The Value of International Regime and Global Environmental Crisis

Global warming is a low political issue that in recent years has contributed significantly to the dynamics of global high politics. Global warming is regarded as one of the consequences of globalization. In the era of globalization, neoliberal principle encourages the emergence of market power where the capital owners hold the greatest power in the economic field. The benchmark for the advancement of a state is seen from the progress of the industry of a country. In order to pursue economic growth; a state is required to increase the production and consumption to improve their industry. This situation encourages the consumption of fossil-based energy becomes very large and unmanageable. Development based on the principles of neoliberal causes the emergence of the phenomenon of over-exploitation of natural resources, leading to a global warming or environmental crisis. Environmental degradation is a cross-border issue and all human beings on earth feel its impact. Air pollution, global warming, climate change, animal extinction, water pollution, ozone depletion, and environment degradation become the global problems that must be resolved through a global cooperation.

Institutionalist perspective that emphasizes on the need for global institutions and a strong norm is used to further examine these issues. Institutionalists believe that the institutions need to internalize the principles of sustainable development, including in the decision-making process of the state bureaucracy, companies, and international organizations. The purpose of this approach is to ensure that global economic policies can improve the environment and living standards. Therefore, the international regime needs to be strengthened to solve the environmental crisis. This article is written to further explore on how the international regime that theoretically can drive the resolution of environmental crisis issues fails to apply its values to international relation practices regarding this issue by elaborating the concept of globalization, industrialization and economic development, and neoliberalism in development.



According to the British sociologist Anthony Giddens (1990) globalization is the global expansion of Western modernity (Giddens, 1990:64). This assumption is not only stated by Giddens, but also by Holland Professor, a sociologist, Jan Nederveen Pieterse (1995). Pieterse admitted that many views about globalization interpret it as the ultimate consequence of the globalization of modernity. He also added that the phenomenon is most often interpreted as the world becomes more uniform and standardized through technology, commercial, and cultural synchronization from the West (Pieterse, 1995).

Pieterse’s statement above has two implications centers, first, they imply that globalization is seen as something that is born from modernity, mode of social life, values, and organizations from the West, because the globalization certainly stand up to ‘color’ the West with all values and development process. As a result, globalization can be seen as a stage to enhance the cultural hegemony of certain central along the trajectory of modernity.1 For this reason, from the 70s onwards, globalization has been associated with standardization—homogenization process of economic institutions—of political, symbolic practices, consumer habits and lifestyles around the world. Modernity is ‘inherently globalizing’ and borrowing a phrase from Gidden, ‘inherently westernising’ (Giddens, 1990:63). Another perspective which can be used to understand the complexity of this phenomenon is the view of Jonathan Friedman, also inspired by the culture of sociology, who thought that globalization is a recognition of what is understood as an increase in interconnected worldwide, stacking and movement of people, images and commodities (Friedman, 1994:69). In more details, he said that culture with regard to the implications of global communication in relation to the generation of cultural products is ranging from standardization to postcolonial multiplicity. While in economics, globalization refers to the internationalization of the economy and the spread of capitalist market relations (Friedman, 1994:69). But Friedman do not only confirm that many of the categories of globalization are the product of ideological discourse of ‘modernity’, but also recognize that this discourse directs the connection to the modern era.


