Economic growth does not lead to more social justice globally. On this, the authors of the book, Mapping a New World Order– the Rest Beyond the West, agreed during the book presentation held on Friday at the international think tank Dialogue of Civilizations Research Institute (DOC RI) based in Berlin.
Developing countries are under pressure to ‘catch up’ economically, both with the global leaders and those following closely behind.
Counter to mainstream thinking, economist Jomo Kwame Sundaram says that inequality is not necessary for economic growth, rather it hinders growth due to under consumption. Inequalities create conflicts not only between the rich and the poor, but also within regions, countries, and on a global level. Therefore, developing countries feel the pressure of catching up with more developed countries.
The big question of the book, and the discussion in the DOC office at Französische Straße 23, was if there is room for non-mainstream economic movement. For Vladimir Popov and Piotr Dutkiewicz, both editors of the book, it is essential to highlight that conditions under which growth takes place are sensitive and of high importance. For this reason, deeper issues associated with progress, other than GDP need to be looked at, Prabhat Patnaik, a contributor of the book, economist, and political commentator, underlines that we must keep in mind that political equality exists but not on a social and economic level. In particular, economic inequality is increasing and in the book, he refers to the India, where the cast system remains even though the country itself has gone through a democratic revolution. Economic inequality provides space for right wing movements as it gives extremists the chance to fill the need of a social agenda that ‘protects’ the national good in a globalised world, and gives populists the chance to gain (more) power. The world needs a growth strategy that ensures equality and growing wealth for all, in order to ensure the survival and further development of democratic values. One solution could be establishing the ‘right of economic and social equality’.
At the same time Piotr Dutkiewicz made clear that there is no single model of economic growth, but growth is always time sensitive and environment sensitive. Many countries tried to imitate other countries in their economic role model. But this is a faulty strategy for Dutkiewicz, as growth needs to be created by a society within its given conditions and context. One of the big players who understood how to play this game successfully is China.
The three book commentators Karin Fischer from the University of Linz, Austria, Johannes Jäger from the University of Applied Sciences BFI Vienna, Austria and Sebastian Vollmer from the University of Göttingen, Germany were part of the lively discussion. For Professor Jäger the most important conclusions of the book were that the emerging New World Order remains within the framework of monopoly capitalism and that the specific paths of development and the shape of institutions remain determined by capitalist structures, but also by class struggles (at the national and international levels).
An answer to the current model could be that there is not only one alternative model, but variegated forms of development beyond ‘the West’.
Will this book bring change? Piotr Dutkiewicz answers stated that first there needs to be a demand from the global community – by now it is clear that the financial crises of 2008 was too small to impact the overall system. This book aims to to analyse and raise awareness of global challenges the world community faces right now.
You can order the book here