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Globalization and its discontents

 
 
Reply Sat 22 Mar, 2003 08:59 am
It became such a popular word. It seems everybody has something to say about globalization. But do we really know what we are talking about? Is is a one big process or a multitude of them? If so, are they going on in harmony or do they sometimes oppose each other? Is it a progress for the mankind? How does it affect your country and what responsibilities does it bring along for us as individuals?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 3,635 • Replies: 58
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littlek
 
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Reply Sat 22 Mar, 2003 09:13 am
Morning Dag, I think globalization is inevitable, unless we are thrown into a dark ages with no internet and no mass long distance transportation. So, what does it mean? World wide trade and travel? People have to be able to tolerate one another in order to keep up trade agreements. If there is 0 tolerance then what?

I think our conflicts are mostly if no wholy, at base, religion. So, unless the people of the world can accept other relgions besides their own, there will always be conflict. At this point there is major economic disparity among the nations of the world. America's affluence can only be seen as somewhat arrogant to many. This can also cause a lot of feelings of ill-will. Especially when in our affluence we continue to rip off the rest of the world.

As individuals we need to accept religious/racial/gender/sexual orientation/etc differences, help where we can financialy or otherwise.

I think the US and other wealthy countries MUST do more to aid their fellow global citizens. I don't think it'll happen any time soon, maybe it won't ever, but my fantasy is a world in which the rich share their wealthy in a true trickle down fashion. Workers in other countries get paid fair wages. Advanced medical technology is distributed to areas with great need. As is food. There has to be honest governments in the areas where aid is sent so it gets to the people. I think if we are honest and fair and generous, leaders around the world might be less manipulative and corrupt. I see some of this here and there. I applaud it.

More later after my coffee
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au1929
 
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Reply Sat 22 Mar, 2003 11:49 am
Bookmark To nice a day to sit by the computer
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littlek
 
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Reply Sat 22 Mar, 2003 05:01 pm
An article on globalization - pros and cons:

BBC
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satt fs
 
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Reply Sat 22 Mar, 2003 05:28 pm
Internationalization: {globalization, localization}.
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edgarblythe
 
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Reply Sat 22 Mar, 2003 05:54 pm
I have a notion of globalization as a good thing, if only we can keep the big boys of business and the military from hogging all the benefits and using the poor nations to make products for ten cents an hour.
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dlowan
 
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Reply Sat 22 Mar, 2003 05:59 pm
Well, I shall be a devil's advocate.

It has destroyed many, many Australian industries - pretty much wiping out our garment, small electrics and on and on. OK - they were protected, but now a huge array of jobs for young or ill-educated people have gone, and we have high youth unemployment and a stubborn percentage of permanent unemployed.

For this we get what? Well, we are able to export more - but huge and powerful blocs, like the USA (which beats the rest of the world around the head and bullies them to have free trade) and the EU persist in protecting huge segments of their own industry from competition with our primary industries, for instance, which are far more efficient.

We now see a greater chasm between rich and poor in this country with consequent social fracturing.

The world economic forces, being conservative, as financial forces always are, do not allow our governments effective freedom in governing. If we attempt to raise taxes, so that our services like education, health etc remain of really high standard, as they once were - we are punished by the movement of capital from Australia and lowering of our credit rating. Our schools, hospitals, roads, infrastructure are starving. Guess what - we are starting to look like America! Lots of wealth at the top - and lousy community services and infrastructure.
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au1929
 
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Reply Sat 22 Mar, 2003 06:09 pm
First let me say there is much about globalization I do not know. However, I will give it a shot. First, let me note that what you littlek seem to be describing is global socialism.
As to globalization the Idea is to raise the living standard of the poorer nations by lowering that of the affluent. The URL you posted says it all. Everything will be manufactured in the lowest wage area to the detriment of home industries. In order to compete wages will have to be lowered to the lowest common denominator. Raising the standard of living in the poorer countries but lowering it in others.
We see that now in the US where well paying blue color jobs are being sucked out of the economy. Eventually that will have to effect the working man in the US. if it hasn't already?
In addition I would Imagine worldwide laws would have to be enacted regarding work rules and conditions as well I suppose as minimum wages.
IMO or it least it seems to me that the worker particularly in the developed nations would be the losers. I should add the rich will get richer and the rest of us will be dumped on. I could be wrong but that is how it appears to me.
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dagmaraka
 