It was explained earlier that globalization is understood as the evolution phenomenon of the world into the modern era. Globalization encourages the countries in the world to compete in order to revolutionize their industry. Why? Because in the process of economic globalization, there are a few of the many forces that have created a global market (Steiner and Steiner, 1994: 389-390). Over the past quarter-century, the world’s gross national product is growing rapidly, especially in the developed countries in the world. Exports and imports expanded faster than previously described with the new demand for goods from industrialized countries. Due to the large demand of goods, industrial countries felt the need to revolutionize their industry, cut the production costs, and improve the product quality. The era of economic globalization accompanied by rapid development of technology, have led to the very tight competition and the rapid changes in the business environment. Products of manufacturing in the country are now directly competing with the foreign products. In addition to that, the business world must also accept the fact that the rapid development of technology has resulted in the rapid obsolescence of production facilities, the short shelf-life products, and also the shrinking profit margins in carrying out the process of industrial development. This situation is a reality that must be faced and should be the determining consideration for any policy to be issued, and is a new paradigm that must be faced by any country in implementing the industrialization process of the country. On the basis of this conceptual world in industrial development, any policy should be able to answer the challenges of globalization of the world economy and able to anticipate the development of rapid environmental change (Brandon Levy, 2012, p. 137). International economic competition is a new perspective for all countries, so that the focus of industrial development strategy for the future is to build the competitiveness among the sustainable industrial sector in the domestic and international markets. To build sustainable competitiveness, efforts to use the whole potential of the nation’s available resources and the ability to exploit the opportunities that exist both outside and inside the country must be optimal. Therefore, the essence of sustainable competitiveness lies in how to mobilize and organize all potential productive resources, in order to meet the needs and market demand. The era of globalization and economic liberalization have brought the renewal very fast and far-reaching impact on the economy, both domestically and internationally. Felt the most impact is the increasing competition in the industrial sector. To build the industrial sector in order to grow in the arena of competition such as this and at the same time making it as a driving force of the national economy in the future, the industry needs to have high competitiveness because of the strong structure, greatly increasing the added value and productivity throughout the chain value of production, and support of all productive resources are owned by the world. Increased industrial competitiveness in a sustainable form the foundation for a strong economy in the form of macro-economic stability, the business climate and a healthy investment (Brandon Levy 2012, 137).


The evolution of the world into an era of globalization has also become an entry point for neoliberals to instill their principles. Heightened industry competition made countries increasingly prioritize the development of their industry. The era of globalization is the era in which the progress of the industry is used as a benchmark to determine how a country has developed or been managed (Clarke Simon, 2005). Neoliberalism is also known as a mind that understands the economy which refers to the philosophy of political economy’s decade-late second century, neoliberalism is actually a redefinition and extension of classical liberalism that is influenced by the theory of neoclassical economics that reduce or reject the inhibition by the government in domestic economy because it will lead to the corrupt behavior. This insight focused on free markets and free trade that remove barriers to international trade and investment so that all countries can benefit and improve living standards through increased efficiency and modernization of trade and investment. Neoliberalism aims to increase market power refers to freedom. As in the case of wages, government understands that neoliberalism has no right to interfere in the determination of the worker’s salary because it is a matter between the employer and the owner of capital. The main driver of market forces is the privatization of economic activities, especially in the industry’s efforts owned-managed by the government.

Neoliberalism is actually a redefinition and extension of classical liberalism influenced by neoclassical ecoNomic theory that reduced or rejected an inhibiting factor by the government in the domestic economy because it will lead to the creation Distortion and High Cost Economy which will then lead to corruptive behavior (Palley, 2004). This understanding focused on free markets and free trade to knock down the barriers to international trade and investment so that all countries can benefit from the rising living standards of people or people of a country and modernization through increased efficiency of trade and investment flows.

The Saxon economic liberalism believes that economic growth is achieved as a normal result of ‘free competition’. Aggressive competition is a result of the belief that considers the ‘free market’ is a precise and efficient way to allocate natural resources scarce to meet human needs. Neoliberalism aims to restore confidence in the power market, with the justification that refers to freedom (Friedman M., 2002:8-9). As in the case of workers’ wages, the government’s understanding of neoliberalism that has no right to interfere in the determination of the worker’s salary or in issues of labor, is a matter between the employer owners’ of capital and the workers. The main drivers of the return of market forces is the privatization of economic activities, especially in the industrial businesses owned or managed by the government. But privatization is not the case in the major capitalist countries, it happens in the countries of South America and the poorer developing countries more. This privatization has defeated a long process of nationalization which is a key state-based welfare. Nationalization which inhibits the activity of entrepreneurs should therefore be abolished. Revolution neoliberalism is a significant alternation of an inventory management based economy to one based on demand (Friedman M., 2002:12).

Based on the explanation of the principle of construction according to neoliberalism, economic actors are required to compete with one another to control the market. The market system tends to be only concerned with the pace of the economy, by which the effects on the environment is less focused. Weak state’s control on economic activities is also one reason why countries such as China, the neoliberal country, experiencing environmental problems such as high levels of pollution in the country (Lewis, 2005). State, according to the neoliberals, will give priority to the industrialization in order to show the strength of the economy and the market. Policies which implemented neoliberal economic system triggered an increase in the income gap. Where neoliberal policies greatly facilitated the free trade of goods and services marked by the elimination of all forms of tariffs and import duties. In the analytical section, this perspective will then look at how state actors cannot comply with the international regime in dealing with environmental crisis issues because of the economic competition.

Author : Budi Winarno