According to the classical view of macro economic theory, all people have work where they produce goods and services, in return for which they earn money, which they spend on goods and services to create demand.15 As we move to the 21st century, we enter an era whereby a state is not determined by the power of their military, but more like their economy. Economic growth considers the possibility of raising the standard of living not only for the rich but also for the poor.
To overcome this problem, the United Nations in it’s various development programmes determines economic development is critical in closing the poverty gap, through development in per capita GDP, Investment to GDP, exports to GDP and adult literacy.16 Development in these industrial sectors of the Third World as believed by Hirschey ; Pappas would bring about increased economic activity. As technological development would result in increased productivity, increased production which leads to increased employment which leads to increased personal wealth and capital formation. This undoubtedly leads to more funds being available for training labour, giving rise to both a market in which to sell goods and a labour force to produce increasing output.
Furthermore, there are many in this world the see capitalism as an immoral concept. It has become apparent and unmistakable that this lucrative notion generates greed, makes one become self-interested, and what is more disheartening is that they exploit others immensely for their very own personal gains. There are numerous examples regarding the ways some corporations have ventured into undeveloped countries, hired workers for next to nothing, and ravaged the local environment. While this is surely ethically corrupt, often these companies try to hide behind the western value of freedom and free markets in justifying what they do. However what is even more damaging and perhaps a new challenge for our governments of the 21st century, would be the complications caused by corporate crime, as realised in the case of Enron who were 31 billion dollars in debt amongst many other illustrations of this nature.
Enron were subsequently accused of having perpetrated a massive “dis-information” campaign, hiding the degree of its indebtedness from investors by treating loans as revenue, hiding company losses by creating new firms with company capital and then attributing losses to them and not to Enron. What is more, is that it encouraged company employees to buy and hold Enron stock while its executives apparently knew of its shaky conditions and were busily selling off their own shares.
However, ‘Enron turned out not to be an isolated incident and the list of companies touched by financial scandal soon included Tyco, Global Crossing, Quest, Worldcom, Xerox, Adelphia, MicroStrategy, ImClone and homemaker Martha Stuart, AOL-Time Warner, K-Mart and some major banks, such as Citigroup and J. P. Morgan Chase.’It is clear that corporate crime is an evil and unjust activity that inflicts far more damage in society then all of street crime combined. Corporations should most certainly be held accountable for the criminal culture they promote and have its culprits convicted, as it may not necessarily be state economies that shall continue to feel the effects of these detrimental inflicts. ‘Our society of democracy, freedom, and capitalism may collapse, at the selfish and inconsiderate expense of the fortunate powerful few who associate democracy and capitalism with immorality.’
However in trying to find a resolution to the economic challenges, it has arrived at the expense of the environment. It is argued that high levels of pollution resulting from production in developed countries damage the environment globally, leading to crop losses in less developed countries. The environmental question is an issue that submits exceptional weight as a global challenge, as it is a major determinant to sustaining our well being as citizens of the world.
In resolving this challenge, a market substitute must be sought; furthermore precision agriculture, dematerialization, de-carbonisation, and industrial ecology are also factors that are of exceptional magnitude if the environmental issue is to be overcome. Opportunities to finding environmental efficiency are researched and promoted with great enthusiasm, nonetheless in reality the alternatives are no substitutes to the well-developed structures that are in place. The so-called solar and renewable energies show promise but only to small niches. Solar and natural resource enthusiasts tend to stress that such energies are in fact free, but what they fail to realise are the costs incurred in mobilising these resources and making the products flow to the consumer in the proper form and amount.
The sociological factors are possibly the most fearsome of the challenges that wait the 21st century. Despite the fact that the massive but arguably contained Soviet and Chinese threat is no longer imminent thanks in part to arms control agreements. This new challenge will arrive from less well-developed and disciplined actors of international politics. These well-financed international terrorists often motivated by ideological rage of ethnic hatred, will have fewer and less powerful weapons then the Chinese or Soviets but are more likely to use them. With easy access to conventional explosives, biological, chemical and nuclear arsenal, such adversaries have indicated the increasing vulnerability of states.
To exacerbate the already complex social issue that threaten our very existence. The problems caused by narcotics are progressively corrupting our societies to the absolute. As was recently summed up by Ambassador Roger F. Noriega, (U.S. Permanent Representative to the OAS, June 2003) New, multifaceted, and prominent threats in the hemisphere have emerged, requiring co-ordinated, co-operative, and multilateral responses by all of us. Terrorism, illicit trafficking in arms, narcotics and precursor chemicals, attacks on critical infrastructure and transnational criminal enterprises threaten democracy and undermine the security and prosperity of our citizens. While controversy shall continue to dominate these aspects of international law for a long time because a consensus is hard to reach, they have shed light on international studies by highlighting the complexity and the seriousness of the problems facing world politics.
Perhaps, it is not so much the challenges facing the 21st century that we need to be concerned with, as the problems could potentially be deep-rooted, as Huntington’s theory of the “Clash of Civilisations” clearly proves to carry major academic value. It mentions amongst many well-founded arguments the resurgence of cultural and political confidence in Asia as a result of the rapid economic growth in the region. In the meantime, Western countries are experiencing a decline of influence in the world, as the integrity of Western civilisation is continually threatened by the multi-ethnic culture brought by immigrants. As they simultaneously enrich, erode and endanger the core values of democracy as a political notion, and the ideals associated with the free world.
Nevertheless, even though Huntington’s piece of research provided us with a perspective by which to consolidate, and enhance our knowledge on to the studies of international law. It becomes unreasonable to see clash of civilisations as a more important factor than all the other aspects, such as self-determination, international humanitarian rights, the environment, terrorism and the economy as these are aspects in international studies that are of profound sensitivity. It is indisputable that there are huge differences between civilisations, which occasionally bring about frictions. Nevertheless, it is misleading and dangerous to magnify such frictions into world political clashes and wars.