Editorial - January 2024

Edito

Temps de lecture : min

1984

At the beginning of 2024, it is good idea to re-read “1984” by Georges Orwell. Published in 1949, this book's context is very much the Cold War, and depicts a futuristic world where only two feelings are still permitted: hatred of others and worship of the leader. The novel's main character lives in a war-torn region, Oceania, where critical thinking is suppressed and where the press permanently rewrites the past.

Orwell’s world was somewhat forgotten following the fall of the Berlin Wall. The proclaimed death of communism, the opening of borders, expanded global trade in goods and services, and also more widely shared cultural references, seemed to herald the promise of a better, conflict-free world.

« The disruption caused in 2020 was pivotal.
Borders are closing, with one of the most recent events being the vote by the US House of Representatives to ban imports of enriched uranium from Russia. »

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 The expansion of the BRICS economies and the divergent positions taken on the Israel-Palestine and Russia-Ukraine conflicts demonstrate the emergence of what some call the “Global South”: opposition to the West and to the values that the West believed were universal. The Western world is at war with Russia, while there is a form of cold war in place between China and the United States, and also between Europe and China. The return of Politics, which has been regularly cited in our work in recent years, is visible in many countries while, in other countries, relatively undemocratic regimes are tightening their grip on their population.

The world of 2000 was also supposed to bring prosperity to all. In 2024, social inequalities are deepening, while the policies of central banks and governments, through their interventionism, have helped to increase the wealth of a minority worldwide. Some economists are predicting that the European economy will struggle in 2024, dragged down by a sluggish property market that is making it harder to access home ownership, thereby increasing inequalities.

Things may turn out to be better than predicted, but we should remain vigilant, because fear of the future is often inadvisable, as it could revive the feelings or behaviours described so well by Georges Orwell.

Written by

Lucile LOQUÈS
Director of the International Actions division

January 12, 2023

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