Nations which were on the periphery of the global landscape are becoming its core, thanks to the “unimaginable” role being played by fast-rising India, China and other emerging economies, WTO chief Pascal Lamy has said.
“With the change in the geo-political landscape, India, China and other emerging economies are playing a role which was unimaginable even 20 years ago,” Lamy said addressing the Panglaykim Memorial lecture in Jakarta yesterday.
He said in his speech, posted on the WTO website, that besides the key role being played by emerging economies like India and China, even smaller developing countries want a say in a system in which they have a growing stake.
“Over 3 billion people — in China, India, Indonesia and other developing countries — are achieving in a generation what it took the West a century or more to achieve. This alone stands as the most significant economic event in history,” the WTO chief said.
Quoting well-known economic commentator Martin Wolfe, Lamy said, “The periphery is becoming the core and the core is becoming the periphery.”
Globalisation has both enabled — and rewarded — a shift in production, investment and technology to emerging economies, he said. While the US remains a key player, “it is no longer dominant”, according to Lamy.
The simple — even simplistic — North-South divide has given way to a more complex world of many different Souths and many different Norths. This multi-polar system is much more “democratic” than the old post-war order.
The days when a single or a few countries could design and direct the international system are gone. “Yet the old powers are cautious to share centre stage — and worried about decline — while the new powers are timid in sharing responsibility,” the WTO chief remarked.