Global apartheid is a term used to mean minority rule in international decision-making. The term comes from apartheid, the system of governmental that ruled South Africa until 27 April 1994 when people of all races were able to vote as equals for the first time.
The concept of global apartheid has been developed by many researchers, including Titus Alexander, Bruno Amoroso, Patrick Bond, Gernot Kohler, Arjun Makhijiani, Ali Mazuri, Vandana Shiva, Anthony Richmond, Joseph Nevins, Muhammed Asadi, Gustav Fridolin, and many others.
The first use of the term may have been by Gernot Koehler in a 1978 Working Paper for the World Order Models Project. In 1995 Koehler develop this in The Three Meanings of Global Apartheid: Empirical, Normative, Existential.
Its best known use was by Thabo Mbeki, then-President of South Africa, in a 2002 speech, drawing comparisons of the status of the world's people, economy, and access to natural resources to the apartheid era. Mbeki got the term from Titus Alexander, initiator of Charter 99, a campaign for global democracy, who was also present at the UN Millennium Summit and gave him a copy of Unravelling Global Apartheid.
Minority rule in global governance is based on national sovereignty rather than racial identity, but in many other respects the history and structures of apartheid South Africa can be seen as a microcosm of the world. Following the Great Depression in the 1930s and the Second World War, the United States and United Kingdom used their political power to create systems of economic management and protection to mitigate the worst effects of free trade and neutralise the competing appeals of communism and national socialism. In South Africa civilized labour policies restricted public employment to whites, reserved skilled jobs for whites and controlled the movement of non-whites through a system of pass laws. In the West, escalating tariff barriers reserved manufacturing work for Europeans and Americans while immigration laws controlled the movement of immigrants seeking work.
At a political level, the West still dominates global decision-making through minority control of the central banking system (Bank of International Settlements), IMF, World Bank, Security Council and other institutions of global governance. The G8 represent less than 15% of world population, yet have over 60% of its income. 80% of the permanent members of the UN Security Council represent white Western states, 60% from Europe. The West has veto power in the World Bank, IMF and WTO and regulates global monetary policy through the Bank of International Settlements (BIS). By tradition, the head of the World Bank is always a US citizen, nominated by the US President, and the IMF is a European. Although the rest of the world now has a majority in many international institutions, it does not have the political power to reject decisions by the Western minority.
In The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, Samuel P. Huntington describes how "the United States together with Britain and France make the crucial decisions on political and security issues; the United States together with Germany and Japan make the crucial decisions on economic issues." Huntington quoted Jeffrey R Bennett to claim that Western nations:
Huntington presents a ‘framework, a paradigm, for viewing global politics’ to protect “Western civilization”. He argues that other civilizations threaten the West through immigration, cultural differences, growing economic strength and potential military power. ‘If North America and Europe renew their moral life, build on their cultural commonality, and develop close forms of economic and political integration to supplement their security collaboration in NATO, they could generate a third Euroamerican phase of Western affluence and political influence. Meaningful political integration would in some measure counter the relative decline in the West’s share of the world’s people, economic product, and military capabilities and revive the power of the West in the eyes of the leaders of other civilizations.’ However, this ‘depends overwhelmingly on whether the United States reaffirms its identity as a Western nation and defines its global role as the leader of Western civilization.’ [p308]
Alexander identifies numerous pillars of global apartheid including: