Posted by Realsociology on 9th February 2013
This summary is designed for A level students studying the SCLY3 module in Global Development and outlines four persepectives on globalisation.
Optimist Globalism – Globalisation is mostly positive
1. More international trade, especially since the 1950s = Increasing wealth, health, education for most countries. Evidence below
This Hans Rosling Video illustrates the relationship between increasing wealth (brought about by trade) and health
The case of China’s economic growth – Use this ‘trading ecnomics’ web site to check out how China’s GDP growth over the last ten years (from 2001) appears to be directly correlated with its growth in exports (use the links to the right to change between graphs – you might need to change the years selection around too).
China is not the only country benefitting from increasing trade (imports and exports) – China is just one of four nations known as the BRIC Nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) – 4 up and coming economies that are predicted to be wealthier than Britain by 2050. More recently, the CIVET nations are also benefitting from increasing trade. As an illustration of how these countries are increasingly integrated you might want to find out more about Brazil’s ‘Highway to China’ – which is talked about in this video- ‘The Chinese are Coming.’
2. Optimists argue that Tansnational Corporations are a force for good. Companies such as Apple, Sony, etc bring investment and jobs to developing countries.
This video clip (approx first 15 mins) from Blood Sweat and Luxuries illustrates high tech manufacturing in the Philippines. The Optimist arguement here is that workers in such factories benefit from the wages – http://estream.reigate.ac.uk/View.aspx?ID=6092~4r~SEdwPGeV
3. Patterns of consumption are becoming globalised – More people around the world are consumers rather than living subsistence lifestyles. Also people increasingly consume similar foods and brands (and shop for them in similar ways). Increasing global tourism is another feature of this. Evidence below…
The first ten minutes from this Inside Out show illusrates the increasing number of Chinese people coming to Britain to shop http://estream.reigate.ac.uk/view.aspx?id=10237~5a~RR8KCyzLt4
These photos of ‘what the world eats’ – Suggest similar consumption patterns.
4. Sporting events such as the world cup and the Olympics have become more popular.
5. The spread of Democracy and respect for human rights since the end of WW2 – E.G. The end of colonial rule in Africa, the collapse of communism and the Arab Spring. This is also evidenced in the establishment of the United Nations and the growth of global social movements such as green peace.
6. The growth of social media (Facebook and Twitter) have lead more freedom around the world.
7. Globalistion increasingly means global cities urban centres which have highly educated, politically engaged middle classes.
Global Pessimism – Globalisation is mostly negative
1. Increased trade has had unequal benefits. Mainly Europe and America, lately Asia have benefitted, but most of Sub Saharan Africa is largely left behind.
- The graph otlining economic growth since 1800 in different continents on page 1 of the intro to GD document illustrates this point very well..
- For a good example of the pessimist view of globalisation read KT’s summary of ‘liquid times’ by Zygmunt Bauman – You only need read the sections entitled ‘surplus people’ and ‘the experience of inequality’. I suggest you read selectively and look for three examples that illustrate Bauman’s point: ‘when the rich pursue their goals, the poor pay the price’.
2. TNCs pollute, extract resources from and exploit cheap labour in the developing world. E.G.s include Shell in Nigeria, Coke in India and of course the Bhopal incident in India.
- A case study of sweat shops – Apple in China - from the Daily Mail.
a list of examples of Corporations accussed of doing environmental damages (just from KT’s Blog – focussing on the case of Union Carbide in India and Shell in Nigeria – you have probably looked at these as part of the Crime and Deviance Module)
Mark Thomas’ documentary on Coca Cola illustrates how naughty this corporation is – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LH0r84W3LgU
Also see the following video sources (you can search for both on estream)
The Age of Stupid (section on Shell in Nigeria)
Crude – The Real Cost of Oil (outlines Chevron’s pollution of the Amazon
3. Culture may be increasing global, but this mainly means Americanisation according to Pessimists. This takes the form of Cocacolonisation, and Dysnification – where American forms of popular culture and the shallow materialism this promotes erode local traditions. Another aspect of this is Mcdonaldisation
This illustrates the threat of Americanisation and Cocacolonisation very well – how some French people view Coca Cola as undermining their national identity. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DxjMqrZ6psw
This site does a very good job of explaning what Mcdonaldisation is – http://www.mcdonaldization.com/
4. Sport may be increasingly globalised, but just as with trade there are winners and losers, especially where the Olympics are concerned…
5. Rather than the spread of democracy, it is more accurate to talk of the spread of U.S Military power, as outline by John Pilger in the War on Democracy, and the fact that the U.S. spends almost $700 billion on its military every year.
