At the moment, we are witnessing changes of historical proportions, — the creation of a fundamentally new model of development of humanity.
This is happening for the first time since the middle of the 18th century, when England through industrial revolution launched transition of British economy to the model of capitalist industrial development and its social system into bourgeois democracy. That industrial revolution was followed by European states and the world.
Now, at the beginning of the 21st century, the world has begun transition to qualitatively new model that differs fundamentally from the model that has existed for three centuries, including, its basic system of production and social relations, the role of human intelligence, moral norms and values, fundamentally new methods of governing and system of international relations.
And just as it was in England in the 18th century, where there were few people capable of understanding and assessing the scale of what was happening, so today the transition occurs largely by trials and errors, and is generated by the group of countries that just defend their interests and try to change the existing system that blocks their development.
This new model is being formed before our eyes by BRICS. However, this transformation is going mostly visible not inside these countries, their local economic and social systems, as it was in England in 18th century, but in the system of international relations, and that is one of the fundamental features of the present transition to the new model that taking place before our eyes.
If the existing model began to be created in few European countries, and among them England was the locomotive, the emerging model began to take shape as new system of interactions and interrelations between the largest and fastest growing states of the world.
Internal development and transformation turned out to be secondary, derived by changes in the model of international relations.
Why has the sphere of international relations become the area for the formation of this new model of world development?
If in England the impetus for the industrial revolution that shaped Western capitalism and democracy was given by the development of science and technology, labor and production organization that required and ensured transition from manual labor to manufacture, machine production, industrialization, industrial and financial capitalism, then what is behind the creation of the world new model?
Why neither capitalism in the USA and Europe, nor Marxism in the USSR were able to bring humanity to that new level of development and organization of society and failed to become what the industrial revolution of the 18th century had been to England, Europe, the world? What made BRICS the leader of transformation, the locomotive that turned out to be capable to launch this transformation and bring it to the level of no return, beyond which it becomes impossible to block this transition?
And how can this transition be carried out by the BRICS countries, where leaders, including Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, Narendra Modi, Lula da Silva and Cyril Ramaphosa, still do not have clearly expressed idea, ideology, understanding and vision of the new model that they strive for and that they create?
Why those were the BRICS countries, moving mostly by political rationalism, trying to solve their individual and common problems, that began transition and became instrument for building new world order and new model of human development?
To answer these questions, I will begin with what seems to be not the most important question, but useful for understanding peculiarities of transition to new model:
Why did transition begin with the international sphere of relations?
Law of the Weakest Link
The destruction of any system begins with rupture of its weakest link, and the existing model of world development that has existed for three centuries, began to collapse precisely at its weakest link: in the sphere of international relations.
The sphere of international relations became the weakest link because in the most developed countries, with all the differences in political systems, government and social organization, economies and financial institutions, with all corruption, hypocrisy, bureaucracy, intrigue, inexperience and low level of intelligence of politicians, despite the dominance of propaganda and deception over information, the mechanisms have been created to protect and ensure the rights of not only ruling classes, groups and clans, but also of small, weak and poor groups, even individuals, and that ensures stability. The balance of forces and interests has been preserved through over three centuries and is being still maintained in spite of decline of political systems, economic and financial problems.
In the international sphere, the existing model was unable to create system that guarantees balance of interests of all states, civilizations and peoples. The international sphere has remained being jungle, where the strongest rule, and the weak are deprived of guarantees of security and rights, if they are not part of blocks or alliances created by the leading states, centers of empires, metropolises, if the weakest states and peoples are not ready to sacrifice themselves and to be used to promote interests of the world leaders.
International organizations created to ensure balance of interests and rights are unable to fulfill their task because they were created to function in the old system of international relations. The UN, declaring protection of the rights and interests of all participating countries, has turned into arena and weapon for the leaders of the divided world to fight for their interests.
Even the short period of the unipolar world with monopoly of the US leadership showed inability of the existing system to change. Washington demonstrated its reluctance to radically change the system, and attempts to modernize the imperial system of international relations. The attempts to create new world control centers in the form of the G 7 or G 8 and G 20, turned out to be unviable and failed.
However, at the beginning of the 21st century, new group of countries emerged as equal to the USA in terms of their economic, military and political potential and even began to break ahead compared to those countries that controlled the world in the existing model — the Western bloc led by the United States.
Countries that joined this group found themselves in situation where their further development became impossible without radical change in the system of international relations, including in the field of strategic security, finance and trade. These countries were faced with the need to solve existential problem: to change the world order, to create new system of relationships that would guarantee them the opportunity for further development, making the most of the potential of their civilizations.
