A Synopsis Of Part 1 Globalisation

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This is part of a series of articles, to read the others please use the links below.

1 GLOBALISATION, MULTICULTURALISM AND DIVERSITY – PART 1 GLOBALISATION or the synopsis 

2 DIVERSITY, MULTICULTURALISM AND MASS IMMIGRATION PART 1 PREAMBLE

DIVERSITY, MULTICULTURALISM AND MASS IMMIGRATION, PART 2, CHAPTER 1 MYTHS. PRE-AMBLE 

CHAPTER 2 ARE WE A NATION OF IMMIGRANTS?

 

This is a synopsis of the first of two articles I’ve written recently (August 2016) on globalisation, multiculturalism, and diversity. To read the full version please click here.

 

 

Why Have I Written This?

Our government in the United Kingdom doesn’t want to deal with the thorny issues of Globalisation and Diversity. I was moved to write these articles because I came across a very positive attitude towards globalisation and diversity from so called progressives which I felt was unrealistic. I wanted to counter their point of view with these articles that set out the pros and cons of globalisation and diversity as well as suggest some starting points towards where we go next in terms of dealing with these issues.

 

The Process and Policy of Globalisation

Globalisation can be defined in two main ways, the process and the policy. The process goes back to the beginning of human interaction via travel and is based around trade, cross fertilisation of both different peoples and their cultures. In the last 50 years, technology, communication and travel systems have increased this interaction exponentially.

Globalisation as a policy suggests that the redistribution of wealth from developed countries to developing ones will best be served via trading with each other. Using both a moral and economics based argument it contends that not only will the world be better off overall but by means of this process there will be more democracy, more human rights and less poverty.

 

The Main Criticisms of Globalisation

The case against globalisation is less of a theory based criticism but instead looks at the real world results of it as well as the practical limitations it faces.

 

Democracy and power

Multinational companies now exert a lot of control over policy makers around the world, this coupled with cross border agreements, trade deals and other influential accords results in countries finding that the areas they could legislate on previously are now beyond their control. This is known as either notional, nominal or hollowed out democracy. One of the results of this is that peoples and their governments often feel powerless in terms of how their countries are run (Pateman 1970). [1] Even within the international community where countries work together within supposed democratic structures, for instance The United Nations and The EU,  smaller members can feel side-lined by other more influential ones (Samir 1996) [2]

World Government

Some Pro-Globalisation proponents, such as David Held, do not see a central world government as a bad thing but instead see national governments as a negative entity. Contrary to this view John Dewey, (1859-1952) the leading philosopher representative of American pragmatism declared ’The Great Community in the sense of free and full intercommunication’ will only work through trans-local associations that feed into the intimate unions. ‘Democracy must begin at home’. ‘Fraternity, liberty and equality isolated from communal life are hopeless. .[3]

Whilst some countries have become more democratic a lot have not, in fact some have become even less so, and some are very unlikely to become so for a very long time.

Towards a Fairer World

One of the main aims of political globalisation is the redistribution of wealth throughout the world, however the reality has been the opposite. [4] Over the last 50 years wealth has been redistributed towards much greater inequalities between the rich and poor.  The IMF reported that estimates suggest that almost half of the world’s wealth is now owned by just 1 percent of its population, while a third of the total wealth in the United States is held by 1 percent of the population. In most countries with available data, the share held by the 1 percent wealthiest population is rising at the expense of the bottom 90 percent population.

 

Workers Wrongs

In terms of greater opportunities for people in the developing world there has been a mixed set of results. Whilst many people can improve from a move away from a more agricultural based economy, wages, conditions and opportunities are still very poor. The other downside to this is that this has caused unfair competition to workers in developed countries as they can’t compete against people who may well be working for 1/100th of their daily pay. This in turn has led to some developed countries taking on protective stances against developing countries.

 

The Bad Samaritans

 

Both developing and developed countries are mainly self-interested, so the higher aspirations of political globalisation have mainly fallen by the wayside. Some anti-globalisation proponents argue that the developed countries got where they are by doing the opposite of what they are telling developing countries to do now and in that way they are Bad Samaritans. Where free trade and less protectionism is pushed for in developing countries the consequences can be extremely detrimental. Instead it might be more beneficial getting these countries to slowly build up their population’s education and ethical standards regarding business is seen before rushing in with ambitious industrial strategies.  For instance, one point of view seems to be that it is essential to nurture manufacturers with long periods of protection and subsidies, such as the 30 years Toyota got in Japan. [5] Overall there is no clear evidence that globalisation would automatically create winners.

 

Expectations and Consequences

As people in developing countries get to see what they are missing out on in terms of materialism, and other living standards experienced in the developed world, their understandable resentments can lead to many differing reactions, most of which are not particularly good for the individuals, the countries they live in or the world as a whole. One massive and often overlooked factor is that the consequence of trying to materially better the life of billions of people is that the environmental impact may be disastrous. Although globalisation may have an impact eventually on lowering population levels it won’t likely be swift enough, and in many ways population levels should be more of a priority than economic development. Another argument for globalisation is that via the process there would be more cooperation in terms of combating the climate change and other environmentally related issues. However, whilst more countries are collaborating with environmental agendas, more of them than ever before are involved in greater amounts damage to the environment.

 

The Best of Some Worlds

The cross fertilisation of cultures is often cited as a major beneficial aspect of globalisation, with some believing that eventually the cherry picking of the best cultural characteristics may lead to a worldwide “best” culture. However, in the past good ideas were passed on from one culture to another, so this process is nothing new, but there is a concern that cultural development is often backed by an agenda, for instance to make people either more prone to consumerism, or the opposite in some ways, to be drawn towards more conservative ideological cultures (for instance Turkey).

 

A Cautionary Tale

In conclusion Globalisation is happening, well at least in its primary guise, but the political, high aspiration, version, well, for now at least, is not really going to plan and so far, has produced a mixed set of results. On top of that its aims seem highly unrealistic given the scale of poverty throughout the world, population size, ecological resources and time scale before other economic systems begin to take over. Meanwhile instead of wealth being distributed more fairly and democracy becoming more common, the richest people in the richest countries have got richer, while the poorer people in both the richer and poorer countries have got poorer too and are now biting at the bit of anti-globalisation rhetoric. On top of this Deconstructionists, post-Modernists and Marxists assert that “values” rather than economics should provide the foundation for human society.  So whilst Globalisation will limp on and have an effect,  it will, as with most political theories, find that reality bares little resemblance .

Thank you for taking the time to read this, if you fancy spending a lot longer reading the full version please click here.

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References

[1] Bessette 1980; Cohen and Rogers 1983; Barber 1984).

[2] http://www.e-ir.info/2011/08/27/has-globalization-spread-democracy-around-the-world/

[3] From 2007-8 Introduction: Democracy and the Possibility of a Global Public Sphere  by Martin Albrow and Marlies Glasius

[4] https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/sdn/2015/sdn1513.pdf

[5] Ha-Joon Chang’s “BAD SAMARITANS”

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