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El-Masri

Name: Mohamed El-Masri Date: November 20th 2012 Globalization; The Reason and Rationality Behind It.
Discussing whether globalization weakens the nation state and undermines national control over the economy. Does it lead to greater social and economic inequality in a society? Or does everyone benefit from globalization?

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Globalization is often used to describe the increased integration and internationalization of economic affairs facilitated by rapid technological changes in information gathering and communication (Tremblay, p.249). An example of this description of Globalization could be the creation of the World Wide Web (WWW). The World Wide Web is definitely an increased internationalization of economic affairs all around the globe. We can also logically claim that the internet is an extremely rapid technological change in information gathering and communication. If we cannot understand this example, then let us take a more specific example such as Facebook, a social media web-site that revolutionized the entire world, literally. It has connected people together significantly and gathers extensive amount of information on a large number of people around the globe. This is what the proglobalists believe in as a successful business for the benefit of the global economy, a business that connects and gathers intelligence. So it is said, by the proponents of globalization that everyone benefits in a global economy (Tremblay, p.349). If that is to be true, then the rich still does get richer, the poor does not get poorer, the private rights are respected by all, and most importantly, justice and the rule of law must always prevail. Nevertheless, it seems that this is not what many of us are used to hearing, or even used to seeing. What we are used to, could be the point of view that, rather than promoting economic selfsufficiency and prosperity, globalization helps maintain the economic

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dependency of developing countries in the global economic system (Tremblay, p.350). Globalization therefore leads to greater wealth disparity between the developed and developing worlds. This may further create and/or build tension between forces of resistance that are not in favor of a globalized economy in their region. For this reason, many critics argue that globalization constitutes a modern form of colonization (Tremblay, p.350). So we ask, does globalization weaken the nation-state and undermine its national control over the economy? Does it lead to greater social and economic inequality in a society? Or does globalization give the opportunity and control for everyone to benefit from it? Yes, yes and sometimes yes. Our hypothesis states that globalization weakens the nation state and undermines its national control over the economy, thus, the outcome of this is greater social and economic inequality in a society, but depending on the circumstances and geographical position of people, there is always a chance to benefit from globalization. The reason being is because; spheres of influence held by separate nations that are taking the role of decision-making bodies have set boundaries and have been an obstacle for nation-states to administer the economic and social affairs of their citizens. The decline of these nation-states authority to act in many areas of life has led to the re-emergence of civil society, or the third sector, as a significant player in global governance (Tremblay, p.354). Every human being is able to benefit

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from globalization if he/she decides to accept it as a new way of life and the only way to be conducting business.

As Held and McGrew explain, the autonomy and sovereignty of nation-states have been eclipsed by contemporary processes of economic globalization (Tremblay, p.355). The modern ways and strategies of the global economic system has been an increasing disadvantage for the ability of sovereign governments to govern their own affairs (economy, society and politics) without any interference from a world ruling elite. Globalization involves the creation of a world economy that is not just the sum of its national economies, but rather a powerful independent reality (Heron, p.3). The driving force of contemporary globalization is dominated and led by a set of core states (the G8 countries, including USA, Japan and Germany), supported by international financial institutions such as the IMF, World Bank and WTO (Heron, p.4). Influenced by Marxist-Leninist thought, the skeptical position contends that economic globalization has been propelled by the most powerful capitalist states to secure their global dominance (Tremblay, p.351). Besides that, globalization is another term for global capitalism and imperialism and is therefore condemned by skeptics for propagating liberal market principles to more regions of the world. Therefore it could also be said that, globalization is not undermining state autonomy and sovereignty; rather, it is a

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manifestation of the nation-states continuing role in the organization of capitalism (Tremblay, p.351). Capitalism may give the illusion of capital accumulation as the ultimate satisfaction or a form of human happiness. In so doing, other forms of human activity lose validity and ethical meaning. This disempowered human agency unquestioningly submits to the technological demands of capitalism which makes human life exist only as a fuel to the wheels of capitalism a consumer citizen (Heron, p.4). A consumer citizens purpose is work to earn and earn to spend. Having that said, human life is the fuel of capitalism.

