Experts debate globalisation at Asilah Moussem

Former Austrian Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner emphasised the fear factor of globalisation.
Sunday 22/07/2018
Mohamed Benaissa, secretary-general of the  Asilah Forum Foundation and a former Moroccan foreign minister, speaks at the opening of the “Post-globalisation: What Perspectives?” symposium. (Asilah Forum Foundation)
In-depth look. Mohamed Benaissa, secretary-general of the Asilah Forum Foundation and a former Moroccan foreign minister, speaks at the opening of the “Post-globalisation: What Perspectives?” symposium. (Asilah Forum Foundation)

ASILAH, Morocco - The world is going through changes that require intensified efforts to build a better one that responds to the aspirations of humanity for peaceful coexistence and does not allow the expansion of separatist thought that has soared since Donald Trump has become the US president, said experts and politicians at the 40th Cultural Moussem of Asilah.

Mohamed Benaissa, secretary-general of the Asilah Forum Foundation and a former Moroccan foreign minister, speaking at the opening of the “Post-globalisation: What Perspectives?” symposium, warned that globalisation had a negative effect on value systems and national identities.

Benaissa said the world had experienced its most difficult period in economic, cultural and political developments since the second world war.

“This particular era is characterised by a large tendency of some political leaders and even thinkers in the West towards a populist political system,” said Benaissa, referring to Trump.

Former Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said the world has changed since the terror attacks in the United States in 2001. “The US military response to the 9/11 attacks was not the right one,” he said, adding that it had “completely subverted the international security system.”

Moratinos insisted that it “is us citizens who can decide the future. We must not let ourselves be led by the new technology, which is necessary and useful but does not decide on our behalf.”

Former Austrian Foreign Minister Benita Ferrero-Waldner emphasised the fear factor of globalisation because many people do not take advantage of its benefits, exacerbating protectionism. She said information technology was having both negative and positive effects on the global job market but warned against social inequalities that were dividing societies.

“There are no social equalities anymore,” said Ferrero-Waldner. “We have to help those who are losing out. Otherwise we will have a huge migration problem.”

Jon B. Alterman, of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said: “Globalisation has been accelerating as travel becomes easier, as trade increases and as people can communicate more easily.”

He said people were healthier and more educated thanks to globalisation, which has dramatically improved standards of living. However, a side effect of globalisation was people perceiving themselves to be relatively worse off.

“What globalisation has done is that it has created an audience for resistance,” said Alterman, citing the example of the Islamic State (ISIS).

“Daesh (the Arabic acronym for ISIS) is the group that thrives on the instant communication of messages. What would Daesh be if people were illiterate?” he asked.

Mohammed Benhamou, president of the Moroccan Centre for Strategic Studies, said globalisation had undermined principles such as sovereignty, territoriality, authority and borders, creating unrest and uncertainty.

Former Peruvian Defence Minister Rafael Rey pointed out that globalisation could not solve all the problems of the world. Rey said globalisation was even responsible for some problems, adding that it must be used to promote peace and social justice through an integral education.

Indian journalist Rudroneel Ghosh noted that emerging countries, such as China, India and Turkey, were closing the gap with the West, which has long dominated globalisation. “This change in the balance of power impacts even the mentalities of the populations,” said Ghosh.

French diplomat Guy de la Chevalerie said the people who change the world are the artists, referring to the music industry that has influenced many countries.

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