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DECODING GLOBALIZATION

The term globalization has been given various labels like- process, a condition, a system, a force and an age. However, the most popular definition of the term is that it refers to the increased pace with which the world is becoming interconnected and thus the world can be said to be ‘shrinking’ as a result of the process. It has also been called ‘time-space compression’. It is a global web that has bound together with the fortunes of nations, communities, and households. It is the movement towards greater interdependence and integration. Globalization produces such global interdependencies and interconnections that national borders and geographical obstacles do not matter when it comes to the movement of money, ideas, goods, cultural and political trends, etc. An economic recession in one region of the world creates instability in countries that are thousands of miles away. For example, the global financial crisis of 2008 started from the US and it created impacts all over the world. While it was Americans who defaulted on paying their housing loans, it was the Greeks who ended up losing their employment. This was a direct result of the interdependence that exists between the economies of the US and Europe.

Trade and technology are the two forces that drive the process of globalization. Globalization is the system of development which all countries of the world are following or making all efforts to follow. This idea posits that when governments charge taxes on goods crossing borders, then economic progress is hampered. Globalization relies on the idea of open markets which means that countries have to allow goods of all other countries to be sold in their markets. In an open market system, governments cannot discriminate between domestic and international manufacturers of goods. In this way, there is an open competition between products coming from around the world. Thus, the consumer gets a variety of choices in the marketplace. Companies from around the world can set up their factories in any other country and can employ citizens of that country. Because of low labour costs, most countries have shifted their manufacturing work from the developed to developing countries. This creates more employment for the locals. On the other hand, we see that more and more companies want to set up factories in countries where they can pay low wages to labour and low taxes to local governments. This has caused a significant amount of exploitation and has created a backlash against globalization in many developing and under-developed countries.

WAVES OF GLOBALIZATION

The current phase of globalization is not new in world history. For example, the Silk Road has been one which has connected Europe and China during the middle ages. During the time, the imperialism mandated the industrial goods to be sold in the developing countries while the expensive and skilled products were bought at a low price. The idea of interchange and exchange did exist in the past as well. Globalization is not new, but the ‘scale and nature’ of the interconnectedness of the world makes globalization peculiar to current times. Human civilizations have come together to form a single world system in the past also. This has occurred in broadly three waves. In the first wave, globalization was mainly driven by European explorers coming to other parts of the world like India, and establishing colonies there. This was called the age of discovery. This phase lasted roughly from 1450 to 1850 AD. According to American Sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein’s concept of ‘world system’, the crude concept of globalization existed as early as the 16th Century. The second wave which lasted from 1850 to 1945 was the period of expansion of European Empires. After the Second World War, the world economies are intricately linked and dependent upon each other due to the exchange of information, innovation, advancements in technology and others as well. The defeat of the Axis powers and the decolonization of the Third World countries revived global flows and international exchanges. The neo-liberal policies and the steps which have been taken under the canopy of capitalism around the world has expedited the process of globalization. The early 1980s witnessed the administration of USA and UK by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, global debt crisis, the fleshing out of neo-liberal Washington Consensus, the application of the SAPs (Structural Adjustment Programmes) on the developing nations, the fall of the Russian federations, the end of the Cold War made it attractive for the nations to adopt the globalized approach to their industrial development that would enable the creation of wealth and prosperity. The third phase began in the 1960s and is still going on. In this phase, new economic powers like Japan, China, India, Brazil, and South Africa have emerged as the most rapid globalizers.

Some of the distinct features of globalization are:

  1. Globalization creates new social networks and multiplies existing social networks which break existing political, social, economic, and cultural boundaries.
  2. Globalization expands and stretches social relations, activities, and interdependencies.
  3. The social activities and exchanges would be accelerated and expedited.
  4. It involves the acceleration of social interaction between people across social boundaries. As a result, people’s individual, as well as group identities, are transforming which in turn, is affecting the way they act in the world.
Meaning of Globalization - its features, aspects and criticism

India is today one of the fastest adopters of globalization policies. Its GDP has grown consistently at a high rate due to impressive growth in industrial manufacturing and the service sectors. But globalization-led growth has caused serious inequality between the rich and the poor in India. Despite a stupendous increase in national GDP, India is still ranked poorly in the overall Human Development Index. The critics of globalization say that this is the result of a decrease in the role and responsibility of governments towards the citizens. At the same time, globalists (i.e. those who argue for more and more globalization) say that governments must create more conditions for profit-seeking businessmen so that they establish more new enterprises, create mass employment and thus reduce poverty. This is also known as the ‘trickle-down’ theory of development, which mean that unless the business elites get richer, their wealth can’t trickle down to the common masses. In other words, this thought believes that what is good for businessmen is also good for others.

