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Volume 2 Summer 2010/2011

The Seven Deadly Sins Of International Relations - Pride The experience of Western nations led to the potential exploitation of already-developed technologies, foreign direct investment opportunities and credit markets for less developed countries, providing them in decades what took the West centuries longer to develop.

- Lust The choice is simple – gaze upon your conflict-free diamond and see the beauty of its facets or plead ignorance about your stone’s origins and see reflected in it the faces of human misery and loss.

- Greed There were four critical construction and maintenance errors which led to the April 20 explosion at the BP Oil rig, releasing more than 50,000 barrels of oil into the ocean ecosystem every day.

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A note from the Editor editor-in-chief Emma Altschwager DEPUTY Editor-in-chief Jenna Bishop managing editors Ryneisha Bollard Justin Lampley Liam Mannix Kimberlee Meier Minya Scase Emmica Schlobolm executive director Michael Mallamo

Feature articles “A large part of mankind 2. The Seven Deadly Sins of International is angry not with the sins, Relations: A Design Perspective but with the sinners.”                                                                                  Glenn Dwyer -Lucius Annaeus Senera


xploitation, violence and corruption are rife in the international community and it is easy to lay blame on the perpetrators of injustice instead of examining the underlying cause of immoral behaviour. But by condemning and punishing perpetrators, and ignoring the root-causes of oppressive behavior, we will never find solutions to our world’s greatest problems.

5. Sloth* Fighting the Bulge and Climate Change: Grow Up, Not Out Justin Lampley 6. Lust* 1 Carat, set in white gold with a touch of blood Emmica Schlobohm

8. Greed* BP Oil Disaster

Jenna Bishop

10. Pride* Anti-anti-Westernism: Pride, not Shame Minya Scase

advisory board David Casey Patrizia Furlan Kerry Green David Lundberg layout/DESIGN Lisa Kurtze contact details

For our second issue we called upon contributors to consider international relations in the context of ‘The Seven Deadly Sins’: greed, pride, lust, sloth, gluttony, envy and wrath. The theme has evoked passionate articles on a range of diverse topics including blood diamonds, North Korea, abortion and climate change.  Our writers never shy away from a controversial issue and this thought-provoking edition will hopefully ignite discussion on some already contentious debates.

Editorial enquiries and submission: Editor-in-Chief:

With the release of The South Australian Globalist’s second issue we say goodbye to some of the editorial team and welcome new members to carry the gauntlet into 2011. I would like to thank the 2010 editorial board for their dedication and enthusiasm. You have each given a piece of your heart and soul to this magazine and its very existence is a testament to your hard work.

12. Pride* Combating ‘Pro-life’ pride and unsafe abortion Belinda Spagnoletti 14. Pride* Blinded by Pride

Tom Johnson

16. Wrath* In the name of Allah: Radical Islamic Fundamentalism’s Decade of Power

Daniel Feher

18. Gluttony* A Foreign Concept to the World’s Hunger Emma Altschwager 21. Envy* North Korea’s Nuclear Quest Alice McKinnon

General Articles 24. Global Financial Crisis Nicholas Pipe

Emma Editor-in-Chief

26. Discovering West Papua Ryneisha Bollard

Letters to the Editor can be emailed to

Anyone interested in joining the editorial team for 2011 should send an email of interest to Editor-in-Chief at

Reviews 28. The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World Minya Scase

The South Australian Globalist

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The Seven Deadly Sins of International Relations: A design perspective

Nowhere is the sin of gluttony more evident than in our throwaway culture and seemingly thoughtless product design.

f e ature a rti c l e G l e n n D w y e r

GlenN dwyer asks the question: “What is the ripple effect of the Seven Deadly Sins upon International Relations?”


ost people, to some degree, are aware of the seven deadly sins – many of us would certainly be familiar with shunning or embracing the temptations and the accompanying perils of lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride in our everyday lives. But what is the ripple effect of the seven deadly sins upon international relations? With greater communication now possible across the world, what are the repercussions of our possibly sinful global reach?

commodities affects the local inhabitants from the areas in which they are extracted. Sadly, many people are rendered homeless and denied access to these resources, which they are dependent upon, in order to meet the demands of the developed world’s insatiable desire for creature comforts. To counter this, we must be mindful of the consequences our consumption desires have upon others and ultimately challenge what a developed society deems as necessary in our daily existence. People die every day from a lack of basic human needs. But no-one ever perished from the lack of a plasma television. Gluttony - “The glutton is much more than an animal and much less than a man.” ~ Honore de Balzac

Lust - “Society drives people crazy with lust and calls it advertising.” ~ John Lahr

Nowhere is the sin of gluttony more evident than in our throwaway culture and seemingly thoughtless product design.

The desire to live the “good life” has us surrounded by alluring opulence but leaves us with a blatant disregard for the natural resources required to produce these coveted luxuries (namely wood, ore, fossil fuels and water).

Our somewhat careless approach to the eager consumption and disposal of goods, manufactured from finite materials truly reflects the need for the developed world to be more environmentally conscious.

Furthermore, little empathy is achieved when we cannot directly see how our lust for

Water, electricity, trees and petroleum are all being used to produce and process


wasteful packaging of unnecessary objects, all at the cost of those we do not see, hear, nor acknowledge with equality. The strain of utilising these diminishing resources is sorely felt across the planet, adversely impacting upon people and distressing sensitive biodiversity. The result of a gluttonous lifestyle can typically be linked to the growing problem of discarded excess; reinforcing now, more than ever, the idea that we must make sound judgements when analysing product lifecycles. The disposal of waste in landfill is an issue that will need to be urgently addressed in the future through smarter design approaches and consumer decisions. Only then with a change in behaviours and attitudes will we see the true damage of gluttony to ourselves and to others. Greed - “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

many of us would certainly be familiar with shunning or embracing the temptations and the accompanying perils of lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride in our everyday lives. 3

The South Australian Globalist

The pairing of greed and globalisation would be perceived by some as going comfortably hand in hand. To stay afloat in today’s hyper-competitive, globalised world, manufacturing companies are constantly seeking to increase their profit margins by cutting costs using any means necessary, and often through cheap offshore labour. While these savings are passed onto the consumer, the actual cost transcends the concept of money. Child labour is still used to manufacture items in some countries and those of working age are paid minimal wages, working long hours and travelling long distances to their place of employment. Additionally, when products are created, two strategies are implemented to ensure the product is continually repurchased. “Planned obsolescence” ensures the object has a limited lifespan so it stops functioning, forcing the consumer to replace the item. “Perceived obsolescence” has the aesthetic of the product constantly changing so the product is viewed by the consumer as “dated”, thus motivating them to replace the product with a newer one. Greed is one of the most destructive sins of all, and as long as we, the consumers, practice it and encourage companies to do so too, it will always exist. Sloth - “We excuse our sloth under the pretext of difficulty.” ~ Marcus Fabius Quintilian The biggest expression of sloth is our inaction to take responsibility for our own decisions. The yearly production of “e-waste” – primarily consisting of discarded mobile phones and computer parts – perfectly illustrates companies’ lack of effort in effectively handling the resulting waste. It is simply sent off to places like Africa, Asia and Latin America to become toxic land-fill. While some of these parts can and will be recycled, there is little evidence to suggest effective measures are taken to protect the workers from this hazardous task. The impact of “e-waste” can be minimised only if both the individual and the corporation recognise and take personal responsibility for their behaviour. Manufacturing companies need to stop being inert and embrace “greener” design, while exploring better production processes. For example buy-back schemes and greater recyclability can greatly reduce unnecessary waste. Moreover, the consumer 4

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can make more socially responsible purchases, as well as recycle their products responsibly.

forms towards those seen as “superior” for having the products that supposedly represent wealth, style and popularity.

Anger - “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” ~ Jedi Master Yoda (From Star Wars: The Phantom Menace)

When we are prepared to forfeit our culture and beliefs for the sake of having the most belongings, and when we are willing to define ourselves through quantity of objects not values, we must ask ourselves: what is the true price of envy?

Greed is one of the most destructive sins of all, and as long as we, the consumers, practice it and encourage companies to do so too, it will always exist. Anger comes in many forms, such as violence, hate and racism, and can drastically alter our perception. Through a perspective of anger, objects such as knives, ropes, chains and baseball bats have been used for means other than their intended purposes. As well, through fear–the “parent” of anger–we further see the creation of distinctive objects such as the gun, the tank or even the nuclear bomb. Although there are less aggressive manifestations of anger, they are no less potent. An icon like the Swastika, symbolising the atrocities of the Nazi regime, and the unmistakable outfit of the Ku Klux Klan, all exude hatred. Even the unceremonious act of burning a nation’s flag can be considered a display of hate. In today’s modern age, we are further pushing the boundaries of anger expression, abusing our privileges of technology by using such mediums as the internet to incite hatred of religion, race and gender behind the security of anonymity. However, the use of technology can be used for such noble purposes as education, raising awareness and promoting understanding and tolerance through channels of communication. Envy - “We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognising and appreciating what we do have.” - Frederick Keonig In a misguided attempt to adopt a more prosperous way of life, people from foreign countries are abandoning their cultural heritage in order to chase a materialistic lifestyle glorified by their Western counterparts. This becomes a vicious cycle, as consumption becomes an ongoing behaviour seeking to fulfil a need that cannot be satisfied by acquiring goods. Ultimately, tension and resentment


Pride - “Pride is an admission of weakness; it secretly fears all competition and dreads all rivals.” - Fulton John, Sheen In the design world, the pride of a nation can sometimes cloud the bigger picture encompassing the people it represents. While developed countries are busy stimulating their economies through consumption to compete in a globalised world, design for necessity generally becomes overlooked for indulgence. Great design potential is squandered to cater for selfish needs, and we do not need to look any further than those with a disability in order to understand the importance of design for necessity. In the biggest display of pride, we put a man on the moon to show our scientific and technological superiority, and yet despite this achievement we have become so preoccupied with design for consumption, we cannot meet the basic needs of people with disabilities. Are we too proud to deny those in the world who are not as able-bodied, the pride to live an independent life?

F E AT U R E A R T I CL E Ju s t i n L a m p l e y

JUSTIN LAMPLEY explains why the suburban dream is affecting our health, our environment and our overall quality of life.


t’s both the American and the Australian dream. Get a good job with a good wage, buy a four bedroom house with a garden in the suburbs, and raise two and half kids. Sounds ideal right? Who doesn’t dream of owning their own piece of land with a nice house 30 kilometres from the city centre far away from all the hustle and bustle of city life, commuting to and from work in a stylish automobile during the week, while relaxing by the barbecue on the weekends. Such suburban development can even be seen as a reflection of our individualistic societies. Upon closer inspection however, this dream may not be so great for us, or the planet. The outward suburban growth model is negatively affecting our health, our environment, and our overall quality of life.

