Dr. Andrey Kortunov is an author of over 120 publications dedicated to the analysis of Soviet/Russian-American relations, global security, and the foreign and domestic policy of the USSR and Russia. His academic focus includes international relations, the foreign and domestic policy of Russia, and Russian-American relations. It is a great honor for us to present to you his latest publication entitled "What should we expect of "Globalization 2.0"? as a starting point for the Reunion's first-day discussion where we will deliberate war of worldviews as a basis of the Cold War 2.0, along with new features of the system of international relations 2020-2030.
1. Globalization without a hegemon.
Globalization of late XX - early XXI century coincided with the historical peak of the US international power and influence. Indeed, the US Presidents – from Bill Clinton to Barak Obama – were the ones, who defined the basic rules of the game in the emerging globalized world. The US hegemony extended to both international development and international security. All major multilateral institutions – from the United Nations, NATO, G8 and later G20 to IBRD and IMF to WTO and even to OECD – in this way or another reflected the US global agenda and camouflaged the US commitment to preserve Pax Americana for as long as possible. In rear cases, when the United States was not able to channel its decisions though appropriate multilateral organizations, it did not hesitate to bypass them with very limited, if any, resistance from the international community (e.g. the US-led “coalition of the willing” military intervention in Iraq in 2003).
The new cycle of globalization will be entirely different from this model. The United States is not likely to remain the indispensable “globalization 2.0” driver. Moreover, it is not evident that to launch a globalization reset the world will need a committed and highly motivated global hegemon. It is more likely to see an advancement of horizontal globalization model, based on genuine multilateralism. Examples of tis model are already emerging. For instance, in the end of 2020 fifteen states of the Asian Pacific region signed an Agreement to form the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). The Agreement formally launched the largest free trade zone in the world with the total population of 2.2 billion people and the GNP of $ 28 trillion (which is approximately one third of the global GNP). Interestingly enough, both American friends and American adversaries in the region joined the Agreement. Contrary to what one could have imagined, it was not China that played the central role in preparing RCEP; the true drivers behind the agreements were ASEAN counties, which had worked on this ambitious project for about twenty years.
As for the United States, the US leadership will have to accept that with the new cycle of globalization coming, Washington will not be always in a position to act as the indisputable leader or as the indispensable actor in setting the rules of the game. Like any other country in the world, the United States will have to take the position of a yet another participant, and sometimes – that of an observer to the changing the rules. In some areas, US will continue to be a rule maker, in other – it will be a rule taker. Such a shift will inevitably turn out to be very painful for the numerous factions in the US political establishment that got to the political scene and matured there in times of the bipolar and the unipolar international systems. It is yet to be seem how the US leadership will cope with challenge.
2. Globalization without the center and the periphery.
At the dawn of the previous globalization cycle the common vision was that its ‘waves’ would spread primarily from the economic, technological and political core of the modern world (roughly, from the “Aggregate West”) to its periphery. Large semi-peripheral countries (China, Russia, India, Brazil, etc.) were supposed to serve as transmission gears in this process. Early prophets of globalization also assumed that resistance to this process would grow stronger with moving away from the core and closer to the periphery; the latter would inevitably generate conflicts, trade wars, protectionism, nationalism, isolationism, and so on. These ‘counter waves’ would slow down the overall globalization process, but they could not seriously affect the global core being gradually weakened in course of their movement from the periphery to this core. While the periphery had to stay fragmented for some time, the core would continue to consolidate.
However, the terms of engagement for “globalization 2.0” will be very different from this pattern. The globalization ‘waves’ are likely to go in the opposite direction – from the global periphery to the global core. The “Aggregate West” is already trying to isolate or at least to protect itself from the global South though limiting international migrations, reinstalling protectionism, repatriating industries from overseas, demonstrating growing vulnerabilities to nationalism and xenophobia. Such a shift reflects a continuous fundamental change in the balance of economic powers between the global core and the periphery. Back in 1995, on the eve of “globalization 1.0”, the aggregate purchasing power parity GNP of the seven top emerging economics (China, India, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia, Turkey and Mexico) amounted to approximately one half of the G7 (US, UK, France, Germany, Japan, Canada, Italy)aggregate GNP. In 2015, the two groups had roughly equal aggregate PPP based GNPs. By 2040, the “emerging seven” will be twice as powerful in economic terms as the “developed seven”.