That is why the sphere of international relations turned out to be the zone of the most acute contradictions, the weakest link of the existing model of the world.
Creation of new world order became the first stage of the transition to the new model of development of the mankind, anticipating and leading to inevitable intrastate changes and transformations of both social and economic systems of individual states
China, Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa, prompted by Western finance analysts and economists, who did not understand that they were giving impetus to radical transformation of the world development model, created BRICS that began to play the same role that England had played in mid- 18th century.
Having noticed and felt the prospects and opportunities of the new model, other countries, representing all continents, all levels of development, all civilizations and ideologies, quickly began to support and join BRICS…
With the exception of the USA and its allies. For several years, the process of creating new world order was not noticed in the West, then it was hushed up and underestimated, and the BRICS attempts were rejected as having no chance of success.
The leaders of the most influential states, primarily the United States and its European allies, have been unable to grasp and understand the emerging alternative and try to take it under control, making necessary changes in the global system of interactions and thus leading the process of transformation and transition into new model. As an extremely irritated Henry Kissinger noted, in the West, there were no political leaders who matched the level and depth of the ongoing changes in the world, whose level of intelligence and vision would allow the West to maintain leadership and lead the ongoing transformations and transfigurations. (1)
However, in 2023, Western politicians began to recognize that new world order already exists. Washington was the first to officially recognize the fact that “we live in a new era.” On September 13, 2023, Anthony Blinken, speaking in The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, said: “One era is ending, a new one is beginning, and the decisions that we make now will shape the future for decades to come.” (2)
Principles of relationships in the new model
Why did the West not understand and accept emerging model and for so long kept silent about what was happening, pretending that something temporary, unimportant and frivolous was happening?
The reason of that shortsightedness was not only that in the West there were no political leaders, political scientists and international analysts capable of understanding the depth of changes taking place, but also that BRICS was created on the initiative of the West itself. It was the West that initially, rather formally, as if just to take into account, — highlighted China, Russia, India and Brazil in the group of the fastest growing economies in the world that could compete with the West in the future and whose development must be monitored and controlled.
Competition between the West and BRICS was assumed precisely within the framework and in accordance with the rules of the existing world order. No one could have imagined that BRIC that was joined by South Africa few years later, transforming it into BRICS, would challenge not the West, but the entire world system, the model of world development that has existed for almost three centuries, and that the BRICS states would pose this challenge, not understanding the scale of change that BRICS was initiating.
For the sake of fairness, it should be noted that even now in the West, as well as in the BRICS countries themselves, very few people understand the real depth and significance of the ongoing processes. Someone believes that BRICS is simply opposing the West, someone thinks and believes that BRICS is fighting for “multipolar” world, someone believes that the BRICS countries are defending their sovereignties…
And here we should move on to another group of questions, most important at this moment:
What exactly is the new model? What model of relations is being created by the BRICS countries? What changes in the international sphere do they introduce? On what principles do they build relationships with each other?
The new BRICS model is still being formed, but some of its main principles are already emerging quite clearly and can be identified:
Principle 1. Priority of developing interactions over achieving specific goals.
The existing model is based on the priority of goals. Leaders of states set specific economic and political goals, — that can be values, wealth, priorities, power, — that they intend to achieve, that they must and are ready to fight for, and, if necessary, to use military force. To achieve these material and political goals and values, states form and develop their relations with other countries, with international community, trying to achieve their goals and defend their interests.
In the existing global development model, the priority of interests and goals over interactions and relationships is fixed and is unshakable and unconditional.
In the new model that BRICS is forming, relationships and interactions, their formation and development become no less important than goals, and at the initial stage that the world community is going through now, interactions and relationships become priority, and specific results of interactions come as secondary.
The BRICS countries began to form new model of the world by forming relationships among themselves that would allow them through interactions to achieve maximum results for all participants, without suppressing, but by promoting interests of all group members, taking into account interests of partners, accepting result of interaction as optimal and possible under given specific historical conditions.
Results derive from development of relationships built according to the following rules:
— cooperation develops as much as possible in those areas and between those states, whose interests coincide or complement and do not contradict each other;
— in the areas, where the BRICS states do not have vital interests, the group members adhere to principle of non-interference, and provide opportunity and freedom of action to those who have vital interests in these areas;
— where contradictions of vital interests arise, BRICS members avoid acting to the detriment of their partner and begin to search for compromise solution, freezing situation until such compromise is accepted.