GLENN DWYER Third year Industrial Design student

Fighting the Bulge and Climate Change: Grow Up, Not Out

As Australia continues to debate population growth and the amount of future urban infrastructure spending to accommodate such growth, policymakers should think long and hard about how to further develop existing cities. In recent years, studies published by the American Journal of Public Health have shown that those of us who are a part of the ever-growing suburban sprawl are likely to be on average three kilograms heavier than people who live in more walkable, densely populated, compact cities. Ironically, it seems our desire for more space is making us fat. Daily commutes to and from work, shops, and even university, take their toll on our waistlines, and pump unnecessary amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. Australia’s cities are growing increasingly similar to many in the United States. The development of the nation-

wide US interstate highway system in the 1950s spelled doom for urban population growth, and cemented the US as the land of suburbia and detached housing. The US population from 1960 to 1990 more than doubled, but the area developed for that population growth almost quintupled. Those same interstates and highways that now link suburbs to city centres are gridlocked daily during peak hours, with environmentally unfriendly automobiles spouting toxic fumes into the air in such sprawled and disconnected cities as Los Angeles, Dallas, Cincinnati and Atlanta, Georgia. Many suburbanites in Australia and the US mistakenly believe owning an automobile will save them time, but often it wastes it. The average US suburban family makes ten trips a day in their two vehicles, spending over 500 hours annually sitting in a car seat. A large percentage of those hours could be spent doing more productive and less pollutant activities in a compact urban setting. Families could spend more time together because of shorter commutes, and money and resources could be saved due to decreased consumption of carbon emitting fuel.

The outward suburban growth model is negatively affecting our health, our environment, and our overall quality of life. In many pedestrian friendly cities throughout Europe and East Asia, the majority of families live in smaller houses and apartments in urban neighborhoods within comfortable walking or cycling distances to markets, shops, restaurants, and schools, as well as having greater access to public transportation than many Australians and Americans are accustomed to. It’s therefore no coincidence that Western Europeans and East Asians on average have longer life expectancies and lower obesity rates. They also to a large extent enjoy more connected, collectivist societies. In many urban neighborhoods

throughout cities of Europe and East Asia, narrow, pedestrian friendly streets are filled with people of all ages sampling food stalls, interacting with local market owners, and conveniently meeting friends in numerous coffee shops and bars. In both the US and Australia, we’re programmed to believe that suburbs are more conducive to a peaceful family, ensuring children have plenty of space to play and ride their bikes, far away from the noise and congestion of the CBD. However, many children that live in well-developed, urban environments are often more exposed to a wider range of culture, develop a stronger sense of independence, and surprisingly have access to vibrant and lively parks. In densely populated cities such as New York, Hong Kong, and Singapore, city planners have made it a priority to include community and environmentally-friendly parks in any new development. Families living in major urban districts throughout Northeast Asia and Europe don’t own apartments because they can’t afford a house, most live in urban areas because they appreciate the convenience, decreased stress, and sense of community that the urban ‘vertical sprawl’ provides. Deep within many of us, there is an innate desire to experience such urban energy, to get out amongst the people in bustling markets, restaurants, shops, and cinemas. There is a certain buzz and natural high that you feel when you are where the action is, a feeling you are never too young or old to have. It’s a feeling of connectedness, community and vibrancy, a feeling that’s hard to find in an endless, low rise suburban sprawl. It’s in both our best interest and the planet’s to build up rather than out as the world’s population grows. We’ll be happier and healthier, as will the planet. Justin Lampley Masters of International Studies student


The South Australian Globalist

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1 Carat, set in white gold with a touch of blood F e at u r e a r t i c l e E m m i c a S c h l o b o h m

are we blinded by lust when it comes to the devastating past of the shiny diamonds we so desire?


hen it comes to purchasing a diamond many people would be familiar with the term “the 4 Cs” – cut, clarity, colour and carat. However, one “c” with which they may be less familiar, is “conflict”. The 2006 Hollywood blockbuster Blood Diamond shone a spotlight on the devastating Sierra Leone civil war that was ultimately funded by trade in “conflict diamonds”, also known as “blood diamonds”. The Revolutionary United Front (RUF) was a rebel force aiming to overthrow the elitist Sierra Leone Government. Their slogan: “No More Slaves, No More Masters. Power and Wealth to the People” and the promise to evenly disperse the diamond industry profits gave hope to citizens of a better life. This seemingly noble tenet was quickly destroyed when leader Foday Sankoh used diamond revenues to buy weapons for his rebel group. The RUF’s control of the mines ensured their continuous funding and the atrocities they performed were among the most disturbing in history. The UN estimates that 10,000 young girls and boys were captured and forced to serve the RUF as soldiers and prostitutes. Many were brainwashed into being fearless fighters by horrific techniques such as being forced to kill their parents. Civilians had their arms, lips, ears and genitals hacked off with machetes in order to inhibit them from voting and to send a message to villagers that the RUF was to be supported unconditionally. The atrocities performed by the RUF have now ceased, but the situation that was predominantly enabled by the selling of diamonds should never be forgotten. Hollywood may have bought the issue to the forefront of public 6

awareness for a brief moment, however, the reality of the human costs of conflict diamonds remain. In 2003 the Kimberley Process (KP), a UN-directed international certification procedure, was launched. Under this scheme, nations mining and trading in diamonds illegally and unethically are banned from selling their goods on the international market. Now, in order to trade legally in diamonds, countries require a UN stamp of approval. In 2008, the UN claimed that KP certified nations made up 99 per cent of the global diamond market. So does this figure mean that we can all relax when it comes to purchasing that special piece of diamond jewellery? Unfortunately, it would seem that the certification is not enough to stem the circulation of blood diamonds that are still being sold around the globe. Warmongers and murderers continue to profit freely from the diamond industry. One of the main reasons the KP fails in its objectives is that it contains too many loop-holes. A conflict diamond is defined by the KP as “rough diamonds used by rebel movements or their allies to finance conflict aimed at undermining legitimate governments”. This definition enables countries such as Zimbabwe to escape the KP’s restrictions since the unethical mining and use of diamonds is undertaken by the Government, rather than by a rebel force. The diamond fields in the Marange district of Zimbabwe have been home to bloodshed similar to that seen in Sierra Leone. Dictator Robert Mugabe used his army to enforce control of the mines in order to profit from the revenues and place the mines under strict government authority. In 2009, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released a report documenting the murder and torture of hundreds of civilians by the military to force people into labour in the diamond mines of Marange. Clearly in this case the KP’s definition of what constitutes a conflict diamond is inadequate.

The choice is simple – gaze upon your conflict-free diamond and see the beauty of its facets or plead ignorance about your stone’s origins and see reflected in it the faces of human misery and loss. The KP is continuously sending mixed messages to retailers and the public. Wishing to appear to be monitoring the industry more closely, a six-month (or more) ban was placed on Marange diamonds in November 2009. This was lifted in July of this year. In August 2010, $US72 million worth of diamonds from the region were bought by international traders in a KPapproved auction. The sale purported to only include diamonds mined from May 28, 2010, when the South African Kimberley Process inspector, Abbey Chickane, cleared the stones as “conflict free”. Speculation over this assessment has arisen given that the KP’s first choice of inspector was rejected by Mugabe. The subsequent appointment of Chickane and Mugabe’s approval is therefore questionable and in no way guarantees that the stones in the August auction were indeed all conflict-free. HRW suggests that there is no guarantee that the situation in Marange has changed. Whilst under the control of the Zimbabwean military, abuses and corruption can go unchecked. The nation still has an estimated $US1.7 billion worth of diamonds stockpiled. HRW reports that these stones and other blood diamonds are being smuggled into bordering countries such as Mozambique or South Africa where they become mixed with legal diamonds. Although the Kimberley Process is a step in the right direction, its flaws are allowing blood diamonds to slip into the legitimate market. Some of these problems are being addressed by people such as Beth Gerstein and Eric Grossberg, the founders of Brilliant Earth. By providing consumers with sound assurance that their jewellery is free from blood, they hope to heighten consumer awareness:

“All of our diamonds come from Canadian mines that follow environmentally-sustainable practices and are committed to delivering high quality gems. Our well-established suppliers authenticate the source of their diamonds as conflict-free and follow established domestic business practices.” Other companies such as Australian-based Utopian Creations are giving consumers an alternative to conflict stones. The ConflictFree Diamond Council is an organisation that sets out to monitor the diamond industry and encourage retailers to comply with strict regulations that can eradicate the sale of blood diamonds. The problem is complex and requires governments and corporations to work together to create transparency and accountability. Ultimately consumers are the final “c” when it comes to diamond purchases. In the end it is our money that allows the industry to profit and our money that can end up in the pockets of militants and corrupt governments. It is a harsh reality that purchasing diamonds with ignorance can affect men, women and children in the most horrific ways. Long the symbol of undying love, a diamond should not be purchased on a whim of lust. Consumers need to demand that retailers know and authenticate the origins of their diamonds, only buying from those who can prove they sell conflict-free products. The truth is, it is not that hard. Many retailers are already committed to this mission and even simple research on the internet can help to inform individuals of traders they can trust. The choice is simple – gaze upon your conflict-free diamond and see the beauty of its facets or plead ignorance about your stone’s origins and see reflected in it the faces of human misery and loss. Whilst your hand may not have wielded the machete, the ring you wear upon it may well be stained with the blood of innocent men, women and children. EMMICA SCHLOBOHM Bachelor of Social Work & Bachelor of Arts (International Studies) recent graduate


The South Australian Globalist

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Greed* BP Oil Disaster f e ature a rti c l e J e n n a B i s h o p

Jenna Bishop gives an insight into the BP oil crisis and its relationship with greed.


outed as the worst environmental disaster in recent history and the largest peacetime oil spill, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico has infamously entered history as a catastrophe. The explosion and subsequent oil spill have set in motion a series of questions and concerns over the safety measures employed by companies involved in deepwater oil drilling. Dr R Michael Castle, a leading US polymer chemist, has branded the BP fiasco a “nightmare of incompetence and greed”, prompting unrest over whether BP’s profit margins were the main concern in the Deepwater Horizon expedition. Historically, BP has had a questionable safety record – a record considered one of the worst among the majority of major oil companies according to federal officials and industry analysts, says New York Times journalist Jad Mouawad. Before the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, an explosion in a BP refinery in Texas in 2005 forced the company into disaster management and minimisation mode. The Texas explosion, a predecessor to the Deepwater Horizon explosion, is considered one of America’s worst industrial accidents and remains one of BP’s greatest disasters. Fifteen people were killed and more than 170 were injured when a fountain of chemically unstable liquid caught fire. An investigation into the Texas explosion by the US Chemical Safety Board showed a gross negligence on behalf of BP, according to authors Hershey Friedman and Linda Friedman. With more than 300 safety violations recorded at the refinery, the report determined the explosion was caused by organisational and safety deficiencies at all levels of BP. BP was ordered to pay a record fine of $US87.4 million, but the company was seemingly unable to learn


from its past experiences. In 2006, BP pipelines in Prudhoe Bay in Alaska leaked more than 267,000 gallons of oil due to poor maintenance, resulting in fines of more than $US20 million.

