In the 1940s, the world order, generated in the wake of two world wars and the breaking up of the British empire (with a large number of newly independent countries), was a bipolar world (liberal capitalist democratic on one side and socialist/ communist on the other). It lasted for about 50 years and then a relatively unipolar one reigned for about 20 years. The last decade has seen the rise of the ‘emerging economies’ across continents—with China and India, South Africa, Brazil and Russia—as those challenging the Euro-American liberal capitalist hegemony in the global order.
The sources of being a leading nation in the world order are, however, not only economic size and stability, but also the governance of finance and trade, technological innovation, the shaping of knowledge generation, a moral authority as a caring-cooperative society and a responsible contributor to the world and humanity at large.
Since the 1940s, the structure of global decision making lay with the United Nations (UN) agencies, the Bretton Woods institutions (the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and related institutions) and the later additions such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Conference of Parties and so on. ‘Philanthropic’ foundations that have funded knowledge generation have also influenced agenda setting and policy responses across the globe. While the earlier generation of philanthropic funding (Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation) had worked through funding of research and discourse generation through hosting conferences, the present big philanthro-capitalist on the scene is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) that has entrenched itself as direct participant in the UN bodies and in policymaking of governments in various countries.
The top three areas on the UN’s global developmental agenda envelope economic viability, social justice and environmental integrity—the three pillars expressed in the sustainable development goals (SDGs) (Serageldin 2019). While economic growth, climate change and global health are also important concerns for the world leaders, as expressed by the World Economic Forum, its solutions do not often match with the pillars of the SDGs. Information technologies and artificial intelligence solutions, new ‘green technologies’ supplied by corporations are being promoted on the one hand, while social welfare systems developed since the mid-20th century are being whittled away, international immigration of labour is being curtailed, labour welfare and rights laws are being diluted and rights over natural resources of the traditional rightsholding communities are being withdrawn.
This double-faced governance of development and public policy (SDG or other articulation of public good vs the real-life business of development policy) has emerged and gained legitimacy through what has been called a ‘post-truth politics’. Delegitimisation of liberal democracy that had spread as an ideology worldwide in the 20th century, has led to a rightward shift in political leanings. Leaders of the most populous countries—USA, China, India, Russia, Brazil—create narratives of their convenience by twisting facts in ways that facilitate their continuing in power and feeding the profits of crony-capitalists through changes in public policy. On the other side are countries that have attempted to keep the liberal democratic spirit alive, ensuring material needs of all, respecting the dignity of individuals and the privacy of their lives. The Nordic countries, New Zealand and Australia, have in recent years demonstrated such governance approaches.
However, none of the countries are able to address the challenges the world is facing today in any effective manner—environmental degradation and climate change, the threat of pandemics and growing social an inequalities and violence. There are contestations in all countries, but they too are beset by the same limitations that afflict the dominant mainstream: a fixation with the 20th century development models and political ideologies while the technological, social consciousness and political power dynamics have changed drastically. A consciousness about democracy, equity and dignity has pervaded the marginalised sections worldwide while, paradoxically, creating an increased distrust of institutions that generated this possibility. Thereby it presented an opportunity for rightist political formations to increase their hold on the popular mind. Technologies of information and communication and artificial intelligence have opened up new scales of authoritarian encroachments on privacy but also opportunities of democratising knowledge.
It is in this context that we have to consider the possibilities of the emerging new world order in a post-COVID era. As the biggest public health event of the last hundred years, responses to this pandemic have been shaped by the internationally dominant paradigm within public health discourse.
Global Health shaping the world order
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WILD MEAT AND WET MARKETS: A GLOBAL DIALOGUE
Wet markets operate in most Asian countries including India. China reported its wet markets as the epicentre of the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan and also more recently in Beijing. These wet markets, a traditional part of popular local culture in Asian countries, are increasingly becoming a cause of concern for the international community and health practitioners across the globe. This article attempts to understand how global authorities and their Asian partners are looking to regulate these infamous wet markets to significantly lower the risk of viral and other pathogenic load from these unhygienic wet markets.
SEA WALL IN THE MALDIVES AND ITS SUSTAINABILITY
The Small Island developing states are particularly vulnerable to the peril of climate change. Sea level rise, increase in sea surface temperature, high incidences of drought and flood are some of the vulnerabilities that loom large over such island states.The republic of Maldives is one such example, which has been publicly advocating for the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Despite being one of the least contributors to such emissions, the Maldives faces the highest impact of global warming. Being one of the lowest-lying island nations, it has been undertaking various steps to curb the egregious impacts of environmental catastrophes.One of the response measures taken by the Maldives is the construction of seawalls. This article discusses this, while accenting the drawbacks and benefits associated with the approach.
TO PLUCK AT WILL: FRUIT TREES IN COMMON PROPERTY
Despite many governmental initiatives, malnutrition in India remains a major health challenge. There is a marked deficit of fruits in the diet of most Indians, consuming much lower than what is recommended by the World health organisation (Who). One of the reasons behind this is the high price of fruits and thus its inequitable access. As we prepare ourselves to live in a world marred by COVID-19 and a shrinking Indian economy, we must think of new ideas to manage access to food, especially micro nutrient rich fruits. This paper explores the possibility of planting endemic fruit trees in public spaces like roadsides and parks, that can help in increasing the consumption of fruits amongst the poor. It also attempts to analyse whether this can serve as a long term solution to bridge the gap between fruit production and consumption in India.
RESPONSIVE URBAN PLANNING: COVID-19 A TURNING POINT FOR REAL CHANGE IN INDIAN CITIES
The global challenge of COVID-19 is still unfurling. States are grappling to control its remorseless spread with varied success and its impact both on long and short-term scales are still being understood. However, a distinct urban bias in its spread across the globe and universal response of lockdown and social distancing for its control has brought pertinent questions to the fore. Urban planning and the future of our cities in terms of urban life and city form therefore needs to be revisited. In India, the exodus of migrant workers from its large cities has added yet another dimension to this challenge.
PAUSE AND REBOOT
REFLECTIONS ON ECONOMY, SOCIETY AND POLITY DURING COVID-19 GLOBAL PANDEMIC AND LESSONS FOR INDIA
Migrants & borders: My wishlist in a post-Covid-19 world
Former Professor of Economics and Education, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Covid-19: Politics Of Knowledge, Public Health And The World Order
In the present era of a knowledge society, the world order will be shaped more than ever before by the politics of knowledge. In the post-CoVId world, public health knowledge is likely to be a significant contributor. This article briefly discusses the various contemporary public health approaches evident within the discipline: global health, community medicine and critical public health. Then it goes on to analyse country level policy approaches to the COVID-19 pandemic, delineating a tentative four-category typology, based on available information. Finally, it sets out the possible outcome indicators that should be used to assess the national responses.
Inequalities in Access to Academic Spaces
Experiences of students from the socially excluded groups in higher education in India
Understanding Caste and Class - Categories and Measurement
The caste has been a unique social institution in India. It has also emerged in a new form after the mandalisation of caste in the early 1990s resulting in the extension of reservation to Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in government jobs and also in admissions to colleges and universities. The relative size of population of various caste groups particularly of the OBCs is also a matter of debate. Census does not provide population data on OBCs, however, it is possible to assess it from nationally representative sample surveys. Further, the correspondence between caste categories and class has been a matter of debate. This paper presents an assessment of class within caste categories based on data from nationally representative sample surveys.
The Middle Class - As the Class of No Class
An attempt to understand some of the ambiguities around what it means to be middle class in India has been made in this paper. It also discusses the influence that the middle class supposedly has on Indian politics despite these uncertainties.