What can we expect to see in 2011?

13 Enero 2011
Article

Changing global power balances, continuing crises, Iran, Afghanistan. Four TNI fellows share their predictions for 2011.

Walden Bello: Turbulence in the waning days of the global economic order

In 2010, outrage with the excesses of the financial institutions that precipitated the economic crisis gave way to concern about the massive deficits that governments incurred to stabilize the financial system, arrest the collapse of the real economy, and stave off unemployment. The triumph of austerity in the U.S. and Europe will surely eliminate these two areas as engines of recovery for the global economy in 2011.

Some argue that Asia is on a different track, one that would make it bear, like Sisyphus, the burden of global growth. However China's continued structural dependence on exports is most likely to clash with the efforts of the U.S. and Europe to push recovery through export-led growth while raising barriers to the inflow of Asian imports. The likely result of the competitive promotion of this volatile mix of export push and domestic protection by all three leading sectors of the global economy at a time of relatively less buoyant world trade will not be global expansion but global deflation.

What is in store for us in 2011 and beyond, will be as Jeffrey Garten, former US undersecretary of commerce under Bill Clinton, warns, “exceptional turbulence as the waning days of the global economic order we have known plays out chaotically, possibly destructively.”

What is in store for us in 2011 and beyond is exceptional turbulence as the waning days of the global economic order we have known plays out chaotically, possibly destructively.

Many progressives, see turbulence and conflict as necessary accompaniments of the birth of a new order.  Workers have indeed been on the move in China, where significant wage gains were won in strikes in selected foreign companies in 2010. Protesters are indeed out in Ireland, Greece, France, and Britain.  Unlike in China, however, they are marching to preserve what rights they have left.  And neither in China nor the West nor elsewhere are most of those resisting carrying an alternative vision to the global capitalist order. At least, not yet. Read full article: The Global Economy in 2011: Recovery Recedes, Convulsion Looms


Mariano Aguirre: Changing global power relations and possible attack on Iran

Three issues will dominate international relations in the coming year. Firstly, relations between the United States and Europe, on the one hand, and the so-called emerging powers and various countries of the South, on the other. Secondly, the ongoing international financial crisis. And thirdly, violence in a number of different states and along fracture lines such as the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan or the one between Mexico and the US.

This new ability on the part of emerging countries does not mean that the decisions taken will be fair or democratic or that they will revive the non-aligned movement or instigate policies that are based on solidarity with the South.

The global order is affected in two ways: it is shifting from West to East, in particular because of China’s international clout, and it is less centralised. In 2011 we will see the emerging countries defending their national interests, gaining diplomatic space, guaranteeing access to resources (oil, foodstuffs) for their populations and acting in their own interests within multilateral organisations, just as the major powers have always done. Other governments will seek new alliances and support from them. This new ability on the part of emerging countries does not mean that the decisions taken will be fair or democratic or that they will revive the non-aligned movement or instigate policies that are based on solidarity with the South.

Iran will be one of the most dangerous scenarios this year and the most difficult for Obama. If he continues to refuse to allow Iran to enrich uranium under the supervision of other countries (as agreed by Turkey and Brazil with Teheran), the government of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will not give in. If Washington was to take a more flexible stance, it would be fiercely criticised by the Republicans and pressure groups, such as the Tea Party. Furthermore, if the US does not attack Iran’s nuclear installations, Israel might conclude that it should do so itself. Read full article: International trends for 2011

Marcos Arruda: Continuing crises and community resistance

2011 is likely to be a year in which various crises will worsen. The weaknesses and inadequacies of the global financial architecture were exposed by 2007-8 crisis, yet the root causes of the crisis remain untouched. There has been no serious attempt at stricter regulations, international monitoring and sanctions, closure of financial havens, taxing international financial transactions. Global GDP seems to rely on household, enterprise and government indebtedness to continue growing; this is an unsustainable path.

We also see a socio-political crisis with the rise of right wing movements in the North, a xenophobic wave threatening immigrants; jobless growth and the loss of labour rights that had been fought for in previous decades. This is leading to growing social instability everywhere.

Those who are responsible for the climate tragedy are the ones seeking to earn new profits by offering solutions.

My greatest concern is at the lack of concrete agreements to curtail the emissions of greenhouse gases, and the intensification of the privatization of nature. The Cancun climate conference became a display of  corporate 'green products' with transnational companies competing with each other for this new, 'promising' green market. Those who are responsible for the tragedy are the ones seeking to earn new profits by offering solutions.

What gives me hope are the signs of growing awareness in many forms and fronts. People are creating innovative economic initiatives at the local level. Ethical consumption and investment initiatives, producers' and consumers' self-managed associations, fair trade networks, solidarity production chains, webs of horizontal communication, emancipatory education, the eco-village global network, the transition towns movement, complementary currencies, innovative practices of regional integration (such as ALBA), are just some of the creative initiatives that will only become stronger in 2011.

Phyllis Bennis – Confronting Obama's unwinnable war in Afghanistan

Sadly President Obama looks like he will be further entrenching the US in a war in Afghanistan that 60% of the US population know we can not win and cannot afford. President Obama’s most recent Afghanistan review process resulted – surprise! – in the announcement that the U.S./NATO occupation will continue at least until 2014. That earlier promise of July 2011 as the pull-out date? That one was always at least partially a sham – designed to pacify Obama’s powerfully anti-war base, but carefully ambiguous enough to mean very little.

Ending the disastrous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq requires linking the skyrocketing cost of the military budget with the urgent requirements of creating millions of new green jobs.

The new U.S. National Intelligence Estimate acknowledged that large swaths of Afghanistan are still at risk of falling to the Taliban.  And that there is no chance for anything resembling success in Afghanistan without the kind of massive shift in Pakistan that would eliminate the Afghan Taliban’s current access to safe havens across the border.

Ending the disastrous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (as well as escalating attacks in Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere) requires linking the skyrocketing cost of the war and the military budget with the urgent requirements of creating millions of new green jobs and rebuilding our health care, education and infrastructure systems. That means building powerful alliances with the key movements rising in response to the economic crisis, and fighting now for immigrant, environmental, labor, community and civil rights.