The Unveiling of Globalization essay
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Theoretical researches that are used by Humanities, such as sociology, philosophy, theology, or even those researches that are based on studying people's attitudes and points of view concerning certain issues could never reach an ultimate answer. Human beings are born different. Each person has different skills, weaknesses and, of course, different ideologies and beliefs. Those ideologies and beliefs are formed by diverse social and psychological factors; such as: cultural environment, experiences, and, consequently, each person will support those ideas that match his or her desires and beliefs. Therefore, while presenting a certain topic, one will find quite a large number of researches which have different orientations and ideological directions.
The point I would like to reach from this introduction is that each research on the same topic is supported by a wide range of proofs, evidences, cites and examples that make a simple reader with no background believe the argue and support this ideology, As a matter of fact, this is because all arguments made by different groups on the same topic are to persuade people that their argument is true, but not just to present facts. When studying a theoretical issue, one should be fully aware of different ideologies and movements to conclude the pros and cons of the issue. To put it in other words; all the social and economic strategies that were established by human are neither accused nor a champion; because they always bring decent results for some and poor results to others.
Globalization is a well-known word by everybody. School Curriculums all over the world introduce this concept to students. Each college adopts this topic from its own angle of the study, and, of course, media have discussed and displayed different points of views concerning this concept.
Jagdish Bhagwati, in his book ‘In defense of Globalization’ sets himself a supporter of the concept. Through his argument, he works on proving that globalization has positive effects on every field and has brought decent impact on individuals, as well as communities. The author of the book is an internationally renowned economist; therefore, the argument he made takes an economic angle in the perception of the issue. Through the book, he mentions several accusations of globalization and then works on proving their fallacies. He argues that, regardless what anti-globalization movement says, globalization is profitable for poor countries even more than it is profitable for rich countries. He also argues that globalization has contributed to solving many social issues; such as child labor, equality, poverty, women rights and environment. He heavily uses references from literature and movies to support his arguments. He desperately refutes the accusation that globalization has no human face.
Having finished the book, I could not take the Jagdish's side, because though globalization has some positive influence on countries, it is considered a destructive force, especially conserning economic situation of the world. One of the odd things I have noticed was that the author started the book by attacking anti-globalizers before introducing his own point of view on globalization; he started the book by attacking what he considered fallacies. He made the same mistake when he mentioned his ideological opponents; he did not give the reader a chance to judge by himself on the issue. One may truly like a statement which was said by the reviewer Philip Gold "Jagdish Bhagwati’s “In Defense of Globalization” is the kind of book that only an economist could love. However, then, what’s love got to do with it?". I happened to ask myself the following question – why does Jagdish emphasizing on positive sides of globalization while at the same time all his arguments and evidences could be only directed to readers with economic backgrounds..
In his book, Jagdish was more about stating information rather than supporting his arguments with reliable evidences. Bahgwati has a concise whole chapter in part I of his book about NGOs (non-governmental organization) stating that those organizations have different interests, goals and abilities, according to whether they belong to developing or developed countries. One of examples of NGOs he mentioned as follows;
"Among globalization-focused NGOs are the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute, which addresses American and European labor unions’ fears that trade with poor countries is creating poverty in the rich countries by depressing unskilled workers’ wages; the vastly successful Sierra Club, which worries about globalization’s effects on the environment; Ralph Nader’s group, Public Citizen, which has ceaselessly agitated against globalization and denounced the WTO; and the Inter-national Forum on Globalization in the United States. Few but growing in public presence are the poor-country NGOs, the most prominent of which are the Third World Network, whose articulate head is the Malaysian intellectual Martin Khor; the Consumer Unity and Trust Society, the leading NGO in India on trade and globalization issues, run by Pradeep Mehta; and the Center for Science and Technology, in New Delhi, which focuses on environmental issues and has achieved legendary status for the insights and programs that it has put on the world environmental agenda from a poor-country Southern perspective. There are also many lesser groups that have turned up whenever an opportunity presents itself to engage and confront the globalizers". (Bahgwati)
He accuses all NGOs of being only oriented on money, popularity and other factors rather than the public interest. The question remains, was this accusation only because they have different beliefs rather? In fact, he does not give any evidence proving their hypocrisy. Through the book, he took India as an example of poor countries that benefit from globalization. Maybe, the reason was the influence of his background as he was an Indian himself. Bahgwati's method of each issue he explains in each chapter was to begin by displaying his opponents' points of view on the topic and then disapproving them.
