The Institutions of Economic Globalisation

The institutions of Economic Globalisation

Economic globalization refers to increasing economic interdependence of national economies across the world through a rapid increase in cross-border movement of goods, services, technology and capital

Most social scientists would point to four ‘institutions’ that oversee international trade and investment, and that attempt to steer the global economy on a path of continued economic growth. It is important for students to understand something about these institutions because all supporters and critics of economic globalisation refer to these institutions (Hyper globalists are the supporters, Marxists and the broader anti-capitalist movement the critics).

You should read this through once when directed and refer back to it when we look at material that either supports or criticises the spread of global capitalism

The four institutions that make up economic globalisation are The World Trade Organisation, The International Monetary Fund and World Bank, The G8 and Transnational Corporations.

1. The World Trade Organisation (WTO) – was founded in 1949, has 149 member states and 149 states are WTO members, constituting over 90% of all world trade with a further 31 in the process of joining.

 The WTO is the only global international organization dealing with the rules of trade between nations. At its heart are the WTO agreements, negotiated and signed by the bulk of the world’s trading nations and ratified in their parliaments. The goal is to help producers of goods and services, exporters, and importers conduct their business.” [1]

The WTO functions through a number of meetings involving high- up officials from Nation States often referred to as a trade ‘round’ where they agree on the future terms of trade (for example how much to tax import and exports of goods and services)

2. The International Monetary Fund and The World Bank

 The IMF has 187 members. It monitors the world’s economies, lends to members in economic difficulty, and provides technical assistance ([2]). The IMFs mission is to facilitate international trade, promote high employment, achieve sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world. If a country gets into too much debt and can’t pay it off, it is the IMF that lends the country, setting conditions the country must abide by in order to receive that loan.

The World Bank was established in 1944, is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and has more than 10,000 employees in more than 100 offices worldwide. Like the IMF it has 187 member states  

The World Bank works closely with IMF. It provides low-interest loans to developing countries for a wide array of purposes that include investments in education, health, infrastructure, and natural resource management. ’It says that is mission is to ‘fight poverty with passion and professionalism for lasting results and to help people help themselves and their environment by providing resources, sharing knowledge, building capacity and forging partnerships in the public and private sectors.’ The World Bank is thus the largest single organisation responsible for bringing undeveloped countries whose populations make up at least 2/3rds of the world’s population into the global economy.

The World Bank believes that economic growth through industrialization and free trade are essential for countries to develop. They argue that there are sees the five key factors necessary for economic growth: 

3. The Group of Eight (G-8) is a forum for the leaders of eight of the world’s most industrialized nations, aimed at finding common ground on key topics and solutions to global issues. The G-8 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. While the leaders of these countries are in regular contact, they meet in summit format as the G-8 once a year.[3] ALSO [4]

4.    Transnational Corporations

 Transnational Corporations are some of the largest include Shell, ICI and Microsoft. Since world war two these have expanded massively.

 Held and Mcgrew point out that Transnational Corporations account for more than 25 percent of world production, 80% of world industrial output, approximately 40% of world merchandise trade and 10 percent of world GDP. They also suggest that they have become powerful in determining where in the world production takes place and have played a major role in reordering the productive relationships between nation states[5]

Transnational Corporations have benefited hugely from the trade rules established by the WTO. Ellwood (2000) argues that these are now the driving force behind economic globalisation, wielding more power than many nation states. Today, 51 of the 100 largest economies in the world are run by TNCs rather than Nation States.

 


 

[1] http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/whatis_e.htm

[2] http://www.imf.org/external/about.htm

[3] http://g8.gc.ca/about/

[4] http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/g8

[5] Held D and Mcgew, A (2007) – Globalisation/ Anti Globalisation: beyond the great divide – Polity.

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