Living deglobalization in the Latin American countries

In the coming decades, Latin America will witness a fierce struggle for the control of natural resources. The health emergency only triggered the situation of fragility and financial instability in the region.

Living deglobalization in the Latin American countries
Facing deglobalization in Latin American nations. Photo by Leon Overweel / Unsplash

When it was thought that we were moving towards irreversible globalization, today we are witnessing a process of deglobalization; we are facing a crisis that leads to a new recomposition of the capitalist system. Furthermore, the predictions of international organizations indicate that in the next two years, at least the emerging countries will continue to experience a period of low growth, according to international experts at UNAM.

On the occasion of the 9th Latin American and Caribbean Conference on Social Sciences. Inequalities in Latin America and the Caribbean. Knowledge, struggles, and transformations, Boaventura De Sousa Santos, from the University of Coimbra, Portugal, stated: From 2001 onwards it was thought that there would be two globalizations: one of capitalism, and another of social movements. But with the outbreak of the war in Ukraine "we are seeing a process of de-globalization".

The sociologist said that this conflict is not between Ukraine and Russia, nor Russia-USA, but between China and the American Union, which is trying to prevent the expansion of the Asian country in the West, although at this moment it is very advanced. American imperialism declines and realizes that it must defend itself against the Chinese; "what is happening in Ukraine in a couple of years could happen in Taiwan and for the same reason".

Europe, which has no natural resources, will remain as a zone of influence of the United States; Latin America has them and we will witness a fierce struggle for their control in the coming decades. Meanwhile, Africa is a field of a dispute between different tendencies; the Americans will keep an eye on what the Russians, powerful allies of China, are doing in that continent to prevent their influence from growing stronger.

Participating in the Forum "Transatlantic Dialogues", of the axis Epistemologies of the South. Perspectives from the South: A dialogue on capitalism and colonialism in Africa, Asia, the East, and Latin America and the Caribbean, Alicia Girón González, coordinator of the University Program of Studies on Asia and Africa and member of the Institute of Economic Research of UNAM, said: The period from 2009 to 2019 was to keep the countries of our region stable, "as when someone enters intensive care but remains in that state."

That stability is what we had in the last decade before the pandemic. When COVID-19 arrived, the crisis was there and the health emergency only triggered the situation of fragility and financial instability in the region. Today, the predictions of the International Monetary Fund for 2023 and 2024, at least for emerging countries, are that we are going to continue in a period of low growth. The war in Ukraine must have strong economic interests, related to natural resources, mainly located in the global south, agreed Girón González.

During her participation, Maria Paula Guttierrez Meneses, from the University of Coimbra, stressed that capitalism does not exist without colonialism; this is a kind of "evil twin" that is not part of history but is still present. And one of the perverse implications of the imperial game is to try to permanently silence what happens in the South or to create a reference, which is the interpretation of the North over the South.

Most of the works available in Latin American universities are Eurocentric translations of the North Atlantic on the rest of the world. For example, from Africa, academics from the North produce the great research that will be used to determine the policies of the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund. That is the other side of the colonial capitalist relationship. "That's why it's so important to express ourselves from the South, from our places of reference, struggle, and resistance, and to enter the academy speaking from there."

Our institutions of higher education must bet on horizontal dialogues that allow for the recovery of knowledge. In addition, "we always teach ourselves in imperial languages, so it is necessary to recover our languages, which are also a way of communicating knowledge," she concluded.

Jayati Ghosh, of the University of Massachusetts, exposed that on the planet 14 percent of the population resides in nations that emit 87 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. "This is also imperialism."

The knowledge of green technologies to deal with climate change and the catastrophes that take place is usually controlled by the North and China. "These are the new forms of imperialism." It is big capital against all others through patriarchy, class relations, and control over indigenous populations, he asserted.

According to Seteney Shami, of the Arab Council for Social Sciences, there were two big waves of uprisings and revolutions that transformed that region, "although we don't know yet in what way": in 2010 and 2011 they led to regime changes in Egypt, Syria or Yemen; in 2015 in Algeria and other countries.

Although with the health emergency the movements that were developing at the end of 2019 were contained, it is now necessary to establish whether this containment is temporary or the pandemic gave them the "coup de grâce".

The Arab region is recovering from military interventions, and that "is not a past event, but of the present". Likewise, we are in a crisis that has been exacerbated, where socioeconomic inequalities are increasing. Unprecedented changes in regional and trans-regional dynamics add dimension to the battles and struggles for power, she concluded.