The recessionary pressure on global economy is growing stronger. Due to the falling global demand, commodity prices have hit a 12-year low. Here, of course, oil plays a leading and driving role, while other strategic commodities have begun following the same downward trend as oil. Copper, for instance, has lost around 9 percent of its value this week. Meanwhile, all industrial materials in the London Metal Exchange (LME) have seen a rapid price decline. Again this week, Brent oil price dropped below $50.
Prior to this decline in prices, World Bank (WB) lowered its global economic growth forecast to 3 percent. It is thought that Europe is unlikely to enter a steady growth cycle in the near future. Continental Europe enjoyed 30 golden years from the 1950s to the early 1980s. In this period, the welfare state seemed to be a never-ending order of the European continent. However, Europe has just closed this era of welfare and enters "Trente Piteuses" (30 miserable years) with high public debt and rapidly declining growth.
So, let us ask the following question: Did the golden ages between 1950 and 1980 constitute an exceptional case, or is the current state of Europe an exceptional one? French economist Thomas Piketty is not optimistic about Europe in this regard and predicts that the East will come closer to the West in global growth by 2030. In his "Capital in the 21st Century," Piketty says, "...per capita output in China, Eastern Europe, South America, North Africa and the Middle East would match that of the wealthiest countries by 2050." It is possible to say for Europe or the whole Western world that the neo-liberal economic cycle and rules, which started with Margaret Thatcher in the U.K. and Ronald Reagan in the U.S. in the early 1980s, and spread to the whole European continent after the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, failed to take Europe back on the pace of growth it saw during and after the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century. Because, the Industrial Revolution was possible due to intense labor exploitation and it was based on a mercantilist plunder that had been ongoing since the 15th century. Now, however, Europe or the entirety of the Western world cannot enjoy this reality. So, the West cannot achieve the intense labor exploitation-fuelled growth as it did during the Industrial Revolution, nor can it obtain a capital accumulation by exploiting and looting the East as it did before the Industrial Revolution.
The East's convergence toward the West in the 21st century - the argument of Piketty and of many other prominent economic historians who preceded him, including Angus Maddison - must be accepted as a proven social science thesis.
We cannot evaluate this economic convergence of the East in the economic aspect alone. Today, the East's values, which have accumulated over thousands of years, should be accepted. For example, portraying or caricaturing Prophet Muhammad might be regarded as normal and a democratic right to criticism in Western cultural values, whereas, this is a very sharp redline for Islam and a very derogatory insult for any Muslim.
Then, it is out of the question that the realm of freedom, which is dubbed democracy, can solely be determined in line with Western culture and democracy, and the boundaries of democracy cannot be determined by these either. There is a reality that has not been realized by all Western leaders, especially by the U.S. administration: As stated above, all Asian countries, from Turkey to China, will determine the world economy and trade in the 21st century. In parallel with this, these countries will put forward their religions, cultures and ethos. This reality should be acknowledged and the boundaries of democracy should be expanded accordingly. Beyond any doubt, what we desire is a more comprehensive democracy that would observe not only the West's but also the entire humanity's values, cultures and ethos. Lenin said that bourgeois democracy is a democracy for the bourgeoisie alone, but any bourgeois democracy is essentially a dictatorship for all of the lower strata including working class, peasantry or petty bourgeoisie. Thus, he destructed it and proposed a proletarian democracy and a proletarian dictatorship as an antithesis.
We strongly disagree with this reasoning and do not argue that Eastern values move ahead of Western values, and the Western hegemony is replaced by an Eastern one as the East grows economically. All we want is a far-reaching democracy that will encapsulate our values, cultures and lifestyles.