What is globalization?
Compression in time and space.
1] Stretching of social, political and economic activities across national boundaries so that the event in one part of the world also affects other regions e.g. Civil wars in African countries create refugee problem in European nations.
2] Accelerating pace of global interactions facilitated by innovation in communication and transportation technology.
3] Growing collective awareness of a common ‘social sphere’.
4] Products are manufactured globally. Designed in some part, manufactured in other country assemble in other region and sold worldwide.
Arguments in support of globalization
1] The world economy is more interdependent than ever. States are no longer in control of economies. MNCs, domestic consumers, FDI and FII play important role in economy and all factors are not under complete control of state.
2] ICT revolution has facilitated global communication. What happens in one part of world is immediately noticed elsewhere.
3] There is also emergence of global culture, primarily emanating from west. The cities all over the world share many common features such as theatres, shopping malls, clubs, casinos, water-parts etc.
4] There is compression in time and space. Geographical distance no more adds delays.
5] We are also witnessing rise of global polity. For many issues people all over the world come together and we see rise of transnational social movements, pressure groups, NGOs etc.
6] New age problems are also global in effect. Climate change, ozone depletion, pollution etc. are the problems which no state alone can solve.
Globalization and Sovereignty. Is state eroding due to globalization?
1] Everyday $5.1 trillion flows across world’s foreign exchange market. No government, even the strongest one have the ability to resist speculation against its currency and thereby credibility of its economic policy. In 1992, British govt. was forced to devalue pound and abandon its economic strategy due to sustained attack from currency speculators.
2] Transnational corporations account for 40% of world output , 80% of world trade and somewhat similar portion of international investments. Thus they become key players in global economy, controlling distribution of resources. 1997 Asian financial crisis is shows how volatility of foreign investment can affect domestic economy.
How Sovereignty is not compromised.
Rather than ‘end of state’, the role of state is increasing. In global complex environment, even to achieve domestic goals, states are forced to engage in multilateral collaboration and cooperation. However in this search for more effective governance, state autonomy is compromised. There is a trade-off between effective governance and self-governance.
We can say that sovereignty is transformed but by no means eroded. States now assert sovereignty less in the form of claim to supreme power than as a bargaining tool – in the context of transnational rule making, with other agencies and social forces.
Sovereignty is bartered, shared and divided among agencies of public power at different level from local to global. Westphalian notion of indivisible, exclusive sovereignty is transformed into shared exercise of public power and authority.
Arguments against globalization
1] Its just a recent phase of capitalism. It only makes us appear that ‘states are helpless’ against forces of globalization. This is a myth and only perpetuates exploitation of weaker states.
2] Globalization has been uneven in its effects. Since liberalization there is rise in inequality at global scale. Globalization only applies to developed world and there is no qualitative change in majority of ‘third world’ countries.
3] It is a latest stage of cultural imperialism. In name of westernization we are only seeing the propagation of western view and western values in world. Many indigenous cultures are getting lost.
4] The scientific revolution have been major driver of globalization. But it helps only those who can take-advantage of it (developed countries). And it has allowed more efficient exploitation of resources of global south.
5] Not all global forces are good. The anarchy of World Wide Web has allowed its misuse in drug cartels, terrorist operations, censorship issues etc.
6] Another important issue is of responsibility. With MNCs, NGOs gaining weight in global affairs, there is confusion regarding their accountability.
7] There is also a paradox at the heart of this debate. Globalization is often promoted as ‘end of ideology’, dominance of western values. But we also see countries of Asia like China, ASEAN countries have been able to achieve high economic growth, despite their emphasis on ‘Asian Values’. If the trend continues, we may witness the clash between ‘Western’ and ‘Asian’ values In future over issues like human rights, gender, secularism etc.
Why globalization has issues/disadvantages?
1] Enormous inequalities in economic and military capacity of different states.
2] Absence of written global constitution/law. This gives advantage to those who are powerful.
3] Technocratic nature of globalization. Technically advanced countries are able to reap the advantages of globalization much better than poor. This widens the gap between them.
Globalization in different spheres.
1] Economic – MNCs, worldwide trade, global markets, global production etc.
2] Military – Arms trade, terrorism, WMD proliferation,
3] Legal – Transnational and international law in domains of trade, human rights, ICC, ICJ.
4] Ecological – Shared ecology, shared problems – global warming, climate change, ozone depletion, sea level rise…
5] Cultural – Complex mix of homogenization and heterogeneity. Global media, popular culture, food products etc.
6] Social – Migration from south to north, NGOs..
Engines of globalization.
1] Method – ICT revolution, transportation advancement etc.
2] Economics – Capitalism leads to search for global markets, and way of profit maximization.
3] Politics – It provides ideas, interests, power. Normative infrastructure. USA, UK governments have been crucial in nurturing globalization.
Three waves of globalization.
1] 1450 – 1850. Shaped by European discoveries and conquest of new places.
2] 1850 – 1945. Spread and entrenchment of European empires.
3] 1960 onwards – Highest stage, facilitated by multiple technological revolutions. Evolution of global society with geographical distances becoming less relevant.
Different perspectives on globalization.
