With the Britain deciding to leave the European Union (a.k.a. Brexit), the globalization agenda of a centralized control of world’s wealth, finance, labor, services, knowledge, and political power by very few multinational corporations faced its first substantial defeat since its birth at the Washington Consensus in the early 1990s.

Since its birth, globalization first devastated developing countries through its structural adjustment programs. Now its burn marks are all over the map. It left millions of American workers without jobs in the industrial Midwest destroying families and bankrupting major American cities.

Globalization opened Africa for the third round (the first two being slavery and colonization) of dispossession of millions of African farmers of their arable land, extractive resources, and fresh waters mainly by global food producing and food processing multinationals, directly and through their local satellite companies. (Arable land and freshwaters are hot commodities global multinationals could buy with a penny from their African political toys.)

Photo - Britain leaving the European Union
Photo – Britain leaving the European Union

The eviction of millions of Oromo and other Ethiopian farmers from their ancestral land in the name of industrial parks development for global multinationals, and large scale farming for global multinationals or their domestic satellite companies are part of the evil deeds of this global globalization agenda.

In the political sense, globalization in its current form denies people political self-administration by taking away the national political control of their destiny and destabilizing the social contract theory of government. Governments, particularly in developing countries, are dependent on funding from global multinationals instead of tax collected from their citizens, making these governments answerable and accountable to the multinational corporations instead of their citizens.

Globalization makes government and government officials’ commodities multinational companies could buy and sell in a political marketplace. The government of the people by the people for the people is gone. Globalization changed it into “the government of the corporations by the corporations for the corporations.” (You heard Mitt Romney say, “Corporations are people, my friend.”)

Globalization in its current form is likely to destroy languages, cultures, and social values of the weaker nations by replacing it with the dominant languages and cultures of the home states of global multinationals.

Globalization, as it stands now, is likely to create more conflict, political instability, uncertainty and total loss of hope for the majority of the world’s working masses while enriching few multinationals and their political toys.

Unless globalization becomes human-centered instead of corporation centered as it is now, sooner or later, the people around the world will certainly start to fight back. The large-scale global protests against globalization that was muted after 9/11 is coming back in the form of protest votes all over the world.

The appeal of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders in the United States presidential campaigns, the months long #OromoProtests in Ethiopia, and the Brexit episode in Europe are all different forms of push back against the global multinational corporations’ tyranny and greed, however far apart and unrelated they may look.

Ethiopia’s takeaway from the Brexit, I think, is this. Ethiopia’s continuity as a nation, without having the problem of #OroExit (Oromo exit), #TigExit(Tigrai Exit) and #AmExit(Amhara exit), exclusively rests on creating people-centered and inclusive political-economy development model instead of building a house of cards for very few well-connected individuals and corporations that certainly will collapse tomorrow.


Birhanemeskel Abebe Segni

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