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Patrick Bond presentation on BRICS at International Studies Association, San Francisco, 3 April

Rising Powers and the Future of Global Governance

Date: Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Time: 4:00 PM
Venue: Room: Yosemite C

  • Gray, Kevin (Chair)

  • Mittelman, James (Discussant)

  • Papers
  • Bond: Subimperialism as lubricant of neoliberalism: South Africa's emergence from the apartheid laager

  • Huotari: Emerging Powers and Regional Financial Architecture: The Case of China

  • Antoniades: Emerging Powers, the Power Politics of Debt and Global Governance

  • Scott and Wilkinson: China and the WTO

  • May and Noelke: BRIC Capitalism and the New Illiberal Global Economic Order

  • Little more than a decade ago, the economic and financial crisis that swept across the non-Western world (the so called 'Asian financial crisis' of 1997-8) was ostensibly a harbinger of the end of 'late development' and a reassertion of the West's political and economic dominance over the Global South. The current global crisis, however, primarily originated in the practices of the West. The global crisis poses a challenge to the continued global hegemony of the West and its neo-liberal mode of capitalism. Its dynamics raise the possibility of a resurgence of the Global South as a major global economic and political force. This panel seeks to critically examine how the “Rising Powers of the Global South” are (or are not) seeking to reform, transform, or provide alternatives to the contemporary system of global governance. It will aim to examine the implications of ongoing shifts in the locus of global economic and political power in relation to broader questions of democracy, legitimacy, and social justice in global politics. Thereby, it seeks to provide new insights into the sustainability of the present order and possibilities for transformation of the global political economy and the emergence of new forms of global governance.

    Subimperialism as lubricant of neoliberalism: South Africa's emergence from the apartheid laager
    The role of the South African government in global trade, finance, investment and climate management after the end of apartheid is revealing. While there have often been flashes of radical anti-imperialist rhetoric, especially under the proactive leadership of Thabo Mbeki (1999-2008), the most durable aspect of Pretoria's role in multilateralism has been its extension of the broader neoliberal project, through expanding the World Trade Organisation and Bretton Woods Institutions' legitimacy and power, and through its New Partnership for Africa's Development. To a large extent this reflects the position South Africa holds in the world economy, which is an aspiring regional power granted autonomy over southern and eastern African geopolitics and capital accumulation processes. To some extent the role has reflected South Africa's own internal ideological twists and turns, in what can be summarised as Talk Left, Walk Right positioning, as predicted by Frantz Fanon more than fifty years ago. An important problem for civil society critics of this stance, is how to piece together episodic moments of resistance in a manner that counteracts local tendencies to extreme xenophobia and merely symbolic set-piece protest.

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