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Globalization

Essay by   •  May 18, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  4,485 Words (18 Pages)  •  1,566 Views

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Introduction

Globalization, which describes the current state of affairs, refers to an ever increasing integration of world economies and cultures, resulting from unprecedented technological advances which have optimized conditions for the emergence of powerful multinational corporations and have transformed the way people do business. Despite the positive effects that globalization has had on the development of poorer countries, world poverty is growing at an alarming rate. It is one of the most significant problems in need of development solutions. Whether globalization can support sustainable development is a dilemma facing the entire world. In this paper, it will be argued that globalization, in its current form, cannot respond to the needs of developing countries. Though it has the potential to be a positive world force, globalization must undergo changes, accepting some form of intervention so that the interests of all, not only the very rich, can be safeguarded.

Visions of Development

Early economic theory defined "development" in the context of growth and industrialization. 'Third world' countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa were seen largely seen as "underdeveloped" or "primitive" versions of the developed European nations. With appropriate socio-economic policies, they would, in time, "develop" the sophisticated institutions and high standards of living of Europe and North America. However, in more recent years, we have come to include alternate views of development. More recent theories embrace multi-dimensional concepts and see development, not only in relation to the 'third world', as was the case in the past, but also in the context of different ideological perspectives and, since the end of the Cold War, in the context of global capitalism.

Development, as a political term, defines social values, and is applied to conflicting theories of socio-economic change. More specifically, when we speak of 'development' in political terms we are referring primarily to the relationship between capitalism and development; as it is (since the end of the Cold War) the prevailing state of being for the most powerful nations in the world. We also examine the concept of 'social values' recognizing that it is a relative term. Lastly, we must inspect the different visions of what development should be or could be, understanding its inherent ambiguity. (Thomas, 2000)

Development implies a change, which permeates all sectors of life. It is a process without end, an ever-evolving state. It is now commonplace to speak of 'sustainable development'. If the word development implies an all-encompassing idea of a desirable standard of living, but is not always adhered to, or indeed possible without casualties, then 'sustainable' suggests endurance into the future. (Thomas, 2000)

Sustainable development has a number of social goals, some of which are basic rights; attainment of a certain level of education, fulfillment of nutritional needs, increase in per capita income and a fair distribution of wealth, among others. There are two more terms which must be defined when speaking the language of political, economic and social progress. That is, 'immanent' development, meaning a change within the process of development that will inevitably bring destruction before it brings creation. 'Intentional' development means an intentional strive toward a set of goals that have been premeditated.

Historically, (industrial) capitalism was the global system which began in the first half of the 19th century. Capitalism describes a 'self-regulating system of markets' and refers to a 'market society'(Polanyi, 1957). Everything becomes a commodity, not just the products bought and sold, but also the land, the labour, and the organization of these. This has brought about a conflict between humans and nature, and productive organization. This conflict, in turn, has brought about movements to represent and ultimately protect them. The major socio-political movements which define how development relates to capitalism can be summed up as: 'neo-liberalism', 'structuralism', interventionism', and 'post development.'.

Neoliberalism refers to a political-economic philosophy that has had major implications for government policies beginning in the 1970's and has been increasingly prominent since the 1980's. Neoliberalism de-emphasizes or rejects government intervention in the economy , focusing instead on a free market and fewer restrictions on business operations. The most important class of rights to expand are those of property enforcement, and of opening nations to entry by multinational corporations. In a broader sense, it is used to describe the movement towards using the market to achieve a wide range of social ends previously filled by government. It is generally hostile to protectionism, social democracy and socialism. It is often at odds with fair trade policies and other movements that support the protection of labour rights and social justice in international relations and economics.

Structuralism is the heading for various views that all have a common thread: development is seen as change in social and economic structures. There are schools of thought that have completely broken off from capitalism, and have come up with models of development in the form of a kind of socialism which does not depend on the state at all; these are named 'alternative development' or 'people-centered development'. People-centered development is yet another way of looking at what the desired state of society should be and how to achieve this. This view emphasizes people rather than production. "Human needs" are emphasized, such as low levels of poverty and low levels of unemployment, high literacy and equality.

(Thomas, 2000).

The way to achieve these goals are usually seen through a process called 'empowerment' and participation by people themselves rather than big organizations. Empowerment is a course of action whereby the poorest citizens take hold of their own destinies and become responsible for their own development. People-centered development believes that poverty is caused by abuse of power and natural resources. It therefore asks for a redistribution of power, equality led transformation of institutions and values to restore the community and assure human well being (Korten, 1995). People-centered development offers an alternate mode of reaching a desired state of being in the world other than that of an industrial

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