Towards a New International Economic Order

Towards a New International Economic Order

Towards a New International Economic Order

Towards a New International Economic Order

Excerpt

In ancient times, in Rome, that rigid society which then burst asunder, the plebeians wrung from the patricians the law known as 'The Twelve Tables'. In the same way, the proletarian nations are now trying to win the acceptance of the prosperous States for a new 'law of the five continents', even extending to a sixth area--the empire of the sea.

One must look beyond the logic, the consistency and the legitimacy of the new States' economic demands and see the dialectically inevitable nature of the profound change called for in international relations and institutions as a whole. The irresistibility which these demands derive from the 'natural order of things' clearly demonstrates their obvious necessity and may also, if one looks more closely, give some idea of their probable scale, their possible duration and their likely stages.

The overseas discoveries of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries led to the shaping of an international law of appropriation. The invention of the steam-engine and the unleashing of the industrial revolution at the end of the eighteenth century gave rise to a system of international economic and political relations perfectly expressed in a colonial right of confiscation, and based on the supremacy of Europe, on the subjugation of peoples overseas, wiped from the international scene, and on the 'colonial pact' under which the colonies served as a reservoir of raw materials and an outlet for finished products. The decolonization of the last twenty years, which is not yet a spent force and which is still causing surprise by the profoundly novel consequences to which it is leading in the international sphere, is just as important a phenomenon and just as decisive a turning-point in the 'rules of the international game' as the major geographical discoveries of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries or the constitution of the great colonial empires following on the industrial revolution.

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