International Industrial Cooperation Organization
Speech of Dominique de Villepin, former Prime Minister of France on the 4th ICS


The Globalization to come

----Dominique de Villepin, former Prime Minister of France

Dear all,

Today's world is in turmoil. We all feel that we are at a turning point.

It's a dangerous world. The risks of mass terrorism have shown a few days ago, in Mumbai, that they’re never far.

It's a divided world. The incomprehensions between East and West, North and South have accumulated.

It's an unstable world. Old powers are weakening. New powers are not strong enough yet.

I'm very happy to be here today. Because I have the feeling to be where History is happening.  And I'm very glad to have this opportunity to share opinions with you, because nothing is more important than such exchanges of views to understand the world's evolutions.

A new phase of globalization is beginning. It's an opportunity we must seize. It's also a period full of risks that's beginning. It's defined by two characteristics :

  1. the ongoing crisis is transforming all the instruments of finance and  the leading sectors of economies

  2. the long-term growth of the emerging economies, particularly China and India, will be the center of the transformations.

We must not separate the economical and the geopolitical issues. They are strongly linked. That's why there will be three pillars on which to build the new globalization.

  1.  First, a new diverse globalized culture.

  2. Then, a balanced worldwide governance.

  3. At last, a renewed compromise between territories, economies and states.

1.       We need a new shared culture based on dialogue and diversity.

In the past decades, globalization has been seen by many as a process of uniformization of cultures. This has been an impoverishment we must avoid to find solutions to the actual crises. A common shared view can emerge only from dialog and strong, self-confident standpoints.

1.1.    Sustainable development is not a simple slogan, it’s a necessity.

The world's actual growth model cant' last. The resources of the planet and the balance of climate won't allow for it. This has become a consensus. If we want a real globalization, that is balanced, shared and fair, we must define elements of a common development.

We need worldwide efforts on infrastructures so as to improve the people's access to necessary goods. The Millennium Development Goals of the U.N. remain the road map of common action.

The success of the Copenhagen discussion round in 2009, the new Kyoto, has become more probable with the election of president Obama. He has strongly supported the american implication in the reduction of greenhouse gases. This is a unique opportunity. But we must not allow the present crisis to jeopardize the efforts by short-sighted interests. 

1.2.    We must manage harmonious management of  flows.

For now, globalization consists in a competition for the maximization of utilities based on their unequal repartition. This means that balance and momentary stability can be only achieved by flows from one place to the other.

  1. These are flows of capitals and goods. Foreign investments have created a shared corporate culture among the world. We've seen legislations get closer to each other in this respect, creating a common legal culture like never before. This we can build upon for the next phase.

  2. It also means flows of technologies. They are more important every day. China is quickly becoming a major host for new knowledge and technology. These flows must be encouraged within a controlled international framework, particularly concerning patents and licenses.

  3. We must not forget that they're also flows of people. Today, about 200 million people live in a country they were not born in. Never in history have such proportions been reached. But human flows are not abstractions. They mean time, energy, strength. They create feelings and desires. They are not easily reversible. That's why they must be accompanied by the cooperation of territories.

1.3.    We need common values of respect and diversity.

The past years have shown that a uniform thought model imposed to the world could lead to reject and resentment. Democracy is not a set of abstract institutions and formulas. It's a process in which the actions of the individuals and the common interests find a harmonious solution. I don't think there's only one way to democracy. I think it's a path-dependent construction. Each culture bears its own form and history of democracy.

Diversity can rise out of debates. If we can't tolerate differences, then we can't cope with diversity. The last decades have favored more interconnections between cultures than ever before. Students search their knowledge all around the globe. In 2008, an estimated two hundred thousand Chinese students have left to study abroad, for example. The  new technologies of information and communication have also made the diversity of cultures come true. Everyone feared the Internet would be a weapon of Anglo-Saxon cultural domination. What do we see today ? English contents are challenged.

We must also respect the histories of the people, that's to say the identities they inherited from their forefathers and they want to bequeath to their own children. Let's not forget the time factor. The deep forces of history are strong. In Europe, they account for successes and the shortcomings. In China, they explain the careful management of growth, in order to guarantee inner cohesion. In the Middle-East, they have too often been forgotten.

This diversity shapes the great poles of our multipolar world. Multipolarity is now a fact. But governance must now make it efficient.

2.       Indeed, the crises show the need of a world governance

2.1.    Economic regulation is the first necessity.

The last months have given proof enough of our need of worldwide economic governance.

First, no state is in position to control globalization any more. Flows have become huge, compared to the domestic outputs. Economic policies carried out in a single country are bound to fail.

All countries have shown they were willed to act strongly. We must greet the massive plan conceived by the People's Republic of China because it's a key-part of a world action.

Secondly, the institutions inherited from the Bretton Woods agreements are in a deep crisis.

-          A crisis of efficiency, because they don't have the means to exert power on the markets. The IMF has been challenged by private lenders.

-          But it's also a crisis of legitimacy, because the years of excess of the « Washington consensus » have left deep scars in the world's public opinions.

Thirdly, we must end the international chaos we entered in thirty years ago, with the end of the dollar's convertibility. This decision was enough to end the post-war international financial system.

The key issues of regulation are now clear to the whole world. The G20 meeting has shown it.

The world leaders must take action to improve rules in the banking sector to avoid unsustainable risks.

They must also control banking paradises where the opacity of the economies find their resources.

They must frame the activity of the credit rating agencies, now key actors of world finance.

2.2.    But we also need a much wider range of multilateral negociation.

The World Trade Organization will have the responsibility to avoid a contraction of international trade on regional trade areas in the coming years. The past decade has been characterized by important advances in free trade agreements. Never before have been as many bilateral free trade agreements signed. Still, the concerns about free-trade have also grown. Protectionism is a risk.