The global core still enjoys a major advantage over the global periphery (should we say – the former global periphery?) in terms of their respective levels of engagement into major globalization processes. Nevertheless, this advantage is rapidly shrinking. For instance, in 2020 China has surpassed the United States as the global leader in receiving foreign direct investments. The question about who is going to lead “globalization 2.0” remains open. One can even question whether “globalization 2.0” might have a single geographical center or should be associated with a particular region or a group of nations. The next cycle of globalization is more likely to evolve as a network process without a clearly defined geographical hierarchy. The whole distinction between the global core and the global periphery might completely lose its meaning since practically in any country of the world one can easily find elements of both the former and the latter.
3. Sustainable development instead of liner economic growth.
The previous globalization cycle was about acceleration of economic growth and increase of private and public consumption. One should note that “globalization 1.0” contributed quite a lot to overcoming global poverty and to broadening of the global middle class – especially in Asia. The rise of international trade, the growth of foreign direct investments, and the emergence of sustainable transnational economic and technological chains – all these factors contributed to success of many ambitious national modernization projects. Because of these positive changes, many in the world got convinced that the rising tide would lift all boats and the benefits of globalization will eventually become available to everybody on the planet.
To a certain extent, this assumption turned out to be right. An average inhabitant of the Earth lives a better, a brighter and a longer life than his or her parents thirty years ago. Still, globalization did not distribute its benefits in an unquestionably fair way among the global population; on the contrary, “globalization 1.0” divided the world into new winners and new losers. One should note that the borderline between the first and the second does not always separate ‘successful’ states from ‘unsuccessful’ states. More often, we observe deepening divisions within states, - between certain social, age, and professional groups, between metropolitan and rural areas, between wealthy and poor regions, and so on. In short, the new divisions emerge between those who were able to fit into the new way of life and those who were not. For example, in the median incomes of the poorer half of the US households over last forty years experienced no increase, but only a steady decline. It does without saying that such a situation creates fertile soil for various forms of social unrest and political populism.
“Globalization 2.0” is likely to change the criteria of success. High rates of economic growth will still be important, but meeting the goals of sustainable development will become even more important than economic growth per se. This shift means that in future they will have to attach much more attention to issues of social equity, quality of life, environmental and climate agendas, community building, personal and public security, etc. The linear increase of private and public consumption is not sustainable; it will give way to much more nuanced indicators of ‘smart consumption’; moreover, the whole concept of ‘consumption society’ will undergo quite radical changes. Countries will more and more often compete with each other not in terms of the per capita GNP, but in terms of the overall opportunities for self-fulfillment, which they can offer to their citizens.
4. Social drivers instead of financial drivers.
Transnational financial business was in the vanguard of “globalization 1.0”. Internationalization of financial markets, competition between states for access to foreign investments, growth of the geographical and sectorial capital mobility, emergence of the trans-border community of financial managers with universal professional skills and a common professional culture – all these trends had a profound impact on production, politics, and even on mass culture and lifestyles. Cosmopolitan technocratic professional became a role model and a symbol of change.
However, the 2008-2009 financial crisis exposed serious limitations of this globalization model. Transnational capital has moved too fast ahead and too far away from the national production base and from its domestic social environment. Cosmopolitan technocratic professionals became a symbol of greed, moral relativism and social irresponsibility. Because of the wide spread disappointment, the formerly limitless expansion of capital was contained by highly nationalistic economic and financial strategies (economic and financial priorities of the Trump Administration are a graphic illustration of the defeat of international bankers). Hopes and expectations of self-confident economists of early XXI century did not come true: economy never managed to defeat politics and to turn the latter into its obedient servant. The opposite happened: politics started overshadowing economy and dictating decisions that were very remote from the logic of economic feasibility. As a kind of paradox, “globalization 1.0” created a whole spectrum of new opportunities for anti-globalists to build their transnational alliances. These days anti-globalists have mustered globalization related opportunities arguably much better than their opponents have.
There are reasons to believe that “globalization 2.0” will have primarily social, rather than financial drivers. It is worth mentioning that even today, with international trade and foreign direct investments plummeting, trans-border information flows continue to grow at a very high speed. The COVID-19 pandemic has become a powerful factor disuniting the humankind, but this is only its immediate impact. The long-term impact may well be the opposite, since the pandemic turned out to be a spectacular accelerator of new information and communication technologies; it would not be an exaggeration to argue that one of the most remarkable features of the post-pandemic world is the emergence of the first truly global civil society. Trans-border NGOs, professional communities, public movements, advocacy coalitions are likely to play a more active role in “globalization 2.0” than old national financial elites. If so, one can conclude that “globalization 2.0” will have a by far broader and more robust social base than the previous globalization cycle. Therefore, future resistance to anti-globalist trends might also grow stronger.