Some regions of the world are more integrated into the global economy as compared to others. Hence globalization affects different areas of the world differently. Globalization has replaced the welfare state with the competitive state. In other words, earlier the governments had the responsibility to take care of the critical needs of their citizens like health, and schooling. But due to the rollback of the duties of the government under globalization policy, the government has given these duties to the private bidder and whoever shall offer the most ‘competitive price’ (i.e. low price) gets to look after these sectors. This is called a competitive economy.

WORLD BANK, WTO, IMF: THE TRIAD OF GLOBAL TRADE

When it comes to fostering globalization, three international organizations stand out prominently. These three together make and enforce the rules of the global economy and their policies are always in sync with each other. They were created as a result of a conference held at a place called Bretton Woods between leaders from the following countries: Britain, Australia, New Zealand, the US, and Canada in the year 1944. The aim of the conference was to plan the world economy after World War II. The triad promotes the triple agenda of liberalization, privatization, and globalization. They promote these agendas throughout the developing countries by implementing the SAP (Structural Adjustment Programmes). SAP is a process under which countries make fundamental changes to their economy as a pre-condition for receiving loans from the IMF and the World Bank. SAP prescriptions follow an economic idea called neo-liberalism. Neoliberalism is an economic theory that promotes laissez-faire capitalism. The term laissez-faire literally means ‘leave alone’. Neoliberal economists believe that governments must have only a limited role in economic and social affairs of the country. Only then the markets can function effectively. It demands trade liberalization, privatization (i.e. governments must not be the major job creator, rather it should be the private firms), and fiscal austerity (which means that the governments can’t spend more money than what they earn in revenues). This is also called the ‘Washington Consensus’. Through these strategies, globalization aims at breaking down the national barriers to trade and lead to the creation of a global marketplace. When globalization takes place, then the economy of a country becomes export-oriented, foreign capitalists can easily take their money in and out of the country, and the private sector looks after most of the economic production. Because of all this, the power of the corporates or the MNCs has greatly increased over the past few decades. The official purpose of the SAP was to design the economic activities of the developing countries and countries who are in debt so that their economic activities can be improved and internal mechanisms of industrial activities influenced so that they have the ability to repay the debt. In practice, however, the terms of SAP are more like colonialism. In reality, considerable portions of these sums loaned are pocketed by the leaders of the developing countries or are used for the benefits of a few particular businesses of their choice. Typically, the countries taking debts under SAP conditions have to spend a large portion of their budgets on repayment of their debts.

WTO (WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION):

Initially this the organization was called GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) and its mandate was to make rules for international trade with the aim to reduce national barriers to trade.

IMF (INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND):

The aim of the IMF was to create international economic stability after the Second World War and to facilitate the exchange of one currency to another when trading across borders. It is also required to act as a lender-of-last-resort to countries that are low on cash.

WORLD BANK (INTERNATIONAL BANK FOR RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT):

It was established to rebuild the economies of European nations which were destroyed during the Second World War During the 1950s, it started giving loans to developing countries from the global South also. It gives loans to member countries for developmental projects like dams, roads, airports, bridges, agricultural development and educational projects.



There is a tendency to reduce globalisation to the economic realm & activities, but there is much more to it than just economics. Globalization or connections & interactions across different nations of the world has various dimensions, which can be listed as-

ECONOMIC

International market integration, trade &multinational production is seen as a major cause of globalisation. The process of integration has impacted nearly every aspect of modern life- making markets work on more efficient lines, increasing competition amidst buyers & sellers, lessening of warfare or face to face military conflicts, distribution of wealth, amongst others. Foreign Direct Investment, Technological Innovation, the rise of Economies of Scale have helped in enhancing technology transfer and enabling industrial restructuring. However, this interdependence between nations also finds and affected by the instability of markets. Fluctuations of the economic cycle, lack of accountability of foreign players also become a threat to national sovereignty.  Whenever we witness a rise of nationalistic or xenophobic or protectionist tendencies, there are new dangers of de-globalization.

