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Globalization - Struggles of the Nation-State and Issues of Equality

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Globalization - Struggles of the Nation-State and Issues of Equality

Economic growth in globalization is often due to rapid technological advancements and changes in the gathering of information and communications. Globalization has always existed but today's globalization has been a much more rapid and intense process than in the past. The question here is whether today's globalization weakens the nation state and whether or not it undermines national control over the economy. We are trying to determine whether or not globalization leads to a greater social and economic inequality in society. We will begin by discussing how the globalization of economy has played the largest role in changing today's world. Following the economical evolution, social changes have become increasingly important due to the increased awareness of cultural, ethical and social issues across the globe.

Due to globalization, the world's economy has become more and more interlinked and nations across the globe have benefited from the increased interactions between them. Organizations have sprung up across the world in order to help regulate and control the drastic economic and social changes occurring in societies. Economically many countries have reaped the benefits of globalization, developed countries have greater markets in which to trade goods and developing countries are benefited by the sharing of goods and services through multinational corporations. However, many believe that this "neoliberal economic theory" makes it difficult for developing third world countries to advance economically after having reached a certain limit set by developed countries. They are not able to invest in industries which would subsequently lead to long-term growth. Instead, third world countries are given the contracts of goods production because developed countries count on them for inexpensive labour. In doing this, underdeveloped countries are not able to gain control over the international economy. "Many critics argue globalization constitutes a modern form of colonization."(Franck, Jacobson) This does not only affect underdeveloped countries but also the more industrialized nations. In these nations, labour workers' positions are no longer secure. The means of production are sent over to countries where labour is less expensive and so workers in the developed countries have less room for bargaining. Labour unions are not as powerful because there is the lingering fear of labour being outsourced to cheaper firms.

The nation-state is becoming less and less influential in the global market. Financial control is being shifted to international organizations such as the World Trade Organization and the World Bank. The nation-state's power is diminishing drastically in three very important areas. These areas are defense, finance and welfare. In diminishing these powers, the nation-state is no longer concentrated on territory acquisition. The power to control their own currency is lost and the strength of beneficial organizations is reduced by the lack of investment of multinational companies. Social services are greatly hindered due to high taxation; governments no longer want to devote as much financial aid to organizations already in place to improve social welfare. Governments are forced to follow certain policies put in place by the World Trade Organization and therefore their influence on international trade is reduced. They are much more limited in the type of trade and the ways in which goods and services are traded. Alternately, the transformationalist perspective of globalization views all these changes as not necessarily impeding the nation state's power but just transforming it.

It is argued that nation states are forced to shift their concentration of power from the social programs and the improvement of its citizens' positions in society to more global issues. In order to remain strong on an international scale, both financially and politically, funding for the welfare state has been drastically reduced. On a long-term basis, inequalities within society will increase because states do not feel these inequalities are as important as in the past. States have loosened their policies in order to encourage other nations to invest and take part in their markets. As previously mentioned, the social impact on labour workers within developed nations is becoming more and more negative. Labour workers no longer have the same sense of stability; they are increasingly impacted by low wages and unemployment.

The importance of culture within the state is also diminishing. The movement towards an international culture is becoming greater and individual cultures are being forced to adapt. Language, religion and lifestyles are ever changing due to information technology such as the Internet and international commerce. Values, culture and ways of life are becoming more and more homogenized; they are losing their distinctive aspects in order to keep with global changes.

There are some positive aspects to the erosion of cultural barriers, such as the propagation of democracy and the unification across the world of all cultures under one global force. Thus, the hope is that this unification would lead to a more peaceful world. However, many scholars are worried that the two emerging forces, McWorld and Jihad are threatening democratic values in the world. The reference made here to Jihad is based on a definition given by Benjamin Barber, he describes the struggle between the two forces. Jihad being "a retribalization of large swaths of humankind by war and bloodshed: a threatened Lebanonization of national states in which culture is pitted against culture, people against people, tribe against tribe." McWorld struggles to unify and homogenize cultures, it fights for order and peace within a nation, the spread of fast music and fast food. In doing so this force pushes for stronger economic and market powers. Focus is thus shifted away from individuals political and civil rights. While Jihad divides the population across tribal, religious and racial planes, it struggles to encourage community, but its manners of doing so usually bring about military rule and dictatorships. These forces thus seem to undermine democracy no matter how they struggle for the betterment of community and country.

Unfortunately it seems that the globalization of culture is becoming more and more the "Americanization" of culture. Because

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