jeudi 1 novembre 2012

The systemic crisis generating strategic mutations

Here is an extract (pages 17 to 20) of The Centre for Defence and Security Strategic Studies’
scientific quarterly magazine "Strategic Impact written by Gheorghe VĂDUVA, a researcher within "the Centre for Defence and Security Strategic Studies" from the National Defence University “Carol I” (Romania).
This extract resuming my entitled article systematic crisis: regions and complementary currencies
Source : Strategic Impact pages 17 to 20, The systemic crisis generating strategic mutations

On March 18th, the US Federal Reserve bought treasury bonds from the market. Gilles Bonafi compares this day with Black Thursday (stock market crash from 1929), as it marks the end of the dollar. Paul Jorion announced “the end of capitalism”, and the analysts from the Standard Chartered bank defi ned that day as “the day when dollar died”. This big crisis with strategic implications was defi ned by Alan Ruskin, analyst
from RBS, as “the decline of Rome”. Many of the ones having analyzed or analyzing this phenomenon of crisis, by the beginning of 2009, were promoting the idea that Europe and the United States risk to implode.

Meantime, Bonafi asserts the big continental poles (ASEAN, CEI, North American Union) are expanding. Even if this sort of phenomena seem to be contradictory or even paradoxical, it seems we are coming close to the end of nations, or, at least, of the era of nations. We witness the emergence of some “huge ensembles
which will have, as administrative echelons, the regions.”9 In 1997, Herbert Marshall Mc Luhan published War and Peace in the Global Village, proposing a new concept: glocal. That is an amazed world due to the new technologies. The strategic mutation is obvious. The city disengages more and more if its productive function, the trade one or considering information (which is sent in the cyberspace) and focuses more on new forms ofborganisation at level local, giving the impression that it does not need other structures to manage,
guard and exploit.

Information has an essential role and a huge responsibility on launching and developing the current crisis, as it has contributed at the acceleration of the fi nancial fl ow at worldwide level. The reversed reaction was to put this information under control, trying to solve out the crisis, including by consolidating IMF’s role. But nobody likes IMF, because it imposes conditions and restrictions. The network turned this flow into dynamic, the economies got out of the rigid national systems and became a sort of a system of systems, accelerating and metamorphosing the exchange of substance, energy and information, in an over-saturated environment, one that is intoxicated and very fragile and vulnerable, where a new dimension is disengaged, one cultivated and courted today in Europe - the regional one. Bernard Lietaer and Margrit Kennedy published a book, Regionalwährungen: Neue Wege zu nachhaltingen Wohlstand which speaks about such a very delicate and controversial subject. Even in the Introduction, authors underline: “The financial crisis started in 2008 has an unprecedented amplitude and complexity. The coming recession promise to be a long, hard one, the most diffi cult since 1930s. In those times, we have ineffectively managed the economical situation and the sociopolitical degradations. This has entailed a wave of fascism, culminating with World War II.”

The current crisis emphasises a regional dimension and somehow an end of the national states’ absolute sovereignty. There is a sort of European consensus regarding the regions’ importance in the development policies. This is stressed out by Eduard Balladur’s report, “Here comes the time to decide”, during The Committee for reforming the local colectivities from France, which made 20 proposals, most of them being
unanimously adopted. It is almost the same think as the constitution of those eight regions from Romania.

The Balladur report states that “The regional echelon is considered by the Committee as being the best adjusted to the new conditions of competitivity, ascertaining there is a European consensus on the importance of the regional level within the development policies.” Articles 2 and 3 from the European Charter of Local Self-Government stresses out that “the local autonomy must be acknowledged in the domestic legislation”,
this autonomy being defined as “the right and the effective capacity of local colectivities to regulate and manage, within the legal framework, under its own responsibility and for their populations’ benefit, an effective part of the public problems”.

Unfortunately, some local communities understand this regional policy as a support for the ethnic separatism. As a matter of fact, the European Charter of Local Self-Government aims completely other objectives. It is about a new architecture providing both the regions to catch up with the European level and creating a larger
flexibility which would allow a better resistance to crisis and confl icts. That is exactly opposing to what the ethnic separatists promote. Bernard Lietaer, former member of the Club of Rome, has a very interesting proposal: “An important decision undertaken by governments would be to allow cities and local authorities to
chose themselves the complementary currencies they consider interesting in order to encourage and accept them for paying the city’s or the state’s taxes” (White Papers, p.28).

