The meaning behind the term global village- which is often used by politicians, academicians, and business leaders – is often overlooked. It implies the process of becoming global.
Like any other aspect in life, global village to has a positive and negative side. There are those who believe that global villageis inevitability, and will bring about equilibrium. Such people feel that global village is a beneficial thing, even as a ‘hip’ cosmopolitan thing. It seen in the context of technology, as something that is cutting-edge and is bringing the world closer. On the other hand, there are those who believe that it is being promoted to maximize the profits of a few, at a cost of many. They fear that these forces of global village will draw the scare resources, both human and capital, away from poor and those in need. Here in this discussion, we will be stressing on the second of the two schools of thoughts. Though won’t overlook the tangible benefits brought about by globalization.
In this analysis, we will examine the impact on poor, both in developed and developing world. Before we delve into details, we need to realize that global village isn’t something that is brought about by teenagers connecting via Internet. In actual, the real drivers of global village are the bit multinational companies who are in search of big profits. Therefore, we need to take into account that the real reason is to reap profits, than the desire to bring the world any closer.
Further, let’s talk about whether the “expansion of foreign trade and investment” has any significant impact on the world’s poor population. We do know that the answer is neither a simple yes or no. And there is also a school of thought that believes that global village has a role to play in poverty reduction world-wide. However, this in itself does not prove any causal relationship, as it could be a result of domestic reforms. Also, foreign investment in developing countries has created jobs for the local population. Even though there have been instances of exploitative working conditions, there is no denying the fact that these investments have opened up opportunities.
There are also others who believe that global village is a never ending race, and consequently, countries are neglecting expenditure on social programs. But, we cannot ignore the fact that the revenue generated from the jobs created by globalization can go on to support the much needed social programme. There are also those who argue that global village leads to environmental destruction and chronic poverty. I would argue to the contrary that such consequences are more as a result of faulty domestic policy. The messengers of global village might as well help develop good public policy and governance in places they invest.
Educating government officials and policy makers would be a good example in corporate social responsibility. In fact, this is one point where people on either side of the debate broadly agree upon. There is a broad consensus around “coordinating transnational companies, multilateral organizations, governments and local aid groups to bring relief to the poor”. This approach of maximizing the benefits and minimizing the negative effects requires an integrative approach of domestic and international policy. All this sounds very easy but is made very difficult by lack of suitable leadership and governance structure. This lack of leadership is further complicated by lack of integration of domestic and international policies, such as, capital control, immigration reforms and research. The problem is that the transnational companies would not be interested in spending their resources towards a creation of such a sustainable approach. Therefore, there is a need to take a step back, and look at the long-term consequences before we rush into globalization.
At the micro level, it will be worthwhile to look at the popular perception about the impact of globalization. In one such survey done by Pew Global Attitude Survey, it was found that an economic integration was found to be good for the world. Citing findings from that survey, David Dollar, the Director of Development Policy at the World Bank, argued that global village indeed helps reduce poverty and inequality. I would presume a survey, no matter how credible, would cover all the aspect of this wide topic: enough to just the whole concept of globalization. Like anything else in life, there are bound to be two sets of opinion, therefore, one single survey cannot comprehensively develop an argument.
He cites that there has been a significant decrease in the poor population since 1980s. But one cannot ignore the distrust among, particularly among anti-global village activists, who hold the view that global economic integration favors the already wealthy while hurting poorly from the developing countries. In response to these claims, Dollar claims that in his survey “views of global village are distinctly more positive in low-income countries than in rich ones.” He gives an example of sub-Sahara Africa’s 75% households who felt that transnational organization had a positive impact on their country. This much number of patients were only 54% in the case of rich countries. I would not blindly believe this survey as the people from developing countries are likely to be less educated, and hence, less informed about all the implications of globalization. However, it needs to be pointed out that the respondents from the developing country generally blamed their local governments, and not the elements of global village for the negative fallouts. There is, however, not a ground for complacency. The transnational companies may not be fully responsible for the negative impact, but the fact remains that the deficient local governance is as much a part of global village as the companies themselves.
