Whether We Call It Globalisation Or Inter Nationalisation Very Few People Organisations Or States Stand To Benefit
The purpose of this essay is to outline the differing views on globalisation and to comment on how, if at all, these changes benefit people, organisations or states.
Globalisation is a term used to describe how our lives are becoming increasingly intertwined with people and places around the world. There are differing perceptions of globalisation and what it means to individuals, organisations and counties. Globalisation describes a growing interconnectedness that affects us economically, politically and culturally.
The key concepts of globalisation include the idea of newly stretched social relations, which describes how events taking place on one side of the world can affect those on the other side. The evidence supporting this idea of stretched relations includes global pollution and the growing number of countries involved in International trade. Conversely the vast numbers of subsistence farmers still living in supposedly developed countries casts some doubt on this supporting evidence.
A second key concept suggests that the stretching of social relations is connected with an intensification of flows and networks of interaction between nations. This idea suggests that the physical geographic distance between countries is no longer a barrier to communication. News of a disaster on one side of the globe can be instantly sent around the world, via the Internet and communication satellites. Although the growth and speed at which International
information can be dispersed still does not directly involve most of the developed world.
Increasing interpenetration is the third important concept used to explain globalisation. This idea suggests that the extent and intensity of global interactions is actually changing the geography of the world. Distant cultures are now frequently interchanged between societies, a prime example of this being the speed at which branches of McDonalds and Starbucks have appeared around the globe. It can be argued, however, that these changes do not have a vital impact on people’s lives.
The development of a global infrastructure involves the connections that cross international borders, that continue outside of the individual nations regulations. This system leaves previous state controls irrelevant and ineffective. The United Nations Organisation hold an important role in the political and social areas of the world and are able to make decisions regarding the activities of individual states. The World Bank and International Monetary fund provide stability for global finance. Whilst these International organisations continue to regulate global issues it is suggested that states can resist these controls should they wish, as in the case of China and North Korea.
There are differing views of the effects of globalisation some of which are positive and others are pessimistic. There is however a general view that International trade and investment has steadily increased, especially since 1970.
Globalists take the view that globalisation is real, can be measured and the essential element is economic. They promote the idea that national economies are rapidly becoming more integrated mainly due to five major global changes. Firstly growing International trade is the result of increased competition and the decrease of trade barriers. Financial flows have also increased especially in the
area of direct foreign investment. International communications by both the Internet and traditional methods have increased. Technology has advanced rapidly in many areas notably in electronics, bioengineering and transportation. Finally the increase in labour mobility has had a positive effect on the integration of national economies.
A direct result of the growing integration between national economies is the emergence of a single global economy, which is increasingly stretching. Economic events and decisions taken on one side of the world now have a significant impact on faraway places. An example of this is the 1997 East Asian financial crisis when decisions taken by financial traders in New York resulted in widespread bankruptcies in Thailand, Korea and Malaysia.
Globalists argue that the intensification of flows have reduced the physical distance between countries, this view is supported by the significant increase in the amount of individuals and organisations using the Internet to purchase foreign goods.
The increasing interpenetration of economies has seen a growth in the amount of foreign products available in other countries. It is now possible to eat in Indian, Chinese and Greek restaurants in most developed countries.
Products of multinational organisations are available globally and in some cases a specific product may appear to be home grown as it is so familiar but it is, in fact, manufactured abroad.
International investment means that any firm, which appears as a household name, may well be part of some foreign or internationally owned conglomerate. We may, for example think of products such as ‘Ariel’ and ‘Daz’ as typically British,
and yet they are actually made by the US based multinational company, Proctor and Gamble.
Globalists also view the growth in global infrastructure is being used to regulate and control future developments. For example the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation make policies and regulations that dictate how all states and their businesses function.
As for who wins and who loses as a result of globalisation, the globalist view is that potentially everybody wins although pessimistic globalists contradict that view by arguing that we are all potential losers.
The positive globalist view is that globalisation has increased the efficiency of world economy and has created many jobs in developing countries. They also claim that globalisation has in fact had a large part to play in world peace, using the fact that no two countries that have a McDonalds outlet have ever gone to war against each other to support this argument.
Positive globalists also suggest that integrated global markets speed up the transfer of technology to poorer countries, and that the removal of trade barriers has reduced the role of Governments and in turn reduced the possibility of corruption.
Pessimistic globalists contradict such arguments with the view that the ever widening gap between the worlds rich and poor is causing long term poverty, resentment, increasing social exclusion and political unrest. They also argue that organised crime, terrorism and pollution have all increased as a result of reduced borders. The evidence of oil tanker spillage affecting an increasing number of people supports the issue surrounding the increase in global pollution and the
spread of wildlife disease increases the likelihood of trading in contaminated products.
The pessimistic globalist see the main losers as being those without stable financial communications or commercial structures, who find it almost impossible to participate in globalisation and therefore they receive far less private investment capital which would assist them to break this cycle.
Internationalists offer an opposing view of globalisation. The internationalist view is sceptical and argues that economic globalisation has been over emphasised and therefore they disagree with the globalist view that it is here to stay.
The internationalist argues that the changes in International economic dependency do not lead toward a single global economy, and that there is continuity with past economic patterns. This view is supported by the argument that the general increase in the level of International trade since 1950 is similar to that attained prior to the First World War.
“Evidence shows, for example, that world merchandise experts in 1913 equalled about 12 per cent of world domestic product, shrinking to about 7 per cent in 1950, rising again to 12 per cent in 1990s “ (Grieco and Ikenberry, cited in Held 2004, page 114.)
Internationalists share the view of pessimistic globalist that current developments strengthen some but threaten the vulnerable. Economies with high incomes such as the European Union, Japan and USA have the political power to defend against global trade that threatens their interests. Alternatively the weaker nations
with low incomes remain as economically vulnerable now as they were politically vulnerable throughout Imperialism.
Internationalists see regionalisation as being far more important than globalisation. They argue that the world economy is dependent on three dominating economies, that being the European Union, North America and South East Asia, which includes Japan. The trade between these economies continues to grow and this according to internationalists is the result of very strong national interests that contradict the idea of globalisation.
Internationalists argue that there are no winners as a result of globalisation; they see it as increasing inequalities and widening the gap between the world’s rich and poor people, organisations and states.
In conclusion I share the view of the positive globalist, however I do not believe that we will ever live in a world where geography and cultures have no importance. I would agree that Governments are able to restrict the effects of globalisation should they wish, they cannot uninvent the Internet but they can restrict access to foreign sites. An example of this being China, who censor how and what sites the search engine Google can access and also North Korea who appear to be closing themselves off from the rest of the world. The European Union is, in my view, the success story of globalisation, 15 countries share a single market and 12 of those share a single currency.