Today, a summit of G-20 leaders is taking place in Hamburg. Germany has formulated the main headings of this summit with three concepts of "building resilience," "improving sustainability," and "assuming responsibility." These three headings do not suggest alternative solutions that can solve the basic problems of the present system and change the system. On the contrary, they highlight quite a pro-status quo approach that maintains and insists on the present situation.
For instance, under the heading of "building resilience," the main economic problems are listed as the "world economy," "trade and investment," "employment," "financial markets and international finance architecture," and "international tax cooperation," while the headings of "improving sustainability" and "assuming responsibility" include various systemic and humanitarian issues ranging from the refugee issue to the climate change.
Here, Germany highlights two important headings of "digitalization" and "global health" as it regards itself as the leading country of Industry 4.0. Do not expect the heading of "global health" to address basic health services that cannot reach the "impoverished" regions of the world, especially Africa. Germany will try to make everyone talk about how it can smoothly sell its digital medical devices to the world with as few problems as possible.
Germany and Europe seem to support migration policies and the refugee issue. So, it is necessary to argue how true it is that U.S. President Donald Trump is presented as the only leader who does not support migration policies. I do not think European leaders, especially German Chancellor Angela Merkel, are much different from Trump in this regard, with Trump overtly saying that he does not support them, and the others lingering on the issue.
Under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey is the only country that is trying to solve the refugee problem by eliminating hot conflict zones (draining the swamp), accepting refugees and offering them a life (binding wounds) in the real sense. The heading of "assuming responsibility" is good, but developed countries do not assume any responsibility in any topics, including the "fight against terrorism," "partnership with Africa," and the refugee crisis. The heading of "partnership with Africa" is a complete comedy, what partnership they are talking about?
This cannot be called a "partnership" with Africa, but rather the exploitation of it by the West at best.
Of course, the heading of "the world economy" is a separate tragedy. Economic affairs are collected under the title of "building resilience." Here, the developed countries want to tell the others to endure a bit more, do not lean toward the new, and to protect the old.
The struggle between the Germany-led Continental Europe and the U.S. in the creation of a new trade order will become even harder in the coming days. Under Trump's leadership, the U.S. is determined to bring up and even insist on protectionist and mercantilist economic policies. The U.K., on the other hand, wants to map out a separate route for itself from the EU through Brexit. From this point of view, the single title on which the G-20 will never reach an agreement will be the world trade order.
In fact, we can divide the parties of this G-20 into three: The first one is the European side, which is led by hosts Germany. The second one is the U.S. and the U.K., but it is impossible to see these two countries on the same front. The third party is the group of developing, or more precisely emerging countries, including Turkey.
I think the third group of countries is poised to take the lead in Industry 4.0, which Germany thinks it will be able to head by spending money. This is because this process, which is called the Fourth Industrial Revolution by many, is actually the second great Industrial Revolution. The First Industrial Revolution was born in the economic and sociological conditions of the U.K. and was led by them. The British empire "on which the sun never set" is the direct result of this industrial revolution. However, the current industrial revolution is not like the first one.
This is because the digital revolution is not a paradigm that a single nation or nation state can take over and lead and, in which they can emerge as a colonial empire by gathering global rent, by the revolution's nature. Quite the contrary, this is a decentralist economy that requires multiple centers, that gains value as it spreads, and that grows in such conditions.
By its nature, this economy cannot be a dominant paradigm unless it leans on countries with a dynamic demography and sociology in the east and south of the world. In this sense, the "liberalism" of the West is more controversial than ever these days.
The U.S.-European strife in this G-20 shows us that the discussion of mercantilism and liberalism is no longer an academic and economic debate alone, but also a direct realpolitik debate.
Liberalism has remained unfulfilled in many times and the periods of crisis, and developed countries have adopted mercantilism (the state's support of exports and the dominant country's/countries' increase of its/their precious metal wealth to the detriment of others) as an economic policy.
Today, a new alternative narrative and policy to this dominant paradigm (fake liberalism and implicit mercantilism) is emerging within the G-20. China, Japan (Abenomics), South Korea, and Turkey's (Erdoğan's) economic policies speak to this. I will continue this subject later.
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