Stepping back a bit, and looking at the historical background, one would recollect that, in the 90s, there was much talk of world shrinking and coming together. The conversation and lectures revolved around all the free trade and world travel. I think the idea was still very nascent and attractive to global speakers. Such lectures were particularly attractive if the audiences were from developing countries, as it conveyed a feeling of hope. I would not deny that there wasn’t or isn’t any hope. It is just that one should understand the context, and make note of the limitations. The concept of globalization, coupled with people coming together due to Internet – whether for work or simple communication – opened up a host of possibilities in people’s mind. As would be expected, they were all excited about the prospects, and they are as relevant today as they were then. But, when the reality starts to sets in, we tend to have a balanced outlook; try to analyze pros and cons; and observing changes on the ground.
Even though today, we might have come close due to fast communication and work across various time zones; but this easy access to areas across the globe has also lead to protectionism. Protectionism has resulted in bitter dispute; “over trade, environment and immigration.” These changes can be observed in the form of disputes at Doha round of talks and also regarding the climate change. In fact, all those who thought that a connected and interdependent world will bring a fundamental shift in our attitudes towards one another have been proven wrong. Among other things, this proximity has brought has brought out in open, our fears and apprehensions of each other.
We all saw an opportunity, and never imagined the threat from globalization. Even the so called liberal leaders have come to the rescue of the poor of their country, whom they believe are to lose from increasing flatter world. There was uproar in Canada when it came to light that a major bank had hired foreign IT workers. In Europe, the right-wing parties see a revival on the apprehension of the relatively poor; those who see immigration as a threat to their opportunities.
In France, as a result of these sentiments, the socialists have won the presidency from the right-of-center party. Also, Great Britain is in dispute with east European nations – like Romania and Bulgaria – regarding applying restrictions on their citizen to work in the Great Britain. In this case, while Great Britain is trying to protect is unemployed or underemployed; the east European nations want a better deal for their own.
Further in Greece, the immigrants have come under attack from the neo-Nazi, and in a particular election, they gained a few seats purely on anti-immigration agenda. It goes without saying that the local poor of Greece would have aspirations of their own, but the emergence of such parties poses an unprecedented challenge. Domestic politics is being influenced by immigration policies has become more prominent since the evolution of globalization.
However, all is not bad, at least as it looks. “A major success in a poverty-reduction goal for the new millennium – halving the proportion of people whose income is less than $1.25 per day – largely went unnoticed.” By combining the most recent data about the household consumption, along with data about the private consumption growth, poverty estimates of the present day were calculated. They concluded that even the poorest part of the world, such as sub-Saharan Africa, are witness a wave of poverty reduction. They credit for this to the widespread economic growth and development brought about by globalization. It should be taken into account that poverty reduction was one of the key elements of Millennium Goal of the United Nations. There are two other achievements that should be noted: “full and productive employment for all and halving the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.”
This concept of global village has unexpected implications elsewhere as well, even in healthcare outcomes. As people from all over the world visit Canada, better understanding of the scope and nature of the immigration process will help the medical practitioner in the global village to get better involved in the care of the patients.
Also, elaborating on the role of citizen education in this global village, we should take into consideration what happens in our classrooms. We have observed that our classrooms have become a cosmopolitan over the years. Therefore, our scholarly attention should also be directed to the debates about the nature of global village. So, we can never forget the basic of teaching and learning, and also the values that exist in the classroom. They reflect the global movements of history and inspire us to take up the global issues.
Therefore, in conclusion, we must understand that Globalization, like anything else, comes with its negatives and positives. Likewise, we should embrace the positive and mitigate the risk associated with the negatives. Globalization, heralded by the advent of Internet, has brought people and the work closer, and has helped alleviate poverty. But, it has also brought into the front our problems and apprehension. These concerns should be accepted, and resolved via dialog. We should be thankful that we have a governance structure at the world level in place, such as WTO, World Bank, and IMF – to resolve such issues.
If the concept of global village has to succeed, we should have an open mind and also voice the concerns of respective poor openly. At the same time, we should be open to accepting others’ concerns and be willing to address them. One thing is sure, in the world of globalization, we are no longer insulated. We cannot just walk away from the table, and not be held accountable.
Therefore, let’s embrace the change and come together, cognizant of ours and other’s concerns.
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