Episode three of the series Commanding Heights mainly analyzes the relationship between decisions made by the ruling regime and the world economy. The prologue gives us a hint of the coverage of the episode, indicating that the subject of debates is stronger between state controlled economies and those controlled by market forces. In the opening scenes, the video brings us the scenes that preceded the fall of communism in Asia, Europe and some parts of America in favor of free markets.
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The United States of America led by President Bill Clinton helped to push this agenda by supporting the idea to end organized labor. Eventually, individuals who had left their countries, particularly in Asia, started to return to their home countries hoping to join in the development. This way, countries like China, which had identified themselves as global leaders in the industry, became the major suppliers of all the technology needed by the rest of the world.
As the episode unfolds, we are introduced to the advent of the internet and other forms of technology which over time have led to the linking of the world in simple networks. It is revealed that with the growth of the internet, some of the functions of the economy shifted to electronic platforms. Electronic capital became a reality in many nations and among their citizens willing to embrace it. This became the starting point of the new world economic approach called globalism.
We are also made aware that countries like Thailand, which had plenty of available capital, were in this period touted to grow at unassailable rates. However, over time, the electronic capital made it difficult for regulatory measures to be well implemented. As such, the pressures of lack of supreme control began to take a toll on Thailand’s economy, eventually spreading to the rest of the world in the form of an economic crisis.
The world’s decision makers, including the leaders of the world super powers like the United States and China, were forced to intervene and slow down the emerging single global market economy. This particularly happened because it became very difficult to establish the rules of control and agree on who would be in charge. In essence, the world had come to the conclusion that this kind of economy was impractical.
In this period, America came under strong condemnation by the rest of the world for trying to impose its ideology and products on other countries, while not giving the same attention to ideologies and products coming from other countries. Eventually, the world’s leaders had to sit at the round table and reach middle-grounds.
The episode also introduces us to labor revolts when Americans started to realize that their jobs were being taken over by individuals in other countries, most of whom were willing to work for very small salaries. Unfortunately, these kinds of job losses had their own impact on the economy of the world. Institutions like the World Trade Organization came under fire for not coming up with measures to help regulate this threat on labor forces. It took some time for some amicable solutions to be reached, solutions that led to a reduction in the number of protests which were cropping up around the world.
Later, terrorism started to play a crucial role, particularly after September 11, 2001 attacks of the World Trade Center. This threat to the United States came at a time when the world was struggling to fight a looming crisis and the attack just served to sink the crisis into a full-blown meltdown. The wars in the Middle East were linked to the misfortune, and ultimately led to some of the decisions made by the world’s super powers being intensely questioned.
This element of terrorism brought the world to the realization that the economy can only grow intensively when there is no peace. Initially, there was a wanton finger pointing regarding the cause of decline of trust among countries. However, the blame games eventually subsided and the world got back to improving the economy. The episode reveals that only when all the world’s nations came together to commend the act, this helped to maintain some stability though not 100%.
Towards the end of the video, we are introduced to the transition between governments with the revelation that the free-trade agenda, emerging from the Clinton administration, made it to the George Bush administration. Bush then went on to hold negotiations with the leaders of the poorer countries of the world, particularly in the greater American continent, trying to come up with ways of utilizing the free-trade in helping to keep down their long-running relationship with poverty.
The episode brings us to the conclusion that economic confidence is not something that a country can cultivate on its own. It is an ongoing process, which requires leaders to constantly come up with strategies that would make their countries appear interested in the growth of the global economy and not pegged on selfish interests. However, we are also brought to the sad reality that full economic harmony is now beyond reach.