Globalization and theNew World OrderJohn HinksonThe idea that a new world order is emerging cannot be simplythought about in regional or local terms, although local expressionsare everywhere. Historically there are many examples of what canbe called new world orders. The rise of the state system of sover-eignty, often dated from the seventeenth century and emerging fromthe European Thirty Years, War, is one example within this generalcategory. The emergence of the British imperial/colonial order, aris-ing out of an expansive capitalism and the Western Enlightenmentis another. Still another example, at least in embryo, was the rise ofsocialist states as replacements for the capitalist state focusedaround the Soviet revolution. The fascist and related states arisingout of the crises of ‘civilization’ that followed the First World War —states that sought to break with the binaries of socialism and cap-italism — also exemplify the potential for new world orders: theywere taken much more seriously by publics and also power elitesthan is comfortably acknowledged today. All such examples have a deep structure. They are all associatedwith surface phenomena but reflect or are constructed upon under-lying processes that reproduce on an ongoing basis. The structuralquality of the worker in conflict with the owner of the means ofproduction underlies the socialist idea. Or, to give a more contro-versial example, the utter crisis of, and lack of confidence in,capitalism after the First World War (and subsequently during the51
Great Depression) gave crucial support to a fascist movement thatsought a third way between capitalism and socialism. The sensethat civilization was at a crossroads after the Great War encouragedpeople to reach out for other solutions — some of which weredisastrous, as we now know.The idea of a new world order in more recent times first emergedin the idealistic speeches of Gorbachev to the United Nations in thelate 1980s. He advocated a political movement beyond the bipolarworld of the Cold War. His speeches had a relationship toincreasing difficulties in the Soviet sphere — importantly reflectedin the subsequent bringing down of the Berlin Wall — culminatingin the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The Gorbachev pro-posals caused difficulties in the West because they required generalresponses of a new kind, in the face of which our political leaderswere left flat-footed, reflecting their limited imagination, but theutter collapse of the Soviets a few years later put very firmly inplace a different kind of end to the Cold War. This unexpectedimplosion of the apparently powerful Soviets, a development ofhuge consequence, was an important background to notions of anew world order in the West.
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