However, it seems that the responsibility for the Deepwater Horizon explosion does not solely rest with BP. Despite being the world’s third-largest energy company, BP owns little drilling machinery and thus contracted well-known deep-water drilling company Transocean, and its oil rig, Deepwater Horizon. Evidence presented in the investigation has illustrated the extent of Transocean’s role within the BP disaster, where the computers were continually “on the blink”, but also that the alarm system – which may have allowed the eleven men to escape – was permanently set to “bypass”. The US Government, and in particular the Minerals Management Service, the government agency meant to oversee offshore drilling, has also been the focus of blame for their joint lack of responsibility and ineffectuality.

Ironically, upon his appointment as CEO of BP in 2007, geologist Tony Hayward promised to focus “like a laser” on safety, arguably a sigh of relief for those involved in BP’s previous deadly cost-cutting measures. However, it was only a month after those illfated words when the Occupational Health and Safety Administration found 62 safety violations at BP’s Ohio refinery. While BP is renowned for cost-cutting measures to increase its profit margin, the corners cut and safety violations on the Deepwater Horizon rig are by far some of the most serious in its history. There were four critical construction and maintenance errors which led to the April 20 explosion and release of more than 50,000 barrels of oil into the ocean ecosystem every day. In an investigative report published by the Weekend Australian following the disaster, it was discovered that BP was advised to 21 install mechanical centralisers to keep the central pipe stable and prevent the cement cracking—only six were installed, to save time and money. Maintenance of the blow-out preventer (which in an emergency should split the drilling pipe in half ) was seriously neglected, with reports demonstrating it had not been fully inspected since construction of the rig in 2000, and was leaking hydraulic fluid, a battery was dead and a control pod was broken. Misread data meant BP managers erroneously ordered workers to replace heavy drilling mud with seawater, which was too light to prevent oil and gas reaching the surface. The Weekend Australian’s report also revealed the bottom of the well was missing a seal to close off space between the central pipe and its casing, which is thought to be the reason large quantities of natural gas escaped, causing the explosion. The United States House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee released a report on the incident in June condemning

There were four critical construction and maintenance errors which led to the April 20 explosion and release of more than 50,000 barrels of oil into the ocean ecosystem every day BP and its failure to adequately adhere to safety measures. “Time after time, it appears BP made decisions that increased the risk of a blowout to save the company time or expense,” the June 14 report stated. For lawyer Tony Buzbee, who has had extensive dealings with BP and represented 180 claimants involved in the BP Texas explosion, the report’s claims of negligence in safety ring true: “I’ve been suing BP for years. I know a lot about them… any big case can be boiled down to one phrase… This one is: ‘profits over safety.’ That’s it. BP puts profits over safety.” BRIDGES to Sustainability Institute’s Beth Beloff agrees with Buzbee, saying BP has a significant history of safety violations and seemingly placing profit margins before the safety of workers and the environment.

In the opinion of environmental lawyer and executive director of the American National Resources Defence Council, Peter Lehrer, the Deepwater Horizon explosion perfectly exemplifies BP’s penchant for shortcuts, ignored warnings and missed opportunities in a company which belongs to the world’s richest and most powerful industry. According to Lehrer, the world has watched as political leaders have undermined the bodies of protection put in place to preserve the environment and guard safety. In Lehrer’s opinion, the global oil industry has existed in a dangerous state of self-regulation for years, and the constant thirst for oil has allowed companies to push the boundaries of what is considered safe or acceptable. The tragedy of the Deepwater Horizon explosion is only further intensified by the realisation that it was completely preventable. When corporate greed acquires a rank higher in priority than traditional humanitarian and environmental concerns, seeking higher profit margins may well become one of the most deadly sins of international relations.

JENNA BISHOP Third year Bachelor of Journalism & Bachelor of Arts (International Studies) student


The South Australian Globalist


Anti-anti-Westernism: Pride, not Shame f e ature a rti c l e M i n y a S c a s e

Minya Scase explains why Americans should be proud about their identity and their global status.


streak of virulent anti-Westernism appears to be an embedded reality of international affairs. Many believe that the hand of the West is one that wreaks destruction for the pursuit of selfish aims at the detriment of other nations. However, there are many reasons for the West to reject this critique. Pride, in this case, is not a deadly sin of international relations – it is an antidote to the effects of widespread criticism of the West. The roots of anti-Westernism can be traced back to colonialism, with grievances focused on the administrative appropriation of nations for the exploitation of their labour and natural resources. Even after waves of decolonisation in the twentieth century, this discontent with Western policy did not end, and a marked sense of outrage emerged at the “imperialistic” nature of American foreign policy, exemplified by the anti-Western sentiment spurred by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. This was the argument presented by Brett Clark and John Bellamy Foster in their article ‘Empire of Barbarism’, published in Monthly Review, an independent socialist magazine, in 2004. Such an attitude is not limited to military matters. Western involvement in policies related to trade and finance have also drawn the ire of critics. Institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank are portrayed as exploiting the “structural” inequality of the world economic system, which disadvantages developing nations. The infamous Washington Consensus – a set of policy guidelines for US development aid that advocates the liberalisation of markets, lowering or dismantling of trade barriers, and floating of national currencies – is in particular seen as a new form of imperialism. 10

By imposing conditions on aid and encouraging more open markets, the West furthers its own advantage and ensures the continued poverty and subjection of developing nations. Political economists Sam Gindin and Leo Panitch argue that the West – and America in particular – is creating a new form of global imperialism in their promotion of an international capitalist order. While policies have included more than the simple application of the Washington Consensus, and there has been much debate on aid policy, Western trade policies have been much vilified. The West is further charged with “cultural imperialism” – the view that Western nations spread their modern culture to the detriment of traditional ways of life in developing countries. Here it is maintained that through the process of globalisation, the dissemination of Western culture to non-Western nations lead to the erosion and disappearance of these cultures. Thus the West is seen as an arrogant, imperialistic force which bludgeons its way through traditional cultural practices in the non-Western world. Such charges directed at the West – that it is too proud, arrogant and imperialistic – can put pressure on citizens of Western nations to feel ashamed of their country’s conduct in foreign policy. The rise of absolute cultural relativism in the academic sphere, where it is maintained that there are no superior values or practices in culture and that they are all equal, has further spurred such denunciations of the West. Australian academic Keith Windschuttle argues that “many of the leading opinion makers in our universities, the media, and the arts have regarded Western culture as, at best, something to be ashamed of, or at worst, something to be opposed”. Hence Christianity, Western values and economic ideas are denigrated, and it is declared that the West should keep them to itself. If it does otherwise, it will cause nothing but untold misery for other countries. Apart from eternally open coffers for aid and meek

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The experience of Western nations led to the potential exploitation of already-developed technologies, foreign direct investment opportunities and credit markets for less developed countries, providing them in decades what took the West centuries longer to develop.

compliance at the UN to assuage its guilt, the West has no business expressing its ideals. Of course, the West is far from perfect. It is essential that policies be open to debate and evaluated on their merits, with mistakes being recognised and rectified. However, endless criticism and ideologically-driven anti-Westernism obscures the important contributions that the West has made to the global sphere. Rather than being ashamed, the West has definite reasons to be proud. Firstly, the West has a rich cultural tradition to be proud of, spreading back to the wisdom of the Ancient Greeks, to the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, and the whole spectrum of ideas from Hegel to Voltaire, Hume to Freud. In addition to this, the West has been instrumental in formalising and institutionalising the concept of human rights through the postwar system of multilateral institutions, such as the United Nations. Philosophy and ethics professor at Palm Beach Atlantic University, Paul Copan, argues that at the core of human rights is a Christian understanding of the intrinsic worth of individuals. Few would argue that ensuring the human rights of the world’s people is not an important task. It appears that many home-grown critics of the West realise and uphold the importance of human rights but fail to acknowledge their intellectual basis in the JudeoChristian tradition. Furthermore, their promotion of absolute cultural relativism can lead to a different state of affairs in which prosperous Western societies are equated with repressive totalitarian regimes in an attempt to assuage their guilt. The West needs to embrace its culture and other qualities, such as freedom and prosperity, while being fair and sensible about its policies and dealings with other countries. Another important consideration is that Western values are fundamental to the postwar world order. Liberty, equality and opportunity continue to remain attractive to those of the non-Western world. Polls on anti-Americanism in non-Western nations have still maintained high levels of support for the idea of America and what it stands for. They indicate that while non-Westerners may have been dissatisfied with America, it was former President George W. Bush’s foreign policy that was the main cause of this dissatisfaction, and that America and its values continue to draw admiration. This is also demonstrated by the high levels of immigration to other Western countries. In considering Western trade policies, it should be acknowledged that such policies do not derive from the nefarious,

exploitative mindset that critics imagine. As noted by academic Johan Norberg, it is trade, and the economic growth accompanying it, which made the West rich. It is therefore only natural that Western countries should want to encourage policies they see as beneficial. In terms of aid contributions, it is fair for the West to question the expectation of a continuous supply of development aid by mere virtue of the presence of income inequality. Naturally it is seen as unacceptable that some world citizens have such a low standard of living, and that a genuine desire to rectify this state of affairs should follow. However, considering the cost to donor countries, it is not unreasonable that they should attach conditions to the provision of aid. There is a genuine concern that such money should have a beneficial effect to recipient nations. The West’s history of industrialisation has greatly aided the rapid development of other nations, notably those in East and South East Asia. The experience of Western nations led to the potential exploitation of already-developed technologies, foreign direct investment opportunities and credit markets for less developed countries, providing them in decades what took the West centuries longer to develop. The more mature economies of the US and Western Europe also provided lucrative export markets for Asian manufactured goods. It is difficult to see how the Chinese economic rise, in particular, could have been achieved in the absence of wealthy Western trading partners. The West should feel proud of its contributions to the development of human rights and economic growth and opportunity throughout the world. Such pride is not a sin of international relations, because it is fully justifiable. The West has provided an admirable framework of values and institutions which promote global prosperity, while also recognising the need to work with other nations to ensure that this is achieved. Westerners should be proud of their cultural tradition while also being open to the cultural wisdom of other nations. They should, above all, take pride in their achievements without forgetting that there is still much to be done to meet the various challenges facing the world. MINYA SCASE Bachelor of Arts (International Studies) Honours student