Therefore, according to this vision, cities and regions could choose the more suitable currencies and even could create complementary currencies. Even if this seems impossible, for some people, there have been similar experiences during history. Moreover, this sort of practices is even today in Switzerland (WIR) and in Germany (Chiemagauer). Gilles Bonafi gives such an example outside the European continent. The mayor from Curitiba (Brazil) created a token-coin the citizens may gain if they clean the city’s dirt. That is how Curitiba became one of the cleanest and the most prosperous cities from Brazil, and citizens enjoy the benefits of such a currency. There is the also the example of the cooperative activities, as the ones used for
drafting popular encyclopaedias on the Internet. Starting from these examples and many others, Lietaer proposes the creation of B2B (Business-to-Business) systems on companies’ level. A Russian businessman – German Sterligov – invested millions of dollars in London, Paris, Brussels and Hong Kong in order to achieve some anti-crisis centres, allowing companies to make payments based on barters. He mentioned that it is not about a barter, but about a new payment system, a new compatibility, where there is no money, no credit, no interests… Of course, he is right, because it seems capitalism has reached its own limits, getting to an incompetence level, and cannot face the new network philosophy and physiognomy, mitigating the hard competition and promoting the collaboration and the cooperation. It is true that more and more specialists ask or suggest the radical reform of the financial system, giving up on financial speculations and operations as moneymoney and going back to the real economy, to the requirements of the lasting development.

Some specialists state that the mutations produced during these possible reconfi gurations may generate armed confl icts and even wars. Generally speaking, the reorganization of territories is supported and the reduction of the regions’ number, together with their increased autonomy. The first proposal from Balladur report agreed on by the members of the Committee for reform of local collectivises from France refers to “favouring the volunteer regions’ regrouping and the modification of their territorial limits, in order to reduce their number to fi fteen.” For the time being, France is a unitary state, comprising 26 administrative regions, which have no legislative autonomy or any other type. The type of proposals, similar to the 20 comprised in Balladur report, is met almost all over the Europe. Are they a solution in order to get out of conflictuality or, on the contrary, they will generate a new type of conflictuality that the world will not be able to get out of, will it be withered or torn or disintegrated? Hard to answer!

The European Policy for Euro-regions becomes more spread, or it should it become beneficial for developing some regiuni fallen behind, but as can be imagined, it may have more complex effects, even contradictory to the initial purpose. Crises are interdependent. The economic crisis is strictly related with the financial, social, ecological, energetic, raw materials, food crisis and even with the political and military crisis.
One cannot be analysed without the other, as one’s effects are or may be causes for the others and even for its own evolution, that is why Gilles Bonafi , as many other authors, considers that the crisis issue must be analysed both globally and on different levels. The most important are the following: financial; coinage, whose pillar is the dollar (considered as crashing, even during and after the crisis); adapting the economical system to the new information technologies destroying millions of places of work (the notion of labour should be re-analysed); energy (it is considered that the traditional energy sources are about to be depleted and there have not been found available alternatives yet.

As a matter of fact, according to a theory confirming more and more – the abiotic theory of oil –, petroleum was formed from deep carbon deposits , in the depth, at very high temperatures and at very high pressures and comes to the surface as cold eruptions, developing, therefore, the nuclear technologies which bring back the world in the inexhaustible universe of the atomic energy, the energy of Universe); the danger stalks
democracies and freedom, due to the fact that the real power is held by a group of people by accumulating stocks (therefore, it is confirmed the warning of Kenneth Galbraith who underlined, in an interview published by Nouvel Observateur in November, 04, 2005, that “only a few sellers are needed, strong and convincing enough, in order to determine what people buy, eat and drink”; ecocide (any large-scale destruction of the natural environment, especially by excessive exploitation) determined by the current economic system.
These levels condition, intertwined themselves and try to put in order the identifi cation of vulnerabilities and managing the risk, especially the extreme one. The reality shows that this does not consist only in the danger represented by the nuclear weapon, that is out of control, it may destroy the world, or in the terrorists’ unpredictable, bloody, horrible acts, but also in the disastrous effects generated by the financial crisis, as it is,
as a matter of fact, an effect of effects, that is a disaster produced by disasters, generating, on its turn, other disasters. Beyond its disastrous effects – which, unfortunately, have not been exhausted –, the current crisis determines the strategic thinking to be rational and imposes new refl ections in order to find new solutions able to face the huge mutations, keeping the man’s, environment’s, and World’s security in the foreground.

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