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The term globalization has been broadly used since early 1990s though it has gradually developed since World War (II). Although there various ways of defining globalization, the concept can simply be described as process through which countries, individuals and people are increasingly getting linked and interdependent through amplified exchange of information (communication) and economic integration, travel and diffusion of culture (particularly Western culture) (Brahm, 2005).This essay will give a detailed overview of controversy surrounding how globalization has resulted to undemocratic actions among nations in respect to important social and economic policies' decision-making process. The essay will do this by discussing how various kinds of globalization impact on decisions made by various countries other than looking at the role of transitional organizations in formulation of key social and political policies.
Due to the increased interconnectedness between several global aspects, it is believed that the role of individual government to make their own decisions is being overtaken by various influential international organizations and global economic leaders (Labonte & Torgerson, 2005). Accordingly globalization is basically undemocratic due to the fact that decision making on economic policy and social issues is no longer in the hands of national authorities but rests within the benevolence of transitional organizations.
Morgan (1992) defines democracy as a form of rule where absolute power vested among people and practiced by them either indirectly or directly via a structure of representation that normally entails free elections, periodically. In other words, a democratic society is such that there is respect and social equality among individuals in a community. Morgan (1992) asserts that on the other hand, undemocratic society is that one which does not conform to democratic ideals and principles or social equity. It entails the process of decision making process left in the hand of few influential figures.
Brahm (2005) asserts that the process of globalization is largely seen as involving four kinds of change. First of all, globalization entails stretching of economic, social and political undertakings across regions, continents and frontiers. Secondly, the process is evident by the intensification of flows and interconnectedness of investment, migration, finance, culture among others. The third aspect is hastening global processes and interactions. Lastly the mounting velocity, extensity and intensity of global interactions may be linked to the intensifying impact so that distant events' effects can be highly significant at some other place hence bringing about substantial global consequences. Consequently, the borders between domestic affairs and global matters become progressively more fluid. This is one of the major reasons that have made the process undemocratic, contrary to the expectations of many.
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There are many individuals rejecting the opinion that the world has entered an essentially new era. They include environmental groups, labor unions and economic nationalists who persistently warn that some elements of globalization such as free market might send more job overseas than it generates domestically (Tonelson, 2003). However there are still many who still feel that globalization is a genuine streamlining of social organization. This is because they site proof that human activity is now intercontinental or interregional in scale. Even though globalization process is historically rooted and long it is not teleological and not devoid of fits starts. This implies that globalization is not a natural phenomena and it is an ongoing course (Brahm, 2005). In other words, globalization is an extremely complicated interface of forces resulting to order and chaos, mutual aid and disagreement, and integration and breakdown.
There are several globalization aspects that affect decision making within individual countries to a very large extent. The aspects include: culture, politics, immigration, global trade, the role played by multinational organizations through corporate social responsibility, among others (Jones, 2010).
There are several types of globalization including, economic, socio-cultural and political globalization. All this forms greatly affects how countries make their own decisions, augmented by transnational organizations the process of globalization has greatly become undemocratic. Economic globalization has ensured intensification of capital flows and global trade like never before. However, present global economic drifts indicate that financial and economic integration has progressed only in a restricted manner. Economic flows continue to be concerted among the richest nations; North America, East Asia and Europe (Brahm, 2005).
As opposed to the belief that free global capital will bring homogenization, there is persistence in significant differences within compositions of economic life. This is even witnessed through multinational corporations, which are seen as major globalization agents, staying tied in important ways to their mother countries (Morales-Gómez, 2009). They have to base their development activities in their countries of operations on the wishes of their motherland. Global economy has been seen by critics as exploitation within itself as it gives more power to rich countries while neglecting the poor states. The rich determine what to purchase and their proffered costs, depriving of the poor nations' rights to exercise their freedom of buying and selling willingly.
According to Labonte & Torgerson (2005), the political authority is also one aspect of globalization that has led to undemocratic events and misplaced decision making. One significant debate revolves around whether the nation-state remains out of date as the best political organization's form. Social and economic processes persistently cross borders resulting to increasing hardships for nations to control their territories, a core element of sovereignty. Regarding many current matters, the nation-state has lost its identity as the most suitable decision making level. Conflicts have surfaced concerning how to create international organizations extra accountable and democratic due to this fact of structures of governance being instituted at the global scale to handle intensifying number of global tribulations.
