Why the Acronym International?
Why the Acronym International?
Why the Acronym International? This question might come to mind when you hear about organizations such as UNESCO, NATO, or WHO.
These acronyms represent international organizations that aim to promote peace, security, and cooperation among nations. But why do these organizations use acronyms, and what is the significance behind them?
In this post, we will explore the history and purpose of using acronyms in international organizations and how they have become a common feature of the modern international system.
It’s not inaccurate to use the acronym international to describe the intricate political and economic connections among global players.
The term “international” does not specifically refer to the actors involved in global economic activities. Rather, it serves as a marker of the global landscape of political and economic relations, which inherently span across nations.
Regardless of whether actors are state or non-state entities, their interactions with one another are ultimately subject to the regulations and laws of nation-states. Strategic trade policies demonstrate that both overt and covert governmental policies play a significant role in shaping intra- and inter-firm strategies. Additionally, economic nationalism often seeks to protect both governmental and private sectors.
Today’s economic integration involves not only governments but also private sectors that transcend national borders.
In summary, the use of “international” to describe global economic relations does not focus on the actors involved. Instead, it highlights the environmental and geographical aspects of economic activities that span across national borders, along with other domestic policies that support these activities. This field of study is broad and complex, fascinating many as one of the growing disciplines.
The Architecture of the Present International Economic System
This attempt aims to provide an overview of the structure of the international economic system. It is crucial to understand this structure to comprehend the politics behind wealth creation across national borders and why some countries appear to be structurally disadvantaged while others are structurally advantaged.
The ingredients of the international economic system have observable features that have persisted over time. Today, the international economic order is viewed as a single global community, with some referring to it as a “global village” due to the complex interdependence among its members. This interdependence is a result of revolutions in science and technology, particularly in electro-telecommunications, that have created a highly interconnected market system.
The global economic village is a mix of wealth and poverty, with some countries being affluent while others remain poor.
The wealthy nations share several common traits, such as economic prosperity, political stability, social harmony, and technological sophistication. These factors are closely linked to international trade and exchange relations, making the rich countries highly competitive in these areas. They possess the ability to negotiate and respond flexibly in the global market system, giving them an advantage in strategic trade policy. The leading wealthy nations, including the United States, Japan, and the European Union, have the policy tools to protect competition within their borders and across national boundaries.
Information technology and networks play a significant role in trade, capital flows, high-tech, FDI, marketing strategies, and market offerings. As a result, the few wealthy nations that control these resources command a greater share of international trade, capital flows, and other economic advantages.
On the other hand, the majority of poor countries are economically backward, politically unstable, socially disharmonious, and technologically dependent. Many of them are monocultural-single commodity exchange producers, limiting their capacity to participate in international trade effectively. These countries are highly indebted externally and rely on foreign aid and debt relief to sustain their economies. They lack bargaining power in the competitive economic system, resulting in a paradox of progress and despair between the rich and the poor.
Natural resources play a crucial role in determining a country’s wealth. However, it is relative and depends on the context. For instance, a few ordinarily poor countries are rich in natural resources such as solid minerals or liquid oil and gas. Conversely, a few rich countries in technology are rather poor in natural resources. This interdependence between countries means that no state is entirely self-sufficient, and every state has something to offer in the global market, even if it is not in all factors of production.
It is also essential to note that the value of natural resources depends on their specific uses. For example, cobalt is a solid mineral used in the manufacture of aircraft engines. Countries such as Zaire and Zambia are wealthy in cobalt, while Nigeria is rich in thirty-three strategic solid mineral resources, as well as crude oil and gas, which represent the main world energy needs. However, Nigeria is over-dependent on oil, which could be detrimental to its long-term economic sustainability.
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The Nigerian economy has suffered due to its dependence on oil, which has led to a neglect of other sectors such as agriculture and industry. Despite its potential for natural resources, Nigeria remains one of the least developed countries in the world, and its persistent imports of goods that it has the capacity to produce hinder progress.
Nigeria has even resorted to begging, including asking for the cancellation of its $28 billion external debt. The possession or lack of natural resources has become an increasingly important power factor in the modern world, as industrialization and technology have advanced. For instance, Japan is a major economic superpower that relies heavily on imports of primary energy supplies like oil and gas because it lacks significant natural resources.
