The Globalization of Human Misery

The Globalization of Human Misery

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By Max Henriquez Daza

It is undoubted. The world is going through conjunctural social and economic situations that are becoming clearer and clearer and that will lead us in the next decade along tortuous and difficult paths

Our planet is going through a time where technology and science prevail as generators of peaceful social transformations. These have been the cause of ecological imbalances that, as always happens in most human activities, are a threat to the sustainability of life itself on the planet.

From social ecology it is assured that the so-called "well-being" to which capitalist consumerism pushes us, it does not seem to matter that this implies an inordinate expenditure of natural energy, which while depleting the planet at an accelerated rate, also brutally pollutes it. We are accelerating towards the institutionalization of planetary death based on a great lie, called "development". What Felix Guattari calls Integrated World Capitalism goes directly to establish immense zones of misery, hunger and death, in an egalitarianism or mass-media serialism. The current human, individual and collective ways of life evolve in the sense of a progressive deterioration.

The story told very quickly shows us what has been the process of development towards what we have before us today, called globalization and based on neoliberal policies. In August 1982, when Mexico defaulted on the payment of interest on the debt with its bank creditors, the debt crisis appeared on the world stage. By the end of that year a total of 20 developing countries joined the ranks of defaulters, generating a considerable crisis. Where did the money come from that was used to commit developing countries with debt? For this we have to go back in history before when the increase in oil prices decided by the OPEC countries in 1973-74 and then in 1979-80 generated a huge reserve of cash that was deposited in western banks and international, a reserve that was used to lend to developing countries with low interest rates. Then came a turn in the monetary policies of the United States, increasing interest rates, a policy that was adopted as theirs by the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development-OECD that own money, placing the noose around the necks of the countries in developing.

There, the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund intervened, conditioning aid to these countries in difficulties on the application of neoliberal Structural Adjustment Programs-SAP-, which were exclusively intended to ensure payment. of debt services. This implied for our countries the cut of social spending, withdrawal of subsidies and price controls, privatization of state companies, among other necessary measures so that together with the destination of a good chunk of the national budget, it could meet the payments of the debt, although without finishing paying it.

Wallestrein said about Globalization that this is "the first historical system that includes the entire globe within its geography."

According to some intellectuals, we have reached the end of history, because ideologies have died. Therefore there is no collective memory, nor is there a past to defend, nor nationality, nor cultural identity.

With the collapse of communism, democracy came to the world. A democracy that Eduardo Haro says: ... "we did not have much idea that the arrival of democracy and its world triumph was going to suppose a hypocritical fascism that would decree the end of history ...... it is when times have imposed a single thought for the way of the dictatorship ".


Ignacio Ramonet in Le Monde Diplomatique names neoliberalism as arrogant, haughty and insolent and classifies it as a gospel that spreads with the fury of modern dogmatism. The single thought translates it as the claim at a universal level of the interests of a set of economic forces, especially those of international capital, whose main sources are the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development-OECD -, the World Trade Organization-WTO, the Bank of France, etc., which through their financing link the whole world to the service of their plans and ideas. It intimidates and stifles any temptation to free reflection and makes it extremely difficult to fight, for now, against this new obscurantism.

It is undoubted. The world is going through conjunctural social and economic situations that are becoming clearer and clearer and that will lead us in the next decade along tortuous and difficult paths. I am referring to globalization, a short term but one that globalizes everything: the economy, development models, politics, the way of life, trade, legislation, transport, the environment, etc.

McLuhan's "Global Village" is now a reality thanks to globalization and nobody is saved from this process in which they have to ride or stay behind permanently. There is apparently no real alternative. We have been witnessing globalization for a long time and it is that of communications. CNN first and then the Internet have put us in contact with a world in constant boiling that today begins to manifest itself dangerously (and also inevitably) in the economy and politics. The joint globalization of markets and information is giving rise to a new totalitarianism, not a democracy.

The global changes manifested in business models, in neoliberalism and the reigning capitalism, are also going to be definitive in the daily lives of all of us, whether we want to or not. Culture is also being intervened by foreign life models, which for many globalizationists are an example because they mark progress and economic prosperity. In Latin America the cultural model that is being followed is the gringo and a loss of the national identities of our countries in this sense is beginning to be noticed.

The labor policies of our countries are considered as systems that stop development. That is why they must be changed at the expense of the achievements in this sense of the workers, for many years. That is why there is rampant unemployment that in Colombia reaches 20% and increasing. But this new vision, supposedly better for everyone, this democracy largely achieved by capitalism, does not only affect underdeveloped countries with misery. Also to those in the north where there are already 41 million unemployed.

Octavio Paz tells us that: "... the market is an effective mechanism, but like all mechanisms, it is blind: with the same indifference it creates abundance and misery. It threatens the ecological balance of the planet, it corrupts the air, it poisons the water, it makes forests deserts and, in short, it harms many living species, including man himself. Finally and above all: it is not and cannot be a model of life. It is not an ethic but a method to produce and consume. Ignore Fraternity destroys social ties, imposes uniformity of consciences and has made art and literature a trade. In what I have just said, there is not the slightest nostalgia for STADIATRIA. The state is not a creator of wealth. Many of us wonder Is there a remedy for this situation? And if it does, what is it ?: I would be lying if I say I know the answer "


Transnational companies are the main actor in globalization and neoliberal governments are their perfect partner to dance frantically to the rhythm of an accelerated troupe, which accumulates and concentrates wealth in a few hegemonic states and a few gigantic corporations.

