Globalisation and the End of a Single Orthodoxy
AbstractThe end of the bipolar world heralded a single capitalist economic system, known as globalisation, which was postulated to solve the problems of humankind on a global scale. Initially, this distinctive economic system although confusing and polarising, was greatly celebrated and accepted by many individuals and nations. However, soon after the euphoria that was associated with the triumph of capitalism, several problems emerged, as the perceived triumph of a single orthodoxy seems to have demoted growth of global prosperity. For example, almost half of the more than 6 billion people in the world are poor; 8 million people die each year because they are too poor to stay alive, while 1 billion lives are in danger because they lack food in a world of abundance. The disparity between the global rich and poor continue to expand. By the late 1990s, the richest 20 per cent of the world’s population enjoyed 86 per cent of the world’s GDP, while the poorest 20 per cent own a mere one per cent. The annual income of the world’s 100 richest individuals is estimated to be sufficient to end global poverty more than four times. A total of 80% of the global populace live on less than $10 per day. Five per cent of global income is generated by the poorest 40% of the world’s population; while the wealthiest 20% of the population generates 75% of world income. The income of the wealthiest tenth of the world’s households is more than eighty times the purchasing power of that of the poorest tenth. This disparity has been exacerbated by growing unemployment and poverty across the globe. Since 2000, European countries have witnessed a massive increase in unemployment. The situation is acute in Africa, where there are many problems. It is ironic that Africa has one of the world’s richest concentrations of minerals and precious metals, yet some 300 million of its people live on less than one dollar per day. It seems that a casino economy of speculation has failed humankind. Indeed, current failure of a single global capitalist economic system to address the wider problems of humankind such as unemployment, inequality, oppression, poverty, food shortages and economic crises, will resurrect the question regarding whether the current economic logic is still sustainable.
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