In the economic sphere, the most obvious example of globalization is the creation of Global Value Chains (GVCs), wherein a single commodity is produced by combining parts from across the world. The GVC involves five basic steps viz. research and development, engineering, manufacturing, marketing and sales, and services, and each of these steps is outsourced to a foreign location in a globalized production process.

Let us take the example of the Apple ‘i-pod nano’. The technology of the microchip that goes into nano is American and it is licenced from a British firm. The American firm has modified this microchip in its California and Hyderabad research centres. They are produced in Taiwan, encased in plastic in Korea, stored in a Hong Kong warehouse, and shipped to mainland China where the i-pod nano is finally assembled. We see here that there is a global division of labour in the production of a product. The research part is done in the developed world whereas the bulk of the production is done in the developing countries where labour and raw materials are cheap.

Corporate Globalization

In the age of globalization, the bulk of industrial production takes place in MNCs. An MNC is a corporation which has its presence in two or more than two countries. Because of globalization, the business prospects of MNCs have greatly enhanced because now they can easily sell their products globally without paying high taxes to governments and also due to enhanced means of transport and communication. Outsourcing and off-shoring have become the new business model. Outsourcing means sending work across national borders to get it done at a cheaper price whereas off-shoring means establishing factories in places where raw materials and human labour is cheap. Because the two factors are abundant in India, Africa and China, there has been a consistent drive from the global brands to increase their presence in these regions and expand their operations there. For example, the call centres in India and China are used to contact the consumers in Europe and the USA as the cost of employment is a fraction of that in those countries. Popular fashion brands like Reebok, Nike, Adidas and others have set up their production chain in these countries and yet the products are sold at high prices in those countries as well. The products for the markets in the UK and USA are designed in these countries to keep the cost of production and manufacturing as low as possible and maximize the profits. In addition to it, the advancements of technology and internet-driven business operations has made it easier for these companies to sell their products across the globe. Legal and medical firms located in affluent countries of the West outsource their services to selected developing countries like India as the people of the country are educated and skilled. However, they can be recruited at a lower cost than in the home countries of these companies. The promoters and supporters of globalization list some of the following benefits of this phenomenon:

  • Globalization increases opportunities
  • Free trade creates wealth
  • Global trade eventually benefits everyone involved
  • Sharing of ideas, information, technology, and capabilities enrich human life across national borders
  • Globalization promotes the best use of human and natural resources in a given economy
  • Globalization makes available good quality products at cheap prices

Multinational and transnational companies are not the only factors who are responsible for globalization. The government of the developing nations are also equally responsible and contributes to the development of the globalized market in the country. These governments allow the companies to set up their operations by offering them subsidies, tax credits, contracts and others in order for them to invest in the country and expand their international brand in the country as well. While the infrastructure and HR benefits are provided by the Government of the countries, the economic architecture is provided by the IMF, World Bank and other international financial institutions which dictates the rule of globalized operations and continue to subjugate the common people into serving the whims of these corporate globalized entities. The majority of the MNCs are headquartered in Europe, North America, Korea and Japan, which shows the asymmetry in relations between global North and the global South. The few dozen leading TNCs of the world are effectively in control of the majority of the capital of the world as well as technology and international markets. In order to maintain their commanding position in the global economy, large TNCs keep buying up smaller ones. These are called mergers or acquisitions. The top TNCs of the world have more wealth than the GDPs of most countries. For example, Apple’s worth in the year 2018 was $ 1 Trillion. Due to it, many of the critics of globalization often term it as “globalization from above” or “corporate globalization”.

TNCs have boosted their fortunes through FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) into the developing economies. TNCs bring money to establish sweatshops (i.e. factories where the labourers work for long hours with really low wages) in developing economies. Nike for example has subcontracted 100% of its production to workers in China, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Thailand.

