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Development cooperation, hegemonic model and systemic crisis: a perverse circle?

Development cooperation, hegemonic model and systemic crisis: a perverse circle?

By Walter Chamochumbi *

Hegemonic model and role of development cooperation When reviewing a controversial article by Irene Maestro and Javier Martínez (2), they argue that the changes that have occurred in development cooperation have been closely related to the global market context and the superstructural character political and ideological model of socioeconomic development. And it is that during the decades of 1980 and 1990, in full expansion of the globalization process and the free market economy, they already glimpsed what today they characterize as the main features of the so-called “new cooperation for development”, which in general refers to a pro-system or reformist cooperation. The main considerations in this regard, we have allowed ourselves to summarize them according to what his six theses for debate comprise below:

1. In the current scenario of predominance of global capitalism, cooperation has ceased to be “for development”, being linked directly for or against the dynamics of the system. According to this, this analysis then presents a dichotomous scenario about the political and ideological role of cooperation: what has it been and what should its true role be in actions for change and social transformation? Either inside or outside the system, but not between the two.

2. Given the objectives pursued by global capitalism, it requires building a political and ideological superstructure that regulates (controls) social and international relations for this purpose. Therefore, cooperation for development becomes an organic instrument for the needs of this new global order. It would not then be about promoting transformative actions for social change but merely mitigating, palliative or humanitarian actions. Which in essence means maintaining the conditions of the global asymmetric and inequitable development superstructure of countries and peoples.


3. Given the contradictions generated by the new global economic order, social gaps, inequalities and a climate of greater polarization between rich and poor are accentuated, which is why social mobilizations against the current of globalization also emerge (anti or alter movements globalization). In such a scenario, pro-system or reformist cooperation will assume an active role to avoid a greater deepening and extension of social problems and conflicts.

4. Since globalization is nothing more than the universalization of the capitalist way of producing, distributing, circulating and consuming, the pro-system or reformist cooperation is inevitably inserted in the very process of extension and intensification of global capitalism. And therefore, it becomes an important instrument for consolidating the system as such.

5. Faced with the political crisis and social legitimacy that the process of expansion and intensification of global capitalism has been generating among countries and peoples, and within them (“by the consolidation of economic and institutional relations of their markets and of the security of private property of capital, among other features of the global economic system ”), cooperation assumes a discourse of new institutionalism that actually masks the deep economism and lack of social and environmental legitimation of the globalizing project.

6. Given that global capitalism restructures the world system perpetuating and deepening poverty and inequality between countries, on the contrary, at the same time it offers us a refreshing discourse with apparent new contents and opportunities for change and transformation to promote egalitarian development of countries and peoples in the new neoliberal economic order (a new mirage of development). Therefore, from the above, and against the current of the global economic trend, an alternative cooperation should emerge that in effect is committed because “cooperation for an authentically social, human and sustainable development can only be oriented against the new structure of that system, and defined then as a cooperation for the disconnection of that system ”(Op cit de Irene Maestro and Javier Martínez (2006), p.18).

It is known that the process of gestation and development of capitalist social formations is very complex and disparate, but it is above all paradoxical, because the integration of the different national economies in a supposed single global capitalist market has in practice presented multiple modalities, characteristics and imperfections in its structuring and systemic functioning, closely related to the global institutional and (dis) regulatory framework created for this purpose, and in view of the political role of hegemony and subordination that countries play, to the north and south respectively, in addition to multiple events that have occurred throughout the history of humanity and that have influenced it. They are events or events where economic and geopolitical interests have prevailed over all, to which social and environmental considerations, cultural, ethical, and those relating to sovereignty, representative and participatory democracy, freedom and human rights have been subordinated. fundamental.

The most critical analysts argue that the capitalist system as such - if its rationality does not change - will reach a limit in the coming decades until it becomes unsustainable, so that under current conditions it would not be possible to think about the construction of an alternative development, with truly transformative actions of society, if the system itself is not questioned first.

Prospective of an alternative cooperation for development The researchers Maestro and Martínez, based on the postulates of Samir Amin (3), propose to define new lines of action for what they call “disconnection or disengagement from the system”. Concept that does not necessarily mean autarky, but in essence the subordination of external relations to the internal needs of the country; that is, change the logic of extraversion to that of self-centering. In this framework, “anti-system cooperation” is proposed, which proposes to rescue in the process the well-intentioned practices of development cooperation (reformist or pro-system) but reorienting it towards the greater objective of transformation for the disconnection of the system, or that is, “cooperation for disconnection”. His proposal does not imply detaching or denying the globalization process as such, nor does it imply a settlement in nationalism. On the contrary, it represents a substantive advance in the perspective of building an alternative globalization to the current one, which without losing sight of the local “is supportive, redistributes wealth, and especially, restores the value of nature and humanity” (4 ).

From this perspective, the proposal of a cooperation for the disconnection of the system is audacious, because it implies the need to redefine new frameworks and parameters for the relationship of cooperation to the north and south respectively, in addition to the imperative of carrying out a profound review and differential analysis of the economic, social and environmental political projections and interests of the countries and peoples. In other words, following a baseline, some fundamental questions must be resolved: Who determines and prioritizes the terms and conditions of development cooperation? On what terms and frameworks of systemic and cultural reference do we focus development: an exogenous, endogenous or dialogue model? What can be the limits of the relationship and functionality of an alternative cooperation for development? Is an eccentric alternative cooperation to global capitalism viable?

It is true that global capitalism has been evolving cyclically for more than two hundred years, long before development cooperation, which emerged only in the 1950s. And it is also true that the structural conditions of poverty and inequality of the countries will not be resolved only in the realm of cooperation. In fact, much more is required than solidarity aid and fundamentally has to do with the political will and commitment of governments, the political class and the action of organized and mobilized civil society to forge progressive changes in the development model. Hence the relevance of questioning the system as such, from a conceptual, principled, organized and active level, but, above all, emphasizing the human dimension and the fundamental rights of peoples and the imperative of forging social harmony with the ambient.

It may be a utopia to try to aspire to the construction of an alternative development model, if it does not begin to question and promote progressive and profound changes in the systemic structures of hegemonic political and economic power: to break with that perverse circle (5), because This is where the essence of the problem is found. Perhaps this will depend on the possibility that an alternative cooperation for development, based on its own ideology and concrete experience with social organizations, can collect, rework and overcome the contents of its programmatic proposal, because otherwise it will run the risk of becoming one more mirage of development of global capitalism.


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