[Editorial] India’s role in a disordered world

Western nations want to throw Russia out of the G-20. China has opposed them. India will be chair of the G-20 from December 2022. The world is looking towards India and its stance as the world is greatly disordered.

Quick revision mind map

Challenges faced by the UN General Assembly and other organisations to address global problems

  • Post the second world war, new institutions for global governance were established — the United Nations and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to provide finance to build the economies of all countries to eliminate poverty.
  • However, the victors retained their veto power within the United Nations Security Council to determine when force can be used to keep the world in order, and to prevent the proliferation of nuclear power outside their small circle because they could not trust other countries to use it wisely.
  • They also control the World Bank, the IMF, and the WTO.
  • The UN General Assembly meets every year — now 193 nations strong.
  • It passes many resolutions to address global problems — hunger, poverty, women’s rights, terrorism, climate change, etc.
  • However, “might is right”: members of the Security Council retain their right to deny the democratic will of the Assembly when it does not suit them.
  • Global governance is not democratic.
  • The rapid spread of global finance and trade after the victory of the Washington Consensus in 1991, created instabilities in developing countries.
  • After the Asian financial crisis, the G20 was formed in 1999 with the aim of discussing policies in order to achieve international financial stability.

Why did the Institutions of Global governance fail to unite the world?

  • Institutions of global governance have failed to unite the world.
  • Summit after summit has produced mostly hot air in trying to resolve the global climate crisis.
  • Vaccines were hoarded by rich countries during the COVID-19 pandemic: poor countries starved.
  • The World Trade Organization (WTO) was already in the intensive care unit before the novel coronavirus pandemic, with rich and poor countries unable to agree on equitable rules, when COVID-19 froze global supply chains.
  • The war in Ukraine in February 2022 has put the final nail in the coffin of the boundary-less global economy that seemed to be emerging with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Most probable and repeated topics of upsc prelims

Why have Inequalities increased within countries and amongst them?

  • The belief that unfettered flows of finance and trade across national borders will lift people in all poor countries out of poverty and make the world flatter in terms of inequality has failed.
  • Free market capitalism is not ideologically compatible with genuine democracy.
  • Capitalist institutions are governed by the fundamental principle of ‘property rights’: decision rights in capitalist enterprises are allocated in proportion to property owned.
  • Whereas, genuine democracies are founded on the principle of equal human rights.
  • Even in democratic countries such as the U.S., demands are increasing for more “socialism” and less unbounded capitalism.

Way forward

Redistribution of de facto power within a society:

  • Inequality is a major cause of global conflicts.
  • Also, power accumulates in societies by the principle of “cumulative causation” i.e., those who already have more power, from greater wealth or more education, will use their power to ensure they remain in power.
  • Hence, redistribution of de facto power within society becomes a necessity.
  • In fact, this should take precedence over the current focus on the redistribution of assets of wealth and education that are the sources of power.
  • This would necessitate more representative global institutions with equal powers to all, avoiding armed interventions and respect for the sovereignty of countries, avoidance of unilateral sanctions.

The role that India can play:

  • India can play an important role in shaping a new, more democratic, world order as it is being the world’s largest democracy.

Practice Question for Mains

  1. New Delhi can play an important role in shaping a new, more democratic, world order. Examine. (250 Words, 15 Marks)
Referred Sources

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