Unexpectedly, it turned out that this model, based on priority of interactions and relationships, is capable of bringing much more positive results with significantly less effort, losses and costs of human, financial and material resources than acting according to the existing model, when state leaders identify and designate goals, and then act to achieve those goals, trying to find ways and means to achieve victory, success by suppressing opponents, discarding or taking little into account the interests of others.
In accordance with the principle of priority of interactions, the BRICS countries started building political, economic and financial relations not only between the group members, but also try to transfer this principle to relations with the outside world, including the West.
In particular, BRICS does not set changing the global financial system as specific goal, because changing the existing global financial system will inevitably be the result of the development of interactions in the field of trade and financial exchanges. All attempts by the BRICS politicians and economists thinking in the old model to determine and set up specific goal in advance, for example, creation of a new BRICS currency against the US dollar or destruction of the international financial system based on the dominance of the dollar, pound and euro, did not find real support from the BRICS leaders, who try to build new system capable of ensuring most effective development of trade and financial interactions both between BRICS members and BRICS with the outside world, and the specific way of organizing financial interactions in the model they create will be determined as result of practice, carrying out specific trade operations and exchanges.
Whether and when a new currency will be created, what will be its collateral backing, and how this currency and financial system will interact with the US dollar – that decision will be the result of the development of interactions between the BRICS economies and financial institutions, as well as BRICS relations with the West, and will not be predetermined by bankers and politicians.
The displacement of the dollar by the currencies of the BRICS countries and those who join them is already happening, including through expansion of currency zones and volume of trade and financial transactions in the currencies of the BRICS countries. The transition of Saudi Arabia, China, Russia, the UAE, and India to trade energy resources, primarily oil, in their currencies, corresponds to their interests and ensures development of interactions between them, but at the same time, as collateral result, leads to reduction in the petrodollar zone and cessation of use of the dollar as the main currency of the international financial system.
The time will come, and the BRICS leaders will consolidate decisions developed by practice and testing the most effective forms of interactions.
Principle 2. Parity and non-coercion
The BRICS countries have placed interactions between the Group members above competition, rivalry and struggle. Thus, they had to establish the next principle — of parity and balanced relations inside BRICS, and to abandon coercion as method of resolving contradictions. Conflicts of interest between BRICS members should be resolved only through negotiations between parties, by concessions, and exclude coercion.
This forced some countries to start reconsidering their relations and begin to search for compromises where compromises were considered impossible. If it is impossible to find compromise, the BRICS states resort to freezing situation.
For example, China and India have conflict of interests, in the form of border and territorial dispute that, in accordance with the new model of relations, they started freezing, while actively searching for zones where the interests of China and India coincide, in particular, by integrating projects “One Belt, One Road” and “North-South” that will help expand the basis for Chinese-Indian cooperation, including in the zone of border conflict. At some point, that will allow them to find compromise solutions to resolve contradictions.
This principle has changed the attitude of the BRICS countries towards military-political blocs, as well as towards the current military conflicts, including war in Ukraine, conflicts in Libya, Syria, Azerbaijan and Armenia…
By advocating end to conflicts, the BRICS countries avoid participating in military-political alliances built or being built within the framework of the old model.
In the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, they proceed from the need to develop and protect their relations with Russia, but also preserve their interests and relations with the West that stands behind Ukraine and oppose Russia. And the Kremlin had to understand and accept this.
For example, Chinese and Indian companies supply their produce and goods to Ukraine, including the Chinese drones supplied to the Armed Forces of Ukraine by Western companies. However, at the same time, India and China understand that in the event of Russia’s victory and the loss of control over Ukraine by NATO and the United States, the territory of the Ukrainian state, in whatever form it survives, will be fully integrated into the projects “One Belt – One Way” and “North-South” that involve development of trade and transport corridors for the supply of goods from China, Southeast, and South Asia through Russia, Ukraine and Central Asia to Europe, the Middle East and North Africa and back. Beijing and Delhi understand that if Moscow gets back Russia’s control over Ukraine and Central Asia, all those territories and peoples will be integrated in “One Belt – One Way” and “North-South” projects, and they do what they can in present circumstances to meet Russia’s needs.
This example explains what binds the BRICS members into one Group.
BRICS members are united not by dependence on the BRICS leaders, not by fear, not by coercion, but by potential and volume of opportunities to increase mutually beneficial cooperation that provides and guarantees protection and support within new model of international community.
Principle 3. Inter-civilizational cooperation as basis of international relations
If the old model was built on the basis of dividing the world into empires, military-political and economic blocs, headed by the most powerful states that vigorously developed its scientific potential, including military, its industries, financial power and were capable and striving to strengthen their cultural and political influence, the new model of the world being built by BRICS, is constructed as system of international interactions and interrelations between the world civilizations, as centers of civilizational macro-regions.
