Libmonster ID: UK-1420
Author(s) of the publication: V. A. ISAEV

The beginning of this century was marked by an intensification of the global rivalry of the world's leading Powers for the sources of resources necessary for the successful development of their economies and strengthening their positions on the world stage.

On the African continent, as in the rest of the world, we are talking about a clash of interests between traditional and new players, representing, respectively, the "old" and "young" centers of economic power in the world. To the first, L. L. Fituni, author of the book " Africa. Resource Wars of the XXI century" (Moscow, Institute of Africa of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 2012, 248 p), refers primarily to the United States and EU countries. The second group includes new emerging "effective" international actors-China, India, Brazil, but also South Korea, Turkey, etc.

The intensity of the" fight for Africa " causes analysts a persistent sense of deja vu - a repeat of the situation a century ago. It is clear that competition for access to markets and resources has continued unabated throughout the past century. However, for most of it, it was in the shadow of a planetary confrontation - a rivalry between two global socio-political systems. As a result, it was perceived at least as one of the side directions of the competition between the two systems.

With the disappearance of the Soviet Union, the content of world rivalry seems to have returned to the starting point of the historical zigzag that occurred after the First World War. The countries of the world resumed the struggle for resources for their development, and this struggle was expressed in the redistribution of spheres of influence, attempts by some to open up new markets (both sales and purchases), and not to let new applicants go where, in the opinion of the actors already entrenched there, competitors have no place.

L. L. Fituni's monograph shows that in today's polycentric world, less developed regions have once again become the scene of acute confrontation between competing centers of power. And, just as a hundred years ago, there is a tendency that the intractable issues of the legitimacy of control over these resources and the conditions of their operation in recent years, unfortunately, are increasingly solved by force - military, "non-lethal" and so-called soft.

Although the title of the book focuses the reader primarily on the specifics of international competition for raw materials on the African continent, the author considers the subject of his research in a broader, global context. As a result, the work contains many generalizations that are important not only for African studies, but also for studying the features of the development of the world economy at the beginning of the XXI century as a whole.

The author begins the consideration of the problem by understanding the role of the natural resource factor in the emerging new model of world economic development. The concept of changing the MER was developed by L. L. Fituni together with another well-known Russian Africanist, I. O. Abramova. 1 Their theory is designed to explain the cyclical nature of the aggravation of" resource confrontation " on a global scale over long time periods.

According to the authors of the concept, from the beginning of the XX century to the present day, there has been a change of three MMERS. During the first one, prices for raw materials declined sharply, while during the second one, the commodity price index for raw materials remained stable at lower levels than at the beginning of the century. By the time the second MMER faded, sharp rises in prices for a number of raw materials began to appear (the oil crisis, etc.). The emergence of the current (third according to the author's classification) MMER was accompanied by a new rise in raw material prices, and the commodity price index returned to the values of the beginning of the graph-i.e., to relative values that preceded the First World War.

During the 20th century, the index of raw material prices in the course of the evolution of successive MMERS decreased in comparison with the beginning of the century, which was not equivalent to a decrease in the intensity of global consumption of development resources. One of the decisive factors in reducing the intensity of consumption of raw materials in the world in the last quarter of a century was the collapse of the USSR, which for most of the last century was the second most important world consumer of industrial raw materials.

But over the past 10 to 15 years, demand in emerging markets, especially in Asia, has significantly reversed the situation and interrupted the price decline observed in the previous 100 years. And this is despite the fact that Russia has not yet returned to the previous levels of consumption of raw materials.

The author shows that it will not be easy to meet the needs for development resources and increase labor productivity in resource-producing and resource-intensive sectors of the economy within the framework of the emerging MHER. In the total consumption balance, easily accessible resources will account for only 20%, while hard-to-reach resources will account for more than 40%. In addition, the main deposits of fuel and raw materials are located in countries that are significantly more developed than the rest of the world.-

page 74

in terms of labor productivity in developed economies. Thus, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the level of labor productivity in the Russian Federation was 4 times lower, in the Middle East and Latin America-3 times lower, and in sub-Saharan Africa-12 times lower than in the G7 countries.2 To raise this indicator to an acceptable level, it will take more than $1 trln3 annually - a task that is unlikely to be achievable in the context of a recession in the global economy.