The South Australian Globalist


Combating ‘Pro-life’ pride and unsafe abortion

f e ature a rti c l e B e l i n d a S p a g n o l e t t i

BELINDA SPAGNOLETTI discusses unsafe abortion and the effects of prolife pride on women’s choices. “In Ethiopia... many women... have been damaged; [their] cervices have been burned by chemicals to induce bleeding...many of the backstreet abortionists use sharp objects to stick into the uterus and they often accidentally perforate it or the intestines. Mostly, the abortion is incomplete and there is bleeding and infection. Sometimes we can’t save them. Most of the hospitals in this country are filled with women in this condition, about 50% are women suffering from infections resulting from incomplete abortion...half ...will die.” Dr Khalifa Sabit, Marie Stopes International (2007)


emedying the prevalence and detrimental effects of unsafe abortion in the developing world is diluted by the competing values of nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) on the pro-abortion and anti-abortion scales of the spectrum. Each year 20 million women undergo unsafe abortion, rendering the problem a significant global gender and economic issue that threatens the wellbeing of women, their families and communities; and places hefty resource demands on already deficient health care systems in the developing world. Yet friction exists between pro-abortion NGOs and anti-abortion, “pro-life” NGOs, the latter of which are seemingly short-sighted and chauvinistic, indirectly promoting unsafe abortion practices which are detrimental to the broader community, particularly so in the developing world. At the core of this dire issue is the tension between pride, exhibited 12

by a number of anti-abortion actors in this space, and the sexual and reproductive health (SRH) of women and girls. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) unsafe abortion is a major global public health concern, a view that is reinforced by Professor David Grimes, of the University of North Carolina’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, who describes it as a “persistent, preventable pandemic”. The statistics surrounding unsafe abortion are considerable, with approximately 20 million women globally seeking unsafe abortion, it is estimated that 66,500 die each year as a result. Women seek abortion for a number of reasons – to preserve physical or mental health, pregnancy that resulted from rape or incest, socio-economic factors, foetal health risks and relationship problems with their husband or partner. However, in many countries abortion is not legally permitted on some or all of these grounds. There are significant health threats associated with unsafe abortions, as they are generally performed in clandestine, unhygienic environments or by unskilled providers – or a combination of both. Professor David Grimes reports in the World Health Organisation’s 2006 paper, Sexual and Reproductive Health that such abortion providers employ a range of dubious abortion methods including ingesting poisonous chemicals, placing foreign objects in the cervix such as a stick, the root of a plant or a coat hanger, enemas using soap or wormwood and trauma through lifting heavy weights or jumping from the top of stairs or a roof. Consequently, aside from the high risk of maternal mortality, one quarter of these women are likely to experience serious health complications, including short term problems such as haemorrhage, sepsis and

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trauma to the vagina, uterus and abdominal organs and long-term issues in the form of chronic pain, pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility.

programs MSI attempts to connect with women living in rural areas that may resort to unsafe abortion due to accessibility issues in seeking safe services.

The consequences of unsafe abortion extend past the mortality and morbidity of the women concerned. Those that die as a result of unsafe abortion may have other children, placing a responsibility on her partner or extended family members to raise them. Moreover, given that 97 per cent of abortions take place in the developing world, treating the associated complications of unsafe abortion places a significant burden on already impoverished heath care services, averting resources away from other spheres of health care. Therefore the impact of unsafe abortion in the developing world may afflict not only the women and girls concerned, but their families and communities as well.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are a number of NGOs which are of the view that abortion is inherently immoral and seemingly overlook the significance of the health, social and economic factors associated with abstaining from safe or unsafe abortion in the developing world. Through the platform of Feminists for Life of America, a pro-life anti-abortion NGO which outwardly operates under the guise of feminism, former president Rosemary Bottcher portrays abortion as “an especially hideous act of violence, not only against the unborn child but against the mother as well”. Moreover, she argues that the European suffragettes of the nineteenth century who pioneered the gender equality movement rejected abortion as “a gross abuse of the laws of nature and humanity”.

Pivotal work of the United Nations has underpinned the need for the eradication of unsafe abortion, and highlighted the interdependency of safe abortion with other SRH services. At the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994, the Expert Group on Family Planning, Health and Well-being proposed that the issue of safe motherhood and abortion should be discussed not only in the context of health, because it is “an important social function and not a disease”. The Group also put forward the recommendation that “women everywhere should have access to... safe abortion services”. Similarly, the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) call for the “promot[ion] of gender equality and empower[ment] [of ] women”. Contesting the ills of unsafe abortion is Marie Stopes International (MSI), a secular, international NGO with a focus on providing SRH services to marginalised, low-income women, men and couples. Founded in the United Kingdom in 1976, MSI today boasts a team of 5000 personnel, partnerships with 38 countries, 452 fixed clinics and thousands of outreach sites and mobile services. At the core of MSI’s agenda is the prevention of unwanted births. It argues that to meet this goal, ideological changes in the spheres of family planning and abortion are required, as the political sensitivities surrounding these matters result in the general lack of attention and resources in these areas of health care. On the unsafe abortion front, MSI acted to eradicate it by providing safe abortion services and post-abortion care to over 400,000 women in 2007. Furthermore, through its outreach

Other pro-life NGOs in the field tend to employ dramatic, sensationalist approaches to engender support against abortion. Life Canada tugs at maternal heartstrings by referring to abortion as the “woman’s right to kill a full-term partially delivered baby”, humanising the foetus, while depicting abortion as a sinister act against an innocent child. Yet, looking beyond this depiction of abortion as a brutal, menacing act, such stances seem one-dimensional, lacking insight into the broader context of abortion, and the health, social and economic attributes that lead to its incidence. Notwithstanding the pro-life NGOs and their tactics of profiling abortion as inhumane, perhaps the most prominent, far-reaching NGO leading the anti-abortion crusade has been the Catholic Church. In his Evangelium Vitae, Pope John Paul II condemned abortion: “among all the crimes which can be committed against life... abortion has characteristics making it particularly serious and deplorable”. These concerns are echoed by his successor: “[Abortion] leaves profound and sometimes indelible marks in the women who undergo it and in the people around them, as well as devastating consequences on the family and society, partly because of the materialistic mentality of contempt for life that it encourages.” Benedictus PP, XVI (2008) The Church is the largest arm of the Christian religion and it was estimated that in 2007 almost 17 per cent of the global population were followers. With its scores of supporters and ample access to

the mass media in the developed world, the anti-abortion stance of the Catholic Church resonates beyond the borders of the Holy See. In addition, the Church’s somewhat contentious status as a permanent observer at the UN enables it a voice and voting rights at UN conferences. However, the Catholic Church has experienced a division on the abortion issue in recent times, with the emergence of the NGO Catholics for a Free Choice, which argues that Catholics believe in legal abortion. Furthermore, American feminist and scholar Rosemary Radford Ruether purports that gender bias towards women is deeply rooted in Catholicism, which may influence their position in the abortion debate. Moreover, the same author puts an imperative argument forward that further mitigates the Catholic Church’s stand on abortion, asserting that the definition of a foetus has evolved from the medieval discourse, which did not define it as a full human person until the fourth month, to the view of the late nineteenth century that it was human from conception. Therefore, despite the discord on the abortion issue between the Catholic Church and its opponents, it is argued that the Church religiously taints global and state policies affecting Catholic and non-Catholic women alike. Whether the circumstances in which women procure abortion are medically safe or unsafe, the data indicates that abortion will occur regardless. The negative effects of unsafe abortion, particularly in the developing world, may adversely impact on not only upon the woman or girl concerned, but also upon her family and her community through the burden it places on already under-resourced health care systems. It is a gender issue as much as an economic issue. The sizeable proportions and ramifications of unsafe abortion in the developing world are recognised by the UN and WHO, and MSI is a key NGO acting to nullify the problem. However ideological tensions, rooted in pride, exist between actors seeking to eliminate unsafe abortion and anti-abortion, pro-life NGOs; and religious groups. These philosophical obstacles must somehow be overcome, as the eradication of unsafe abortion is contingent upon collaboration and co-operation between these stakeholders. The promotion of universal safe abortion provisions and its interdependent SRH services to women in the developing world must be recognised, accepted and enabled. BELINDA SPAGNOLETTI Bachelor of Arts Honours student


The South Australian Globalist

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Pride* Blinded by Pride f e ature a rti c l e To m J o h n s o n

IS NORTH KOREA blinded by Kim Jong-II’s interpretation of national pride?


ride is a blinding emotion. A proud parent can see no fault in their newborn child. A proud football supporter will have a “one-eyed” attitude towards their team. A proud nation will defend its culture and values regardless of what others believe. Since pride creates these “blind” and “closed” perspectives, it is considered a deadly sin. In the case of North Korea, the deadliness of this sin is to be taken quite literally. The dictatorship of Kim Jong-Il has demonstrated much pride in its idea of how North Koreans should appear, think and act. This must be kept consistent so that the country can stay as one of the few remaining nation-states. In 2007’s Global Sociology, Cohen and Kennedy write that to be considered a nation-state, a country must claim sovereignty over a defined geographical territory and have citizens considered to be ethnically and culturally very similar. However, in contemporary times the existence of the nation-state is being challenged by the powerful forces of globalisation. The liberation of international trade, people movement and political relations has reduced the significance of national borders. Additionally, previously unique national cultures and values have begun to disappear, as multinational political and business entities homogenise global society. Despite these pressures, Kim JongIl’s regime has proven to be most intent on maintaining North Korea’s pride as a nationstate, even if it has meant sacrificing its people’s freedoms and secluding the country from the rest of the world. North Korea’s nation-statehood is challenged by globalisation because the changing definition of citizenship erodes sovereignty. While this sovereignty formally enabled governments to exercise absolute political and legal power over its citizens when conceived in the 17th century, British professor Gerard Delanty argues that citizenship is now cosmopolitan and thus 14

the nation-states’ power is compromised by international law. As a result, the nationstate has less control over the culture and values of its people. However, the pride and commitment to nation-statehood has meant that North Korea’s power has not been compromised by various intergovernmental organisations (IGOs). In 2008, the United Nations passed a resolution calling for the removal of North Korea’s thought, expression and travel restrictions, degrading methods of punishment and oppressive laws which violate human rights. One could assume that such a resolution would have serious ramifications for North Korea, considering that it participates in four UN human rights treaties requiring periodic reporting of its policies and assessment by a Special Rapporteur. However, according to Goedde’s recent paper, ‘Legal Mobilization for Human Rights Protection in North Korea: Furthering Discourse or Discord?’ in Human Rights Quarterly, as these controversial policies ensure the population’s compliance with the government’s cultural ideals, North Korea has simply defied implementing its policies practically, despite claiming otherwise in its tardy and – the paper alleges – misleading reports. Furthermore, North Korea has denied the UN’s Special Rapporteur access to much of the country, thus raising questions on its commitment to the UN and other IGOs. The accessibility of worldwide media sources is a key feature of global society, affecting a country’s nation-statehood while a foreign media encourages a diversity of opinions. As this threatens the nation-states’ endorsed cultural ideals, North Korea denies these outlets – and, according to a recent report by Freedom House – harshly punishes its people if they access such media. Ian Liston-Smith, who has worked for the BBC monitoring North Korea’s media sector, says that all Korean newspapers are controlled by the state, radios and televisions are pretuned to the Governmentcontrolled stations and are tampered with so that they cannot receive other signals, and internet use is restricted to only a few select authorities. Hence, all information is supportive of the Government and Worker’s Party of Korea, which all North Korean journalists must be a member of.