Globalization is a monster that affects the climate, causing changes on a planetary scale due to the implementation of development models based on commercial, economic and political openness. Now the powers intervene directly in the life of other countries, imposing the changes they want and affecting their self-determination. No one can afford to avoid it, not even the United States, and the thought of isolation is too serious for any economy. This is a historical process that, like industrialization, comes and goes, in an uncertain and chaotic way in our lives.

Globalization is either a higher and final stage of humanity or it is a universal cataclysm, or both, says Chilean analyst Mauricio Hazbún. We cannot tell ourselves lies about globalization. It is undoubted and the history of humanity demonstrates it, that when a people reaches sufficient degrees of development - with strong currency, dominant commerce, universal language - it generally tends to generate more extensive orders, outside its borders. An exemplary case is that of ancient Rome that first unified the Italian peninsula, then the Mediterranean, imposing its language, law, cosmogony and its currency. Today we still enjoy Roman law, the languages ​​derived from Latin and the countless Greek creations that the Romans made it possible to globalize to this day. Many inhabitants of the Iberian Peninsula, for example, have successfully adopted Romanization with its institutions, ways, and customs, as is happening today in Latin America, which sees in the gringo culture the path of prosperity, but not so of the happiness.


Globalization is the progressive dissolution of commercial, political and economic borders. It is the symbolic integration of the entire planet. Their weapons are the overflowing technology that has caused a historic break since the middle of this century with electronic support communications. In the old continent, the example of globalization is represented in the European Union and all this is leading small countries like Colombia to submit or isolate us. For now there we are and surely we are going to suffer a general disaster (as is obviously happening in the economic, political and social aspects) before joining that car that is running at full speed lately, where the commercial opening is mounted, the dismantling of the laws (including environmental), political uniformity and development models. So we are not surprised that the licenses and all of Law 99 has been dismantled little by little without suffering, to facilitate multinationals their access to our resources without any restriction.

If we do not accept gradual, gradual globalization, then we will be led to globalization in the old fashion (like the Roman or Catholic evangelization), with blood and fire whose version of today would be with missiles falling on our heads.


Finally, allow me to transcribe part of a report on Human Development, from the United Nations

"... Globalization has benefited some and marginalized the most ... As the dominant force in the last decade of the 20th century, globalization has shaped a new era in the interaction between nations, economies and peoples. But it has also fragmented productive processes, labor markets, political entities and societies. The advantages and competition of global markets can only be assured if globalization takes on a human face. As long as globalization is dominated by economic aspects and by expansion of markets, will be limiting human development ... we will need a new approach from governments, one that preserves the advantages offered by global markets and competition, but at the same time allows human, community and environmental resources to ensure that globalization works for the people and not for profits. "

This quote undoubtedly forces us to adopt a critical position on the current and future real effects of this stage of capitalism, now mounted on powerful and efficient instruments, such as technology and modes of production, in order to achieve its fundamental objective, which is accumulation. In the logical structure of capitalism, there has always been a notable conflict of interest between the owners of capital and the workforce, a conflict that generates brutal inequity in the distribution of wealth and that is exasperated day by day under the protection of globalization.

Globalization cannot acquire a human face, it only understands, allows and promotes the values ​​of the market, inequitable, unjust and predatory par excellence; Nation States are the other great human institution that could promote equity in the distribution of wealth, ensure social justice and protect the cultural and natural wealth of the peoples; of course, civil society is a vital element in the achievement of these ideals and must draw on the sources of ethics and intelligence of its best men and women.



1. OF OUR DUTIES TO LIFE. Gustavo Wilches Chaux.



4. HOW TO ESCAPE THE GLOBAL ECONOMY. The Ecologist Magazine. Vol 28 No 4, July / Aug 1998.

5. USELESS PANFLETT AGAINST THE SOCIETY OF WELL-BEING. Ivan Darío Alvarez. Magazine of Environmental Thought "Diversa". Edition 2, III quarter of 1996.



8. THE THREE ECOLOGIES. Felix Guattari.

9. WORLD RESOURCES. THE GLOBAL GUIDE TO THE ENVIRONMENT. Population and Environment. nineteen ninety six.

10. DENYING THE GLOBAL A HOME. The Editors. The Ecologist Magazine, vol 26 No 4, July / Aug 1996

11. THE BATTLE OF SEATTLE. Elaine Bernard. World Watch Magazine. 2,000 No 10

12. NO TO THE MILLENNIUM ROUND OF THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION. Southern Magazine. No 96/97. October-November 1999.

* General Director - Colombian Green Movement - MOVER
National Headquarters: Carrera 7 No 83-81 Office 301
telefax 6160471 / tel 6104916Bogota-Colombia - [email protected]

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