Thursday, July 18, 2019

Peaceful Coexistence in the World Village

In the globalization era, we live in a global village. The internet and social media are bringing us closer than ever before but the unstable international situation and the trade wars are establishing barriers between countries. In the meantime the meeting of the South and North and the US president in Panmunjom gives us hope for peace on the Korean Peninsula and the world. So begins the article in the Eyes of the Believer column of the Catholic Weekly.

Since the colonial struggle' and the 'Cold War'  in the 20th century, society is undergoing tremendous changes with fierce resistance of people to obstacles against the sovereign independence of the nation. Instead of 'political and military domination', which seeks to take the land of another nation and rule it directly, as the Japanese imperialism made Korea their colony, it now takes the initiative in 'economic and strategic hegemony'. For example, the trade war between Trump and Beijing, China's economic sanctions against the missile deployment on the Korean peninsula, and the economic retaliation against Japan, all reveal complicated hegemony conflicts in political, military, diplomatic and economic relations.

On the other hand, today's neoliberal economic systems led by WTO (International Trade Organization), IMF (International Monetary Fund) and World Bank have been promoting FTA (Free Trade Agreement). In particular, when foreign reserves are scarce and the country becomes bankrupt, the rescue has forced the domestic market to open up to foreign investors and even enforced surveillance.

With Korea, the IMF asked for more than 100 requirements for a large-scale restructuring of the labor market. Korea was incorporated into the international (financial) market, the discrimination clause for growth and employment-related to large companies was strengthened to attract foreign capital.

The common national strategy to cope with the rapid globalization in the global village seems to be the proliferation of populism and support for transnational corporations. Politicians in the grip of populism tend to attract by their extreme expressions the  'popularity' and 'approval' of their fans to win elections. Politicians who ignore the values of the common good and cultivate their positions are 'false agitators' who are not interested in the citizens. Prime Minister Abe, who is ahead in the general election, his strategy to boost the approval rate is to stimulate the right-wing nationalism. In Korea, politicians who are opposed to social integration and the common good are criticized by healthy citizens.

Second, individual nations gain enormous lobbying and political backing from their transnational corporations and support companies that have grown up like mushrooms after the rain.  Also, large companies in Korea have been striving for short-term profits by sending certain functions outside the company instead of handling them in house. More and more companies have long neglected long-term investment in technology.

In the course of globalization, competition and peace among nations and peoples, conflicts and cooperation, exclusion and inclusion are all mixed;  we have to study the word  'peace' to coexist. The Second Vatican Council proclaims the essence of peace as follows: "Peace is not merely the absence of war. Nor can it be reduced solely to the maintenance of a balance of power between enemies. Nor is it brought about by dictatorship. Instead, it is rightly and appropriately called 'an enterprise of justice'.  Peace results from the harmony build into human society by its divine Founder, and actualized by men as they thirst after ever greater justice." (Pastoral Constitution, Article 78)

We must pursue peace with coexistence beyond the logic of competition and power!  Peace does not justify unilateral domination, factions, bullying business practices, and does not exclude the poor and the weak, coexistence of mankind and the development of all peoples. It is a way of pilgrimage pursuing the "common good" and just relationships.

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