Essay On The Structure Of The International System
At the present time, much emphasis of the discussion over the system of the international relations is on the topic that it is unjust at its root and, as a result, promotes under-development. Throughout the history of human development and the world system formation, "the natural systems that have supported human life on the planet are being stretched, some to breaking point. What science has been telling us for decades is now making itself felt in the most unmistakable ways" (McDonagh, 2013, p. 1). In fact, long before the development of the system of international relations and world economy, every individual and every group used to improve their living conditions through exploiting the natural resources which have always belonged to them. "Every continent independently participated in the early epochs of the extension of man’s control over his environment – which means in effect that every continent can point to a period of economic development" (Rodney & Babu, 1981. p. 2-3).
But what do we have today? Let's take a look at Africa, which is the original home of a human being. This continent "was a major participant in the processes in which human groups displayed an ever increasing capacity to extract a living from the natural environment" (Rodney & Babu, 1981. p. 3-4). However, in the modern world., the majority of African countries are considered to be the third-world countries, suffering from starvation and having no prospects for development.
Therefore, the main point of this essay is to prove that the current structure of the international system is inherently unfair, creates inequalities , and benefits only the most advanced and developed nations.
Not only prominent economists and doctors of sociology are concerned about the inequality promoted by the current structure of the international system, but also other men of outstanding personality, including political and religious leaders, express their concern about this issue. For instance, Pope Francis (2013), asserted that "Human rights are not only violated by terrorism, repression or assassination, but also by unfair economic structures that creates huge inequalities".
Speaking from the perspective of economic opportunities, it should be noted that the process of globalization affects various states in different ways and the undeveloped countries do not experience all the benefits of this process as compared to the developed nations. "Inequality in this context refers to an unequal distribution of benefits and losses under the uneven process of a globalized world" (Ashaver, 2013, p. 34).
The fundamental problem of the international system is that the benefits of globalization cannot be distributed evenly around the world. The majority of industrial sectors of the developed nations benefit from international trade and make huge profits by means of the influx of skilled labor from abroad, international funding. In the meantime, the majority of developing nations lose their competitiveness or simply become unnecessary. It is obvious that these forgotten industries need time, money, and physical resources to adjust to the new conditions of life within the international economic system.
However, this process of renewal and restoration is impossible for the majority of industries in the third-world and developing countries. As a result, owners end up losing money and their business overall, and common people end up losing their jobs. These changes deeply and profoundly hurt the national economies of each country, causing great changes in the economic structure and increasing the unemployment rate.
As of today, the structure of the international system also provides for the de-industrialization of the economy, which basically means that manufacturing sector loses ground, while the arena is left to the thriving service sector. As a result, workers have to go through the process of professional retraining in order to find a place in this changing global system.
What is more, the current international system creates a large gap between skilled and unskilled employees. Of course, skilled workers' salary increases significantly, while the unskilled ones get paid peanuts or even lose their source of income. Although some economists argue that such inequality is a powerful incentive for employees to train, develop and acquire a new qualification, it definitely gives rise to unemployment.
Such inequality of economic opportunities causes significant wage disparities, particularly in the developing world. For instance, "Brazil has one of the most unequal distribution of income - the top 20% of the population receives 26 times the income of the bottom 20%" (United Nations Development Programme, 1992, p. 22).
Continuing this topic, it should be noted that "inequality is also manifested in the fast-growing gap between the worlds rich and poor people and between the developed and developing countries, and in the large differences among nations in the distribution of gains and losses" (Ashaver, 2013, p. 34).
Another major point of concern regarding the current international system is the flows of international migration. In pursuit of better living, many unskilled and unqualified workers move from the undeveloped countries to the developed states. There is no need to explain that their salary differs significantly from that of the country residents.
The majority of governments of the developed nations impose severe restrictions and barriers in order to restrict immigration flows. "It is clearly unrealistic to expect that industrial countries will greatly lower their immigration barriers" (United Nations Development Programme, 1992, p. 6).
