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4] Globalization QA

Que 1. Distinguish the concept of globalization from that of regionalization and internationalization.

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 the compression in time and space. Primarily fuelled by the 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. The state is no longer the only player or key player but many other actors like MNCs, NGOs also exercise considerable power over people. The sites of power and subjects of power maybe even continents apart.

Internationalization, on the other hand, refers to the growing interdependence among states. However, their demarcated boundaries remain intact. Although the state is not the only actor, it remains the key actor. International political institutions like United Nations, WTO illustrate internationalization at work. States play a key role in these organizations and issues discussed mainly deal with territorial or tariff boundaries.
Compared to the above, regionalization is a 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 a common history. The evolution of European Union (EU), ASEAN illustrate the forces of regionalization at work.

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Que 2. What do you understand by Westphalia 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 the principle of ‘non-interference with regard to same.

The principles of the Westphalian world order are quite significant in the sense that they still govern international politics. They are also recognized under the United Nations charter. However, under the forces of globalization, we are witnessing a transformation if not a decline in these principles.

  1. Critically examine the impact of the process of globalisation from the perspective of the countries of the Global South. [2020/10m/150w/1d]

Globalisation refers to the acceleration and intensification of mechanisms, processes, and activities that promote global interdependence and lead to global political and economic integration.

While Thomas Friedman argues that the world is getting flattered with globalisation, Jagdish Bhagwati defends globalisation by saying that it has reduced inequalities in the global south.

The process of globalisation has reduced monopolies and the non-competitive nature of many developing economies which first chose to be a closed economies. It has increased employment opportunities and given consumers better choices. Globalisation also has led to various social movements with people of the global south demanding greater dignity deriving from the western value system.

However, the picture is not all green. With the opening of economies, many decolonised countries were thrown into open competition with the already industrialised countries. Immanuel Wallenstein explains this phenomenon by the core-periphery world system theory. Globalisation has also been accused of not helping the global south, instead of seeking markets and cheap labour for the hegemonic north.

Globalisation has brought us the age of information, of technological and social revolution. Globalisation, itself, is not the problem but the way it has been practised in the already asymmetrical world has become problematic.

2. Critically examine the globalisation in the past 25 years from the perspective of the Western world. [2017/10m/150w/1b]

Post 2nd World War, globalization was promoted as a solution to all the problems of mankind. However, the recent America First, Brexit etc. indicate the gradual disappointment of the west in globalisation.

The foundation of economic globalisation was laid by the concept of laissez-faire, free trade, and comparative advantage theories propounded by classical economists of the west. While the colonies were to provide the industries with raw materials and west would focus on manufacturing. Later, due to the cheap labour, the industries shifted to third-world countries.

Recently, voices against globalisation have been raised on the pretext of immigration, unemployment and terrorism. Migration has led to the outsourcing of jobs and wage cuts for the natives. The incident of 9/11 was also connected to the defects of globalisation. Moreover, it has raised cultural conflicts due to intense cultural diversity in the host countries like the USA.

The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has raised the alarms yet again. With the free trade, comes the free movement of diseases and xenophobia. And that the west as like ‘the rest’ can no longer rely on undirected globalisation.

3. Discuss the impact of globalisation on the internal functioning of the state. [2016/10m/150w/1c]

The modern states are characterized by sovereignty and territoriality. Supreme control over what takes place within their borders and what crosses them (control over the market). However, a prominent globalisation scholar Susan Strange argues that whereas previously states were masters of markets, now the reverse is true.

Globalisation has led to the rise of supra-territoriality and the decoupling of state, society and identity. With numerous financial transactions taking place across the globe, every day, states are no longer in control of finances.

A state can no longer solve problems in isolation with respect to global issues like climate change and terrorism. Due to the globalisation of migration, community formation is borderless and diasporas are also kept in mind while campaigning for elections.

Further, there has been a globalisation of human value and a sense of dignity, for instance, the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights limits the state’s authority to control its citizens.

However, it is the state which implements the policies on the ground and filters what goes on in its territory. As we see, states are forcing MNCs to adhere to their norms; e.g., Australia passed a law forcing Google and Facebook to pay publishers for news content. The conflict between the bordered state and the borderless corporations is rising today.

The same factors which are threatening the states are actually helping it rebound in a stronger manner. Thus, it is impossible to generalise about the impact of globalisation on the state because human interaction networks are penetrating the globe in multiple, variable and uneven fashion.