The Belt and Road Initiative

A good example of how the developing nations are now taking the initiative in globalization is China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) or the Belt and Road Initiative. Through this ambitious project, China is reviving (and expanding) the trade routes its ancient Silk Route which connected it to Central Asia and rest of the world. It is building roads, railways, bridges, and tunnels to connect China with countries in Asia, Africa, and Europe. It is at the same time building energy projects in countries that lie on this route and dozens of countries are eagerly joining this project as it will give them connectivity to export and import goods from and to rest of the world.

POLITICAL

Globalization is the triumph of the market over the government. There is a movement towards a unilateral integrated system, where the state is a rational actor, however not so powerful, under the cast of new players. It is the interactions with the environment that are responsible for the evolution of political systems. With the changes in surrounding ushered by new forces, conditions of functioning are also impacted. This is why there are new demands and constraints juxtaposed with limited resources, that the sovereign powers of the state are questioned by supranational governance & regulations. There is a crisis of the nation-state with plural authority structure alongside issues of legitimacy of new international actors, in what can be called ‘globalisation of political’. The de-territorialisation of decision making is no-longer a discreet word but has become enmeshed in the system.

Some of the scholars who are hyper globalists (people who passionately favour globalization and free trade) argue that globalization is bringing an end to the idea of the nation-state because it is reducing the power of national governments to control their economies and societies. Thomas Freidman, a leading American advocate of globalization says that globalization has moved ‘farther, faster, cheaper, and deeper’ today. On the other hand, another group of scholars are sceptical about the effects of globalization. They argue that nation-state still remains the principal actor in global politics. However, the truth is that due to globalization new kinds of international actors (like Multi-National Corporations, International NGOs, etc.) besides the nation-state have indeed emerged and are playing their part in international decision-making processes. Thus, a new kind of global politics has emerged as a result of globalization where the distinction between domestic and international has become diminished.

Globalization has shown its effects in the military sphere also through global arms trade and the spread of WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction). Even terrorism has acquired global dimensions due to the forces of globalization. The terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS have effectively used the latest means of telecommunications to build a global network. This is the reason why they are able to get new recruits from around the world, disseminate their message and execute their activities on a global scale.

In the field of law also, there is an emerging global legal order in the fields of human rights and trade. Thus, if there is a grave human rights violation in one country, then we see that a lot of other nations start pressurizing the government to prevent such abuses and resolve the crisis.

Growth of Regional and International Organizations

With globalization, governments have come to realize that without coming together in multilateral forums, they can’t solve their problems because each country’s problem today is tied with other countries’ issues. In other words, issues have become transnational in nature. So there is explosive growth in forums like the annual G20 (group of twenty leading economies of the world) summit, the Dublin Group (which brings together the drug enforcement agencies from US, EU, and other countries in order to make policies for prevention and control of drug trafficking), Financial Action Task Force (which brings together government experts from various countries to tackle the issue of money laundering and terror financing) etc. International military groups like NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organizations), ANZUS, etc. have been formed by countries to tackle their strategic and security needs collectively. Political groups like EU (European Union), MERCOSUR (Southern American Common Market), AU (African Union), ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations), NAFTA (North American Free Trade Association), etc. have been formed by groups of countries in order to bring themselves closer together politically as well as economically. In all these regional groups, the trade between member countries is fast and hassle-free and there is a desire among them to make this movement of goods, money and people freer. Thus, we see that through such groupings, the world is indeed trying to come together.

SOCIAL

Globalization has had different impacts on men and women. Lower government spending on health and infrastructure has adversely affected women’s health, particularly in the poor and developing nations. On the other hand, globalization has also altered the gender relations between men and women as more women are entering the public sphere. Their educational and employment opportunities have also increased. With globalization has come the western notion of modernity has helped in breaking the traditional view of women as mere home-makers and care-givers. Now it is routine to see women being lawyers, judges, doctors, CEOs of MNCs, running banks, joining the military etc.

The other social impacts of globalization are enormous. Millions of poor have been pushed out of their homelands, their livelihoods and resources have been snatched away for corporations thus pushing them into even more poverty, they are forced to become daily wage labourers working in hazardous conditions for little pay and most of them end up in urban slums which are infested with disease and crime. Globalization has not allowed labourers to unionize. In the absence of labour unions, workers can’t collectively bargain for fair wages and other benefits which they are entitled to. This means that globalization has not worked for all.

