Reflections on three decades of international politics and development

01 June 2006
Article

In this contribution to the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation’s “What Next” project, Bidwai charts thirty years of international politics and development.

Today's globalised world is deeply contradictory. Growing interdependence, exchange and interaction have been accompanied by large-scale exclusion, insecurity, economic and political devastation. In this contribution to the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation’s “What Next” project, Bidwai charts thirty years of international politics and development. There have been several positive trends, including decolonisation and political independence, massive increases in literacy, and impressive gains in life expectancy. But there have been many more changes for the worse. North-South disparities have grown, thanks to skewed world trade and investment regimes, the failure of aid, and the neoliberal undermining of states in the global South. Processes of domination (including a US politics of empire) and overconsumption (particularly of fossil fuels, with the climate change implications already being felt) are coupled by multiple processes of erosion – of natural wealth, the environment, cultures and languages, of security and, worst of all, of democracy. But civil society resistance to neoliberalism does, at least, offer a silver lining to this dark cloud, writes Praful Bidwai.

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