Globalization constrains states

While the previous points and statistics supporting globalization were from A Future Perfect they were not all accurate based on other sources of information. While it was argued that globalization helps poorer countries, according to the United Nations report in 1999 the gap between the rich and the poor is greatly increasing. The amount of people who still live on less than one dollar a day has stayed the same at 1.3 billion (Denny & Brittain, 1999).

The gap between the richest fifth in the world and the poorest has gotten worse: from 30 to 1 in 1970, to 60 to 1 in 1990, and it is now 74 to 1(Denny & Brittain, 1999). It was suggested that in order to help poorer countries there must be a code of conduct for multinational corporations and the creation of an international legal centre. There was also a decrease in the per capita GDP from 1980-2000, which was "the difference between doubling income per person, versus increasing it by just 21 percent" (Baker et. al 2000). The largest decrease was in the poorest countries of the world as they went from a modest rate of improvement to a declining GDP.

The United States has said that they have created nearly 21 million jobs since 1992, which leads people to believe that the growth in jobs is positive when in fact this increased trade has actually had the opposite effect. According to the Economic Policy Institute's issue brief #139, the opposite effect has been a decrease in average wages within manufacturing industries. In relation to trade there has been a "creation of 3.1 million jobs due to exports, but a 7.3 million job loss due to rising imports, for a net effect of 3.2 million job loss" (Scott 2000). As mentioned in A Future Perfect there is a shift from manufacturing jobs to service, but this is costly for the 11.4 million workers because of lost wages, moving expenses, and retraining. (Scott 2000) From these points we can see that globalization has had numerous negative effects relating to business.

According to one line of argument, globalization constrains states: free trade limits the ability of states to set policy and protect domestic companies; global problems exceed the grasp of any individual state; and global norms and institutions become more powerful.

Others suggest that in a more integrated world nation-states may even become more important: they have a special role in creating conditions for growth and compensating for the effects of economic competition; they are key players in organizations and treaties that address global problems; and they are themselves global models charged with great authority by global norms. It is quite obvious that Micklethwait and Wooldridge accentuate the borderless world when it comes to globalization.

They also believe that governments are becoming less powerful than they once were and that the they no longer propel a nations growth. For example, in the 1960's government spending accounted for 15% of America's growth, in the 1990's it accounts for 2% (Micklethwait and Woodbridge 148). The private sector fixed investment nearly doubled in growth from 1960 - 1990 (p. 148).

Thus as governments become less powerful and meaningless the more prevalent the private sector becomes. As this occurs, nations begin to build more bridges, roads, tunnels and railroads to its neighbors in order to expose the products and services thus "transborder networkings"(p152) arises. They go on to say that the nation-state isn't on the decline, but, well, "nobody denies" that it is losing power to other sorts of government and the real questions are "how much and to whom" (p.152). Thus the authors conclude: "Even without creating a borderless utopia (hell), even without achieving full realization, globalization has clearly changed the points of reference of the modern politics." (p. 335)

However, a recent article in the Globe and Mail labeled "Globalization takes back seat" relating to the G20 meeting suggests that nation-states remain to dominate in the manufacturing and service sectors because it is more likely for industries to trade in a national or regional approach. They proclaim that it is cheaper, more efficient and less time consuming to deal within these clusters, such as Silicon Valley for technology and Milan for textiles. Thus Silicon Valley for instance interacts within its entity or 'cluster' for the most part instead of trading with other places around the world. Hence, according to the writer of the article, regional states will remain prominent due to the fact that most business is done within a specific district.. 

A standard complaint about globalization is that it leads to cultural homogeneity: interaction and integration diminish difference; global norms, ideas or practices overtake local customs; many cultural flows, such as the provision of news, reflect exclusively Western interests and control; and the cultural imperialism of the United States leads to the global spread of American symbols and popular culture (cf. H. Schiller, Mass Communications and American Empire, 1969; C. Hamelink, The Politics of World Communication, 1994). 

The counterargument made by Micklethwait and Wooldridge stress new heterogeneity that results from globalization: interaction is likely to lead to new mixtures of cultures and integration is likely to provoke a defense of tradition; global norms or practices are necessarily interpreted differently according to local tradition, and one such norm stresses the value of cultural difference itself; cultural flows now originate in many places; and Western world does not determine a one homogenized culture and by no means does it impose such an idea. (cf. B. Barber, Jihad vs. McWorld, 1995; M. Featherstone et al., eds., Global Modernities, 1995; J. Tomlinson, Cultural Imperialism, 1991).

Also the authors Micklethwait and Wooldridge make known that globalization does not involve the conquest of any particular culture exploiting another. It expands horizons to an exceptional range of ideas and influences. It promotes cultural mixing, and schools people with diversity knowledge. The authors go on to say that globalization does not contaminate cultures to such an extent that people scowl upon. Peoples tendency is to use globalization as a scape goat. However, "cultural deserts have been produced by officials trying to preserve "their" cultures from corruption at the hands of aliens" (Micklethwait and Wooldridge p. 201).

Cultural change is not only a story of loss and destruction, but also of gain and creativity: as a result of increasing links, old forms of diversity do vanish, but at the same time a new cultural diversity comes into existence. Socialist, Peter Taaffe contradict's Michlethwait and Wooldridge by saying that multinational corporations promote a certain kind of consumerist culture, in which standard commodities, promoted by global marketing campaigns exploiting basic material desires, create similar lifestyles such as "Coca-Colonization."

Also the writer says that backed by the power of certain states, Western ideals are falsely established as universal, overriding local traditions known as "cultural imperialism." Modern institutions have an inherently rationalizing thrust, making all human practices more efficient, controllable, and predictable, as exemplified by the spread of fast food such as "McDonaldization." The United States for example, exerts hegemonic influence in promoting its values and habits through popular culture and the news media-"Americanization" As we progress into the 21st century, globalization has taken the centre stage. It sometimes stands accused of destroying the nation-state, the national identity, and the power of government to set policies.

As seen in the book all the negative aspects of the world today do not necessarily fall as victims of globalization though it is used as a scapegoat for many issues. As Charles F. Kettering puts it: "the world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress." People must drive for the better, and extend their own uniqueness beyond the long-established borders. Having said that, globalization is the major cause for the world to become westernized, such as the global market for Coca-cola, and McDonalds however it is also the main cause for cures and vaccines that are essentially required in modern world . Therefore, globalization causes more positive then negative effects on the world today. The real world is not perfect as John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge had described in A Future Perfect nevertheless it is gearing towards it. 

Works Cited

  • Baker, Dean, et al. "The Scoreboard on Globalization 1980-2000." Centre for Economic and Policy Research. Online. Internet. 19 Nov. 2001. Available http://www.cepr.net/globalization.
  • Denny, Charlotte, and Victoria Brittain. "UN Attacks Growing Gulf Between Rich and Poor." Guardian. 12 July 1999
  • Micklethwait, John, and Adrian Woodbridge. A Future Perfect: The Challenge and Hidden Promise of Globalization. New York: Crown, 2000. http://www.globalpolicy.org/nations/natstats.htm