A new book by the historian and former diplomat James Woodcock shows how the colonization of colonial lands in the 19th and 20th centuries has created a “global game-changer” that will affect the way countries approach their history.
The author, a leading international academic, argues that the “colonisation of colonial estates” is a “powerful, globalised narrative” that “resembles the history of the world” that emerged after the US and its allies took control of the globe in the aftermath of World War II.
It was the second time Woodcock has written about the “globalisation” of colonial property rights and how it is now “changing the nature of the international system”.
He said the “game-changers” in his book – the US-led globalisation of property rights in the 20th century and the “modernisation” or commodification of “colonial” land – have been “tremendously” effective.
“The history of world history has been changed in the last 70 years or so,” he said.
“I think it has been a game changter, because it has given the world the ability to create the global order it wanted to create.”
And that has been an enormous advantage.
We don’t have the globalisation we had 40 years ago.
But it has created an order in which the international order is very, very different.
“Woodcock said the book is a comprehensive “re-creation” of the book of Genesis that was published in 1845.”
It is a re-creation of Genesis,” he told the ABC.”
So, what is it that we have got to do?
We have got the earth, the seas, the air, the water, the sun, the moon and everything else.
So what are we going to do with it?”‘
Global game changers’Woodcock argues that “global games” have become “unprecedented” in the history, and have “generated new rules of the game” in which “no-one rules”.”
What we have seen in the globalised world is the globalization of property.
So, property is now a global game-changing game- changer,” he explained.”
You know, what was happening in 1848 when the US took over, in 1846 when the British took over the colonies, was the first real, sustained globalisation in the international law system.
“In 1851, the world was under British rule, the British ruled the world.
So you had the British government, the United States, the Russians, the Germans, the French, the Japanese, the Americans and the Indians all all controlling the same international legal order.”
The “new game” Woodcock described was the internationalisation of the global property rights system that is now taking place.
“There are now two or three international rules of international law which are binding on all countries.
And all these new international rules are binding as well on everyone else, including countries in the world who are not under the same rules of law,” he continued.”
For example, if you have property rights which have been stolen, and you are a victim of the property rights theft, and there is a court order to seize the property and take it away from you, the court order is enforceable by all countries that have jurisdiction over the property, but if you are not a victim, you cannot enforce it.
So now there is this whole global game changing mechanism where everyone can enforce international property rights.”
He also noted that there is no international law that prohibits the taking of property by foreign countries, which is one of the major “game changers” of this era.
“But the other thing that is changing is that the international game is not the same anymore,” he added.
“Now the international rules that apply to other countries are going to apply to everybody, and if the property is taken by someone else, the property belongs to them.”
This is the ‘new global game’ in which you have the property being stolen and you cannot get it back.
That is the new global game.
“The author’s book is entitled The Globalisation of Colonial Property Rights and has just been published by the University of Adelaide.