  1. In the developing countries, public opinions don't blindly believe in a trade they see as unfair, free only when it's in the interest of the north. That's how the Doha round failed.

  2. In the northern industrialized countries, concerns about outsourcing and disindustrialization have grown in the last years, because changes were very quick and induced social costs. According to the polls, one out of two Americans is in favor of free-trade now. They were almost four out of five at the beginning of the decade.

The stakes are not only economic. Multilateral negotiation is needed to solve all the great conflicts that make today's world dangerous and hinder development. But it should also be a realistic multilateralism. It should rely on the know-how and the implication of regional powers able to find better solutions to many problems. It’s the case in Africa for example with the mediation of South Africa or Nigeria in Darfur or in Ivory Coast. The globalization to come can only be grounded on the rule of law, on a common culture of international law.

The U.N. still are the best tool of worldwide governance. Still, they need to be reformed. They were adapted to the world of 1945, with about fifty countries and strong leadership. Today, almost two hundred states have to discuss and decide.

  1. That's why the Security Council must  reflect the realities of the world. Emerging countries like Brazil or India should be represented, as should be Africa and, for example, the Arab world. No one in the world should have the impression decisions are taken in his back.

  2. The enforcement of the U.N.'s decision is another key-point. A specialized crisis council should have the ability to resort to force with more precise legal frames as by now.

  3. Third point, the U.N.'s administrations must be reorganized so as to adapt to emergencies and new problems. A strong Environment Agency is necessary; Economic and social agencies need to be coordinated.

2.3.    A multipolar world must build up adapted institutions on the regional level too.

This is true as well on the economic as on the political level; I believe regional integration to be one of the key aspects of tomorrow's stability of international life.

Europe is an important stake considering this question. The European pacification and integration has been one of the great achievements of the post-war period. It's even be a model in some places. Still, today, the common construction goes through failures and blockades.

  1. Europe has known a crisis of efficiency, because there are too many types of decision-taking, because of overlapping institutions and insufficient compromises.

  2. Europe has also known a crisis of identity, since the end of the cold war. Turkey’ entry is the main issue today, but tomorrow it'll be the Ukraine, afterwards Russia.

  3. Europe, at last, has also been through a crisis of legitimacy. Many people felt dissatisfied with the actual compromises between supranational and cooperative structures. The feeling of a lack of democracy has emerged.

The institutions of a multipolar world are conditions for strong common solutions. But we also have to reinvent the very structures of our economic, social and political organizations.

3.       The states have to be reshaped. The crises show how much we need new links between economies and societies.

The first phase of globalization has put a stress on territories and societies. It has disrupted traditional balances and induced social and regional inequalities. It's been true in European countries. It's also been true in China. Henan knows it, at the intersection of two economic Chinas.

Urbanization and rural migrations have been another source of tensions between fast growing cities and left behind countrysides. The 21st century will be the century of networked megalopoles. That's where knowledge, experience, dynamism will accumulate and melt together. It already does in Shanghai, in Bangalore, in Tokyo.

3.1.    That’s a new challenge for the state.

More than ever, the states must be again at the core of national and social cohesion. They stay important actors of stability, harmony and transmission between the generations. The anti-state positions of the last decades are now put aside. It's a good thing. The states are still the best tools for societies to shape their own future.

Still, this does not mean that we should rely only on the state. Neither should we trap ourselves in traditional relations between private and public sectors. The time of opposition must be overcome to process to a logic of common projects. In this sense, the development of public-private partnerships in many economic and social sectors are an example of necessary evolutions. The state must act more of a strategist less than a manager.

3.2.    The state should provide the conditions of long term growth.

In the logic of the economy of knowledge and the economic policy of supply, money spending is no more an act by itself. It's a logic of investment based on measurable results and expertise. The states have to provide the necessary infrastructures for economic growth.

  1. It has to provide strong educational and health systems so as to allow the best possible efficiency of its manpower. Public instruction is a political and a cultural good by itself. Still, it is also an economic asset. That's why we must strongly support weak states in their endeavors to provide better education, as has been the commitment of Europe.

  2. The state also has to carry out the great infrastructure projects so as to ease trade and output on its territory. The logics of development planning are still main features of every state's necessary attitude towards its territorial diversity.

  3. The providing of good public services and utilities is not a cost, it create attractivity for investments and activities. The example of France shows it. It's been the second most attractive country for direct foreign investments, because the firms could rely on good education, health, judicial, infrastructural services.

3.3.    Beyond the states, societies must also adapt to the new globalization.

To be competitive, societies must be able to free their initiatives and dynamisms. This can only be the effect of self-confidence. Every people of the world must know it has a place in this new globalization.

The years to come will be tough, in almost every country. It may seem easier to many to blame globalization and modernization. We must avoid political withdrawal on oneself. We must not forget the precedent of the crisis of 1929. Many countries chose intolerance and autarchy as a protection against a world crisis. Fascism, nazism, tenno-imperialism were the consequences. Withdrawal is never solution. Worldwide crises only have worldwide solutions.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I'm very happy of the opportunity you gave me to propose you these few perspectives. You'll be in the first rows of tomorrow's globalization. You'll have to invent and decide. You’ll have to share experiences and points of views with the whole world, even more than you have to today.

The world we will live in, will be a shared and reconciled word, it will be a world of mobilities and transfers, between East and West, North and South.

  1. Mobility of knowledge through academic partnerships and technological joint-ventures. Today's students are the actors of a shared view of the world.

  2. Mobility of initiatives and solutions. Every country can play a role in the development of the new sectors of the next economic revolution.

  3. Mobility of men and cultures. Migrations are before us, not behind us and we must consider their importance economic and human potential.

Thank you!

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