Globalization is a dynamic phenomenon and there are diverse theories of it. Realism, liberalism, marxism and constructivism are most prominent among them. These can be said to be the four views of four different worlds. This is to say, because these theories focus on four different aspects of world politics.
For Realists Globalization has not changed the most fundamental aspect of world politics i.e. territorial nation-states. It may be true that due to increasing interconnectedness, economy and society are more dependent on each other but same cannot be said about states. The struggle for political power among states is still a reality and the role of hard power is still relevant. States still goes for balance of power. Globalization may have changed our economic and social lives, but state politics remains the same.
Liberals take a completely different view. For them globalization is ‘end of history’. The culmination of struggle of mankind. Liberals suggest that states are no more key actors in decision making. There has been rise of numerous actors like civil society, NGOs, International organizations etc. which affect decisions at world level. States are no more sealed units (billiard ball model) but more like a cobweb model of interactions (complex interdependence). Liberals also give importance to ICT revolution which aided the process of globalization.
For Marxist theorists, globalization is a false propaganda. Rather it is a latest stage of international capitalism. There is no qualitative shift in world politics. The bourgeoise in capitalist countries (core countries) are in charge of this process and it leads to development of underdevelopment in developing countries (peripheries and semi-peripheries).
Constructivists on the other had take a completely different view. Their entire argument can be summarized as ‘Globalization is what states make of it’. They are against the globalization as a ‘external force’ beyond our control. Rather they suggest that we can mold the process in variety of ways.
Thus we can see that realist focus on state, liberals focus on economic and social interdependence while capitalist are concerned about economic effects of globalization. While constructivists suggest that we can shape globalization the way we want.
Distinguish the concept of globalization from that of regionalisation and internationalisation.
The mentioned words are often used interchangeably in common parlance. However in the academic discipline, we need to make a distinction amongst them.
Globalization is also called as the compression in time and space. Primarily fuelled by technological revolution, it refers to the evolution of a global society. A society with shared values, culture and concerns. The national territorial boundaries become irrelevant in globalization. State is no longer the only player and many other actors like MNCs, NGOs also exercise considerable power over people. The sites of power and subjects of power may be even continents apart.
Internationalization on the other hand, refers to growing interdependence among states. However, their demarcated boundaries remain intact. Although state is not the only actor, it remains the key actor. International political institutions like United Nations, WTO illustrate the internationalization at work. States play key role in these organizations and issues discussed mainly deal with territorial or tariff boundaries.
Compared to above to, regionalization is relatively local phenomenon. It refers to the interaction between states in close geographical proximity like Europe, South America, South Asia etc. The process of regionalization is comparatively older. This is because trade, communication is easier in nearby areas and sometimes they also share common history. Evolution of European Union (EU), ASEAN illustrate the forces of regionalization at work.
Globalization and global politics.
Other ideas about global politics.
1] Double democratic deficit. Democratic governments, for purpose of effective governance have to deal, bargain with international actors. This compromises its decision making. For better governance, self-governance is compromised. On the other hand, global politics is highly distorted. There are high global inequalities and democratic credentials of global institutions are very low. This creates double democratic deficit i.e. at domestic as well as global level.
2] Implications on sovereignty.
3] Implications on state autonomy.
4] Implications on Territoriality.
Points 2], 3] & 4] are discussed in below topic of Westphalian order.
What do you understand by Westphalian constitution of world order?
‘Westphalian world order’ is one of the key concepts of international politics. European countries entered the ‘Treaty of Westphalia’ in 1648 after the violent ‘thirty years war’. The three important principles were recognized in this treaty.
1] Territoriality – The states were organized into territorial units with fixed borders.
2] State Sovereignty – Within its borders, states have supreme and exclusive power to govern. A political and legal authority.
3] State Autonomy – The state is autonomous to conduct its internal affairs in a way it pleases. The other states are to follow principle of ‘non-interference’ with regard to same.
The principles of Westphalian world order are quiet significant in a sense that they still govern the international politics. They are also recognized under United Nations charter. However under the forces of globalization, we are witnessing a transformation if not decline in these principles.
Post Westphalian order.
1] Territoriality – Border still remain relevant. However it is also becoming less important in some parts of the world i.e. EU.
2] State sovereignty – May not be eroded but certainly transformed. It’s definition has broadened and state cannot ignore the outside factors i.e. international agreements, transnational organizations etc.
3] State autonomy – The ability of state to govern its citizens is certainly compromised. State have zero or very less control in some aspect e.g. MNCs are huge source of employment in some countries, many businesses are export dependent, world wide web is highly unregulated etc.
Responses from developing & developed countries
China has benefitted most from globalization. It is pitching strongly against protectionist moves of USA. It has also shown willingness to be a next world leader, in charge of global order….
India’s response (WTO negotiations, RCEP, call for Make in India, call for ‘Atmanirbhar (आत्मनिर्भर) India’ on backdrop of COVID 19 crisis etc.). Cite relevant points regarding China’s export led policy, disadvantages of globalization for developing countries etc.
It can be discussed under the theme of ‘deglobalization’, giving examples of America first, Brexit. How globalization has led to job losses and reduced growth rate in developed countries… relevant points should be extracted from benefits/disadvantages of globalization mentioned above.