By Bhabani Shankar Nayak
Once upon a time, the term ‘globalisation’ dominated public discourse, presenting itself as the sole available alternative and panacea to all the world’s predicaments.
It was viewed as a policy paradigm promising peace, prosperity, economic growth, and human development. However, in recent times, globalisation seems to have vanished from public discussions, with policymakers acting as if it has never existed in human history.
It temporarily obscured the unbridled violence associated with colonialism, capitalism, and imperialism, instead creating a silent structural violence characterized by marginalisation, poverty, hunger, and homelessness.
The practices of liberalisation, privatisation, and globalisation effectively consolidated wealth in the hands of a privileged few. As a result, the world has witnessed the rise of billionaires alongside extreme poverty and marginalized masses.
The priests of global capitalism and imperialist powers once promised that globalisation would lead to peace, prosperity, and stability for all. However, the true consequences of globalisation have been laid bare by the Survival of the Richest Report published by Oxfam International in 2023.
As the world grappled with the ravages of the pandemic, most people found themselves suffering from a cost-of-living crisis that persisted even after the pandemic. According to the report, the reality is grim: ‘the richest 1% have captured almost two-thirds of all new wealth – nearly twice as much money as the bottom 99% of the world’s population’ since 2020. The report further reveals shocking evidence that ‘billionaire fortunes are increasing by $2.7 billion a day,’ while ‘food and energy companies more than doubled their profits in 2022, paying out $257 billion to wealthy shareholders, while over 800 million people went to bed hungry.’ These findings expose the stark inequality that plagues our world today.
Perhaps most disheartening is the fact that billionaires pay less tax than street vendors, perpetuating the stark disparities between the rich and the impoverished.
Crisis seems to be deeply ingrained in the capitalist and imperialist systems and processes, which are designed to serve the interests and expansion of wealth for the powerful elite. The capitalist and imperialist agendas can be seen as exerting significant control over nations’ sovereignty and autonomy, further perpetuating inequality and injustice on a global scale. This exploitation and destabilization have left many countries and regions grappling with challenges that hinder their growth and development.
The consequences of capitalism and imperialism are far-reaching, leading to the globalisation of ethnic, cultural, religious, and economic genocides.
One of the most pressing issues stemming from capitalism is the ecological crisis, which has emerged as a direct consequence of the over-exploitation of nature to sustain the profit-driven system established by capitalism. This disregard for the environment and the pursuit of endless growth has had devastating effects on the Earth’s ecosystems and threatens the well-being of all living beings.
The current global situation makes it clear that the monopoly of capitalist and imperialist powers cannot provide solutions to the pressing challenges we face. A sustainable and equitable future for all can only be achieved through a united effort that seeks to dismantle these oppressive systems. Indeed, there is nowhere to run to or hide from the realities we confront.
The only way forward is through collaboration and mutual support, working together to create a world that values justice, equality, and the protection of our shared planet. The collective commitment to this transformative vision is the key to overcoming the hurdles of capitalism and imperialism, paving the way for a better and more promising future. People, planets, and their mutual interests are only alternatives.
There is nowhere to run to and nowhere to hide.
Prof. Bhabani Shankar Nayak is a political economist working as Professor at University of Glasgow, UK.
Disclaimer: The views expressed are not necessarily those of The South Asian Times