The Middle East is a gem in the developing
world, the liberation of which remains the prime concern of the United
on behalf of the most powerful corporations on earth
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
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
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
When one thinks of such strategies, the words 'Iran-Contra'
come to mind. It is important to note here that the aim of
such transactions has never been for profit but was rather
effectively, as a means of extracting pockets of capital
from nations who had either managed to develop a marginally
or had alternative sources of income, such as Iran's oil
revenues. Where this was not possible the governments where,
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
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
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
the most part the current negative attitude towards the
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
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
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,
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
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
"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.