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Talk focuses on new system of co-existence

by Archives November 19, 2003

The balance between force and justice is the world community’s solution to defeat Imperialism.

How can global justice be achieved in a monopolized world?

In the panel discussion Building a new co-existence: the next great transformation, three university professors tackled some new possibilities in international politics last Thursday evening at Concordia.

The speakers focused particularly on questions concerning a potential world currency or government. The talk was structured on Karl Polanyi’s work, which centres around four main aspects: the balance of power, the gold standard, the double movement and the liberal state.

The creation of a world currency would be of relevance since an international bank could offer “major achievements in transforming world economy,” said political science professor Duncan Cameron from the University of Ottawa.

James Putzel, professor at the London school of economics, went on the same tangent but with a pragmatic twist. Putzel went straight to the facts with some recent empirical data. One major point was that the United States represents 4.6 per cent of the world population yet it holds 32 per cent of the world’s income.

Putzel also examined the proportions between different currencies. For example, 64 per cent of the world’s reserves were in US dollars while the Euro shows “a precarious dominance” on Japan or Britain with 15 per cent, mentioned Putzel.

Cameron questioned the notion that “19th century mechanisms were replaced but not repaired.” He thought a new system would need to be formulated, focusing on the “dynamic across boarders.” Yet, there lies a lingering question: could this transformation be benign?

Cameron seemed convinced that yes, it would be, if the notion of dual citizenship was emphasized. At the heart of his proposal Cameron suggested that the next global transformation lies precisely in this notion: people should be “citizen of the world and of their own nation.”

But would that be enough to break down a super power, like the United States? Professor Peter Leuchprecht, former dean of the law faculty at McGill University, seemed to think so. He recognized a necessity for the people of the world to be represented at the United Nations (UN), not by their state, but individually. “I’m speaking as a lawyer committed to human rights,” he said.

As the former director of Human Rights and Deputy Secretary-General at the Secretariat of the Council of Europe, Leuchprecht was specific is in his attacks against America’s unilateralism, and its efforts to maintain some rules of domination.

“Without justice, what are kingdoms but great bands of robbers?” asked Leuchprecht. He stressed that the war on Iraq was “illegitimate and illegal.” The United States’ contempt for international law has had tremendous harmful effects, he said. How can the UN demand justice when “the rhetoric of war tends to legitimize certain violent acts?”

The common argument is that in order to achieve security, there is a need to trade freedom. For Leuchprecht, this goes against democracy, rule of law and human rights.

Leuchprecht clearly established the balance between force and justice by quoting famous philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal: “it is therefore necessary to bring justice and force together.”

To institute a global structure of justice (that is respected) the world community has to demand “the co-existence between the strong and the just,” concluded Leuchprecht.

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