5. Social justice instead of personal freedoms.
The previous cycle of globalization reflected the public demands for individual freedoms that had been dominant in the global community since at least 1980s or even earlier. The globalization impulse had its roots in economic and political programs of such leasers as Margaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom and Ronald Reagan in the United States; it gained power against the background of the universal crisis of leftist egalitarian ideologies caused by the failure of the communist experiment in the Soviet Union and Central European states. Visionaries of “globalization 1.0” – from Jacques Attali to George Soros to Thomas L. Friedman – dreamed of the future society populated by completely atomized “citizens of the world” with unlimited freedom of choice and with very limited, if any, constrains imposed by archaic group identities and related commitments.
The global political pendulum reached the extreme point in the very beginning of the century and in 2010s started moving in the opposite direction. It is very likely that in the second quarter of the century we will see much more articulated and me persistent public demand for social and political justice. That implies a renaissance of leftist ideologies, an advance of left political movements and parties. There are already many indicators that societies in various parts of the world are more inclined to sacrifice a part of their economic and political freedoms for the sake of what they consider to be guarantees of social justice and fairness. One can predict an increase of the tax burden on the private sector and the wealthier social groups, new egalitarianism, politically motivated censorship and self-censorship, proliferation of political correctness practices, new restrictive approaches to information management, as well as restrictions of privacy justified by security considerations. Neither of the above-mentioned trends implies a total defeat of liberal democracies by authoritarian political models, but liberal democracies will have to put more emphasis on social justice in order to survive and to compete with alternative forms of social organization (as it was the case between the two world wars).
Globalization based on the priority of social justice has to be quite different from globalization based on the priority of individual freedoms. The modern society has not yet produced universal and legitimate standards of justice – neither for internal use within states, nor for managing relations between them. This suggests that the world of “globalization 2.0” will not necessarily become a fair and just world – it will remain unfair and unjust for many social, political, ethnic, religious and other groups as well as for many nations. However, one can predict a much more consistent emphasis on national and international affirmative actions, non-market mechanisms of massive redistribution of material wealth on the national and international levels, more persistent efforts to bridge the gap between “haves” and “have nots”. The art of successful global and national governance under these circumstances has to include the ability to balance diverging understandings of justice that exist in the world at large or within a given country.
6. Multitude of actors instead of nation states.
The retreat of “globalization 1.0” was in many ways accelerated, if not caused, by the demise of non-state actors in international relations. Ideas of national sovereignty, supremacy of nation states, concerns about interference of foreigners into domestic political affairs have become quite popular in many societies and, especially, within traditional, state-oriented national elites. These elites now have their revenge: almost everywhere in the world, one can observe the rise of social and political status enjoyed by state bureaucrats, military, defense sector, special services and law enforcement agencies. To some extent, the traditional (i.e. linked to the industrial sector of economy) middle class also experiences an upward social mobility. At the same time, many role models of early XXI century are losing their former status and influence; new creative class, private financial sector, cosmopolitan factions of national elites, liberal media, comprador intellectuals – all these groups have to fight really hard to avoid complete marginalization. The world is getting back from the post-modern paradigm to the neo-modern one, and in a number of dimensions, the world is even falling into the archaic. The former non-state drivers of globalization – such as universities, independent think tanks, professional networks, transnational NGOs and foundations, as well as globally oriented private sector - are pushed to the sidelines of the international system.
Nevertheless, the subsequent period of deglobalization demonstrated that the strengthening of nation-states has its own limitations. The nearly universal emphasis on national sovereignty has prevented neither the COVID-19 pandemic, nor the implosion of the global oil prices, nor the increase of volatility in currency exchange rates. The strengthening of national fiscal regulations did not eliminate global offshores, and the tightening of border controls and visa regimes did not prevent millions of illegal migrants from getting to Europe. Despite their frantic efforts, nation states so far achieved only limited success in reinstalling their control over trans-border flows of money, goods and services, information and people. It is hard to believe that the ‘final victory’ is just around the corner.
“Globalization 2.0” is likely to offer a different model of interaction between state and non-state actors in international relations. Though states will undoubtedly remain the main building blocks of the global system, more and more international problems might find their solutions only in the format of broad private-public partnerships (PPP). For instance, in order to block the most dangerous and destabilizing avenues of the arms race, an active engagement by the private companies from the defense sector and research Universities appears to be indispensable. The advancement of the “green agenda” is impossible without involving multiple civil society institutions and local communities all around the globe. Successful development projects in the poorest countries in the world are doomed to fail, if the private sector does not shoulder efforts of national or international technical assistance agencies. It is important to mention that in such PPPs non-state actors are not likely to limit their role to that of state subcontractors; they will come to the partnerships with their own interests and priorities, sometimes very different from state interests and priorities. The ability of building efficient PPPs will be critical for state leaders of the future.
