Linking Alternative Regionalisms for Equitable & Sustainable Development
>>Download PDF(1.18 MB) As the crisis of globalisation deepens , there is an urgent need for the articulation of alternatives. This includes add ressing the question of developing alternatives from the perspectives of social movements in Africa, Asia and Latin-America and seeking to effectively influence the shape and substance of regional governance in the South, as key lynchpins in a more pluralistic, flexible and fairer system of global governance. In her article, "Regional Programs in the South and new Peoples Initiatives", Dot Keet gives an overview of the main features and some current initiatives within three key "regional" programs between countries in Africa (SADC), Latin America (MERCOSUR) and Asia (ASEAN). Besides identifying the specificities of each region, Keet also identifies the commonalities and bases for comparative analysis and cooperative efforts between civil society organisations within and between these regions. The economic logic in building "alternative regionalisms" as a base for challenging the currently dominant global system could create a world of cooperating nations within regions negotiating their specific policies as well as cooperating with other regions on matters of shared global concern. The political impetus towards this strategy will depend on the commitment and capacities on non-governmental popular fo rces to get their governments to pursue this strategic vision. In Globalisation in Asia and China: Assessing Costs and Benefits, Walden Bello reviews the impact of globalisation on Asia and China. He sees China as benefiting from corporate-driven globalisation only if it maintains its low-wage advantage. The same TNCs that once invested in Southeast Asia have moved to China and are prepared to move once more if China loses its competitive edge in labour costs. This may be difficult to imagine at this point, but it cannot be warded off indefinitely if one continues to be dependent on a low - wage, export - oriented, foreign - capital dependent strategy of development. Bello argues that for Southeast Asia and China, the challenge is to adopt development strategies that do not make them hostages to the calculations of transnational firms. In identifying some elements of an alternative development strategy, Bello stresses that Southeast Asia, in light of the competition posed by China, the EU, and the United States at a global level, it is important to be serious about regional integration. To expect to surv i ve as national economies without becoming part of a larger economic bloc co-ordinating policies in trade, finance, technology, investment, and development is becoming increasingly unrealistic in a world where big economic blocs become the key players. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), in short, must become a reality, and this can only be done through a combination of political will and a democratisation of the process of regional integration. In conclusion, Bello notes "that South-South cooperation would be a tremendous step forward in the adoption and generalisation of alternative development strategies. The recent formation of the Group of 20, the mainstays of which are Brazil, China, India, and South Africa, is, from this point of view, a very positive development. The G20 has bro ken up the EU-US monopoly on trade negotiations. But it has the potential to do much more in terms of transforming the system of global relations of economic power." Linking Regional Alternatives for Eqitable and Sustainable Development highlights some initiatives in 2004 in which social movements and civil society organisations (from Latin America, Africa and Asia) who are concerned with regional development options and are creating new networks and alliances both within and across regions.