The second half of this video – The War on Democracy outlines America’s military invovlement in more than 50 countries since World War 2 – Evidence suggests that the USA uses military force to get rid of democratically elected leaders that are not pro-U.S. – http://estream.reigate.ac.uk/View.aspx?ID=4068~4s~tdt8zCqn
6. The spread of global media really means the spread of massive media firms such as Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, with programmes such as Fox News presenting a pro-American view of the world. Also think of popular culture – X factor, and Hollywood and global advertising. The pessimist view on such aspects of the global media is that they lead to increasing cultural homogenisation.
7. Zygmunt Bauman argues that global cities are best described as ‘fortress cities’ – especially in the developing world cities are places of huge inequalities where the rich hide themselves away in exclusive gated communities and the poor are left to the slums.
- Read KT’s summary of ‘liquid times’ by Zygmunt Bauman- Somewhere in the article he talks about the concepts of ‘Fortress cities’
The Transformationalist View of Globalisation
1. ‘Trade’ has many complex formations. So it is difficult to say that it is either good or bad. Besides Free Trade, Fair Trade is expanding, and there is also illegal trade – in drugs for example.
- The Fairtrade Foundation has many examples of how trade can benefit people the world over in all sorts of different ways (NB you may think this works better as an example of global optimism) – http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/
- The Global Trade in drugs is quite a good example of Transformationalism - It certainly can’t be regarded as something that benefits people, and it certainly isn’t something that benefits the West at the expense of the developing world. The global trade in drugs is not controlled by Corprations or Western governments – it’s controlled by international criminal organisations, and arguable this is a case of poor farmers in the developing world benefitting (relatively) at the expense of people in the West – http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/drug-trafficking/index.html
2. TNCs operate in dozens of countris. Clearly there are going to be winners and losers in different cases. Also governments the world over regulate international companies in different ways – Pollution laws, tax law, minimum wages, health and safety.
3. Increasing consumerism isn’t just good or bad – cultural globalisation is characterised by hybridity – new brands come into contact with local cultures and they are modified by those cultures, creating new products – Bollywood, Chiken Tikha Massala. A related concept here is glocalism…
- There are plenty of examples of cultural hybridity in music – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3JDH-hUJj0 (the guy from Brazil in the second half of this!) – All in all a very ‘global experience’ and a great example of ‘ground up globalisation’ – Hip Hop being transformed into something new and different as it mixes with different local traditions…
4. New sporting formations the world over are good examples of cultural hybridity
5. Globalisaion is characterised by new political formations, not just the spread of democracy or the spread of American dominance. E.G China is a Communist country that doesn’t allow voting but supports Capitalism, while many African ‘democracies’ are so corrupt they can’t really be called democracies. Also, many countries have proved more than capable of resisting American force – mostly in the Middle East.
- The Paradox of China – Apparently the Communist government is now commanding Chinese businesses to agressively pursue profit. http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/editors-blog/2011/1104/The-China-paradox-communist-capitalism
- This Glocalist Manifesto is an interesting e.g. of glocalism applied to politics – http://www.glocalisti.org/blog/the-glocalist-manifesto/
6. The spread of global media has lead to diverse uses – e.g. crowdsourcing, microfinance, and mobile phone use in Africa.
- http://www.kickstarter.com/ is a good example of a crowdsourcing site. It encourages people around the world to fund projects. Global flows of money funding local businesses = glocalism
- Microfinance – You can now fund local businesses in developing countries via sites like this – http://www.opportunity.org/what-is-microfinance/
- Mobile phone use in Africa – http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/30/africa-digital-revolution-mobile-phones
7. Anthony GIddens argues that ‘detraditionalisation’ is part of Globalisation – People increasingly challenge traditions as they come into contact with new ideas.
- Read KT’s blog post on ‘detraditionalisation’ and summarise Gidden’s view of what effect globalisation has on culture – Is this closer to the optimist or transformationalist view of globalisation?
Traditionalism – Globalisation is exaggerated
1. Trade is not truly global, it is regional. For example, about 60% of EU trade is within the EU. And Sub Saharan Africa is largely left out of global trade flows
2. Transnational Corporations do not operate in all countries, only secure ones.
3. Billions of people still live mostly subsistence lifestyles and simply cannot afford to take part in globalised western style consumption.
5. Some countries remain cut off from ‘global democractic and military force’ – e.g. North Korea and Iran. Also some traditional cultures still practise abuses that go against the UNDHR – see 7 below.
6. Governments still have the power to censor social media – e.g. the great firewall of China
7. Local traditions still remain in many cultures – For example it is estimated that 90% of women in Somalia have been circumcised. See the following video links for examples of traditional cultures. You should watch these and consider the extent to which these cultures are really cut off from Globalisation..
- Three episodes of Tribe with Bruce Parry – The final one on the Sanema is especially interesting – http://estream.reigate.ac.uk/View.aspx?ID=7673~4x~8CS58LtS
- This episode of Tribe sees Bruce travel to the remote island of Anuta – http://estream.reigate.ac.uk/View.aspx?ID=2116~4k~jDaFVfFT