International Roundtable on the Challenges of Globalization

(Munich, 19-20 March 1999)



Philosophers, sociologists, political scientists, economists, and experts of political geography and strategic theory from 15 countries met from 18 to 19 March 1999 at the University of Munich (Germany) to discuss the major challenges resulting from the process of globalization in the context of the geopolitical changes since the end of the Cold War. Papers were presented, among others, by the former Prime Minister of Peru, General Edgardo Mercado Jarrín, and by the President of the Indian Council for World Affairs, Mr. Harcharan Singh Josh. The roundtable was jointly organized by the Jamahir Society for Culture and Philosophy, the International Progress Organization (I.P.O.), and the Green Auditorium. It was hosted by the Department of Philosophy of the University of Munich. The Lord Mayor of Munich gave an official reception for the participants

The interdisciplinary approach of the roundtable meeting provided for a systemic analysis of the phenomenon of globalization in its political, legal, economic, social and cultural ramifications. The experts from Austria, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, Libya, Luxembourg, Nigeria, Mexico, Peru, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the USA, and from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) presented research papers on issues such as the consequences of globalization for the nation-state, the decline of the international rule of law in the era of globalization, the challenges for multilateral economic co-operation, the impact of globalization on social rights, the crisis of individual and civilizational consciousness, the challenges to national cultures, and the issue of "cyber-hegemony" in the framework of the rapid development of information technology.

There was consensus among the experts on the need to establish a system of rules for transnational economic activities particularly in regard to the global financial market. The experts expressed their concern about the destabilizing effects of totally unregulated free markets on the economic, political and social systems especially in the developing countries. They criticized the "free market fundamentalism" of the propagators of globalization and called for the respect for basic social and economic rights of the working population in all countries and for a sense of moral responsibility related to the exercise of economic freedom. The experts particularly emphasized the fundamental contradiction between an unregulated process of economic globalization and the basic requirements of democracy. Several participants pointed out that genuine democracy in the sense of people’s participation has become impossible in a politically unipolar international system which is characterized by the "dictatorship of the economy." They referred critically to the new slogan of "responsible globality" propagated by the Davos World Economic Forum and described new forms of democratic resistance and social-emancipatory movements against the essentially oligarchic rule in the framework of globalization where the so-called "free" market replaces the sovereignty of the state and the freedom of the individual.

The research papers presented at the roundtable meeting will be published in a comprehensive volume by the Jamahir Society for Culture and Philosophy.