Additionally, state propaganda promotes a personality cult to the “Dear Leader”. All citizens over the age of 16 are required to wear badges with former leader Kim Il-song’s portrait, while many paintings and monuments of him are present around the country, according to Andrei Lankov, a Russian professor who has toured extensively through the country. These extreme measures to keep a uniform belief system clearly highlight the country’s massive pride in its nation-statehood. The nation-state of North Korea is particularly threatened by the integration of economies in global society, which involves reductions in international trade barriers. Studies, in particular The Free-Trade Paradox by Naim Moses in 2007, show that countries with rising exports (often as a result of free trade measures) grow 1.5 times faster than those with fewer exports, but North Korea has maintained its centrally planned, closed economy. As a result, the country’s manufacturing industry is depleted while, according to the CIA, agricultural production shortfalls have caused widespread famine. This is again an example of how pride has blinded North Korea to the potential of international trade. North Korea’s constitution discourages foreign trade, as it supposedly threatens its independence and cultural standardisation; the country is willing to deny its people necessary resources, such as food and heating, simply to keep its pride in its nation-statehood. North Korea has proven that ideological pride can blind a people to the benefits of all but their own beliefs. Even as the rest of the world has pressured North Korea’s Government into abandoning its selfserving policies, the country has maintained arguably the most culturally similar population of any nation-state. Achieving this has required almost total isolation from the international community while rejecting practically any freedoms for its people. North Korea, it seems, would rather turn a blind eye to its dismal reality than compromise the proud beliefs which form their idea of a nation-state. TOM JOHNSON First year Bachelor of Journalism & Bachelor of Arts (International Studies) student


The South Australian Globalist


In the name of Allah: Radical Islamic Fundamentalism’s Decade of Power Fe ature a rti c l e D a n i e l Fe h e r

Daniel Feher delves into the origin and magnetism of terrorism.


n September 11, 2001, terrorists acting in the name of Islam carried out the most sophisticated and deadly attacks ever seen on the Western world. The events of that day and the subsequent attacks that followed would come to herald a decade in which Islam would become synonymous with terrorism in the minds of many in the West. This stigma continues to haunt Muslims throughout the world, as they struggle to overcome the view that Islam is a violent and intolerant religion. The questions that remain are: where did this violence, unleashed in the name of Allah, originate from and why has it been so devastatingly successful? The rise of terrorism as a political tool in contemporary international politics can be principally attributed to the growth and development of radical Islamic fundamentalist groups (Mohammad, 2005; Fukuyama, 2002; Barber, 2002). The origin of these groups can be traced back to the 1967 defeat of the Arab regimes by Israel and the subsequent occupation of significant Arab territories in the Middle East. This territorial defeat also resulted in the ideological collapse of secular nationalism and its role as a mobilising economic and political force, subsequently providing fundamentalist religious organisations with an opportunity to promote the “Islamic alternative”. From there Islamic fundamentalist groups took advantage of the defective political and economic situations of many Middle Eastern states, providing a growing political alternative to the frustrated populations rooted in religious principles that were understood by the 16

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populace to be irrefutable. The popularity, strength and funding of these organisations continued to grow following conflicts in the Middle East such as the Soviet war in Afghanistan and later the first Gulf War, the 2001 war in Afghanistan and the 2003 Iraq war, legitimising in the minds of the Arab populace the fundamentalists’ hardline beliefs of aggression against non-followers and the Western world. A compounding influence in this region is the uprooting and displacement of large populations from traditional village or tribal life due to conflict and the modernisation process. Fundamentalist Islamic groups derive much of their appeal in purporting to explain the loss of values and cultural disorientation that has resulted from the increasingly pervasive influence of modernisation, labelling it as the spread of Western decadence and calling for a return to a “pure” Islamic lifestyle. The absence of political freedom and stability, the discontent caused by internally generated and externally influenced conflict, the lack of means of expression and the imbalance in direct confrontations against adversaries have all contributed to the rise and rationalisation of violence, and particularly terrorism, as a valid and legitimate political tool, subsequently fuelling terrorist recruitment. From here the concept of the “struggle” between believers of Islam and nonbelievers was propagated, highlighting the “David and Goliath” struggle of Islam against its adversaries—the “infidels”, and emphasising the purpose of Jihad, or “holy war”, as divine. The manipulation of religion by fundamentalist groups consequently became a powerful tool in convincing followers that not only are they righteous in carrying out acts of terrorism, but that these acts, and their sacrifice should they lose their lives, will be richly rewarded in the after-life. With the understanding of why terrorism has become a fundamental tenet of political coercion by radical Islamist organisations and why it has such a strong popular backing in the Middle East, it is possible to explore how attempts at terrorism have been so successful in causing insecurity and devastation. The effects of globalisation, the increasing multi-level interdependence and permeability between states, combined with rapid advances in the ability to communicate, can be considered a double-edged sword since the September 11 and subsequent terrorist attacks. The complexity of the attacks, and the devastating economic, physical and ideological toll they inflicted on the world’s

greatest power provided a startling insight into the sophistication, wealth and tactical advancement that modern terrorist groups were capable of by taking advantage of the effects of globalisation, particularly border porosity. Subsequent attacks throughout the world only strengthened this insight, cementing the realisation that terrorism also benefits from the effects of globalisation and technological advances, especially advances in communication, and is able to adapt and become increasingly organised. The rapid advances in the ability to communicate, particularly the speed at which communication can occur is also a key driver of terrorism, contributing to its influence on global politics. Modernisation and advances in communications technology provide cost-effective and covert ways of equipping and connecting terrorists with their leaders. Terrorists operating in a network are able to maintain close contact through the use of multiple mediums that are cheap, easy to access and largely anonymous, such as mobile phones, email and the internet. This increased ease in communication has been a key factor in the strength of highly networked organisations such as Al-Qaeda, which frequently disseminates propaganda through the internet and also uses it to keep in contact with global cells. This combined with increasingly permeable global borders means that terrorist cells are mobile, responsive and rarely out of contact with organisational commanders. The ability to communicate and receive instructions and commands in real time through Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) was a key influential factor in the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack by the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant Islamic group which left 183 people dead. The terrorist operatives in Mumbai received instructions from their command centre in Pakistan throughout the terrorist attack, urging them to maximise casualties and commit suicide or be killed to evade capture. Not only does this increased ability to communicate affect the sophistication and coordination of the attack itself, but also serves to magnify the influence of terrorism on global politics through the dissemination of news about terrorist attacks by the media. The rapid advance in communications technology allows the media to deliver nearly real-time news to an ever-growing global audience, priming their opinions and consequently increasing public pressure on state and world leaders. Another key reason for terrorism’s devastating success is its effect on the global economy (Abadie & Gardeazabal, 2008; Blomberg et al, 2004; Chen & Siems,

2004; Gold, 2004). In an increasingly integrated, responsive and interdependent world economy, acts of terrorism and the subsequent heightened sense of insecurity that follows a terrorist attack can influence the movement of large amounts of human and monetary capital across countries in a very short space of time, depressing investment, trade and, in particular, tourism. The magnitude of this effect is the key empowering factor for modern terrorist organisations—a relatively small input (a terrorist attack) generates a disproportionately magnified effect that has both immediate and long-lasting economic consequences for the target. Within weeks, investment and trade are adversely affected, followed over time by tourism, as the ripple of the attack spreads around the globe and deters travellers, depressing economic growth even further. A 2008 study by academics Abadie and Gardeazabal found an increase of one standard deviation in the intensity of terrorism for a country (brought on by an attack or the discovery of a prolific or active network planning terrorist activity, for example) produces a five per cent fall (on average) in the net foreign direct investment position of that country. Finally, the negative effect on tourism lingers for an extended period and has also been found to have an impact on the demand for tourism in neighbouring countries. Thus, the effects of increasing global interdependence and globalisation compound those of terrorism two-fold, by not only assisting the networking, organisation and co-ordination of terrorist activity, but also magnifying its effects and increasing global economic sensitivity, resulting in more of the global population affected and consequently more pressure on state and global leaders to address the issue. Over the past decade since the September 11 attacks, radical Islamic fundamentalists have risen to prominence as a result of their prolific, deadly and well-orchestrated attacks. In many ways they have become experts in their field. They use the latest technology, exploiting the weaknesses in an increasingly interconnected global community to create terror and uncertainty. Perhaps what is even more terrifying is the legions of manpower they have at their disposal, possessing ideological drive in spades and cultivated through decades of discontent and struggle. Though states may win a few battles by increasing security and border controls, it is here that they are ultimately losing the war.

DANIEL FEHER Third year Bachelor of Arts (International Studies) student


The South Australian Globalist


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A Foreign Concept to the World’s Hungry

F E AT U R E A RT I CL E E m m a A l t s c h w a g e r

EMMA ALTSCHWAGER reveals the suffering of citizens at the hands of corrupt govenments and multinational corporations.


ith more than one billion people suffering hunger and malnutrition globally, food security is a prominent and pressing issue for contemporary society, particularly in the global South. The problems of food scarcity and poverty have been compounded by the recent economic crisis and the detrimental effects of climate change on food production and water security. Access to food is a fundamental human right but in many developing countries it is instead considered foremost a profitable commodity, thereby resulting in the suffering of citizens at the hands of corrupt governments and multinational corporations. Environmental organisations and social movements in the global South are attempting to address the implications of food insecurity but the short-term and long-term challenges it faces mean that the cycle of hunger and poverty will exist for decades to come. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) defines food security as “a situation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy lifestyle”. According to head of the FAO’s Global Perspectives Study unit Josef Schmidhuber and climate change specialist Francesco Tubiello, there are four dimensions to food security which relate the availability, stability, access and utilisation of food for all people. These four dimensions encompass the overall ability of an agricultural system to meet food 18

demands, individuals’ risk of temporarily or permanently losing access to food resources, adequate entitlement and access to nutritious resources and food safety and quality. According to recent research compiled by environmental and humanitarian organisations such as the World Health Organisation, food insecurity is on the rise due to increasing poverty, the impact of the global financial crisis, global warming and poor infrastructure. For developing countries in the global South, water and food security are inextricably linked. This is evident with Asia facing an unprecedented food crisis and consequential social unrest unless hundreds of millions of dollars are invested in better irrigation systems to grow crops to support its rapidly increasing population. India, China and Pakistan avoided the famines of the 1970s and 1980s because of giant state-sponsored irrigation systems and the introduction of superior seeds and fertilisers. However, a combination of problems such as a lack of cultivable land, an increasingly unpredictable climate and over-exploited water sources means that many countries in South-East Asia must develop better management of existing water supplies to support a burgeoning population. Given this predicament, environmental organisations concerned with food security often have a two-pronged approach encompassing both food and water security issues. India is considered to be one of the world’s key emerging economies of the 21st century. However, its growth is under increasing pressures from crippling food security issues. India has been rated “high risk” in a newly developed Food Security Risk Index (FSRI) by a UK risk advisory business, Maplecroft. It was ranked 25th out of 148 countries due to unsustainable water use and an expanding population. The FSRI calculates a country’s risk level based on the availability, stability and access to basic food

stocks, as well as the impacts on nutrition and health that result from food insecurity. For India the major threats to food security are poverty, uneven food distribution, natural disasters, deforestation and low education levels. This culminates into India being a low income, food-deficit country which is home to nearly 50 percent of the world’s hungry.

