Fri | Jan 19, 2018

Globalisation's stench has hit First World

Published:Tuesday | June 28, 2016 | 12:00 AM


In their bid to come to terms with the shocking reality of Brexit, many commentators have argued that the UK referendum vote had little to do with Britain's European Union (EU) membership and more to do with working-class misgivings about the impacts of globalisation and free-market capitalism as it is currently dispensed.

The outright rejection of the studied warnings and prescriptions from experts and the alphabet soup mix of establishment institutions, by no less than the first world population of the country which has championed the cause of neo-liberalism, provides a platform for reflection on the writings of Caribbean dependency theorists who have long warned of the inequities inherent in the globalisation project.

Long before a wave of backlash against the one per cent and the establishment institutions that have reaped the uneven benefits of globalisation, Caribbean intellectuals such as George Beckford, Frantz Fanon, Michael Witter, Walter Rodney, Aggrey Brown, Sir Ronald Sanders, among others, have been sounding the warnings about the debilitating impacts that globalisation has had on third world countries, particularly the small island states of the Caribbean which have been crumbled small.

First-World citizens are just now waking up to smell the coffee as the impacts of globalisation hit closer home. When third world countries complained about unfair terms of trade and the strict conditionalities attached to support funding, they were characterised as lazy, incompetent and uncompetitive.

The lived experience of First-World citizens has sounded the alarm that there is something fundamentally wrong with the liberal world order. That the Brits used a referendum on the European Union to express their frustration, at a system which has gone sour and no longer delivers promised prosperity, is unfortunate but it is a telling sign that it is high time for a new world order to emerge.

The entire Washington Consensus model has been turned on its head. In this context, the opportunity is ripe for a Third World Order to emerge. The countries which have been most affected by the shock doctrine of capitalism can indeed find that their shared future can be secured through a rekindling of the South-South cooperation championed by Michael Manley in the G-77.

As the First World Order declines and the Third World Order emerges through continued disintegration of neo-liberalism, the dependency-school theorists and scholars are being vindicated as the First World wakes up to the discontents of globalisation.