|Photo: Reagan & Thatcher, Buenos Aires by willposh|
However, one of the values that we must constantly espouse is that every person is worthy of acknowledgement irrespective of their beliefs or deeds. If we are to find ways out of the many complex problems that encircle us then we must be able to accept one another. We must be prepared not just to speak our own ideas and thoughts, we must also be willing to listen to and try to understand the ideas and thoughts of others.
Margaret Thatcher in the UK and Ronald Reagan in the US can be thought of as the international architects of the political framework for globalisation. Was that framework misguided in intent? I cannot know that. If I did, would it be helpful to apportion blame?
Globalisation admittedly has brought benefits. World wide communication and the sharing of information is now available to us at the push of a button or the click of a mouse. It has opened up the cultural mix that enriches global humanity.
Regrettably globalisation has also been a failure in many ways. Neo-liberal globalisation has brought with it the most massive shift in wealth from large sections of society to an elite 1% of the world’s population. It has seen the world’s resources gobbled up at an alarming rate. Globalisation has contributed directly and indirectly to environmental degradation and climate change.
According to Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and others governments were too heavily involved in the market and had to remove themselves. Thus, one of the pillars of the Washington Consensus was privatisation.
Many economists are now questioning this view, led notably by Joseph Stiglitz, ex Chief Economist at the World Bank and 2001 Nobel Prize winner. Stiglitz noted that part of the failure was due to to an…
“…(assumption) that markets arise quickly to meet every need, when in fact, many government activities arise because markets have failed to provide essential services.”1With the passing of one of globalisation’s architects it is time to acknowledge her life and to reflect on the legacy that she has left. It is not too late to realise that some of the assumptions that she and others were working with in the 1980s and 1990s have led to failure. It is possible to rectify these mistakes. Is the political will there?
1. Joseph Stiglitz, Globalization and it’s Discontents, WW Norton & Co., New York, 2002, p55.