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Global transition
The Middle East is a gem in the developing world, the liberation of which remains the prime concern of the United States, acting on behalf of the most powerful corporations on earth

Arash Sayedi
December 17, 2004

We stand at the brink of a global transition. At the dawn of the 21st century the men and women of the developed world stand witness to a phenomenon repeated many times throughout the course of human history. Mainly that of the movement of wealth and power across borders. In this case from 'West' to 'East'.

The symptoms of this phenomenon can be easily observed in the general anxiety of the first world, reflected in bitter dispositions, strict immigration laws, protectionist policy making and a sense of uneasiness that stems from the never before experienced pace of change that is sweeping the planet.

It has been almost a century since Oswald Spengler's "The Decline of the West", and if there is one statement made by Spengler that has stood the test of time is the notion that cultures are inherently organic, in the sense that they follow patterns of youth, adulthood, old age and death.

This is not to say that what is being suggested here is the death of the first world but rather the end of an era in the history of what was once dubbed 'the West' but must now be called 'the developed world' in order to encompass the many new members who are located in the Eastern hemisphere. An era that began with the birth of the industrial revolution, and one that will end(mainly in the developed world) with the emergence of the post industrial, information driven economy.

The industrial revolution, the birth bangs of which are so vividly described in the timeless works of writers like Charles Dickens, is however, far from dead. It is merely being relocated to the developing world where it can begin it's cycle of mass production anew.

It has long been agreed that capital and technology are the prerequisites of economic success. Without these two elements no country can ever reach any degree of development. When it comes to the East, for well over a century, the chief aim of the West had been the prevention of the accumulation of capital. Capital that could lead to the development and/or purchase of technology with the potential to kick start the wheels of industry and set forth in motion a nation's economy toward success.

Prevention of capital to accumulate has been the most effective tool of the West in preventing the what were once dubbed 'undeveloped' but have of late been given the more optimistic title of 'developing' countries, from rising to power. That in unison with the installment and active support of corrupt and totalitarian regimes has led to the successful prevention of strong economies from being developed in most Eastern nations.

When one thinks of such strategies, the words 'Iran-Contra' often come to mind. It is important to note here that the aim of such transactions has never been for profit but was rather used, quite effectively, as a means of extracting pockets of capital from nations who had either managed to develop a marginally effective economy or had alternative sources of income, such as Iran's oil revenues. Where this was not possible the governments where, by overt and covert means, overthrown.

Towards the end of the 1980s, however, as the world stepped into the last decade of the 20th century, it became quite clear that the markets of the developed world were reaching their point of saturation. When one first hears of this, the words 'Overripe Capitalism', uttered by Lenin a century ago, come to mind almost immediately. Here we reach a defining point in the history of the West, at least where the multinationals are concerned, when the strategies employed toward developing countries stand on their heads. All patterns in history it seems, sooner or later do turn into their opposites.

Having exhausted the potentials of their own markets in the developed world the multinationals must now turn to alternative markets yet untapped if they are to survive in the new century. And the aggressiveness with which this end is being pursued today suggests that it is very much a question of survival. The majority of the developing world's markets however are quite weak. Meaning the population of these countries do not yet posses sufficient buying power in order to purchase Western goods. The survival of the multinationals depends very much on the creation of a middle class population with adequate buying power and a consumer culture to match.

It is important to note that the latter is just as important as the former and it depends solely on the presence of democratic governmental structures with ample freedom of expression and speech. The primary aim of the movement of capital to the East is achieved by simply relocating manufacturing operations to developing nations. As the developing world produces the goods sold in the first world, the living standards of workers in the former begin to rise to the point where they themselves are able to purchase the goods they produce.

In this way the multinationals themselves profit from relatively cheap production costs and with the aid of loans from various monetary institutions, help create the new and highly fertile markets of the developing world. The movement of sales and production to the East has been called the great gold rush of the 21st century. The potential for wealth creation in these markets is so colossal that no dollar figure could possibly be attached to it. "The world bank notes that the developing countries are growing at 6% per annum, more than double the 2.5 percent projected growth rates of the first world" (Peter Marber, 'From Third World to World Class').

This however poses a number of problems. First is protectionism in the West. The protectionist attitudes of Western governments are very much a reflection of public opinion rooted in the dogmatic conception that someone's increased wealth is generally achieved at someone else's expense. This may have been so a hundred or even fifty years ago but in the 21st century this notion is simply not true.

The loss of industrial jobs is quickly replaced by the creation of post industrial, technology driven ones with much higher salaries. The problem here then is one of education, not lack of jobs. And for the most part the current negative attitude towards the increasing waves of globalization are mere passing moods. And if not, one only has to remember that the power of the market and the multinationals who command it simply dwarfs that of any nation or union, and to move against the general needs and demands of the free market system is ultimately futile.

A second problem is that investment in the developing world requires the safety and security offered under the rule of democratic nations. And the increasing interest of governments with strong corporate lobbies, such as the United States, is in the establishment and continued protection of such states. Where almost the exact opposite strategy was pursued a mere decade ago, the need for democratically run governments was perceived as early as the 90s and remains the predominant aim of the US government.

Backed by the most powerful social forces in the world today, the notion of a free Middle East is one with inevitable outcomes. Predicted as a high growth region with great potential for both production and marketing (factories built close to energy supplies results in massive cuts in production costs), the Middle East is a gem in the developing world, the liberation of which remains the prime concern of the United States, acting on behalf of the most powerful corporations on earth.

What is in store for us in the future remains to be seen. But what is important here is to remember that capitalism and the free market system, driven by the constant development of technology, always has been and remains the primary engine of change. So as we so boldly set forth into the morrow, it is imperative that we embrace the values of the market system and attune our actions with it's ever increasing patterns of change.

And albeit the bitter pessimism of many, great change is on the way. The great abyss facing the people of Iran today is one with colossal feet of clay. One that could shatter into a thousand pieces at even the notion of our unity. An that, on this day and on this hour should remain our chief aim. For our salvation is in our unity and nothing but.

"The world you desire can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it's yours."
-- Ayn Rand

So long and good luck.

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