The book contains a detailed description of the natural resources available in Africa, both of fossil origin and other resources (water, forest, land, ecological and climatic). The article analyzes their demand by the modern world economy, the degree of development and prospects for operation. Much attention is paid to the policy of African States regarding the use of these resources, changes in the economic and legal regimes of their exploitation in recent decades. In this context, new trends in relations with foreign capital operating in the resource and raw material sectors of African economies are investigated.

Naturally, at the same time, the interests of Russia remain in the focus of the scientist's attention. A special chapter of the book is devoted to specific issues of economic Russian-African cooperation in the resource and raw material sphere. However, throughout the book, the author suggests that, despite the obvious decrease in our country's influence in Africa compared to Soviet times, Russia, while remaining a world power, is doomed to participate in the resource battles unfolding on the continent in various forms and degrees, even if it does not strive to do so.

The paper pays considerable attention to the "resource perspective" of such seemingly unrelated issues as the growth of the middle class in Africa in general and in its northern sub-region in particular. The author believes that now its rapid growth is itself turning into a factor of destabilization and accumulation of unresolved social problems, which, if the continent's economies return to the crisis state characteristic of the period of 1980 - 1990, can turn into a social explosion. Of course, the author analyzes the problem of expectations and requirements of the middle urban strata of African societies in the context of the main research objectives. Therefore, the maneuvers of external old and new players around objectively maturing internal socio-political conflicts and cataclysms are considered by him in the context of global competition for resources for development.

In this sense, regional geopolitical confrontation is, according to the author, a manifestation of the struggle for resources to ensure their own development and, with a favorable outcome, global and regional dominance (economic and political). Much will depend on the success of accelerated economic reforms in many countries on the continent.

The African middle class is growing and gradually forms its own potential for economic growth, which in the long term can also contribute to the stabilization of the social situation in African countries. In addition, as shown in L. L. Fituni's book, the countries of Africa as a whole were relatively protected from the blows of the global crisis of 2007-2011, largely due to their lower involvement in the processes of globalization and limited integration into the world market. The resource sector and the revenues generated by it served as a factor of stability of national economies during the crisis years.

The author draws the reader's attention to the fact that the erosion of national sovereignty under the influence of globalization has given rise to many far-reaching concepts about the universal resource heritage. Thus, the internationally recognized principle 4 of the inherent sovereignty of nations over natural resources is increasingly being questioned in various ways. At the same time, with respect to other types of development resources - financial, technological, etc.- the principles of sovereign ownership and use are not questioned. Since the former types of resources are mainly available to developing countries, and the latter to developed countries, there is a clear desire of the "old" centers of power to use the world's resource base to their advantage with the help of institutional levers.

In conclusion, the author emphasizes that despite the importance of the above provisions on the increasing importance of the resource component in world development in the coming decades, other types of resources - human, financial, intellectual, technological, information, military, etc. - will play no less, and in many cases much more, than fuel and raw materials. An important change in the existing economic model of the world was the rise of large developing countries, which, despite any crisis phenomena, can no longer return to the previous paradigms of consumption of their own and external raw materials and other resources for development. For the West, guaranteed access to these resources is an opportunity to extend its dominance, contain geopolitical competitors, and transfer the paradigms of current world economic relations and interdependencies to the new emerging model of world economic development in the 21st century.

This, according to the author, means that, unfortunately, it is not necessary to expect an end to resource wars in the foreseeable future, and our country will have to find its place and its strategy and tactics in this tough and merciless battle.

V. A. ISAEV, Doctor of Economics, Institute of Asian and African Studies, Lomonosov Moscow State University

1 The provisions of the concept are described in the following works: Fituni L. L., Abramova I. O. Regularities of formation and change of models of world economic development / / World Economy and International Relations. 2012, N 7; Abramova And O. Perekhodknovoi ekonomicheskoi modeli mira i strany Afrika [Transition to the New Economic model of the world and African countries]. 2012, N 2; Fituni L. L. Leaders of catching up development in the new model of the world economy // Asia and Africa Today, 2012, N 10; Abramova I., Fituni L. V Afriku [To Africa]... Business as always / / Mezhdunarodnaya zhizn. 2009, N 2 - 3.

2 n/index.htm

Dobbs R., Oppenheim J., Thompson F., Brinkman M., Zornes M. 3 Resource revolution: Meeting the world's energy, materials, food, and water needs. McKinsey Global Institute. November 2011. P. 73.

4 General Assembly resolution 1803 (XVII) of 14 December 1962


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