Published in Books & Authors (Daily Dawn) on April 9, 2006 – Original Link
Edited by Gill Hubbard and David Miller
Pluto Press. Available with Liberty Books,
Park Towers, Clifton, Karachi.
Tel: 021-5832525 (Ext: 111).
“GLOBALISATION is not just inevitable — though it is that — it is a good thing,” said Tony Blair.
Is this true or just propaganda on part of the people who rule the world today and promote the idea of globalisation as “unstoppable?”
G8’s origin lies with the resulting economic problems of the oil crisis of 1973, when the idea of an economic forum was initiated by the United States of America. Today, G8, or the Great Eight, consists of first world countries — UK, USA, the Russian Federation, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. Originally, it included only six countries.
The issues today, pertaining to G8, are that it has become a sort of government for the rest of the nations and that its globalisation tactics are detrimental to the interests of other countries, especially the developing or third world countries.
This book, with its 22 contributors, is rather judgmental about the negativity of G8’s plans. It is, however, supported by some very valid arguments. The book is also very informative and we are presented with a clear analysis of what has gone wrong. Intellectuals and renowned personalities such as Noam Chomsky, Susan George, Gill Hubbard, Mark Curtis and David Miller are amongst the contributers.
Noam Chomsky is known for his writings against America’s imperialist designs. Mark Curtis has written other books and is director of the World Development Movement. The other writers are also involved in similar areas of interest. Their essays are a great source of knowledge for those concerned about the present world situation.
These writers opine that the world leaders put more effort in creating lies rather than facing the challenges or problems, which they choose to isolate from the policies of G8. On one hand, they are in favour of free trade, the status of the world as one global entity, etc., but on the other, issues of poverty, AIDS and high infant mortality rates are ignored. Horrifying statistics have been included: a sixth of humanity lives in slums, a child dies every 15 seconds from lack of safe water, etc.
Capitalism, a profit-motivated and an open economic system, has its negative impacts. Capitalism is termed as “war” since competition is one of its major features and the third world is not in a position to compete with the first world. The socialist system, which has its share of drawbacks, does not let the rich grow richer by engaging in a game of power and politics.
Democracy, corporate power, food security and climate change are the topics under discussion and have been given equal importance. Some very relevant examples have been quoted such as that of the tsunami when more than 200,000 people lost their lives:
“Ordinary people around the world watched in horror and donated millions to help the victims. This was not charity but an act of genuine solidarity. Meanwhile the leaders of the eight richest countries in the world stood impotent.”
A good thing about this book is that the writers have not hesitated from placing blame where it is due. People are aware of the G8 but this book seems to come as reinforcement with some very solid arguments and accusations. It not only puts forward what is happening but also sheds light on what is to be done for the benefit of humanity.— Ayesha Hoda