These ill effects of globalization are mainly because the countries implementing globalization policies are not prepared. For globalization’s benefits to reach everyone evenly, the governments need to prepare an educated and healthy workforce. This requires increased government spending on health and education. The government must allocate resources like land, power, and water to people in a fair manner. Unless the people are empowered to be able to make the most of globalization, there will remain a situation where globalization creates a few winners and many losers.

CULTURAL

Human cultures have intermingled and borrowed from each other for a long time in history. But in the current times, this has acquired an extent and depth that has never been seen before. This is due to the forces of globalization. Internet, satellite broadcasting technologies, and other means of communication have facilitated the growth of a set of values around the world viz. individualism (i.e. the idea that the individual rather than the family/ community/ nation is the primary unit of society and his rights and needs are paramount) and consumerism (i.e. the idea that we live to consume; the more we can buy things, the more meaningful role we play in society; the more we consume, the better citizen we are). The transnational media organizations have a huge role to play in cultural globalization. Through advertisements, TV shows, and music, the media companies shape peoples’ desire to consume. They encourage people to consume more than they need to. In the domain of news, TV, entertainment, and films it is a very small group of media TNCs that dominate the global culture industry and most of these TNCs are American. Hence globalization has immensely popularized American culture in all parts of the world. American TV programmes are so popular around the world that they have turned it into a global ‘gossip market’. Hence people all over the world are interested in the private lives of media celebrities like Jennifer Lopez, Leonardo Dicaprio, Pamela Anderson, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Michael Jordan, etc. Films, TV programmes, and news shows around the world are increasingly following a similar pattern. They disseminate similar kinds of cultural values among the viewers.

Globalization has also impacted the languages. The homogenizing force of globalization has decreased the linguistic diversity in the world as some languages like English have penetrated globally while other languages have declined in use and disappeared due to lack of speakers. Also, foreign language learning and tourism have carried languages of countries far beyond their borders. It is a common sight in Indian towns and cities to see English language classes and in the metro cities, people are teaching even more distant languages like French, German, Spanish, Russian, and Chinese to their children. Globalization has created a desire in people to travel the world and be able to take up jobs in any part of the globe. Hence the emphasis on learning new languages is growing. At the same time, people are also losing their native language skills due to this factor. The number of spoken languages dropped from 14,500 in the year 1500 to 7000 in the year 2000.

In the cultural sphere, globalization also produces hybridization, i.e. the mixing of different cultural forms and styles derived from around the world. For example, when Mac Donald’s, the American fast-food chain opened its branches in India, it introduced products like ‘Mc Alootikki’, ‘Mc Paneer burger’, that was American in form but had significant Indian content to it. It also made sure that its outlets were ‘family-friendly’ keeping in mind the Indians’ families preference for eating out together rather than alone as it often happens in the US. All of this is a part of the MNC mantra of globalization- ‘think globally, act locally’. There is a global spread of pop culture, global media corporations (like CNN), communication networks (like Vodafone) etc. At the same time, there has been a backlash against globalization through increased nationalism and ethnic pride.

TECHNOLOGICAL

Technology is seen as the main facilitator for the process of globalisation. Advances & developments are the main driving force- where technology is described as socialized knowledge of producing goods and services. It is the market that is the main force behind technological innovations.nThe economic process that accompanied the informational technology revolution are both informational and global because, under new historical conditions, productivity is generated through and competition is played out in a global network of interactions. Nanotechnology, plastic money, optic fibres etc. have led to new horizons on trade & exchange. Instant access to goods & services facilitated by technology has led to ‘distributed intelligence’. It has also made democratic governance more complex. The argument is that globalisation is seen as a moral necessity, but then what kind of vision we seek for the global system when accessibility & affordability of technology, goods & services along with it are unequal.

