Address by His Beatitude the Archbishop of Athens and all Greece Mgr. Christodoulos
First and foremost, let me welcome all participants of the congress and express my pleasure that, also this year, the Athens Summit has gathered such distinguished interlocutors.
For my part, I swould like to put forward only some hints on our vital subject taking the risk to appear aphoristic rather than factual, because time does not allow me to develop all what I reckon necessary.
In the first place, I am asking myself whether the term globalization is correct. Is it, indeed, about globalization? We do not really have a new world order where each nation contributes its cultural, technological and financial property, so that a new, supranational, global community might be formed. Instead, we have the exportation of a model, which belongs to one country only and the imposition of that model on other countries. Hence, whoever does not wish to play with words and the reality these words signify would speak of world Americanization rather than globalization -even if it does not a priori oppose to Americanization.
David Rothkopf, the managing director of Kissinger Associates, participated in a debate proportionate to ours which had been organized by "Foreign Policy", a magazine of indisputable authority, published by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. There David Rothkopf emphatically declared that globalization is nothing but "the dominion of the American model" which as a phenomenon is not something new, but the old and notorious model of colonialization. He straightforwardly pointed out that "it is in the general interest of the United States" that "exclusionary aspects of religion, language, and political/ideological beliefs" to be abolished. Moreover, he emphasized, that in fact "it is the economic and political interests of the United States to ensure that if the world is moving toward a common language, it be English; that if the world is moving toward common communications, safety and quality standards, they be American; that if the world is becoming linked by television, radio, and music, the programming be American; and if common values are being developed, they be values with which Americans are comfortable.”
That's exactly why the director of Kissinger Associates evaded the use of the term 'globalization' and chose instead the term 'cultural imperialism'.
In that very debate the well known to all of us Jacques Attali took part, and worried warned us that the so called globalization is leading to the dissolution of national identities and states, and their substitution for "aggressive non-state entities (large companies or illegal entities such as the Mafia, drug cartels, and nuclear traffickers)", who are going to impose values that are to be to their advantage. Ending up, Attali made an appeal to all of us, "The survival of ours is in our hands".
I must say that our subject has been continually troubling me for years. But the two texts above have caught my attention in particular. The one because raises the point plainly and without obscurities: in fact, beyond whatever economic or technical ambitious analyses, we are talking about an American imperialism. The other, being written by a person whose mind has been directed toward the future, and a policy maker of the European Union, gives us fair warning of something that the USA's political leadership doesn't seem to realize: it's true globalization may do away with national identities, languages and traditions but not in order to give the reins of the world to the naive (is it so?) political leaders in Washington but in order to hand them down to the invisible god-fathers of the international crime, to those powerful ones who accumulate riches through the biological and moral extermination of Man.
Who indeed, among us, cannot possibly understand in whose hands is the absolute control of media going to be? Is it likely to be in the hands of two-three American businessmen? Such a hypothesis would be incredibly romantic. Who is going to have control over political life? Is it going to be in the hands of a dozen patrons of political parties? Such a question would come near to ridicule. Who are then those that are going to control our cultural life? I'd better not venture an answer.
However, I should show the reverse of the coin. Under these conditions, whoever resists the dissolution of national identities, and languages, he does not simply resist American imperialism but the suzerainty of international crime.
It's typical that the most powerful argument on behalf of globalization is that it's about an inescapable situation; however, there are many catastrophes which are inescapable, but this does not mean we are obliged to applaud them; on the contrary, we are obliged to find out ways, which can secure the survival of Man and civilization.
Another argument is that globalization would facilitate the economic development, and the domination of free market. This argument the director of Kissinger Associates likens to "the primary carrot leading other nations" to accept globalization.
However, the European civilization has been the product of a parallel action of two elements: of free economy and social solidarity. And we all Europeans paid very dearly whenever we hazarded to abolish that parallel action.
But we should again see the reverse of the coin. Is globalization about to raise the poor Thailand worker, who is working for a piece of dry bread, to the level of the European worker, or is it rather about to cause the European worker to come down to Thailand's level?
In conclusion, I would like to go back to Attali's appeal. Can we indeed prevent the plunging of our civilization into the abyss of a mighty globalization without having seen the element in our civilization which has given birth to that menace of an abyss? In the ecclesiastical language we would say: Can we save ourselves, if do we not repent? And do not ask me what we should repent of. I hope that all of us have, at certain times, asked ourselves where does a civilization go to, when it pronounces economic development to be an end in itself; when it gives the economic development the right to be the altar of Moloch.
Moreover, we must all of us have questioned ourselves how an economy can be called a developing one if it fails to include in its cost the devastation of the earth and of man; that is, of environment and civilization.
I wish for your congress to open new horizons and look into the subject in a way that may be useful to society.