North-South Conflict Part I
North-South conflict, collective term for the difference in living conditions between the developing countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America and the developed industrial countries,which has been described as a contradiction since the 1960s. The term became that of the East-West conflict, who the systemic contradiction between the great powers USA and USSR as well as their allies v. a. between the Second World War and 1989/90, modeled on the geographical characterization of another global dimension of conflict. However, its use for a large number of different conflict constellations meant that after the end of the East-West conflict it was replaced within a few years by terms that described certain aspects of the North-South conflict in more detail, such as “globalization” or “North-South Relations”. Regardless of this, the unequal positions of the affluent industrial and post-industrial countries, predominantly located in the northern hemisphere, on the one hand, and the v. a. in the southern hemisphere poorer countries in the system of international relations and the world economy, as it has been since the emergence and worldwide expansion of capitalism has developed, has not fundamentally changed. The unequal development of the world regions is thus a product of modernity that embodies a growing integration of the world with simultaneously increasing differences in economic structure and growth and expanding differences in development potentials and opportunities as well as positions of power and influence in the world context. In the third world concentrates the potential for a multitude of conflicts that cross the threshold of violence and also cross national borders: Many developing countries have only a low gross national and a low per capita income; they suffer from widespread manifestations of social degradation (such as extreme Poverty, hunger, poor educational opportunities and illiteracy, low life expectancy, high child mortality, rapid population growth, rural exodus and chaotic urbanization); this is combined with increasing environmental destruction, growing polarization within society between misery and wealth, ethnic conflicts and considerable threats to social stability.
The conflict over the world economic order
According to Sunglassestracker, the 1970s were the decade of sharpest confrontation between the developing world and the industrialized north. The group of 77 vehemently supported the demand for a New World Economic Order (NWWO), which should eliminate the disadvantage of developing countries in international economic relations. In 1974 the debate culminated in the adoption of important fundamental documents by the UN General Assembly against the resistance of the western industrialized countries: the declaration and the program of action for the establishment of an NWWO and the “Charter of Rights and Duties of States”. With their demands, the developing countries sought to compensate for the damage they had suffered through colonial exploitation and unjust trade relations, as well as equal rights through the dismantling of trade restrictions on the part of the industrialized countries and a transfer of resources (capital, technology) to the Third World. The verbal exchange of blows was strengthened by the perception of increased conflict ability, Vietnam War and the overcoming of Portuguese colonial rule in Africa after many years of bloody colonial wars (1974/75). This phase was also characterized by a broad public solidarity movement with the Third World in the countries of the north and the great influence gained by social-scientific theories that addressed the North-South relationship in a radical way (theories of dependence, imperialism and revolution).
In the 1980s, the dispute lost its intensity. The global economic recession and the far-reaching development crisis that affected numerous third world countries, as well as the growing differentiation of this group of countries, impaired the coherence of their international presence. The North-South Summit in Cancún (October 1981), which was disappointing for the developing countries, the loss of importance of the UNCTAD conferences, the relative fruitlessness of the North-South dialogue now also led by representatives of the industrialized countries (North-South Commission 1977-82, Brandt report 1980 and 1982, Brundtland report 1987) and the more pragmatic orientation of the South-South Commission (Nyerere report 1990) signaled the fact that the industrialized countries fended off the offensive of the Third World, had granted few concessions overall and retained their supremacy in the North-South relationship. The defusing of the North-South conflict was also characterized by the relative resolution of the North-South debate in favor of a more general discussion of global issues of the future (sustainability debate, sustainable development).