Globalization can be defined as the integration of economic, political and cultural systems across the world (Levin institute, 15/07/08). It can include many topics including Migration, Energy, Pollution, Trade, Politics, Financial Institutions, Crime, War, Entertainment, Media and the Internet. The notion of globalization is hotly debated amongst academics but there does appear to be a common ground in all the arguments that the world is rapidly evolving. (Held, 2004). During the course of this essay the perspectives of globalists, transformationalists and inter-nationalists will be analysed to see how they contribute to the overall debate.
Great leaps in technologies like mobile phones, computers and satellite television as meant that communication as become instantaneous. The internet also has the ability to transcend national borders which may undermine authority and sovereignty. (Held ,p5, 2004). There are many differing views on globalization; however there is broad agreement that evidence of globalization can be categorized into four areas. Stretched social relations – it is argued that cultural, economic, and political processes are being increasingly stretched across nation boundaries. So events in one country have consequences in another e.
g. British coal fired power plants causing acid rain in Scandinavia. Intensification of flows – It is generally accepted that the world is more connected and easily accessible than at any point in its history. There are modern media technologies, telecommunications and of course the internet. Also there are more flight routes and flights than ever before. Events occurring on the other side of the planet can no longer be desensitivitised by distance. Increasing economic interpenetration – brands like Coca Cola, KFC, and McDonalds are now found around the planet.
Also films and television programmes are sold globally. This brings western type culture and business practices to differing cultures and societies. Global infrastructure – global organisations like the United Nations, World Trade Organisation and the International Monetary Fund can have powerful structural effects. Individual states can find themselves having to comply with these regulations. If they do not then these organizations can find themselves facing consequences like sanctions. (Held, p15-17, 2004) The globalist perspective is generally in two camps positive and pessimistic.
They regard globalisation as the increasing integration of the national economies of the majority of states in the world. This integration is driven by interrelated and growing areas like international trade, financial flows and investment, increased communications, technological advances and increased labour mobility between countries. They regard the process as inevitable with cultural and political factors being fundamentally driven by the economic sector (Held, p92-93). Foreign Direct investment as increased vastly.
Overall International trade as expanded from $84 billion dollars in 1953 to $8907 billion dollars in 2004 (World Trade Organization, BBC News, Africa in depth, 7/7/08). Positive Globalists and Economic Liberals argue that globalization is a long term positive trend which benefits consumers through greater competition. This process is accelerated by deregulation and the lowering of trade barriers. This as led to greater revenue streams and investment from richer to poorer countries. This as also allowed poorer countries to benefit from technological transfers (Delong,1999,p5 in a globalising world ?
culture, economics, politics, p99). Pessimistic Globalists take a different approach. They regard globalization as having many negative effects. They see poorer less economically developed countries particularly in the southern hemisphere as being exploited by there richer northern counter parts. They write from differing perspectives and ideologies including socialism and feminism. Socialist writers have pointed to numerous indicators of growing disparity between rich and poor countries. In 1980 the median income of the richest 10% of countries was 77 times that of the poorest 10%. By 1999 the difference was 122 times.
(Weller et al, 2002,p1 in a globalising world ? culture, economics, politics, p98). Other negative outcomes which the pessimists point to are financial crisis’s like the devaluation of currency in Thailand in 1997 and the current credit crunch in the USA. Investment loses now have ramifications for economies across the planet as stock markets, interest rates and pension funds are all inter connected by financial flows. Sasika Sassens writing from a feminist perspective argues that there are three sectors of the international economy where women and children from third world countries are exploited.
Firstly she sees that international export-oriented commercial cash crop agriculture is carried out mainly by women through subsistence farming methods like tea leaf collection. This she argues that this subsidizes the wages of men. Secondly under pressure to produce low cost imports low paid women and children are involved in sweat shop labour in factories. (Sassens1998) ‘Clothes sold in Britain by some of fashion’s biggest names are made in sweatshops where female workers are tricked into bonded labour and banned from becoming pregnant.