Globalisation is about power control
by Dr. Kwame Nantambu
March 08, 2006
Ever since they ascended to the global power control and supremacy throne
in the 15th century, all European superpowers have adopted geo-political
slogans to embellish their position.
As the last surviving European global superpower, it need occasion no
great surprise then that today President George W. Bush, Jr., is
championing Globalisation as America's latest geo-political slogan. This
slogan, therefore, completes what Guyanese anthropologist/historian, Dr.
Ivan van Sertima terms the European "five hundred year curtain."
In its global power control intent and context, Hilbourne A. Watson in
The Caribbean in the Global Political Economy (1994), defines
globalisation as "an intensive process that conforms to the tendencies
and laws of motion of (international) capital." It "occurs in production,
distribution, marketing, exchange, technology, information,
telecommunications and other aspects of economic activity." It "demands
market liberalization and removal of obstacles that restrict free
movement of capital".
He suggests further that globalization represents a political ideology
of neo-liberalism championed by the United States government and lending
multilateral institutions and agencies such as the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) and World Bank.
He concludes that globalization "is a quantitative and qualitative process
that undermines national economic and political borders". Trans National
Enterprises (TNEs) become more powerful than governments; globalization
"transforms the character of economies from national to global." (p.68).
In other words, the international economic aspects/components of
globalization are but a mere glorified, new and improved and expanded
version of the "stabilization programme" or "conditionality measures" the
IMF imposes on countries that are granted loans in order to deal with
their balance of payments problems.
These similar draconian "conditionality measures" of the IMF include: (1)
abolition/liberalization of foreign exchange and import controls (2)
devaluation of currency (3) implementation of anti-inflationary programmes
including (a) control of bank credit, higher interest rate and higher
reserve requirements for commercial banks, (b) control of government
deficit, curbs in government social spending, increase in taxes and in the
prices charged by public enterprises and abolition of consumer subsidies
(c) control of wage increases and (d) dismantling of price controls (4)
provide greater hospitality to foreign investment/investors.
In addition, emphasis must be placed on enhancing the profit capability of
the private sector (domestic capitalists) and foreign investors (American
Indeed, the above afore-mentioned measures have not only resulted in the
destabilization and/or overthrow of governments (some democratically
elected) but also nation-wide riots and social unrest in Latin America,
Caribbean and Africa since the 1980s.
Governments that were destabilized during this period include Chile,
Nicaragua and Venezuela (Latin America), Dominican Republic, Jamaica,
Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago (Caribbean) and Egypt, Jordan, Zambia,
Tanzania and Sudan (Africa).
Countries in which nation-wide riots and social unrest erupted include
Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago (Caribbean) and Sudan,
Jordan, Zambia and Tanzania (Africa).
More specifically, in March 1985, the price of bread increased by 30%,
gasoline price increased by a whopping 66% and riots occurred in Sudan.
In Jordan, April 1989, nation-wide riots resulted in ten persons being
killed, 30 arrested, 34 injured and 4,000 rioters burnt government
buildings and commercial banks to the ground.
In Zambia, December 1986, nation-wide riots killed three persons, the
price of cornmeal ( the staple food) increased by 120% and corn subsidies
In the Dominican Republic, April 1984, the cost of bread and wheat
flour increased by 35-40 %, cooking oil increased by 100%, price of
imported food, medicine and consumer goods and basic foodstuffs increased
by 300% and nation-wide riots resulted in 60 persons killed,200 wounded
and 4,000 arrested.
In Jamaica, 1979-80, price controls were lifted, real wages fell by 35%,
gasoline price increased from J$2.25 to J$3.00 per gallon, government laid
off 17,000 civil servants, a 30% sales tax was imposed on most consumer
goods and civil war and strikes broke out resulting in the death of 50
As a result of the catastrophic human costs and consequences of the
IMF's draconian "conditionality measures", the Democratic Socialist
government of Jamaica under Prime Minister Michael Manley aptly and
correctly re-named this multi-lateral lending institution, the
International Murder Foundation or the Institute for Misery and
The Jamaican government also labeled the specifics of the IMF's programme
as "punitive", "murderous" and a "prescription for the downfall of the
In fact, between 1984 and early 1990s, these IMF draconian
"conditionality measures" have resulted in 551 deaths, 1,884 persons
wounded or injured, 6,108 persons arrested and loss of 27,000 public
sector jobs in the Third World.
In the final analysis, globalisation only represents the economic weapon
in the armory of the United States to secure and solidify European global
power control in the 21st century. Globalisation is the new operational
embodiment of the rule of international economic law a la Pax Americana.
Dr. Kwame Nantambu is a part-time lecturer at Cipriani College of Labour
and Co-operative Studies and University of the West Indies.
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