ECOLOGICAL

Scientists estimate that two-thirds of the farmlands have been ‘somewhat degraded’ and one-third have been ‘strongly degraded’. Half the world’s wetlands have already been destroyed and the biodiversity of freshwater ecosystems is under serious threat. Three-quarters of worldwide genetic diversity in agricultural crops has been lost since 1900. The oceans of the world are being filled with plastic. There is a global concern about the health of glaciers, ozone layer, and oceans. Governments from around the world are coming together in multilateral forums to tackle climate change. Globalization depends on the spread of capitalism around the world. And capitalism depends heavily upon those industries which extract a lot of minerals from the earth like coal, petroleum, gas, etc. Hence we see that with more globalization, there is an increase in industrialization and increase in pollution. Countries that are rapidly industrializing today (like India, China, Brazil, South Africa, and Nigeria) are also witnessing a rapid degradation of their environment. For more development of the economy, there must be more production of goods, and for more production of goods, there must be a demand in the market for those goods. This is where consumerism comes in. Consumerism as being spread by globalization encourages people to buy more and consume more than they need. While earlier a family had a single telephone, a single TV set and a single car, today we see that everyone in the family has or wants to have each of these items exclusively for themselves. This is the result of consumerism as well as the idea of individualism. Individualism emphasizes that privacy is more important than the idea of sharing. So we see that the cultural values of globalization are responsible for increased stress on the environment. For example, the US which has the foremost consumerist and individualist society in the world and a leading proponent of globalization has6% of world’s population but consumes 30-40% of global resources. The rampant depletion of forest area, decline in fisheries, and rise in earth temperature have made the notion of ‘sustainable development’ an oxymoron (i.e. an idea that contradicts itself).

IDEOLOGICAL

Globalization has a strong ideological side too. An ideology is a set of beliefs which give people a prism through which they look at the world. It tells people not only how the world is but also how it should be. Ideologies are used to give legitimacy to political actions as well as to defend existing power structures. It helps people identify the good from the bad. Globalism is the ideology of globalization. Through the positive portrayal of values of a free market, consumerism, individualism, choice, and freedom in the media, globalism creates a favourable climate for globalization. Globalism strives to give the impression to people that globalization is inevitable and irresistible. It tells governments and people that in order to improve their lives, they need to integrate their economy with the rest of the world. It hides the ill-effects of globalization by showing only one side of the story. At the same time globalism also hides the fact that globalization is not only about deregulation and free markets, but that there can be an alternative kind of globalization possible where the governments of the world come together to form a global regulatory framework for ensuring that the wealth generated by global businesses must be equally distributed among the people. Instead, globalism has popularized slogans like- TINA (‘There is no alternative’), and ‘end of history’ (a quotation by American scholar Francis Fukuyama, according to whom once Communism came to an end with the fall of the Soviet Union, Capitalism had won once and for all and that free-market was the only way left in which economies could grow). These slogans portray free market and globalization as some sort of natural force like weather or gravity. An impression is also created that nobody is in charge of globalization and that it benefits everyone. The truth is that most of the benefits of the globalization process have gone to countries of the First World and to the elites of the Third world. The truth is that the US, which is the largest and the strongest economic and military power in the world, sets the agenda for global economic integration and that it dominates the ‘triad’ (i.e. World Bank, IMF, and WTO) of globalization. The truth about globalization is that inequality has grown stupendously as a result of globalization. Today, 26 richest people on earth own as much as the poorest 3.8 billion (3800 crores) people. In the ten years after the 2008 global financial crisis, the number of billionaires in the world doubled up. Every day 10,000 people die because they can’t afford the costs of hospitals and medicines (Oxfam Report 2018).

Another ideological justification that is constructed to support the idea of globalization is that it promotes democracy. This is not necessarily true. For example, China is the leading globalizer in the world today. Its OBOR project is worth trillions of dollars, but it is not a democracy. UAE is another shining example of globalization but it is also not a democracy. Other dictatorships or authoritarian governments like Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia follow the free market and globalization policies. At the same time, there are a lot of countries that are sham democracies, i.e. they only have the outer signs of democracy like elections, but in essence, they are not democratic at all but are governed by strong men who manipulate the election systems and power structures to remain in power for long times. Many such countries like those found in sub-Saharan Africa, West Africa, and Russia are all following globalization but are hardly democratic because opposition parties are almost absent there.

