Our world is dominated by a small wealthy elite: some 2% of its population possesses 50% of the world’s wealth …
Following the establishment in 1944 of the Bretton Woods system and the end of the Second World War, the capitalist West – and more specifically the United States – has set the financial and economic tone. Of course, in the geopolitical context of the Cold War in the 20th century, there were some tough confrontations between capitalists and Communists. The world was bipolar, but then came the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the USSR. The United States then became the “hyperpower” to use the expression of the former French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hubert Védrine.
However, with the rise of the emerging countries, the situation has changed. Informed geopoliticians talk increasingly of the decline of the United States and Europe. The West is living on the defensive economically speaking, and in addition, it has to confront a new enemy in the terrorism of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS).
Can it and will it be able to resist? There is no longer a single centre of the world, held and managed by the Americans; it has become plural. And even though the market economy model has been taken up by the majority of the emerging countries – notably by Communist China on the basis of the concept “one country, two systems” – the current changes are challenging Western supremacy over every country in the world, indeed the very legacy of the Enlightenment.