The Resource Curse
“Neoliberal globalization has fundamentally altered the economies of the Global South”
Neoliberal globalization has fundamentally altered the economies of the Global South.
Governments have been coerced into abandoning their traditional concerns for social welfare and economic independence in order to take part in a global economy dictated by the current dominance of global finance capitalism and optimized for capital concentration and accumulation for the Global North.
And not only is there an appalling lack of political courage among wealthy nations to confront the growing global economic inequality, but ‘shock therapy’ is frequently used to push through radical pro-corporate measures during times of public disorientation when there is a temporary vacuum between events and our inability to explain them.
The ‘shock doctrine’ of ‘disaster capitalism’ is a brutal tactic from the pro-corporate economic playbook that exploits wars, coups, terrorist attacks, market crashes, or natural disasters to advance the private interests of corporations and authoritarian governments over the public sphere and the public interest.
With increasing regularity, news stories and world events suggest that transnational capital has become so concentrated and pervasive in both national and international institutions — and the tight integration of global finance has created widespread vulnerability — that single nation-states dare not adopt a significantly divergent policy direction from the dominant economies of the Global North for fear of retaliation and potentially disastrous capital flight.
After the 2008 global financial crisis, to pay interest to foreign lenders, severe structural adjustments were imposed on public services and the social wage in Greece that threw many thousands into poverty. When elected heads of state were embarrassingly replaced by financial technocrats, the too-easy shift toward ‘government-by-external-fiat’ revealed the shallow roots of democratic processes when confronted by the clearly dominant influence and cold, indifferent demands of global finance capitalism. So even a well-established and respectable Western democracy like Greece proved not to be immune to this economic humiliation.
History has repeatedly shown that globally mobile financial capital has a nasty tendency to erode any well-intended benefits, and ‘free-trade agreements’ often serves to facilitate and legitimate the unjust liquidation and appropriation of the high-quality natural resources found in forests, farms, and fossil fuels of ‘lesser’ countries.
This all-too-common pattern has a name: The Resource Curse.
The current and growing ecological-climate crisis is but one consequence of the inherent inability of today's form of unregulated and voracious global capitalism — increasingly concentrating too much wealth and power in the hands of too few — to restrain its own greed and destructive ecological practices.
Fortunately, the gross misdeeds of transnational corporations seeking ever more concentrated power and control are also making daily headlines with greater frequency, signaling the end of this form of unbridled ‘extremist’ global corporate capitalism with its insatiable desire for unconstrained power and influence.