The United States, the world’s strongest economy, stands in between Japan and Nigeria in terms of dependency on resource imports. However, it is still moderately vulnerable due to its foreign dependency for many minerals. Western countries, particularly the United States, have shown considerable interest in Nigeria due to its virgin natural resources.
In terms of development analysis, countries are often clustered based on their capacity to command, control, and manage natural, economic, technological, and human resources. The world economy is dominated by the developed countries, represented by the acronym “North,” and the less developed countries, represented by the acronym “South.”
The North, which includes the Group of Seven (G-7) largest market economies and the developed centrally planned (now socialist-market) economies, is the productive workshop of the world. By sheer coincidence, the majority of developed countries are located in the Northern hemisphere and have a commanding monopoly of world capital, technology, and market ideology.
While the North enjoys a high standard of living, literacy level, life expectancy, per-capita income, engagement and mobility of labor, communication networks, developed transportation, and social welfare programs, the recent collapse of the Soviet Union and its former Eastern allies has put their economies and per-capita gross national products (GNPs) below those of some traditionally classified Third World countries.
These countries have more infrastructure, but their core problem is economic recovery, which is easier to achieve than the serious issue of economic development. Since the 1990s, the North’s economic boom has been in crisis due to various factors.
A) the rising cost of energy 1?
B) monetary exchange rate volatility
C) industrial competition and challenges from a tew newly industrializing countries in the South
D) adoption of policies to combat inflation rather than encourage growth
E) trade issues bordering on protectionism and
F) peculiar domestic difficulties of countries.
Despite these challenges, the North remains strong and is expected to maintain its dominance in the world economy. In contrast, the South is characterized by poverty and underdevelopment, with the majority of less developed countries located in the Southern hemisphere.
It’s worth noting that what’s particularly concerning for Southern countries is not just underdevelopment, but also persistent and widespread poverty, even after several decades of political independence. Many of these countries were affected by European imperialism and colonialism, which disrupted and weakened their pre-capitalist economies in the 19th century.
Despite opportunities for development since gaining independence, many post-colonial states have failed to progress due to corruption, political conflicts, and ethnic tensions. As a result, the South lags behind in terms of economic and technological advancement. The majority of countries in the South are dependent on trade, finance, military, science and technology, foreign aid, and economic assistance.
Other characteristics of the South include trade deficits, significant external debt burdens, high inflation, low literacy rates, low standards of living, low per capita income, short life expectancy, and a reliance on food imports. Furthermore, the South lacks clear ideological and theoretical frameworks for development. Many countries in the South adopt the attitude that the North has an obligation to help with their development and resource transfer.
Most countries in the South are still only paying lip service to the idea that development is dependent on local conditions. Despite having abundant natural, economic, and human resources, they lack the technological capabilities needed to achieve sustainable economic growth and development.
As a result, foreign economic and other interests have continued to dominate and exploit their resources. Multinational corporations (MNCs) from the North have adopted trade policies that are far superior and difficult for weak economies to compete with. The MNCs have been likened to a predatory octopus, with their tentacles reaching out to swallow small countries.
The South is marked by widespread poverty, with at least 50 identified least developed countries with a per capita GNP of $480 or less in 1987. For example, Mexico’s per capita GNP ($1,701) is seven times larger than Myanmar’s ($241), and Canada’s per capita GNP is no less than $15,560.
The lack of adequate nutrition, healthcare, and education creates a debilitating cycle of poverty. The wealth gap between the North and the South widened from 13.4 to 1 in 1980 to 14.7 to 1 in 1990. In 1990, the per capita GDP of the most impoverished countries was only $290, resulting in a wealth ratio of 43 to 1.
The future of the South is frightening. Sub-Saharan Africa, once agriculturally and food-sufficient, now imports more than 50% of its food at an annual cost of $3 billion. Per capita food production declined in 88% of the region’s countries between 1975 and 1989. The situation has only worsened since the 1990s, with rising domestic political crises and rampant corruption in both public and private sectors.
The North-South axis is a source of tension in the world, as the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.