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4. Is globalisation essentially a process of ‘universalisation of capitalist modernity’? [2015/10m/150w/1d]

Capitalist modernity came with the enlightenment and revolution in knowledge in Europe. Along with it came the notion of individuality, liberty and equality. // What is capitalist modernity?

Globalisation has spread these precious values to all humanity but the economic part of this modernity idealises a universal consumer dream and many immigrants from third world countries have been financially exploited for their labour to fulfil this dream.

Globalisation is often seen as the coca-colonisation of the world whereby Third World populations are incorporated into the western economy as passive consumers of standardised products and nothing more.

Whereas scholars like Manfred B. Steger calls globalisation a trend in history “as old as humanity itself”. It precedes the origins and history of capitalism. The literature of ‘world system’ and ‘world systems’ theories identifies various inter-civilisational and interspatial large-scale networks in history, as ancient as the pre-Christian era. The socio-economic conditions of that point of time in no way can be called ‘capitalist modernity’.

Moreover, the same carriers of ‘globalisation’ – revolution in transportation and communication – helping the expansion of ‘capitalist modernity’ have helped the ‘postmodern cultures of resistance’ to become popular and hold ground worldwide. 

Globalisation is not so simple and homogenous a phenomenon. And the process of universalisation of capitalist modernity is a subset involved in unfolding dialectics of the whole.

5. How is it that economic and neoliberal globalisation is being interrogated from inside even in developed countries? What are the economic consequences of such globalisation? [2015/15m/200w/4c]  // I’ve made changes I felt.

Globalisation, among many other phenomenon, is a project of increasing free trade.

The anti-globalisation movement first came to worldwide attention during a WTO meeting in Seattle in the year 1999. It went down after a series of protests, but the voices of discontent are rising yet again.

In theory, the globalisation of trade in goods and services would benefit consumers in rich countries by giving them access to inexpensive goods produced by cheaper labour in poorer countries. This, in turn, would help grow the economies of those poorer countries. But on the ground, globalisation has caused job losses and depressed wages, particularly the competition between workers in developing and developed countries that helped drive down wages and job security for workers in developed countries. Importing goods from developing countries reduces the demand for unskilled workers in Europe and the United States.

The neo-liberal prioritisation of finance and trade over the welfare of people has disappointed people resulting in a rising distrust of the establishment that is blamed for the inequality. The right-wing is rising in the USA and Europe with warning against rampant globalisation that is endangering their civilisation. Unemployment and high inequality give rise to insecurity which is often directed at the immigrants who are blamed for stealing jobs.

Joseph Stiglitz writes in Globalisation and its Discontents that the problem is not globalisation, but how the process is being managed. If globalisation is to benefit most members of the society, strong social protection measures must be in place as in the Scandinavian countries.

6. What is Global Village? Elaborate on its main characteristics and also the factors that contributed to its growth. [2014/15m/200w/4b] // I’ve made changes I felt.

Referring to the advent of electronic interdependence on a global scale, Marshall McLuhan uses the term ‘global village’ to describe the contemporary world. By this, he means that instantaneous communication would effectively eliminate distance, and as information is transmitted across geographic boundaries at an unprecedented pace, the world would eventually shrink.

The characteristics of a global village can be understood by David Harvey’s notion of time-space compression, the idea that in the globalised world, time and space are not the barriers that they once were. Harvey argues that the speed of life has also increased.  Money has been ‘dematerialised while in relation to commodities, the values of ‘instantaneity and disposability are emphasised.

Constant Improvements in technologies and transportation, viz. mobile phones, internet, social media, and air travel, led to the growth of a global village. McLuhan argued that print media had produced the rational individual with a single point of view, whereas electronic media would result in the resurgence of tribal identity, a shifting collective. Thus, the global village would be peopled not by individuals but by collectives or tribes.

Like a village, rumours proliferate in the global media space; the immediacy of media results in flashpoints, sudden conflicts that resulted from too-easy-to-access information. People also doubt that the evolution of a global village will lead to the cultural hegemony of the west.

Shifting time-space reality towards the formation of a global village also brings challenges. Along with all the opportunities and interactions, we should be ready to tackle the questions about equal representation, reciprocal sharing, enriched diversity and mutual understanding.

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Uddeshya Jain


Uddeshya Jain