Civilizational macro-region differs from civilization. It may include not only states and peoples that belong to and form the basis of particular civilization, but also those states and nations that do not belong to that civilization, but consider themselves close to it in culture, mentality, perception of the world, whose economic and strategic interests coincide with the interests of the civilizational center. Thus, small nations and states can choose one of the world civilizations as center of their macro-region that they gravitate to and consider possible over time to become part of.
Moreover, some peoples and states can actively participate in development of not one, but two or more macro-regions, or to maintain independence and act as separate actors in the field of international relations.
This process has already begun.
The countries of Europe, as well as Japan and Australia, are actively creating the macro-region with the United States as its center, though this process of unification is organized as attempts to enlarger the sphere of NATO, by developing of AUKUS and other blocks within the existing and outgoing model of international relations.
This civilizational macro-region, the most powerful, conventionally called Western civilization, is going through stage of crisis, and over time may split, for example, into North American and European macro-regions, and Japan and Australia will be forced to make their choice of center of gravity or go their own way.
Despite the growing crisis, Western civilization is trying to maintain its dominance in the world. However, it is losing influence, and this is explained primarily by the fact that the United States seeks to preserve the old model, rather than actively participate in changing it and creating new. That dooms the West to lag in development, as was the case with those civilizations in the 18th — 19th centuries, including Indian and Chinese that were many times superior in their economic potential not only to England, Great Britain, but also to the whole of Europe, but were unable to rebuild and switch to the then emerging model of capitalist industrial development.
For some countries in Asia and Africa, Russia is becoming civilizational center of gravity, although the process of reconstruction of Russian civilization is also going through existential crisis generated by the destruction of the, first, Russian Tsardom as result of the pro-Western orientation of the Romanov dynasty and neglecting by the Romanovs of Russian civilizational traditions and mentality that led to creation of Russin Empire, the “civil wars” in XVIII century, in the form of “peoples revolts” led by Kozaks Stepan Rasin and Yemelyan Pugachev, and later to revolutions organized and carried out on the ideological basis created by European civilization. As a result of the revolutions, the Russian Empire was transformed into the Soviet Empire, built on the principles of Western ideology, Marxism, that turned out to be unable to develop and modernize within Russian civilization, and led to the collapse of not only the USSR, but generated collapse of the Russian world and aggravation of the crisis of Russian civilization.
The war in Ukraine is the most striking manifestation of this crisis, and this explains the brutality and irreconcilability of the conflict and the growing involvement of Western countries in it.
Moreover, the war in Ukraine is the war of transition from the existing model to new one. This explains involvement of the leading countries of the world on limited area of combat operations, priority of inflicting human military resources, moral and psychological damage over the seizure of territories and destruction of infrastructure and political centers, extraordinary intensity of development and changeability of methods and means of warfare tactics, weapons, rapidly increasing requirements for professional and intellectual level of military personnel on the combat lines, including privates and sergeants.
The world model based on civilizational macro-regions does not mean cessation of globalization and integration of the world community, including economies, industries, financial systems into single world complex, however, in the new model, globalization is based on other principles that include development, integration and complementarity of human intellectual potentials, moral values and mentalities, traditions of the world’s main civilizations.
Interaction of civilizations requires creation of common moral foundation of new model and that is now being created by BRICS on the basis of moral and ethical principles shared by all world civilizations and their traditional religions.
This process leads to dramatic change in the role of the state and bureaucracy, including bureaucracy in state structures, public organizations, mass media and business corporations. The role of the state and its apparatus will rapidly and substantially going to decrease, and the role of social, innovation, spiritual, scientific, new forms of cooperation and new, just emerging, forms of organization, including in political sphere, will increase. As it was the case in the 18th century, when joint-stock companies, cooperatives, banks, political parties began to rapidly develop.
The new model requires changes and reforms of all international organizations, and now this direction is becoming one of the most important. It is the active and construction position of civilizational centers in reforming international organizations that will determine the role and place of each civilization in the new system of international relations.
Fundamental changes in industrial relations
And here we have to answer, perhaps, the question that many will think, I needed to start with:
If in the 18th century the impetus for creation of world development model was given by qualitative changes in production relations, including transition from individual labor to manufacturing, production, then what is the impetus for the development of production relations at the beginning of the 21st century that leads to transition of humanity to the new development model?
The answer to this question, I will give in the next part of this article…
(To be continued)
- How to avoid another world war | The Spectator
- Antony Blinken: The Post-Cold-War Era is Over | Johns Hopkins in Washington, DC (jhu.edu)