Another major issue associated with the international migrations is the labor standars and working conditions the immigrants have to operate in. In fact, in recent years, "international labor standards have become the newest point of contention in trade disputes between industrial and developing countries" (Golub, 1997, p. 20). A lot immigrant workers have to work in unfavorable working conditions, work excess hours in order to earn a living. What is more, many multinational corporations employ young children and make them work up to 12-14 hours a day.
As to international investment, it should be noted that the allocation of investment also seems to be extremely unfair. The undeveloped nations, as a general rule, receive no or little investment as compared to the developed nations. "Why have these countries attracted so little investment? The major reason is that investment is generally more profitable in rich countries than in poor ones" (United Nations Development Programme, 1992, p. 53).
It is obvious that international investment is one of the key elements for successful and productive development for the third-world countries. As a result, "where the international economic system is hostile to investment in new, productivity enhancing economic activities is where its elements create obstacles to development" (Montes, 2014, p.2).
According to former Secretary-General of the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev (2001), "We could only solve our problems by cooperating with other countries. It would have been paradoxical not to cooperate". For the purpose of solving the abovementioned issues of promoting under-development, various international organizations and institution, including IMF, the World Bank, GATT, and WTO, have been established. However, having regard to the fact that the issues of under-development still exist and that the gap between developed and developing nations is widening year by year, there are some questions that need to be answered.
In his research "Globalization, Development, and International Institutions: Normative and Positive Perspectives", A. Milner clearly stated the three key questions that still remain without answer: "Would the developing countries have been better off if these institutions had not existed? Would resources for aid and crisis management have been as plentiful or more so if they had not existed? Would globalization have occurred as fast and extensively, or even faster and deeper, if these international institutions had not been present?" (Milner, 2005. p. 834).
Ashaver, B., 2013. Poverty, Inequality and Underdevelopment in Third World Countries: Bad State Policies or Bad Global Rules? IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science [Online], 15(6), 33–38. Available from: <http://www.iosrjournals.org/iosr-jhss/papers/vol15-issue6/f01563338.pdf?id=7752> [Accessed 19 Jul. 2015].
Golub, S., 1997. Are International Labor Standards Needed to Prevent Social Dumping? Finance & Development [Online], 20-23. Available from: <https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/1997/12/pdf/golub.pdf> [Accessed 22 Jul. 2015].
McDonagh, T., 2013. Unfair, Unsustainable, and Under the Radar: How Corporations Use Global Investment Rules to Undermine a Sustainable Future. Democracyctr.Org [Online], 1-18. Available from: <http://democracyctr.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/under_the_radar_english_final.pdf> [Accessed 20 Jul. 2015].
Milner, H., 2005. Globalization, Development, and International Institutions: Normative and Positive Perspectives. Perspectives on Politics [Online], 3(4), 833–854. Available from: <http://faculty.georgetown.edu/jrv24/milner_05.pdf> [Accessed 23 Jul. 2015].
Montes, M.F., 2014. Obstacles to Development Arising from the International System . In Obstacles to Development in the Global Economic System . Geneva: South Centre, pp. 1–29.
Rodney, W. & Babu, A.M., 1981. Some Questions on Development. In How Europe underdeveloped Africa. Washington, D.C.: Howard University Press, pp. 1–432.
PSB, 2001. Mikhail Gorbachev Interview. PBS.Org. [Online] (updated 23 Apr. 2001) Available from: <http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/commandingheights/shared/minitext/int_mikhailgorbachev.html> [Accessed 24 Jul. 2015].
The Guardian, 2013. Pope Francis: the humble pontiff with practical approach to poverty. [Online] (updated 14 Mar. 2013) Available from: <http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/mar/13/jorge-mario-bergoglio-pope-poverty> [Accessed 20 Jul. 2015].
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), 1992. The widening gap in global opportunities . In Human development report 1992. New York: [Oxford University Press] for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) [Online] Available from: <http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/reports/221/hdr_1992_en_complete_nostats.pdf> [Accessed 20 Jul. 2015].
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