In the last century, the world had seen a lot of dramatic changes in the scopes of the political economy. The world has seen clashes among the theories of political economy, wars among the nations. New types of political economy emerged. But still, human civilization is progressing unleashing the boundaries of theories.
As mankind moves forward, emerging from the wombs of civilization, there lays a great path ahead. The story of communism and fascism made a wide impact on our progress. People believed. A purpose for pride, existence, identity, and purity. The story evolves with the Germans and the Italians believing to be an oppressed economic power. Hitler and Mussolini both took the chance of this. They made the people believing them to be a superior race. Their place in this world lies beyond all others.
Great propaganda for any nationalist patriotic enthusiast. However, reality submerged them to a nationwide defeat. Destroying all institutions, schools, hospitals, and infrastructure and making their military a puppet.
The question remains ‘For what?’ Yes of course the economic depression was frustrating. Unemployment, low wages, and neighboring states’ power created an uncomfortable atmosphere. The Italian army faced a miserable defeat in North African and Eastern European campaigns.
The Germans were given a humiliating ‘Treaty of Versailles’ after the First World War. According to the treaty, they were to disarm their army, make territorial concessions, and also pay the Allied powers $5 billion. A hard blow to take for the nationalist Aryans who thought Germany was the best of all nations.
So, after the defeat of fascism in the Second World War, comes an age of cold war. With both nations possessing nuclear warheads, tensions had arisen throughout the whole time. The Cuban missile crisis, U-2 incident, Vietnam occupation, Korean War, Afghan aggression, Sputnik crisis, and Fall of Berlin Wall made the Cold war a dangerous situation for the whole world.
People were in constant fear of nuclear warheads. Though those who lived in the 3rd World (neutral states) enjoyed the events sitting near their TV sets after day’s work.
The Americans believed in a free world, the emergence of free markets, globalization, and capitalism. They believe that if markets are given more authority and less government interference, progress will be made. The Soviets, on the other hand, believed in equality, destruction of capitalism, anti-imperialism, and the creation of a unique economic system of state collectivization.
One might say both ideologies made sense and it is a person’s choice to believe in either or both of them. The communist propaganda made sense for the lower class and poor people. The economy flourished. Its fruits were taken by the Bourgeoisie (Rich people) while the workers received none. It was a direct answer to the free market theory of political economy.
The western world progressed rapidly. In all cases, they received unprecedented success. The rapid progress of technology made the west far superior to the communists. One might say that the Soviet Union belonged to the west. However, their geography lied within Eastern Europe and Asia. Whereas, Western Europe and America are on the west side. The Eastern bloc remained as a division between the free west and totalitarian east.
Socialism did have their successes with space programs, creation of above 90 % literacy states, rapid industrialization with 5-year plans, and collective organization of the society. The Soviet Union also played a substantial role in the elimination of Nazism. They saved humankind from Nazi supremacy. USSR saved mankind surely but at a cost of 27 million casualties. Within the late 80s, USSR couldn’t thrive with the modern world.
The perestroika and glasnost weren’t acceptable to a totalitarian state. Gorbachev’s openness made the Soviet machine weak. Thus by 25 December 1991 Gorbachev signed the Belovezha Accords. The accord broke the USSR into 15 separate states. These states later joined NATO or kept close ties to Kremlin.
As the 90s emerges, we lost both fascism and communism from the scopes of the international political economy. Only capitalism remained standing. It tells us a story of individual liberty, freedom of speech, and economic prosperity. Democracy took the place of oppressive regimes. Humans enjoyed progress in all fields. The smell of Starbucks Coffee before going to work, usage of iPhone, and Social media made life favorable and easier.
The free market became more powerful than the Gulag. People travel to different countries easily. They invest in foreign countries receiving a good return. All this made us believe in a liberal story. According to George W. Bush and Barack Obama – if we keep liberalizing and globalizing our political and economic systems, it will produce more peace and prosperity for all.
Since the global financial crisis of 2008, people all over the world started getting confused. Trade agreements started faltering, immigration policies tightened and nationalist groups started soaring. We might believe that liberalization is the best and supreme of all. Today, most people would say that China is on the other side of progress. With a strict regulation and tightened policy in day-to-day activities, China is soaring towards rapid progress.
The Chinese machine moves with its communist government and free economy engine breaking down hills, mountains, and all barriers to come. What remained a neglected zone for the west in the 2000s became a constant nightmare after the 2010s. “Made in China” vs. “America First” is now a buzz in the arena of international political economy.
The winning of Trump in the US election created a new dystopia. This event made a change in the world’s political economy. The man creates walls on borders, imposes travel bans on Muslims, sides with Saudi Arabia’s actions, creates an unnecessary government shutdown, and makes humor on grabbing the opposite gender.
It is of no wonder that the liberal elites are in a state of shock and disbelief. The progress of biotech and InfoTech are done by engineers, scientists, programmers, and entrepreneurs who are unaware of these political horrors. Donald Trump did warn his countrymen about immigrants taking over their jobs. He missed the point that the algorithms will be taking millions of people’s jobs in reality. Today, the stock market drives on algorithms.
A stockbroker won’t feel that secured about his job as he did before. A Human resource officer who felt lively with his work sees the new ‘HR management software’ taking up his place and ending his paycheck.
The fourth industrial revolution is happening right now. It has both good and bad news in its pack of wonders. The workers believe that the elites are oppressing them. They face a new situation. Instead of being oppressed, they are being ignored from production. It is hard to fight against oppression but it gets harder to fight against ignorance. As the economy transforms, the question arises. ‘Are we ready for the upcoming situation?’ The question remains to the world leaders and economic elites.
The writer studied from CSE at Military Institute of Science and Technology, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
You can reach him: [email protected]