A combination of problems such as a lack of cultivable land, an increasingly unpredictable climate and overexploited water sources means that many countries in South-East Asia must develop better management of existing water supplies to support a burgeoning population. In 2009, India’s food security has been heavily influenced by widespread droughts and the impact of the global financial crisis. Although India avoided the famines of the 1970s and 1980s thanks to boosted grain production since the green revolution of the 1960s, approximately 35 per cent of its population is food insecure, consuming less than 80 percent of its daily minimum nutrition requirements. Furthermore, in India the retail price of many food commodities rose sharply in late 2008 due to pressures such as an increasing population, a growing inclination towards bio-diesel crops, more frequent natural disasters such as droughts, and the weakening of the US dollar. An environmental and social movement that has had a major impact on food security in India is Navdanya. Navdanya is a movement for seed saving, protection of biodiversity and freedom from monopoly control on agriculture. The movement started as 16 community seed banks in six states in India and today has more than 1000 members who aim to conserve biodiversity, practice

chemical-free agriculture and save and share seeds. With seed patent laws in India forced upon the country by World Trade Organisation rules, seed saving is illegal and resources are often stolen to generate profits for multinational corporations. Therefore environmental organisations that see seed saving as part of the solution for food insecurity are forced to break the law by encouraging farmers to do so. This illustrates the importance of environmental organisations in highlighting poor existing policies and educating communities on alternative practices. Another environmental organisation leading the way in addressing issues of food insecurity in India is the Centre of Environmental and Food Security (CEFS), which was founded in 2001. The CEFS researches, advocates and campaigns on issues such as poverty, hunger, food security, sustainable development, sustainable livelihoods and ecological security. This indicates that the organisation understands that food security, environmental protection and sustainable development are inextricably linked and that to achieve long-term solutions to these problems, each area needs to be addressed in relation to the others. Since 2006, the CEFS has been documenting and researching issues of hunger and poverty in tribal areas of India, the effects of globalisation, agrarian distress, an increasing number of farmer suicides and the challenge of sustainable development. Through these projects the CEFS has increased awareness of environmental and food security, assisted with teaching farmers safe and productive practices, encouraged cooperative action between a network of grass roots organisations, non-governmental organisations, activists and experts and promoted strategies for the conservation of natural and humanmanaged biodiversity. It is through environmental organisations such as the CEFS that the foundation for change is laid, 19

The South Australian Globalist

enabling cooperation on local and national levels to combat issues of food insecurity. Environmental organisations play a major role in addressing issues of food insecurity but there are also international foundations that understand the severity of the situation in the global South and have established programs to help reduce food insecurity. One such program is the Cereals Systems Initiative for South Asia set up by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and aims to assist more than six million farmers in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal achieve increased cereal yield over the next decade. The initiative is helping to develop and disseminate high-yield, stresstolerant cereal varieties and is encouraging better information technology and improved resource management practices. Ultimately farmers will be equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary for successful food production in the face of climate change while using less energy, water and fertilisers.

If climate variations become more prominent and widespread, droughts and floods – which are the dominant causes of short-term fluctuations in food production in semiarid and subhumid areas – will become more frequent and severe. The harmful effects of climate change are another contributing factor to food insecurity and are a central focus for environmental organisations. Climate change is particularly detrimental for developing countries in the global South that are often without the infrastructure or stable political, social and economic environments necessary to minimise the negative effects. Climate change is escalating existing problems for food production all over the world however; the most vulnerable are considered to be developing countries, especially those in South Asia. The biggest emerging challenge to food security is posed by global warming and the resultant climate change which is responsible for more frequent weather extremities and disasters such as droughts and flooding. If climate variations become more prominent and widespread, droughts and floods – which are the dominant causes of short-term fluctuations in food production in semiarid and subhumid areas – will become more frequent and severe. Furthermore, changes in temperature and precipitation and increased atmospheric 20

carbon dioxide will bring changes in land suitability and crop yields. This will strongly impact the already unstable agriculture in India if policies and programs to counteract the negative environmental consequences are not established by governments, regulatory bodies and international organisations such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Environmental organisations must also consider other consequences of climate change in relation to food security. According to Schmidhber and Tubiello, a main concern is that “changing climatic conditions can initiate a vicious circle where infectious disease causes or compounds hunger, which, in turn makes the affected populations more susceptible to infectious disease”. This can result in a multitude of social issues such as increased poverty and a significant decline in labour productivity, which in turn worsens the food security of a country. In India, environmental organisations such as the CEFS, Green Hopes, the Green Coalition Network, Navdanya and the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) are working on improving not only environmental issues, but also social concerns such as poverty reduction and improved health and education. In addition, major international organisations such as the FAO are working collaboratively with environmental groups to combat the issues of food insecurity. The FAO has recently urged governments, particularly those in the global South, to pay urgent attention to the needs of agriculture and water management in an effort to prevent further food insecurity. In regards to India’s situation, 60 per cent of its agriculture is rain-dependent and therefore it is necessary for farmers to improve productivity of dry land farming. With the detrimental effects of climate change potentially altering rainfall and worsening the current situation, it is necessary for environmental organisations, international organisations, the government and local communities to work co-operatively to ensure improved methods of agriculture are achieved in the near future. State of Food Security in Rural India, a recent study by the World Food Programme and M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) revealed that despite government programs, the high economic growth rate has failed to improve food security in India. The report stated that the number of malnourished people is rising, reversing the improvements made during the 1990s. Slowing growth in food production, rising

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unemployment and declining purchasing power of India’s poor are combining to weaken the rural economy and in turn causing increased food insecurity. Foodbased interventions such as the Public Distribution System (PDS), the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and the Mid Day Meal Scheme (MDMS) have had limited success. These programs have assisted in the availability and access to food, however achieving nutrition security is compromised by poor sanitation and a lack of clean drinking water. This situation is exacerbated by the impact of climate change and a rise in global food prices. Other government policies in India, such as the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) and the National Food Security Mission (NFSM) have had some positive results, but evidently they alone are not enough to ensure food security. According to researcher Syed Homammad Ali, governments in the global South need to commit themselves more explicitly to long-term and short-term food security policies. This could involve not only technological intervention and increased scientific research into agricultural practices but also policies that educate farmers, supply them with safe and healthy seeds and minimise the impact of multinational corporations that often exploit both farming communities and natural resources. Food security is a complex and serious global issue that has particular relevance to developing countries in the global South. Environmental organisations and social movements are challenging current political, economic and social structures associated with food security in an effort to improve availability, access, stability and utilisation of food resources. For countries like India that are crippled by poverty and food insecurity, environmental organisations are playing a major role in raising awareness about environmental and social issues that contribute to insecure food production and access, in educating farmers and in implementing policy reform. Co-operation between environmental organisations, international bodies, governments and local communities is essential in the quest to improve food security in the global South, whether it is through improved infrastructure and technology, seed saving techniques, better water management, social programs or greater education. EMMA ALTSCHWAGER Fourth year Bachelor of Journalism and Bachelor of Arts (International Studies) student


North Korea’s Nuclear Quest

F E AT U R E A R T I CL E A l i c e M c K i n n o n

WHICH INTERNATIONAL relations theory best explains North Korea’s quest for nuclear power?


orth Korea is a country that has celebrated an open and aggressive pursuit of nuclear proliferation over many decades. The actions of this defiant state are of great and continued concern to other actors on the political stage. This notion of power, deterrence, stability and survival are mirrored in the frameworks of the realist theory of international relations. An analysis of power, military capabilities best explains North Korea’s behaviour with other states in the international arena. Intentions of other actors on the global stage assert the merits of the realist theory in justifying, contextualising and predicting the behaviour of states. Further scrutiny of the liberal and Marxist theories provides some alternative answers to why North Korea continues its pursuit of power through nuclear weapons. The Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea (hereafter referred to as North Korea) is run as a communist state through a oneman dictatorship under current leader Kim Jong-Il. Firstly, the concept of a democratic republic versus a one-man dictatorship under communist rule in itself seems rather contradictory. Academic Glyn Ford argues that North Korea is a country run by rational actors whose major concerns lie in “regime security and survival” while still technically engaged in war with the United States. This idea reflects one of the founding arguments in the realist framework. According to Deakin University researcher Scott Burchill, the basis of the realist theory is the search for power and security. Realist theory identifies states as the primary actors in global politics who “have no choice but to accumulate the means of violence in the pursuit of self preservation”. It can be argued that North Korea’s aggressive and isolationist characteristics certainly reflect the realist assumptions of state behaviour.

From a realist perspective, it could be argued that this power play is both a multipolar struggle between numerous actors yet also an issue of bipolarity between North Korea and the United States. Academic Jack Donnelly suggests some realists would argue that a multipolar system is a more stable option because the balance of power is distributed amongst a larger number of states. In the case of North Korea’s proliferation of nuclear weapons, it could be argued the current state system better reflects a bipolar system with a power struggle between the United States and North Korea. In terms of nuclear capabilities, this scenario is reminiscent of the Cold War bipolar system between the Soviet Union and the United States. Realists emphasise the importance of ‘balance of power’ in the international system. Hans Morgenthau (1985) defines ‘balance of power’ as two powers, each incomparably stronger than any other power or group of powers, in opposition of one another. It is necessary to concede that this founding principle of the realist paradigm only marginally reflects the current scenario. Even though both countries seem to have comparable military capabilities, this is where the comparison stops. North Korea’s economic, political and social inadequacies appear to be dwarfed by the apparent socio-economic might of the United States. So while it is important to acknowledge that the respective military capabilities of both states reflect a bipolar or balance of power system, it is only a shallow comparison given the prominence of other actors in this power struggle. To ascertain an accurate account of the current state of events in regard to nuclear proliferation, it is also important to look at the role of the other states in this scenario. When it comes to the debate over North Korea’s role in nuclear proliferation, people very rarely question the other actors in the situation. In his book Disarming Strangers, Leon Sigal explores the role of an ‘uncooperative’ America in their position against North Korea. Sigal argues that in an attempt to force compliance, the United States focused too much on North Korea’s nuclear past and its nuclear potential 21

