Monday, 17 February 2003

A world turned upside down

George Kerevan has an excellent article in today's Scotsman.
This clutching at the UN straw for comfort intrigues me. The UN is merely a gathering place of nation states, most of which are far from working democracies. What moral force lies in that? The UN has a rotten track record of looking after ordinary people. In 1994, it stood by while 800,000 died in ethnic violence in Rwanda. In 1995, the UN peacekeepers actually withdrew from Srebrenica to let in the Serbian fascists, who promptly shot 2,000 locals in the head. Unfortunately, no amount of marching and no amount of UN resolutions will alter the dark nature of the historical period we are now entering....

...We are living through one of those great phase changes in world history, but hardly anybody has noticed - except the inhuman stock exchange, a few prescient intellectuals in the White House bunker, and an isolated John Lloyd at the New Statesman



At one level, it is about the sudden integration of global economies into a single, free-market system after the fall of communism, and the tensions this has unleashed. For most of the world, this has led to vastly improving standards of living, health and opportunity. But the rapidity of change is also convulsing parts of the globe unprepared for such a revolution but which are too weak to avoid being pulled into the new One World System.
I read this article on a bus as it was passing one of Scotland's many disused coalmines - in this case one that has been converted into a museum. It occurred to me that many of the anti-war marchers in Glasgow on Saturday were indeed reacting against the de-industrialisation of Scotland and all the changes that have followed from it. But globalisation is not going to go away (thank goodness), and the appropriate response is to embrace modernity, not reject it. Scottish Labour has never welcomed change and its activists hate capitalism. Global political and economic events will impact on the Scottish elections in May.