Another point he intensely defensed was the "free trade". Bahgawati generally starts with the Asian financial crisis in 1997. It is well-known that globalization has led to free trade between countries. The withdrawal of countries’ capital led to currency collapses and huge fall in their income per capita. Jagdish falsifies the accusations that were pointed to the free trade, saying that this period marks Asia's highest rate of the productive investment in history. He summarizes the process of globalization as having positive affect in the light that globalization led to the trade increase and it led to the rise in the economy. Consequently, the poor will become less poor; so in this light, globalization has contributed to reforms in the society. According to his argument, this should prove that globalization has a human face. When he reached a child labor issue, he played on strings of human emotions, saying that:
"Poor parents, no less than rich parents, generally want the best for their children. Poverty is what drives many to put their children to work rather than into school. Parents will choose to feed their children instead of schooling them if forced to make a choice. When incomes improve, poor parents can generally be expected to respond by putting children back in school." (Bahgwati)
He defends multinational corporations by saying that they accommodate prices to such that can be afforded by poor countries, and in that way, everybody can afford wearing Nike and Adidas.
He finally says that governments should see how ultimate benefits of globalization could be reached and that any defect is due to bad policies of certain countries and those defects have nothing to do with globalization. In his view, efforts by different governments to reduce trade and investment barriers, coupled with new information technologies, have resulted in an extraordinarily fast delivery of services and capital between and within the nations.
One must confess that the defense of globalization is perfect from theoretical terms of the issue, however. I do not think that it applies to the practical reality. The economic globalization that he breaches to be in the interest of developing and poor countries is a reality. As he explained, it looks like it is stitched for rich countries only. I felt like he has wrongly misplaced the word globalization for colonialism.
When addressing the issue of the free trade in the real world and not in Jagdish's world, one will see how much he was supporting developed countries over developing ones. This is simply because free trade conventions, such as NAFTA, impose certain conditions that form destructing burdens on the shoulders of poor countries which lead to the collapse of their economy. For example, in countries whose economy is based on agriculture, such as India, when the free trade system is applied, investors will import agriculture machines and sell it to land owners. In such case, those machines will lead to the dispensing of many farmers and, therefore, many families will become extremely poor and with no means of income. If people truly took this example and traced it to the end, they would find that it explained the whole idea. When such families become poor, they will take their children from schools to help them in earning money; and here comes the issue of a "child labor". When those families lose the only work the can do, they will think about immigration, and here rises another intense problem. On the other hand, rich countries like the U.S.A, have huge capital but less manpower, in comparison to developing countries. In case of the U.S.A, agriculture machines have solved the problem of manpower. Logically, this has one meaning: rich countries will become richer and poor countries will become poorer.
As a matter of fact, I could not understand the reason behind his worry that developed countries may turn its back to globalization. In fact, this will never happen, because corrupted governments of these countries raise money at the expense of their nations. Curricula in these countries, especially those who address economic subjects, are on his side. They stick in their love of globalization.
As for a cultural globalization, it has decent benefits, such as connecting the world together. However, it has intensely contributed to erasing features that distinguish each culture. It reminds me of the tool that was used by men in black to erase the people's memory. In the same way; rich countries can use globalization to deceive other countries now having an exuse for that. For instance, the USA entered Iraq in the hope to make it a colony and have a grip on their large amount of petrol, by alleging fallacies on Iraq and hypnotizing people's minds worldwide through the modern media.
Another question to Mr. Jagdish remains unanswered is that does he really believe that poor countries benefit from multinational corporations, such as Nike and Adidas, for example? Or do people who live in these countries can all afford buying original items?
Finally, one should conclude that globalization is neither a good nor a bad thing. It has both pros and cons. Everything around people seems to have side effects these days, and many accusations are revolving everywhere also through globalization. People are in no way going to dispense mobile phones, though they say it might cause cancer. We cannot eat fast food a lot because it causes serious diseases. One can think that in the same way people cannot abandon mobiles or fast food; people cannot abandon globalization. All they can do is to try to avoid its cons as much as they can.