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In the case of North Korea’s proliferation of nuclear weapons, it could be argued the current state system better reflects a bipolar system with a power struggle between the United States and North Korea. and, in turn, ignored North Korea’s acts of nuclear self-restraint. This notion further enforces the realist idea that conflict is inevitable because states are always battling to maintain an anarchic system irrespective of signs of peace or stability between states. It is important to concede, however, that Sigal’s point is only marginally true. Despite the fact North Korea has not staged fullyfledged nuclear war, it has now tested weapons of mass destruction. While Sigal makes some interesting points about the United States’ apparent preoccupation with North Korea’s aggressive behaviour, it no longer reflects the current state of play following North Korea’s recent testing of short-range missiles. It does, however, add weight to the argument that the realist framework best reflects the interests of the states involved in this power struggle. Morgenthau illustrates that “in every political situation contradictory tendencies are at play”. It is important to acknowledge North Korea has managed some areas of compliance with its transnational counterparts. In lieu of a realist explanation, it would seem the liberal viewpoint could better clarify these aspects of North Korea’s behaviour. Even though North Korea has done very little when it comes to halting its nuclear proliferation, it has shown some acts of compliance when forced by the international community. Like the realist theory, the liberal ideology emphasises the importance of the state. However, one of the founding principles of the liberal thought is the notion of international institutions as a necessary vessel for enabling progress and promoting peace. After a tumultuous few years of nuclear threats, progress was finally made in the form of six-party talks between China, Russia, Japan, the United States and North and South Korea. Even though North Korea was not initially compliant, a ‘breakthrough’ came in the fourth round of talks, when the country agreed to abandon its nuclear program in return for food aid and security. This shows that pressure from other states and international institutions like the United Nations can have influence in promoting peace. Liberals believe through collective action, states can cooperate to eliminate the possibility of war. While some states are working together to force North Korea 22

to abort its nuclear weapons program, the threat of nuclear destruction is ever-present. This theory fails to explain why North Korea is not complying with sanctions and international reform, why it pulled out of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty in 2003 and why the promise of collective benefit for North Korea does not guarantee their compliance. The elements of this case study thus devalue the essence of the liberal argument. The realist lens rejects the inconsistencies in the liberalist theory by reiterating that anarchy is ever-present in the international system. This is supported by the notion that it is “downright dangerous to pretend that war [is] not the final arbiter of international disputes” says Dartmouth College academic Richard Lebrow. Once again, the argument is brought back to the realist framework. The liberal paradigm offers an alternative, viable explanation for areas of peace and cooperation between North Korea, other states and international institutions. What the liberal view fails to explain is why progress and peace are not consistent certainties in the international system. UK Guardian journalist, Yang Sung-chul aptly deduces North Korea’s “world-defying belligerency is not utter madness. Rather, it is a byproduct of its own acute fears of regime collapse”. This notion incites an interesting debate about North Korea’s motives on the world stage. It has become apparent that the realist framework identifies the prominence of fear as a justification for states seeking power. This idea is explored in Shiping Tang’s analysis of offensive realism and non-offensive realism. Offensive realism insists a state must always assume the worst of another state’s intentions because states are inherently aggressive. In turn, non-offensive realist theory argues states should employ a variety of methods to ease the uncertainty of respective intentions and thus eliminate the fear of each other. This idea offers a tangible justification for why North Korea is acting in such defiance of global politics and world order. Furthermore, this assessment of fear may contextualise why the United States is so eager to disarm this seemingly aggressive state. When assessing the socio-economic and cultural standards of North Korea’s people, it is imperative to look at the Marxist viewpoint for deeper understanding. With the realist view focused primarily on the state as the main player, it is important to consider the class structures within the state. When it comes to Marxism, University of Sydney’s John M. Hobson believes the essence of Lenin (and thus

Marx’s) theory of the state and international relations revolved around the interests of a dominant social class. Hobson states: “By conforming not to the general interests of the masses but to the particular interests of the dominant economic classes, the state creates a world that is premised upon inter-state conflict, imperialist rivalry and militarism”. This assessment of social classes can be seen in the current case of North Korea’s exploitation of its people. Not only does Kim Jong-Il live a life of privilege and luxury, his lifestyle can be acutely juxtaposed with the standards of living for his civilians. The ruling Kim family have been known to waste precious resources, create religious cults to worship them, build palaces and live extravagant lifestyles even though some four million people have been murdered or starved to death over the past half a century. It is believed that food aid from international institutions is often intercepted by the military and sold for hard currency to buy military ‘necessities’. This corruption further broadens the gap between the privileged and the poor. It can be argued that this dominant social class puts Kim Jong-Il in a strong position to propagate his power. The Marxist view would assert these prominent discrepancies between the ruling and working class enables the state to achieve power through domestic autonomy. Even though Marxist theory explains North Korea’s domestic situation well, it does not offer ample reasoning behind North Korea’s behaviour through inter-state conflict. Marxism argues that states are rivals through the pursuit of economic and political interests. This argument can hardly be justified in the context of North Korea, a country often so desperate for aid it is sometimes prepared to negotiate nuclear disarmament. In regards to nuclear warfare and nonproliferation, future outcomes are certainly hard to predict. If, like realists want to believe, the future will pan out much like history has presented in the past, there may actually be a chance for peace. This does, however, contradict the very basis of the realist paradigm. It is therefore worth noting a key criticism of the realist theory was its inability to predict the end of the Cold War. Burchill confirms this criticism and concludes that through a “preoccupation with continuity and logic of reproduction, realism neglects the existence of a logic of change”. With this in mind, is it possible that this scenario will play out like the Cold War because the cost of going to war with nuclear weapons is too great? Liberals may argue that a peaceful end is possible for all states because humans never want war. In spite of

the civilised end of the Cold War, the realist theory would still foresee the power struggle ensuing because states are driven by the motive of survival. Academics Martin Hollis and Steve Smith deduce in their book Explaining and Understanding International Relations that realism may have a stronger case to argue because it understands action and explains behaviour, rather than basing assessment on ideals. In the context of North Korea’s proliferation of nuclear weapons, one must look at the facts. North Korea possesses and produces nuclear weapons. The state has tested these nuclear weapons in recent years and pulled out of peace and disarmament talks. These basic facts epitomise the realist behaviour of an anarchical state system based on security and stability through military capabilities. Even though liberalism and Marxism offer useful alternative explanations, they only justify one facet of the whole scenario rather than explaining the intent of the states involved. Therefore, the realist paradigm is the most comprehensive and conclusive theory for explaining this world order phenomenon. When it comes to the future, the realist theory would then ask one to look to history for an indication of possible outcomes. On face value the outlook may be grim. However, the saving grace in the context of the future reflects Morgenthau’s explanation of mutually-assured destruction. “Once the two nations have reached this optimum of assured destruction, they are equal in usable nuclear capabilities: within certain limits quantitative differences do not affect that qualitative equilibrium”. (Morgenthau, 1985) This argument gives weight to the idea that once states reach the peak of their power through possession of nuclear weapons, they have successfully created mutually-assured destruction. “A fullscale nuclear exchange would mean social death within all the belligerent nations,” says scholar Campbell Craig. Whatever the future may hold, this discussion shows that any act of nuclear warfare will certainly undermine the very basis of the realist view of an anarchical system. Therefore, in an age of nuclear proliferation, it would seem only one thing is for certain; self-interested states will continue to strive for security and survival. It is one of the things they know best.

Alice M c Kinnon Fourth year Bachelor of Journalism and Bachelor of Arts (International Studies) student


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The Global Financial Crisis

Free-market policy has allowed US labour and product markets to become more competitive than their moreregulated European counterparts, in turn, allowing them to prosper.

G E N E R AL A RT I CL E N i c h o l a s P i p e

NICHOLAS PIPE examines the causes and consequences of the Global Financial Crisis.

1920s financial crisis, and the Keynesian model was adopted to fix the problem and prevent it from reoccurring. Sound familiar? It worked for a few years, but soon led to severe inflation – one of the inherent dangers of the Keynesian system.


Celebrated economist Friederich Hayek compared the maintenance of Keynesianism to “holding a tiger by the tail”. Between 1972 and 1974, US inflation rates more than tripled to a whopping 12.3%. In 1974, one of the worst US stock market crashes in history occurred and, ironically, the exact event that Keynesian policies are meant to help avoid took place.

he Global Financial Crisis (GFC) of 2007-2010 was one of the darkest chapters in the history of economics. Millions of people around the globe were hit by the effects of the downturn, and global economies are yet to fully recover. Indeed, the sheer scale of the GFC meant that it was widely touted as the death knell for neo-liberal economics – the free-market system utilised by states from which the crisis stemmed. But while hordes of financial commentators and bedroom economists promptly took aim at neo-liberalism, few people took a step back to look at the bigger picture. There is no such thing as a perfect economic model, and neo-liberalism has significant advantages. After all, it would not have become the standard for the Western economic system if it were useless. Furthermore, this particular crisis was caused by a small number of renegade bankers and corporations within the system, rather than the system itself. To put it simply, the GFC did not show the folly of states which chose to follow neo-liberal economic models. Neo-liberalism may have its flaws, but then so does every alternative system. Look at Keynesianism, for example – according to academic Ngaire Woods, the model typified by market regulation, almost paranoid levels of state economic control, and therefore the polar opposite of neo-liberalism. After the GFC, leaders like Kevin Rudd and Nicolas Sarkozy called for a Keynesian revival, in light of its effectiveness in re-establishing economies in crisis. However, several economic thinkers – and even history itself – have shown that Keynesianism is deeply flawed and eventually creates new problems. After WWII, the world economy was in a similar state to that of today. International markets were unstable due to the late


Prominent Australian economist Henry Ergas points out that Keynesian stimulus packages, which were offered by many governments after the GFC, actually create rorting possibilities on a vast scale. Regulation did not stop this behaviour from occurring on a daily basis in European economies, and it certainly didn’t help several of them from stagnating soon after. Writing in The Australian on April 9, 2010, Ergas sums this up perfectly: “The European basket cases of Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain, with their bloated public sectors, vast social transfers and pervasive regulation... are far from being living exemplars of the failings of Hayekian (neo-liberal) doctrines.” So the Keynesian system is clearly not immune to financial crises, and is not a foolproof solution to contemporary financial issues. It is not a flawless alternative to neoliberalism. To be honest, other approaches – such as Marxism and Mercantilism – aren’t much better. Marxist economic models are based on equality, and in the globalised society that has been built over the last 30 years, equality simply cannot work. As Nobel-prize-winning economist Milton Friedman said: “A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.”

So, pick up the average economics textbook, flip past the models already discussed in this article and you will arrive at the last alternative still standing – the archaic system of mercantilism. Put out of fashion over 100 years ago, mercantilism is geared towards aggressive territorial expansion and extreme nationalist and protectionist trade policy, which makes it a threat to both international security and economic prosperity in our globalised world. Economics professor Laura LaHaye notes that during the mercantilist period, military conflict between nation-states was “more frequent and more extensive than at any other time in history”. She also says that once England discarded mercantilism for free trade policy in 1860, it “became the dominant economic power in Europe”. Mercantilism is a laughable alternative to neo-liberalism, and the dwindling number of vocal neo-mercantilists in the world today is relatively unsurprising. Distinguished international relations intellectual Chris Brown writes in his book Understand International Relations: “It is striking that although a great many groups have presented strong critiques of economic globalisation (neo-liberalism), positive alternatives are fewer on the ground”. His point is embodied by the models of Keynesianism, Marxism and mercantilism, which, clearly, are not flawless alternatives to neo-liberalism. His point is also founded by the view that the undeniable advantages of neo-liberalism – along with the benefits it has brought to people globally – are easily overlooked by people rushing to condemn the system in the wake of the GFC. To see how neo-liberalism promotes strong economic growth, all you need to do is compare the neo-liberal-based US economy with the heavily regulated economic system of the European Union (EU). This year, the growth rate of the US economy is expected to exceed that of the EU by two percentage points. This might not sound like a large margin, but as IMF director Dominique Strauss-Kahn commented, it’s similar to the EU “being relegated to the second division”. However, the consumer

cultures of the EU and US are the same, so the vast difference in economic growth all boils down to American neo-liberalism. Free-market policy has allowed US labour and product markets to become more competitive than their more-regulated European counterparts, in turn, allowing them to prosper. When assisted by the other neo-liberal views of globalisation and foreign investment, this economic growth leads to other social benefits; it “trickles down” to marginalised populations, while open borders ensure the most efficient distributions of goods worldwide. As a result, closing the gap between affluent and marginalised populations is encouraged. Ergas summarises the effects of this phenomenon as: “(liberalism) works, while the interventionist prescription doesn’t. Ask the hundreds of millions of Chinese, Indians and Vietnamese whom liberalisation has lifted out of poverty.” The benefits of neo-liberalism are clear, and it is fallacious to overlook them when judging the system itself in the wake of the GFC. Yet there is something else that any critic of neo-liberalism must consider – the fact that, like it or not, neo-liberalism is here to stay. As Chris Brown notes, the system has become hegemonic and so deeply entrenched in society that its ideals are now part of how things really are. You only have to look at the US Government’s need to bail out and protect several corporations at the height of the GFC to see how deep rooted the neo-liberalism system is, and how its influence lives on.