CRITICISMS OF GLOBALIZATION

It has been pointed out by critics that the world was much more connected economically, politically, and culturally in the period between 1870 and 1914 as compared to today. They say that globalization is a myth that hides the fact that under its garb it is basically the dominance of the US and the West that is being spread globally. The bulk of the global trade is actually carried out between the developed countries of the world, which are concentrated in North America, Europe, and in East Asia (viz. Japan and Korea). As compared to the age when European countries had colonies in Asia, Africa, and Latin America (together they are called the ‘global South’), today countries of these three continents are much less integrated into the global economy. When people say that the global South is being globalized, what they actually mean is that the elites in the global South are doing an increasing amount of business with rest of the world, whereas the vast majority of the population in these countries remain untouched by the positive effects of globalization. This has resulted in a sharp increase in wealth inequality and income inequality in these countries. Despite globalization, national boundaries are growing in significance as more and more nationalist governments are coming into power around the world viz. Duterte in the Philippines, Erdogan in Turkey, Modi in India, Bolsonaro in Brazil, Shizo Abe in Japan, Trump in the US, etc. These leaders have increased the emphasis on national identity over the idea of ‘global citizenship’ which is promoted by globalization and many of them believe in implementing economic policies which favour domestic goods and domestic industry over foreign ones. This can be seen as a reaction to globalization. This may be the start of an era of de-globalization. It may be true that globalisation expands the opportunities & choices, promote economic efficiency, generate growth and yield profits. However, when gaps between rich and poor, developed and undeveloped are widening, issues of inequality, injustice, insecurity, poverty, malnutrition, increase in rampant cases of non-traditional security dimensions like narcotics, terrorism, pandemics etc. then surely globalisation has brought huge disadvantages also. It may have ushered unprecedented human advance for some but has also lethally reduced opportunities for others. On one hand, that is integrating economy, culture and governance but on the other hand, it is fragmenting societies. The nationalist leaders mentioned above have effectively capitalised on these failures of globalization and their appeal to people is based on the idea that they will rectify the wrongs done to people by globalization policies. One of the leading critics of globalization is former World Bank economist and Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz. He says that although globalization has worked, it lacks a fair implementation. Although economic growth and living standards are improving, it is not same for developing and developed countries. The developed countries have cornered the bulk of the profits of globalization whereas only a handful of the elite population living in developing countries has benefitted. Globalization is often called as the cause of several problems- lack of accountability, depletion of the ozone layer, the threat to diversity by the imposition of standardization, a rise of new forms of crisis in social milieu etc. The world economy has changed several times in the past. Values of humanity are always variable & not constant, so is the case with the future of globalization. The international system is going through a phase of transition now. Protectionism, populism, and new changes that impact job creation are being unleashed.

The ease and increase in the financial flows across national borders have created the situation where a sudden international flight of capital crashes stock exchanges and countries’ economies overnight. Many a time, an economic emergency in one country causes a ripple effect in other countries very quickly. For example, in the 1990s the governments of Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea, and the Philippines allowed foreign capital to move into their countries easily. This created a rush of capital in these markets. However once the investors realized in the year 1997 that staying there any longer would cause them economic losses, they began withdrawing their money from these countries suddenly. As a result, the stock markets and the value of the currency in these countries completely collapsed. Foreign banks refused to help out these economies (which were referred to as the ‘Asian tigers’). The government had to put in nearly all its money to rescue the stock markets. This led to a fall in economic output, a sudden fall in wages, and a sudden rise in unemployment. The social and political impacts of that devastating economic meltdown which was a direct result of globalization are felt even today.

Similarly, in the year 2008, a problem in the housing finance market in the US caused its international banking giants like Lehmann brothers to fall. This collapse soon had a devastating impact throughout the western world including Europe. Unemployment soared as people were made jobless overnight, those with jobs were denied social benefits like healthcare, angry protests happened everywhere from New York to Athens, and governments were voted out by people which caused major political turmoil. This is another instance where increasing interdependencies have caused a significant threat to economic, political, and social stability in different regions of the world.

Also Read:
GLOBALIZATION: WHAT, WHEN, WHERE & HOW
Catalyst Role of Tourism on International Relation
Domestic Financial Market Integration

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