Globalisation, Why it Worries me…

23 September Print

Globalisation, Why it Worries me…

I am deeply worried by developments in globalization.  Here’s why.

 

First things first.  Modern globalization began with the recovery and opening of Western countries after World War 2.  This mini-globalization broadened as Japan rebuilt after the War, and other Asian countries progressively re-emerged on the scene after a couple of centuries of oblivion.

The former communist countries of central and eastern Europe then joined the global economy with the end of the Cold War.  And more recently several Latin American countries have enjoyed globalization as the demand for their resources has boomed.

To be sure, this globalization has brought immense prosperity and poverty reduction.  But today, globalization shows too many worrying signs.

Financial crises now reverberate around the planet with all too often frequency, inflicting terrible damage on our economies and citizens.

Yawning gaps between rich and poor are emerging, and are certainly not helped by the fact that reckless bankers are bailed out (“too big to fail”), while too many of our citizens are left unemployed.  Look at the mess in the United States and recent social unrest in Britain.

Foreign direct investment, in principle a stable and knowledge-intensive form of capital, too frequently results in massive environmental damage.  Witness the case of Shell’s oil spills in Nigeria or BP’s accident last year in the Gulf of Mexico.

Production networks and supply chains in East Asia enable developing countries to hook onto the global economy.  But too many human rights abuses occur in these factories.  Remember the suicides last year at Foxconn’s Chinese factories producing iPhones and iPods.

Migrants, who contribute so much to our economies and societies in good times, are too often the subject of discrimination when the economy turns down.

Untold ravages are also inflicted on different parts of the global environment, like our climate, biodiversity and fish stocks.

Another dark side of globalization is the explosion in global economic crime such as: trade in counterfeited goods, drugs and arms; the illegal rape of natural resources; illicit financial flows related to money laundering, tax evasion and many types of corruption, which are transited through tax havens; and human trafficking and smuggling for sexual and other exploitation.

The fundamental problem in all of this is governance.  Our national governments are not doing a good job.  And global governance is too concerned with nice statements and photo-opportunities.  The world’s major governments have great difficulty agreeing on anything.  Witness global trade talks, climate change negotiations and discussions on global financial regulation.

Asia has been the driving force of the global economy in recent decades.  Even so, its governance looks pretty weak at the moment.

Japan has had dysfunctional government for more than two decades.  The Chinese government looks the most competent in the region.  But it is clearly in a state of panic and paranoia as evidenced by its reaction to the recent train accident, or the Middle East’s jasmine revolution or even plain use of the Internet.

India’s corruption is deeper than the black hole of Calcutta.  And most of the ASEAN countries of South East Asia are quite simply floundering.

So, in short, these are very worrying times.  But nothing stays the same forever.  And things should improve one day, once we have really hit rock bottom.

But we should not wait till then.  We really need to work much harder to make a better world.

This is the point of this MrGlobalization website.  We hope that it can make us think better and act more decisively.

It is a vehicle to disseminate information, to express our thoughts and to get reactions.  Only we, the citizens of the world, can really make a better world.  Don’t count on your governments or their international organizations.

 

Source: Mr. Globalisation.com

 

Economy

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