Economic Occidentalism, FATF and Pakistan


Economic dependence of developing countries on developed countries, and international financial institutions, is not just coincidental but is largely a result of a particular cultural mindset based on geography, colour, caste, creed, religion, norms, ethos and customs. Humans, since their coming into being, have always been living in groups, tribes, factions, undivided families, ethnic diaspora, differentiated geographical entities, counties, villages, towns, cities, countries and even continents. This division can inflate beyond the narrow confines of the earth in case life is found on other planets. Such divisions, as humans feel, give them social identity and identity is a source of strength and power.
In other words, there has always been an identity crisis throughout the human history and its main reason is the human desire for the acquisition of unlimited power by hook or by crook. In search of this power, many European countries colonized the weak countries in the past, looted their resources and strengthened their own economies. In order to understand the human lust for power, it is pivotal to dig the human psychology that inherently loves identity through social fragmentation and cultural division. In this regard, Professor Daniel Kahneman argues that humans naturally ignore the challenges and inflate the benefits associated with their desires. His hypothesis about the human psychology was appreciated worldwide ultimately resulting in the award of the 2002 Noble Prize in economics for him. This suggests that the human desire for power gives rise to socioeconomic divisions in which some groups win while the others lose. That means someone’s loss is someone’s gain and this is what Pareto Optimality Principle roughly suggests.
In economics, the developed and developing world has been divided into ‘the North’ and ‘the South’ respectively. Another division may be observed from the frequent use of the notions of first world, second world and third world countries. The North-South divide of the world is widely based on various socioeconomic and political factors. The so-called global North consists of the developed countries, such as the United States, Canada, European countries, and developed countries of the Asia-Pacific region. The global South, on the contrast, is composed of developing and least developed countries. Here an interesting aspect of the global economic division is that the entry into the global North is not just restricted to the above mentioned countries because of their geographical location. It is rather the attainment of certain socioeconomic and political thresholds that enable a particular country to enter in this elite global club. China’s sudden rise, for example, is increasingly pushing it to disassociate itself from the global South. That means, China’s de facto entry into the global North is in the offing. It further suggests that powerful economies mostly make collusive arrangements with each other rather than opting for confrontation unless they are overpowered by conflicting long term strategic priorities.
This suggests that even death can’t equate the global North and South in international conflicts and economic priorities. This is a deep rooted ideological divide based on the perception of specific cultural, economic and political views held by the global North about the global South. Professor Edward Said specifically demarcates this division between the West and the East by coining the notion of ‘Orientalism’
His work is a kind socioeconomic discourse that explains how most countries from the global North got developed through the politics of fragmentation and the policies of division. In this regard, the Mediterranean Sea can be treated as the dividing line.