Global governance has made it clear to many individuals that there is a transfer of real authority from sovereign states to non-state sectors and international organizations. This has generated questions as to how best they transformed to be more accountable democratically. Intergovernmental organizations have turned to be progressively more significant locations where there is contention concerning economic globalization. Additionally, there is uneven but growing effect on international organizations and nation-state from civil society groups. Non-governmental organizations maintain that they have a bigger say to monitor domination of the global north, corporate greed and national-self interest they identify to dictate most international organizations' decision making. Talking of a civil society that is global also hides important distinctions among groups as to whether they are from the global North or South (Morales-Gómez, 2009).
Considering the close relationship between technological innovation and globalization, research has attempted to illustrate how new and state-of-the art technologies will influence views of citizenship and democracy. Looking at on the surface, there is an impression that technologies will enable bigger availability of information letting the subjugated to rise up in opposition to authoritarian governments other than enabling the disadvantaged take part more equally in highly developed industrial democracies (Brahm, 2005). Contrary to this, right of entry to digital information is highly uneven even in the global North. Furthermore, using technology may bring about the risk demolishing social capital, seen by many as an important element of democracy. Proponents argue that democracy needs shared experiences and as we more and more get atomized by the internet, this will end. Actually the media's proliferation and the internet, throttles debate through enhancing the way we customize the received information to suit our interests hence easily allowing us to reject views opposing ours (reference needed?).
Cultural globalization on the other hand has been enhanced through communication technologies and global media. Currently, virtually every individual on the globe is open to the elements to foreign practices and ideas. There are arguments that this is making individuals loose their national identities. Scores of people view cultural globalization as Americanization or Westernization. A significant distinction relating to current cultural globalization is its being greatly driven not by nations but by corporations (Labonte & Torgerson, 2009). Due to this, one of the core fears is the broadening of consumer culture. Cultural globalization entails unequal power's processes that questions identities and traditions (Morales-Gómez, 2009).In cases of religious and ethnic groups feeling in danger due to globalization, a conflict may occur. It is surprising how this dissatisfaction has achieved renewed awareness as some look at modernity and globalization as a drive for Septembers 11 attacks. This is due to the perception that cultural variations greatly oppose change and heightened interaction results to conflict. Since then, Islamic fundamentalism has gained growing attention. Others view the conflict as long historical outcome of Christian and Muslim civilization.
Migration as an important aspect of migration has not only resulted to cultural and social effects but also economic effects. Transportation and communication technologies give migrants bigger chances to sustain links with their native lands. Highly open borders generate questions concerning identity's and citizenship's notions. This has also increased the act of important national policies being handled by foreigners.
According to Deepak (2002), It is so obvious that transnational corporation, supra-national organization such as the United Nations, global entities such as the World Bank and international monetary fund and global civil society such as NGOs and civil rights movement greatly affect how individual states carry out there affairs. Transnational corporations have been criticized in harboring various globalization processes in almost all third world countries (Jackie, 2002).
According to Jackie (2002), as the transnational corporations are becoming more and more advance and multinational, they continue to influence and own more media organizations such that the decisions they came up with on the issue of globalization are not publicly discussed. In this time of globalization, it is very important that people are able to obtain information without any kind of resistance so as to obtain the required knowledge. It is very saddening that marginalized communities are unable to understand the motives of these multinational corporations and that of the various corporate which are led through globalizations. The fact that individuals are denied information is enough to declare that the corporations are undemocratic.
The constant efforts by the transnational corporation to expand their activities at a very high rate call for an alarming call. This is due to the fact that their expansions mean that there will be low cost in production and flexibility of the developing countries therefore inhibiting the growth cause by globalization (Jackie 2002). This poses threat to developing countries since they greatly rely on globalization in the growth of their economy and in ensuring that the people living in this country enjoy a life free from poverty.
Other than transnational corporation, the united nation agency which is an example of a supra-national organization has been in the forefront of making decisions regarding to globalization. United Nations agencies are well known for being part of challenges being faced by various government and other national legislatures. The fact that they are greatly engage in interests brought by globalization for developed countries to solve their own problems.
Jackie (2002) describe that The European Union came up with the idea of eliminating export of agricultural produce. The international trade movement union welcomed the idea without having a clear understanding the impact which could be brought out by the implementation such an idea. The elimination of agricultural produces indicate that famers will not sale their products to other nations, this is very bad since there will be surplus of production in the nation causing food to rot in the stores which instead could have been sold to other nations .It is the duty of the united nation agencies to ensure that a fair globalization is practiced by all nations regardless of the size and strength of various nations (Jackie 2002).
