Глобальна економіка

4.2. Передумови та специфіка формування глобальної економіки

According to Immanuel Wallerstein, the globalization processes have existed for some 500 years. “We can most fruitfully look at the present situation in two other time frameworks, the one going from 1945 to today, and the one going from circa 1450 to today. The period 1945 to today is that of a typical Kondratieff cycle of the capitalist world-economy, which has had as always two parts: an A-phase or upward swing or economic expansion that went from 1945 to 1967-73, and B-phase or downward swing or economic contraction that has been going from 1967-73 to today and probably will continue on for several more years. The period 1450 to today, by contrast, marks the life cycle of the capitalist world-economy, which had its period of genesis, its period of normal development and now has entered into its period of terminal crisis. In order to comprehend the present situation, we need to distinguish between these two social times, and the empirical evidence for each of them [15, c. 402].

The A-period of the present Kondratieff coincided with the high point of US hegemony in the world-system and occurred within the framework of a world order that the USA established after 1945. The USA emerged from the Second World War as the only major industrial power.

As of 1945, the USA had two major problems. It needed a relatively stable world order in which to profit from its economic advantages. And it needed to re-establish some effective demand in the rest of the world. In the period 1945-55, the USA was able to solve both these problems without too much difficulty. The problem of world order was resolved in two parts. On the one hand, there was the establishment of a set of interstate institutions - notably the UN, the IMF and the World Bank - all of which the USA was able to control politically and which provided the formal framework of order. And on the other hand, and more importantly, the USA came to an arrangement with the only other serious military power in the post-1945 world, the USSR - an arrangement which have come to refer by the code-name ‘Yalta’ [15. c. 402].

The problem of creating enough world effective demand for US production was solved by means of the Marshall Plan for Western Europe and equivalent economic assistance to Japan. But by the 1960s, the productivity gap between Western Europe, Japan and the USA had been more or less eliminated. The Western European countries and Japan recovered control over their national markets and began to compete effectively with US products in the markets of third countries. They even began to be competitive within the US home market [15, c. 403] which resulted in a sharp decline in the profitability of many of the principal industrial sectors, such as steel, automobiles and electronics. The consequent downturn in the world-economy was marked by two major events: the necessity for the USA to go off the gold standard and the world revolution of 1968. The first was caused by the fact that the politico-military expenses of enforcing US hegemony plus the lessened competitiveness in world markets turned out to be quite expensive and thus drained the US financial surplus. The USA had to begin to work hard politically to maintain the economic advantages it had had so easily in the A-period [15, c. 404] In the meantime, the USA sought to maintain its political hold on Western Europe and Japan by erecting a pastiche of constructive structures: the Trilateral Commission, the G-7.

If the 1970s ended with a bang, the 1980s was not far behind. The loans to the poorer states had gotten out of hand, and the debt crisis began... This was the same moment that the USSR made the crucial tactical error of going into Afghanistan, and would thus bleed itself in the same way the USA had done in Vietnam, with less social resilience to permit it to survive the consequences. In the 1980s, the whole world-economy looked in bad shape except for East Asia, although that did not prevent financial speculators from making astounding profits [15, c. 406-407].

In the 1990s, Western Europe made the essential step forward in its unification with the creation of the euro and thus achieved the financial underpinning necessary to pull away from its close political links to the USA. The disintegration of the Balkan zone has clearly demonstrated the very limited effectiveness of NATO as a political force. ... And in the midst of all this came the so-called Asian crisis. Deflation has at last hit East Asia and its derivative zone, followed by Russia and Brazil. The world holds its breath, waiting for it to hit the USA. We shall then enter into the last subphase of this Kondratieff downturn [15, c. 408].

We can think of this long transition as one enormous political struggle between two large camps: the camp of all those who wish to retain the privileges of the existing inegalitarian system, albeit in different forms - perhaps vastly different froms; and the camp of all those who would like to see the creation of a new historical system that will be significantly more democratic and more egalirarian. However, we cannot expect that the members of the first camp will present themselves in the guise that I have used to describe them. They will assert that they are modernizers, new democrats, advocates of freedom and progressive. They may even claim to be revolutionary. The key is not in the rhetoric but in the substantive reality of what is being proposed [15, c. 415-416].

The global economy is currently at a turning point comparable to the one that produced the Great Depression of the 1930s. The rapid technological advances in the USA in the 1920s meant that productive capacity expanded far more rapidly than global demand. It took the domestic reforms of the New Deal, the Marshall Plan, and the rebuilding of Germany and Japan to solve these problems by spreading a mass, automobile-based consumer economy across the developed world. The result was an almost 30 year boom, followed by the rocky period of growing inter-capitalist competition and deepening crisis in the developing world. If the historical analogy is correct, we can expect deepening economic difficulties and more intense international conflicts until one or more of the major developed nations make decisive moves to establish a firm postindustrial foundation for a renewal of economic growth [16, c. 123].