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The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of…
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The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South (edition 2013)

by Vijay Prashad

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In The Darker Nations, Vijay Prashad provided an intellectual history of the Third World and traced the rise and fall of the Non-Aligned Movement. With The Poorer Nations, Prashad takes up the story where he left off. Since the '70s, the countries of the Global South have struggled to build political movements. Prashad analyzes the failures of neoliberalism, as well as the rise of the BRICS countries, the World Social Forum, issuebased movements like Via Campesina, the Latin American revolutionary revival - in short, efforts to create alternatives to the neoliberal project advanced militarily by the US and its allies and economically by the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO, and other instruments of the powerful. Just as The Darker Nations asserted that the Third World was a project, not a place, The Poorer Nations sees the Global South as a term that properly refers not to geographical space but to a concatenation of protests against neoliberalism. In his foreword to the book, former Secretary-General of the United Nations Boutros Boutros-Ghali writes that Prashad "has helped open the vista on complex events that preceded today's global situation and standoff." The Poorer Nations looks to the future while revising our sense of the past.… (more)
Member:roddyk
Title:The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South
Authors:Vijay Prashad
Info:Verso (2013), Edition: 1, Hardcover, 304 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:global south

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The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South by Vijay Prashad

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In his earlier book “the darker nations”, Vijay Prashad traced the story of the third world from its birth in the anti – colonial movements , the formation of NAM to the debt crisis when the resistance to the multinational corporations faded and the third world project died. In this book he continues the story which begins in the 1970’s with what the demise of what he calls the Atlantic liberalism and the birth of neoliberalism and traces it to the 21st century where new forms of resistance and possible alternatives to neoliberalism have emerged.

In the first chapter, Prashad analyses the death of Atlantic liberalism and the subversion of the institutional efforts of the third world to promote a new international economic order (NIEO), through coordinated and organised offensive by the G7 powers led by USA. This offensive led towards a neoliberal restructuring of the world economic order.

The second chapter provides a detailed analysis of the work of south commission under the leadership of the Tanzanian leader Julius Nyerere. The outcome of the commission’s report was the rise of southern neoliberalism with a focus on “growth” taking the centre stage.

The third chapter deals with the notion of the emergence of the notion of the larger nations of the south with high “growth” as the “locomotives of the south” that will lead the smaller nations of the south. The formation of G15, IBSA leading to BRICS takes the centre stage. While the emergence of BRICS that want to play a larger role in the global economy gives new voice to the south, it is however limited by the fact that it has no ideological alternative to neoliberalism and is in fact committed to Southern neoliberalism.

This leads to the fourth part where he shifts from the institutional focus to that of the grassroots anti – globalisation struggles in Latin America. He focuses on the struggles of Women, indigenous people and the slum dwellers. One of the central questions in this section is that of internationalism. While not dismissing the importance of internationalism in the struggle against neoliberalism, he offers a critic of World Social Forum (WSF). My one criticism here is that the author speaks nothing about the discontent and the grassroots struggles in India and China.

I’m also not sure about the author’s conclusion here. Does he look at BRICS as a part of a collective transnational programme of the south? Does he think the BRICS will lead to a new economic order for the world? Or does he think of the Bolivarian model as providing a possible alternative to neoliberalism?

This is a very important book that offers a critique of neoliberalism from the perspective of the south and is a must a read for anyone. His focus here once again is mainly on the institutions and the nations of the south but he does provide some view on the people’s struggles towards the end.
( )
  kasyapa | Oct 9, 2017 |
Reviewed here.
  scott.neigh | Nov 1, 2013 |
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In The Darker Nations, Vijay Prashad provided an intellectual history of the Third World and traced the rise and fall of the Non-Aligned Movement. With The Poorer Nations, Prashad takes up the story where he left off. Since the '70s, the countries of the Global South have struggled to build political movements. Prashad analyzes the failures of neoliberalism, as well as the rise of the BRICS countries, the World Social Forum, issuebased movements like Via Campesina, the Latin American revolutionary revival - in short, efforts to create alternatives to the neoliberal project advanced militarily by the US and its allies and economically by the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO, and other instruments of the powerful. Just as The Darker Nations asserted that the Third World was a project, not a place, The Poorer Nations sees the Global South as a term that properly refers not to geographical space but to a concatenation of protests against neoliberalism. In his foreword to the book, former Secretary-General of the United Nations Boutros Boutros-Ghali writes that Prashad "has helped open the vista on complex events that preceded today's global situation and standoff." The Poorer Nations looks to the future while revising our sense of the past.

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