of themselves and their colleagues. Obviously, those “irresponsible individuals” are not a prerequisite of the neo-liberal system, so therefore system should not shoulder the blame. In 2008, US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said he was in “shocked disbelief” that the GFC had even occurred under a neo-liberal system. It is easy to suggest that neo-liberalism was at the root of the GFC, but when the events of 2007 and beyond are analysed in greater depth, it becomes clear that such a suggestion is misguided. A handful of individuals operating outside the true ideals of neo-liberalism were responsible for the crisis, not the system itself. So instead of attacking states for using the system, overnight critics of neo-liberalism should save their spite for those renegades at the heart of the crisis. Neo-liberalism is far from perfect, but the world is yet to see a more effective economic system, no matter how much uproar Keynesian advocates create. The neo-liberal system has seen a myriad of benefits for the global economic system and marginalised populations in terms of growth and prosperity, and will be with us as a sustainable economy for the foreseeable future.

NICHOLAS PIPE First year Bachelor of Journalism student

So if anyone was disgraced by the GFC, it was the handful of reckless minority parties who caused it, not the states whose neo-liberal systems were rorted by such parties. Kevin Rudd blamed “wild corporate cowboy behaviour” for the GFC, but to say that all corporate employees are cowboys is to take a hasty stereotypical view. The true responsibility for the crisis falls on a few irresponsible individuals, whose poor judgements have tarnished the reputations 25

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capital of Papua, and Wamena, the main town in the highlands of West Papua’s Baliem Valley. She said in both places she stayed with people who had joined the demonstrations.

Discovering West Papua G E N E R AL A RT I CL E R y n e i s h a B o l l a r d

YOUTH WORKER Kylie Pointen shares her experiences in West Papua with Ryneisha Bollard.


country facing an often-violent struggle for independence may not seem like the ideal tourist destination. This was the case for youth worker Kylie Pointon, 29, who has just got back from almost four weeks in the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua. Kylie’s trip was funded through a travel prize from the West Papua Association of South Australia. “Having a really strong passion for travelling and also a keen interest in human rights, places like West Papua sort of spring to mind when you’re talking about both of those things,” Kylie said. “I love nature and trekking and diving, so all of those pursuits are there in West Papua, but it’s also a unique chance to sort of talk about what’s going on in a place that not many people go to.” The western half of the island of New Guinea was separated into the two provinces by the Indonesian Government in 2003, but the locals prefer to call the whole of their homeland West Papua. For more than 40 years, the militant wing of the Free Papua Movement (OPM), the West Papua Revolutionary Army, has fought a low-intensity war to break away from Indonesia. It is one of the world’s leastknown conflicts, partly because foreign journalists are not allowed into the area. However, there is also a peaceful organisation of the OPM, which holds demonstrations against the Indonesian Government’s ownership of West Papua. Kylie’s trip included a visit to Jayapura, the 26

“It’s like a slow genocide there at the moment. Their population hasn’t been growing and they’ve been starved of economic growth. At the moment, they’re likely to become a minority in their own country.” “I was hosted by people that don’t want to see any violence. They just want to be able to see their country have the right of a lot of other places – to be able to make their decisions about what happens in their future, rather than having a Government that they never chose telling them what happens next.” West Papua is different to other parts of Indonesia because it was not surrendered by the Dutch for another 12 years after the rest of Indonesia had been granted sovereignty. This meant that there was sufficient time for the Dutch to establish a local Papuan elite, which had not been consulted before the country was handed over to the Indonesians in 1962. West Papua Association of South Australia secretary David Arkins said that since then, the Indonesian government has encouraged non-Papuans to flood the territory and to dominate the local economy. This has had dire consequences for the native West Papuans. “It’s like a slow genocide there at the moment,” he said. “Their population hasn’t been growing and they’ve been starved of economic growth. At the moment, they’re likely to become a minority in their own country.” Mr Arkins said this motivated his association to create the travel prize, which accepted entries last year and granted $2000 for the winner to travel to West Papua. “We think that opening up the country to tourism is probably one of the biggest things there,” he said. “If you want to encourage human rights, you’ve got to be able to see it.” Kylie said she thought it was important for her to get to know some of the native West Papuans during her trip. “The main thing I wanted to do was spend time with the local people. It’s really easy as a tourist to go and just sort of breeze through a place, but not actually hear any local stories,” she said. What stood out in her travels were the different levels of tension between native West Papuans and immigrants from other parts of Indonesia. “In the areas where there

are a lot more Indonesian people, you can see that contrast. You can see where people are still trying to keep their traditional ways, but there’s been a bit more of an influx of people that have taken the jobs that they would’ve had.” The highlands of West Papua have been able to escape most of the effects of the transmigration, but Kylie said that change is coming. “It’s definitely an area in transition, where if you went there in five years’ time it would just be completely different. “There’s still a lot of tension so that you can see that the people don’t want to have that Indonesian influence and it’s sort of getting forced upon them.” It is important that the awareness of issues in West Papua improves, Kylie said, because the locals are struggling to fight for independence on their own. “It’s very unlikely that without external pressure that the Indonesian Government would choose to give up a cash cow like West Papua,” she said. The region’s main source of income is the Grasberg mine in the province of Papua, which is the largest gold mine and third largest copper mine in the world. Vast profits are also made from illegal logging, which accounts for over 80 per cent of the timber harvested every year. On top of this, the Indonesian Government has set aside one third of Papua’s forests for palm oil production, and plans to send over an extra 120,000 trans-migrant workers for this purpose. Despite the challenges that these economic interests pose for achieving independence in West Papua, Mr Arkins said it is a vital part of improving the every-day lives of the local people. “They don’t have health, welfare or education. They’re suffering very much in those areas and I think they want to come into the modern world, but they need that ability to do that,” he said. Kylie said that Australia has an important role to play in achieving this. “What the West Papuans are hoping is that Australia will take a keener interest and they’ll be able to have a peaceful outcome and be able to get independence through peaceful means.” She added that she remains optimistic about the potential for tourism to raise awareness about the region. “I hope that by people seeing that a young female can go there on their own that it prompts people to go and explore West Papua, because it’s a beautiful country,” she said.

RYNEISHA BOLLARD Fourth year Bachelor of Journalism and Bachelor of Arts (International Studies) student


The South Australian Globalist

In Review re v iews M i n y a S c a s e

the A S C E N T OF M O N E Y N i a l l Fe r g u s o n


n view of the recent financial crisis, with its exposure of issues related to debt and governmental and corporate mismanagement, a proper understanding of the way in which the financial instruments, behaviour and institutions drive our world is certainly in order. Niall Ferguson’s The Ascent of Money is thus a welcome addition to the financial debate. Elegantly written and very accessible, Ferguson charts the history and evolution of financial markets, instruments, and money itself. The book is organised into chapters on money, the bond market, the stock market, insurance, housing and a chapter on the political dimensions of finance, from Britain’s empire to the rise of the Chinese position and concerns over the current excessive level of American debt. The explication of the financial aspects of major historical phenomena and events is fascinating; from the use of some of the first shares in underpinning the success of the Dutch East India Company to the failed bond financing of the Confederate side in the US Civil war, based on restricting the supply of cotton, the importance of finance in many important human endeavours is emphasised. More contemporary events are also covered in detail, including the Savings and Loans debacle, the Asian financial crisis, the Enron scandal, and, of course, the subprime crisis. The commentary on these more contemporary events is also rewarding, as Ferguson takes a relatively balanced view, denouncing acts of irresponsibility on the part of hedge fund managers, ill-considered government policies pushing homeownership, and unscrupulous schemers such as those at Enron, whilst critiquing debt-driven ‘stimulus spending’ and not blaming ‘neo-liberalism’ for all the world’s ills. An interesting insight of Ferguson’s work is the idea that financial institutions, being made by humans, will naturally reflect human traits, both positive and negative, from a sense of enterprise and expansiveness to the greed and fear that drives asset bubbles. Ferguson’s consideration of this 28

behavioural and ideational aspect of financial activity, which he dubs ‘Planet Finance’, is certainly relevant in today’s climate. Ferguson’s review of some aspects of development finance is also thoughtprovoking. I found his discussion of Hernando de Soto’s much-vaunted program of property ownership for developing countries of particular interest. His presentation of the progression of such programs in various countries, and the lack of attendant improvement is telling; it does certainly appear that property rights, whilst important, are merely a symptom of a good government and the rule of law, and not a key to development itself. More encouragingly, his review of microfinance programs, kick-started by Mohammed Yunus, and the success that these programs have had in providing much-

needed credit to potential entrepreneurs in developing countries, points to one promising option in poverty reduction and development. Overall, the book is thorough, interesting and easy to read, being written for a lay audience with no knowledge of financial complexities required. It is certainly worth reading to gain an understanding of the institutions that finance our economies, both in historical perspective and for the future. The central idea of the text, that finance and financial institutions, rather than being binding and exploitative, are in fact what has made so much of our progress possible, and that the challenge should be in both ensuring access for more of those outside of the system and for the viability of these institutions for our future prosperity, is certainly worth bearing in mind in today’s economic debates.


t e g o t t n

? d e v l o inv


Volume 2 Summer 2010/2011

The Seven Deadly Sins Of International Relations - Pride The experience of Western nations led to the potential exploitation of already-developed technologies, foreign direct investment opportunities and credit markets for less developed countries, providing them in decades what took the West centuries longer to develop.

- Lust The choice is simple – gaze upon your conflict-free diamond and see the beauty of its facets or plead ignorance about your stone’s origins and see reflected in it the faces of human misery and loss.

- Greed There were four critical construction and maintenance errors which led to the April 20 explosion at the BP Oil rig, releasing more than 50,000 barrels of oil into the ocean ecosystem every day.

Keep an eye out for the call for submissions for The South Australian Globalist’s third issue in early 2011. Visit the new Global21 website at If you are interested in joining the editorial board please send your application to the Editorin-Chief Emma Altschwager at Please include your full name, degree, year of study and 50 words or less on why you want to join the SA Globalist team.

The SA Globalist - Issue 2  

The second edition of the South Australian Globalist Magazine

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