According to Jackie (2002), Marginalized people suffer from decision such as trade increase due to the fact that government of different nation reduce the number of workers, due to machines being produced that are known to perform more quantity and sometimes quality work compared to human beings, for example the use of computers has made work easier and more efficient (Deepak, 2002). This is very saddening since most of workers are found in trade industries; these workers will not be able to provide basic necessities to their families therefore, greater increase in the level of poverty (Deepak 2002). World trade organization (WTO) should be responsible in ensuring that its workers are protected other than making above decisions which will be offensive to the same workers. Globalization has made organizations such as WTO to formulate decision which will ensure that cheap labor is achieved other than ensuring that conditions of the people they are governing are improved through the provision of resources that arise due to the positive impacts of globalization.
According to Deepak (2002), The World Bank and the international monetary fund (IMF) have been undermining the power which different states possess through their constant making decisions which are very binding to the developing countries and are very undemocratic. This is using globalization in a negative manner in which the sovereignty and power found within a state are not considered when decisions are been made. The World Bank and IMF use the fact that when a country has no form of power then the country has no right to sovereign power (Tonelson, 2003).
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When developing countries are ensuring that their political systems and their government become democratic, their international counterparts such as the World Bank who are said to be part of the globalizing world are barely democratized. Democratization implies that people of a nation whether from a developed or that of developing country should be involved in decision making. This is not the case since the World Bank and IMF who are considered as the globalization players impose decisions such as liberalization and privatization policies that affect the developing countries. Decisions made by this organization should be democratic and not biased to the developing countries.
Deepak (2002) asserts that, globalization has made developing countries to have great debt accumulation because of the decisions made by the World Bank and IMF to have great rates for the countries that borrows money from them (examples of these countries? Referencing would be good here). The fact that developing nations want to be part of the globalization process; they are force to borrow money from the international community so as to be in the same level with the globalization players (Deepak 2002).. The loan taken becomes a huge burden to be paid. When these debts accumulate the World Bank and IMF no longer allocate finances to social and economic goals of these countries hence there is no growth in globalization in these countries.
The Greece bailout is a clear example of IMF operation that happened recently which clearly defines its interventions. Government of Greece had turned to IMF to cover up its bankruptcy. This idea was met with great criticism that the discussed intervention will lead to tougher measures to ensure that cost is cut down. The decision by the IMF to assist in rising up little amount to cover bankruptcy was termed as merciless source of monetary delinquent which is normally associated with Americans and other developing countries. Other than the decision of assisting in rising up some money, the IMF could have lowered the rates it had offered to the Greece government so as to minimize the debt (Helena, 2010).
Due to globalization, the decision of opening borders and having liberated labor movements by the world trade organization has created a situation of drain on human capacity from the underdeveloped countries (Deepak 2002). This has created a negative impact on globalization since the underdeveloped countries do not have any left knowledge on globalization due to brain drain. This claim is very clear and evident through such initiatives like Green Card where most of those applying for them come from poor nations to go and work in developed world such as America. In another term human capacity should be important in attracting globalization forces rather than frightening it away like what is done by the transnational corporation and other global entities such as the World Bank and the international monetary fund.
According to Ha-joon (2002), Global civil society such as the non governmental organizations and civil rights movements has also played part in the definition of globalization as intrinsically undemocratic. This is because the civil society has largely been involved in making social decisions which instead should be under the control of the national government. For instance, they make demands such as accountability and transparency, competence in leadership, gender equality and democracy whose implementation lies within the hands of public administration. The civil society has taken the mandate of forcefully initiating them at unspecified cost hence going against transparency (Ha-joon, 2002).
In conclusion the concept of globalization can simply be looked at as the hastening, intensifying, growing and widening effect of global interconnectedness even though it can be defined in various ways. Just like globalization has no single definition, there is no consensus as whether it is an important concept to illustrate current events or not. It entails interaction of people, cultures, economic and political activities aided by innovations in transport and communication technology. As all these aspect interact, decision making process concerning vital social and economic policies has shifted from being a single nation's affair but left in the hands of foreigners and transitional organizations. As a result, globalization is basically undemocratic due to the fact that decision making on economic policy and social issues is no longer in the hands of national authorities but rests within the benevolence of transitional organizations.
Although globalization has posed tremendous challenges to the developing countries compared to the developed countries, it is so obvious that it has greatly improved conditions which are inform of technology, infrastructures, equipments and institution. Transnational Corporation, supra-national organization, global entities and global civil societies should be at the forefront in ensuring that globalization is carried out in a democratic way and that all nations should have equal opportunities when it comes to the issue of globalization.
It is very important that international agencies e.g. united nations to change the attitude of been undemocratic and instead provide the right technical assistance to public administration of different states, so as to strengthen their capacity in dealing with issues that concerns globalization. By so doing the world is guaranteed of an environment that is intrinsically democratic when it comes to understanding what globalization is.