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Reply Mon 24 Mar, 2003 09:21 am
I am not sure, whethere there is any Idea, any final goal behind globalization, it seems to be a savage cluster processes, that sometimes happen to overlap, but sometimes quite oppose each other. So while it is true that the advanced technology helps to do wonders, even in the poorest countries, it is also true that the North-South disparities are growing, in the relative terms. While the birth of the gigantic MNC's has brought investment to the poorest regions, it has also frequently meant (think Indian dams, Brazillian mines, etc etc.) uprooting of hundreds of thousands of people from their ancient native lend and forcing them to migrate across the world in search of any cheap labor. All the controversies are most visibly to be seen in the 'megacities', the urban metropols with tens of millions of inhabitants, that somewhat represent a sample of the whole world. You will see the financial districts with predominantly white rich men and women, in contrast to most of the services, from laundry, through cleaning or cooking, being done by the people originating from the third world. While the top salaries are ever growing, the low-skilled people in the services are increasingly worse off. With the jump in the temporary and seasonal and contract work, great numbers of the poor workers across the world have lost any benefits and are paid lower salaries in relative terms. This surely does affect the domestic workers, not just in the U.S. (no wonder many unions have vigorously opposed NAFTA!), but in the whole industrialized world. But exactly because of that I believe it is necessary for the 'little men', both domestic and immigrant, to organize, to protect their interests. If they will be on their own, or even worse, waging war one against another, there will be little hope for improvement. There were some first signs of success in such cooperation in Britain, too miniscule to be loudly applauded, but at least it is a precedent that shows cooperation is possible. So is globalization good or bad? Hard to tell, it is certainly a lot of both. It is inevitable though, it is happening and we are more of observers than of acters.
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au1929
 
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Reply Mon 24 Mar, 2003 10:02 am
.dagmaraka



Quote:

You will see the financial districts with predominantly white rich men and women, in contrast to most of the services, from laundry, through cleaning or cooking, being done by the people originating from the third world.


This is completely off subject but I keep reading about rich white men and women and the poor trodden upon people from the third world.
These people you speak of in many instaances are immigrants who arrive with few if any skills and education. What else is left to them. If you know anything about the history of immigrants in this nation you would know that is what happened to wave after wave of immigrants from white Europe. And by the way there are poor white people and rich people from third world countries in the US.
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dagmaraka
 
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Reply Mon 24 Mar, 2003 10:48 am
Surely so. But it is not the case today, or certainly not to such extent - immigrants from Europe, Japan, Australia,... are mostly educated people who come to pursue specific careers. The poor people from those regions seek the U.S. as a refuge much less frequently than in the past. But I meant the industrialized countries in general - including Europe, Japan, and even some pockets of megacities in East Asia. Migration is based on desperation, I fully agree. And it does affect the poor everywhere in the 'developed' (though I hate that word) world, not positively. That is precisely what my post was about. All I said is that this trend, the megaurbanization (or whatnot), is increasingly 'internationalized' and unlike in the more distant past (for globalization really started with industrial revolution, late 18th/early 19th century), we will find people from all over the world in any one of those metropols. And, as I said elsewhere, it is not all too unwelcomed by the destination countries (here I am thinking more of Italy, France, Great Britain, for the U.S., I suspect, is a different case due to its unique history based on immigration). The old Europe has a declining population of its own and most people receive enough education and training that the low-skill jobs are unappealing to them and willingly left to immigrants. This is a stable trend in there and as long as it works, it does not seem objectionable. They even have special programs to attract foreigners for these jobs for a limited period of time, inspiration being the German 'gastarbeiter' model.
But what does need to be considered is of a much more philosophical nature. We have generally accepted the universal values of certain basic rights that belong to every person, on the basis of their humanity. The list of these rights is ever-growing. From civil rights, it was extended to political rights, to social, economic and cultural rights, etc. Not every country agrees to the same standards, but there seems to be a basic consensus about the need to guarantee the basic of these rights (as expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the INternational Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Social, Cultural and Economic Rights, and tens of other widely agreed to documents). I am not talking here about the detailed rights, as some exact hours to work, or some standardized wage, but only the most basic principles: right to vote, right to work, right ,...
These rights are being guaranteed to the citizens by their states. They are country-bound. That has worked well so far and there is really no foreseeable alternative to this mechanism. The bell does not toll yet for the nation states. BUT: these obligations are universal in principle, they should apply to any human being.With the speeded up processes of globalization that were hinted at in this thread, that seems to be an unpleasant and hard to solve problem for the states that are parties to these human rights documents. For how to harmonize the universal language of these obligations with the ever growing groups of people from all over the world who do not qualify for such protection due to their citizenship? Many find themselves in miserable conditions with no protection whatsoever. Many fleed their countries due to severe hardship, only to end up in a comparable hardship in the first world.

The industrialized countries need to protect their citizens, that is understandable. So immigration needs to be closely regulated and limited, so that the domestic population is not put in danger. But what with those who do get in, and settle down, and work extremely hard, yet have very few rights or guarantees to live their lives in dignity? I can't propose that these countries should go out of their way, give citizenship to everyone and embrace the coming immigrants right away, that would be plainly foolish on their sides. Yet it does represent, to me, an unsolvable philosophical dilemma, for the universal moral formulas of human rights are but empty statements for these groups of people, for many years after they leave their countries for whichever reasons.

sorry if it sounds confused at places, rightly so. i am just curious to see whether anyone else has thoughts on the subject, for i cannot resolve it and find it worriesome.
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dagmaraka
 
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Reply Mon 24 Mar, 2003 01:25 pm
Saskia Sassen
Here are a few links to the author of the book 'Globalization and Its Discontents' from where I stole the title of this thread as well as some ideas. But hey, some are mine!

