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Tuesday, October 7, 2008 - 19:30

Crossroads: The United States and the Contradictory Character of Globalisation

Professor Peter Nolan

Chair of Development Studies Committee, University of Cambridge

The British Embassy Residence 



15 Guanghua Lu

Professor Peter Nolan has researched, written and taught on a wide range of issues in economic development, globalisation and the transition of former planned economies. His current research focuses on the interaction between Chinese and the global firms in the epoch of the Global Business Revolution, and the contradictory character of capitalist globalisation.

Although the zenith of American power has passed, the United States sits at the centre of the global political economy. The global free market policies that lie beneath the comprehensive global system crisis are the child of the Washington Consensus, driven by the United States. The Social Darwinist policies that the United States has promoted globally have produced profound contradictions within the United States itself, as well as in the relationship between the United States and the rest of the world.

The United States bears a heavy burden of historical responsibility. It has the opportunity to grasp the nettle of leadership and build on its own traditions to lead the world towards cooperation and harmony, or it can pursue its own self-interest, wrapped in the cloak of ideology, and lead the world towards disaster. China and the Muslim world can use their rich traditions to contribute to a sustainable future for humanity in the twenty-first century. The possibility of their doing so will be much greater if the United States is able to develop an evolving pattern of ‘constructive engagement’ with both of them.