise appear to have been greatly exaggerated. While the IMF has spent most of the last three years looking for clients and “relevance,” the end of the U.S. housing bubble and the resulting global credit crunch seem to have given the institution a new lease on life.
Just as many books have been written as there are individual viewpoints on the crises related to globalization. Mark Engler’s new title How to Rule the World: the Coming Battle Over the Global Economy has some unique offerings. It offers insight about the different currents at play in globalization, along with some new analysis about the rise of a distinct globalization that promotes social and economic democracy. This new movement is people-powered, and its future is promising.
While the economic contraction is apparently slowing in the advanced industrial countries and may reach bottom in the not-too-distant future, it’s only beginning to gain momentum in the developing world, which was spared the earliest effects of the global meltdown. Because the crisis was largely precipitated by a collapse of the housing market in the United States and the resulting disintegration of financial products derived from the “securitization” of questionable mortgages, most developing nations were unaffected by the early stages of the meltdown, for the simple reason that they possessed few such assets.
The objective of this discussion paper is to examine in broad terms the emergence of a transnational citizen movement opposed to the current forms of global economic governance, while providing sketches of main analytical tendencies within this diverse movement. Although largely a backlash movement—one that mobilizes against the negative manifestations of economic globalization and the associated role of the institutions of global economic governance—the main theorists and organizers have in the past several years taken tentative steps toward formulating alternative paths for the global economy and its governance.
Let us take as a starting point that the broadly consensual strategy and basis for self-activity in what we can term Global Justice Movements is the following: to promote the globalization of people and halt (or at minimum radically modify) the globalization of capital. But this strategy conflicts with the objectives of at least four other tendencies that also appear to have solidified in recent years. Since the full-blown emergence of an international financial crisis around mid-1997, the world has witnessed a revival of Third World Nationalism, a Post-Washington Consensus reform option, obstinacy on the part of Washington Consensus powerbrokers, and a formidable Rightwing Resurgence.