7. Plurality instead of universality.
The previous globalization cycle coincided with the global triumph of political and economic liberalism. Many politicians and scholars regarded the notions of “liberal globalization” and “global liberalism” almost as synonymic or, at least, as inextricably linked with each other. A predicted final victory of liberal economic and political models all over the world should have become both a key accelerator of globalization and one of the most significant accomplishments of the latter. Any non-liberal or illiberal development models in this context appeared to be manifestations of archaism, symptoms of inconsistent and incomplete modernization, preventing their bearers from fitting into the new global world. One could have argued about the most efficient modernization trajectories for specific societies, but the view that the West stood as the symbol and the incarnation of modernity itself, looked axiomatic.
Today a direct causal link between globalization and political and/or economic liberalism is less evident than it was three decades ago. Political and economic liberalism is under pressure. Even in the ‘historical West” they now question some of the liberal fundamentals, whereas alternative social, economic and political models demonstrate not only their sustainability and resilience, but some cases – high efficiency as well. One of the most graphic illustrations of this new situation – the comparative experience of the United States and China in fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Of course, the fight between liberalism and its opponents is not over, but the West has already lost its former monopoly on how to define modernity, and the West itself has turned into a target for condescending statements about archaism and obsolescence.
This new dynamics of global development suggests that “globalization 2.0” should find a way to combine the needed degree of the planetary universality and the remaining plurality of national economic, social and political development trajectories. The rules of the game in the emerging international system have to be balanced in such a way that they become equally comfortable for a large variety of participants that go through different stages of their social and political maturation. It is not realistic to expect that only an adherence to political liberalism can grant nations a free and unrestricted access to the global world; this world should be open to all – liberal democracies and illiberal autocracies, theocratic republics and absolute monarchies. Multilateral global projects should emerge around common interests rather than around common values. One can assume that in the end of the day “globalization 2.0” (or a later “globalization 3.0”) should lead to a global convergence of values. The assumption is debatable, but it is clear that such a convergence can only follow globalization in some rather distant future, but it cannot serve as a precondition for “globalization 2.0”.
8. Asynchrony, not synchronization.
Though initially “globalization 1.0” studies focused primarily on the financial and economic dimensions of this phenomenon, it was more than apparent that globalization was a complex process with a profound impact on all aspects of human lives. They assumed that the financial and economic globalization would inevitably pull behind itself, just as a railway locomotive pulls cars behind itself, other dimensions – social, cultural, political and so on. Furthermore, they expected globalization to synchronize in this way or another its advances in various areas. By interacting with each other, various dimensions of globalization were to accelerate each other thus creating a cumulative impact on the international system at large. Such a reductionist vision of the globalization future can be at least partially explained, if we recall that most of initial analyst of this phenomenon were scholars working on macroeconomic and financial matters; therefore, their economic and technocratic determinism should not look too surprising. The idea of synchronization looked nice and for some time it seemed that global developments proved it right.
Over time, it turned out that ‘globalization resistance’ in certain dimensions of human life is visibly stronger than in other dimensions. Furthermore, it became clear that there is no direct causal relationship between integration and unification. The famous quote of Aristotle about polis as “unity of dissimilar” can describe the globalized world as well. It turned out to be impossible to synchronize, let us say, economic globalization and political globalization. The growing gap between the economic and political dimensions of global development turned out to be the most formidable challenge to “globalization 1.0”: economic imperatives called for strategic, system driven, global, continental, proactive, multilateral solutions, while political needs pushed to the forefront tactical, opportunistic, local, reactive, unilateral moves. As it was stated earlier, economic rationality failed to prevail over political considerations, which make a globalization setback practically unavoidable.
It is clear that “globalization 2.0” will have to be asynchronous, that is it will imply diverging speeds of globalization in various domains of human life. For instance, the resilience of national cultural patterns to the advance of the global mass culture should not become a formidable obstacle to the economic dimension of globalization. Commitments of societies to their historic traditions and unique identities should not constitute a challenge to the growing unity of the humankind; on the contrary, they should serve as a national contribution to the global diversity. The global diversity, in its turn, should enhance the overall stability of the global social system. Harmonization of multiple elements of universalism and particularism in the world as well as within individual nation states against the background of profoundly asynchronous “globalization 2.0” will be an immense political challenge. It will require extremely delicate and highly professional political fine-tuning; today we can only guess about how future politicians will muster the needed skills.