The

impact

of

globalization

is

contradictory;

it

can

simultaneously unleash both divisive and unifying forces (Tremblay, p.351). On the one hand we see that globalization benefits the global economy and those who are able to willingly take part in that global sector. On the other hand, those who are not able to take part in this one world business will find themselves left out, on welfare or even on the side of resisting forces. Globalization is transforming the conditions under which state power is exercised. It wore down the states power in three important areas: defense, finance and welfare. The more business and trade countries have between one another the less likely that war will occur, nevertheless if one country does not agree to the terms of globalization, then it may result in war, which makes war less rational than it used to be. Also, most states no longer have the power

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to control their own currencies and not to mention that welfare is now more in jeopardy as states strive to create a favorable investment climate in their country (Tremblay, p.350). Many argue that

globalization has constrained the ability of nation-states to achieve these three important areas, arguing that global economic forces undermine the fiscal basis of the welfare state. The drive toward economic integration has put pressure on national governments to cut their public expenditures on welfare programs in order to satisfy international competitive imperatives (Tremblay, p.352).

The universalization perspective claims that globalization is contributing to a united world culture, with all societies converging to a similar point under the rubric of a single global civilization (Tremblay, p.352). Benjamin Barber argues that globalization is unleashing homogenizing and troublesome forces that threaten democratic values and practices. Barber conceptualizes these paradoxical forces as the strife between McWorld, which represent the homogenizing global consumer culture, and Jihad forces, which fragment people along tribal, racial, and religious lines (Tremblay, p.353). Barber argues that the contradictory forces of McWorld and Jihad ultimately undermine democracy and its guardian, the nation-state. The United States is regarded as the cultural imperialism, exporting liberal-capitalist values to different regions of the world through cultural products, i.e.,

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films, music, and television shows (Tremblay, p.353). As Ulf Hanners explains, There is now a world culture, but we had better make sure we understand what this means: not a replication of uniformity but an organization of diversity, an increasing interconnectedness of varied local cultures as well as a development of cultures without a clear anchorage in any one territory (Tremblay, p.353). Hanners argues

that the agenda of a one world government is in existence, and that a world culture is needed first in order to satisfy the global economy which will in turn allow the ruling class to control imports and exports, as well as, supply and demand of our global economy. In other words, if the whole world adapts to the interests of liberal-capitalism and adopts the values and cultures of the imperialist countries, this will result in a global interest where every country is joining the movement to globalize their economy and introduce their culture to the diversified world market. This diversity will then connect and create cultures that welcome humanity (consumer-citizens) with open arms without

borders, restrictions and/or conditions as long as capitalism is fuelled. We have stated in the beginning of this article that globalization is often used to of describe the increased affairs integration by and rapid

internationalization

economic

facilitated

technological changes in information gathering and communication (Tremblay, p.249). We conclude that not everyone benefits from the processes of globalization, but it is true that every nation-states

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control over its economy is undermined and that globalization does lead to greater economic inequality in a society. So is it reasonable to pursue this global economy? Well, it is the law for human beings, which is allotted by Gods order according to their condition that they act according to reason (Augustine, p.25). This different perspective looks at globalization from another angle, looking at it as the tree that God told Adam and Eve not to eat from. When Adam withdrew from God he fell subject to his sense appetites. This also happens in particular to each human being the more the individual has withdrawn from reason, so that the individual resembles beasts who are carried away by their sense appetites (Augustine, p.25), in other words, consumer-citizens that are carried away by appetites, desires and the love for capital. Having that said, as it is in any game, only the ones who decide to play by the rules, have a chance to win.

Bibliography: Taitu Heron, Neolibralism and the Exercise of Human Agency, International Journal of Politics and Society, 20 (2008): 85-101.

El-Masri Accessed on November 18, 2012 on http://www.jstor.org/stable/40206149

Rita Tremblay et al., Mapping the Political Landscape: An introduction to political science, (Nelson Education, 2008), 2nd ed.

Aquinas, On Law, Morality and Politics, trans. Richard J. Regan (Hackett Publishing, 2002), 24-25.