Reaction to September 11

Global city
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Mar, 2003 11:38 am
Globalization is a fact, and it's likely to stay for a long, long time. Whether we like it or not. Opposing it per se is useless.

We have three types of globalization coming together: economical (both production and trade), cultural (the Westernization of the Third World and, to a lesser extent, the Thirdworldization of the West) and political (the growing multilateralism and range of International Law). Political globalization is being challenged by the GWB administration.

Economical globalization is a necessity of capitalism, as it brakes down the production of commodities (both goods and services) in different places of the world. The result is higher profits, more growth and an effective defense against workers' demands. Free trade enhances the overall benefits for consumers, promotes growth of export directed industries and services, while devastating uncompetitive protected industries. For the workers, it translates into a rushing necessity for acquiring skills. If you didn't go past High School, are computer illiterate and live in a First World country, you're doomed. Same thing is starting to happen in "middle wage" countries. At the same time, there is a "brain-sucking" effect from the richer countries, since they pay much better for highly skilled personnel.

Historically, there have been two viable ways to look and act upon globalization. One is to let the market forces run free. The other, to promote a lesser social impact of globalization. In either case, there is no free lunch.
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dagmaraka
 
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Reply Tue 25 Mar, 2003 12:13 pm
I hope, Fbaezer, that the GWB administration will have at most a temporary impact. For I cannot imagine a peacefull future without a multilateral political cooperation.
Many today claim that the processes hinted at above, especially what fbaezer writes about, challenges the position of the nation state as a sovereign institution. The financial market being much more fluid, major transaction happening across half of the planet in a matter of seconds without states having absolute controll over people's transactions and actions in general.
The U.N., for example, no matter what its credibility will be after the war, has set an important precedent that the human rights of people have superiority over the state's sovereignty, thus toppling the principle of non-intervention that was asserted in international relations for centuries. Are we looking into a 'new era', if not immediately, within some 50 years, or a century, to come?
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fbaezer
 
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Reply Tue 25 Mar, 2003 12:31 pm
dagmaraka, as usual I agree with you.

The position of the nation State as a sovereign institution is growingly challenged by globalization. In order to best serve their citizens, most States and national civil societies must come to a greater intercourse with other States and national civil societies, and create supranational institutions.
My point all this time has been whether those institutions will be governed by the rule of international law (which implies the construction of some sort of consensus) or determined out of shere force and hegemony.
IMO, that's what the ongoing war is, in the first place, about.
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dagmaraka
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Mar, 2003 12:51 pm
Right, and that is quite worriesome. When the NATO blue helmets entered Kosovo after the air strikes, Vaclav Havel, the Czech President at that time has said at Forum 2000 (popular conference in Europe): "This day will be marked in history as the end of the nation-state". What he meant (from the context) was nation-state in the sense of one nation dominating all other nationalities in the country. But the action itself naturally had more far-reaching consequences, for it challenges the very principles on which the international relations were based.
But! Although the role of the states is shifting and changing, and perhaps diminishing in some areas, I cannot imagine its role being less, at least not in any foreseeable future. That could only happen if we had a strong international mechanism at place, that would implement all agreements, documents and law, including sanctioning system. It would require internationalization of police/justice systems, administration, etc. etc. For all of these are still implemented on the level of state. Thus paradoxically, although the states are the greatest violators of individuals' human rights (how do i always end up on this topic...;-)), they are the only de facto guarantee of their implementation. But it is essential that the states are pressured by other states and by international structures, otherwise we would see much more severe HR violations, even in the most 'developed' countries.
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fbaezer
 
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Reply Tue 25 Mar, 2003 01:02 pm
I totally agree. 100%.
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dlowan
 
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Reply Tue 25 Mar, 2003 02:23 pm
OJK - then it is, indeed, time for supra-national workers' organizations - at a time when trade Unions are becoming increasingly powerless - since if nation states are unable to ameliorate the effects of raw capitalism on working conditions, and there is no effective internationl body to do so.

Actually, I believe we have seen the beginnings of such organization again - an example being how dock workers in other countries put bans on Australian ships when the firm Patrick's (with Australian conservative Government help) locked out its workers, using hired men, with guns, hoods and dogs, to break the power of the Waterside Workers' Federation.
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dagmaraka
 
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Reply Tue 25 Mar, 2003 02:28 pm
watch out, dlowan, you may be accused of propagating global socialism as well! ;-)
i haven't heard about that case, go dock workers! there are some first birds (slovak expression maybe?) of unionization across borders within european union - it only makes sense as the social policy gets increasingly extended from domestic states into the EU level. there should, however be more concern about the production and trading policies of large companies, especially in the third world. with stronger unions we'd be much more able to keep them in check and perhaps even bring some tangible changes for the poorest.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Mar, 2003 03:06 pm
Indeed. Wobblies resurgent!
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