9. Situational coalitions instead of rigid alliances.
“Globalization 1.0” made full use of the Western security and development institutions that remained essentially intact since the end of the Cold War. The common expectations were that the continuous geographical and functional expansion of these institutions would ultimately allow to unite the humankind under a common umbrella and to solve most of pending global problems. In reality, very soon most of these institutions, including NATO and the European Union, manifested their limitations, and in some cases – even organic deficiencies. At the same time, most of attempts to launch new institutions as alternatives to old West-led organizations demonstrated the presence of a chronic institutional fatigue that often did not allow these initiatives to go much beyond a club format of their activities. Further polarization of the global politics over the second decade of the century contributed to incapacitating of many multilateral institutions, including the system of the United Nations.
It is hard to imagine the emerging world order without an institutional backbone inherited from the previous period. Still, the odds are that a lot of the international activity will rage not around rigid bureaucratic organizations inherited from the XX century, but around specific problems – political, social, environmental and other. The remaining international hierarchies will gradually lose their former omnipotence; the notions of “superpower” or “great power” will look archaic and containing little, if any, explanatory power. At the same time, no global government with extensive powers and universal legitimacy is looming on the horizon.
It is much more likely that in order to approach specific problems they will form flexible situational coalitions of the willing, which will include not only committed nation states, but also various actors from the private sector, civil society and other participants to international affairs. Such coalitions will assemble, disassemble, and reassemble with relative ease. They will not have multiple layers of resource consuming bureaucracies or excessively complicated decision-making procedures. Such a problem-based approach to international cooperation is not ideal; it has its own limitations and liabilities. Still, it might well turn out to be more practical and, therefore, more in demand by the international community than the old institutional approach.
10. The North – South dividing line replacing the East-West dividing line.
Conventional wisdom suggests that “globalization 1.0” has tripped over the confrontation between the United States and China. It is also common to argue that the 2020-2021 economic and epidemiological crisis will accelerate the drift of the global economy and politics in the direction of the US-Chinese bipolarity. This logic implies that the main question of our time is the question about how rigid or flexible this bipolarity is going to be. A rigid bipolarity will literally divide the world into two opposing systems, as it was during the most part of the second half of the XX century. A flexible bipolarity will allow most international actors to preserve a freedom of maneuver and a degree of autonomy in their respective foreign policies. This logic looks compelling, but only if one looks at the immediate future of next couple of years. However, considering “globalization 2.0” in a longer-term perspective, it looks highly likely that political and economic bipolarity will more and more shift from the “East-West” axis, characteristic of the XX century, to the “North-South” axis.
Sure enough, current divisions between the East and the West will not disappear for a long time. The Chinese modernization model for at least a couple of decades will be explicitly different from the Western model. Still, the longer time perspective we use, the more grounds we find to include China (as well as Russia) into an arbitrary defined Global North. To reach a strategic compromise between Washington and Beijing will require political will, commitment, patience, stamina and flexibility from both sides, but the contours of such a compromise are more or less clear. At the same time, there is no even a very general understanding on a possible North-South compromise. There are no grounds to hope for the Global North to come up with a comprehensive large-scale development assistance program for the Global South along the lines of the Marshall Plan offered by the United States to Europe after the end of the Second World War. On the opposite, one cannot rule out yet another rise of racism and xenophobia that would distance the Global North even further from the Global South. Under such conditions, the “globalization 2.0” world might take the form of deepening integration of the Northern economies parallel to curtailing economic, political and even humanitarian connections to most of developing nations, tighter border controls in the North and new restrictions on trans-border migrations.
The critical challenge of “globalization 2.0” is not about pulling the laggards in the South up to the level of the leaders in the North. It is impossible, if only because in order to extend the living standards of the Western middle class to all inhabitants of the Earth would require imposing exorbitant pressures on the planet's resources and dooming the Earth ecosystem a to irreversible degradation. It is impossible also because the Northern liberal model today is not as efficient as it used to be in its heyday. The North is gradually losing its monopoly on modernity and therefore is less and less regarded by the Global South as a model to imitate. Besides, the geographical division between the North and the South becomes more porous over time. The North is expanding to the South though huge ultramodern metropolitan areas of South Asia, Middle East, Africa and Latin America, though new sectors of economy and though globalizing its educational standards. The South, in its turn, is infiltrating the North with its migration flows, its lifestyles, culture and religion. A ‘civilizational divorce’ between the North and the South is not possible, and if the humankind cannot agree on the civilizational synthesis within next couple of decades, “globalization 2.0” will definitely fail to accomplish the most fundamental mission of the XXI century.