The Rise of the Global South

Notes taken primarily from Andrew Heywood's book on Global Politics - no copyright infringement intended. 

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The Rise of the Global South?
The economic emergence of China, and the general shift of global power
away from the West and towards Asia, may be part of a still larger process:
realignment in the relationship between the global North and South. The
idea of the North-South divide dates back to the early 1980s and the
recognition of structural inequalities in the global economy between the
high-wage, high-investment industrialised North and the low-wage,
low-investment and predominantly rural South (although the terms were
never meant to have a simple geographical meaning). The image of the
North-South divide has nevertheless already lost much of its relevance. This
started to occurred in the 1970s and 1980s, through the rise of the `tiger'
economies of East and Southeast Asia, and it has continued through the
economic emergence of states such as China, India and Brazil and other
so-called emerging economies. Significant parts of the global South are
therefore making substantial progress in reducing poverty and bringing
about economic development, demonstrating that not all relationships
between the North and the South are based on power and dependency.
In addition, the diplomatic voice of the global South in the WTO. The idea of
the wider rise of the global South assumes that the example set by China,
India, Brazil and the like can, and will, be followed by other Southern states
and regions, and, in particular that Africa, and especially sub-Saharan
Africa, where much of the world's deep poverty is concentrated, will start to
match the economic progress being made by Asia and Latin America.
Optimism about this stems from the fact that in Africa economies are
growing, wars are ending and the blight of HIV/AIDS is starting to be brought
under control. More broadly, demographic trends support such predictions:
most of the world's population lives in the global South and these
populations are much younger than those in the fast-aging North.
How would the rise of the global South affect global politics, and, anyway, is it
likely to occur? There are, basically, optimistic and pessimistic visions of the
rise of the global South. The optimistic vision suggests that, just as the
emergence of the Asian `tigers', and later of China, India and Brazil, helped
to fuel global growth, providing the North with new markets as well as with
cheaper manufactured goods, the rise of Africa and of other still
`under-developed' parts of the South will have the same implications. Not
only will the global economy expand, but the benefits of this will be more
equally distributed, apart from anything else relieving Northern countries of
the need to provide aid and to write off debt.
The pessimistic vision suggests that if Southern countries ever reach living
standards remotely approaching those of the developed Norht, they will
create demand for food, energy and water so vast that other parts of the
world will not be able to meet them in the long term. If, as Malthus's theories

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However, many doubt whether the rise of the South will
occur in the first place. As far as neo-Marxist world-system theorists are
concerned, the under-development of the South will continue so long as the
global capitalism remains unreformed, structural inequalities being intrinsic
to the system itself. A further problem lies in the South's exposure to
environmental threats and particularly climate change.…read more


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