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7 Myths on Globalization

Globalization can be defined as “the process in which people, ideas and goods
spread throughout the world, spurring more interaction and integration between the
world’s cultures, governments and economies” (M.K. Pratt).

Globalization represents the global integration of international trade, investment,


information technology and cultures.

“Globalization is not new, though. For thousands of years, people—and, later,


corporations—have been buying from and selling to each other in lands at great distances,
such as through the famed Silk Road across Central Asia that connected China and Europe
during the Middle Ages. Likewise, for centuries, people and corporations have invested in
enterprises in other countries. In fact, many of the features of the current wave of
globalization are similar to those prevailing before the outbreak of the First World War in
1914” (Globalization 101)

“The current wave of globalization has been driven by policies that have opened
economies domestically and internationally. In the years since the Second World War,
and especially during the past two decades, many governments have adopted free-market
economic systems, vastly increasing their own productive potential and creating myriad
new opportunities for international trade and investment. Governments also have
negotiated dramatic reductions in barriers to commerce and have established
international agreements to promote trade in goods, services, and investment. Taking
advantage of new opportunities in foreign markets, corporations have built foreign
factories and established production and marketing arrangements with foreign partners.
A defining feature of globalization, therefore, is an international industrial and financial
business structure” (Ibid).

“Globalization is deeply controversial, however. Proponents of globalization argue


that it allows poor countries and their citizens to develop economically and raise their
standards of living, while opponents of globalization claim that the creation of an
unfettered international free market has benefited multinational corporations in the
Western world at the expense of local enterprises, local cultures, and common people.
Resistance to globalization has therefore taken shape both at a popular and at a
governmental level as people and governments try to manage the flow of capital, labor,
goods, and ideas that constitute the current wave of globalization” (Ibid).
Some Myths on Globalization

Depending on one’s attitude and bias, whether one is in favor or against the current
globalization process, the following views are mostly considered by globalists as myths:

Myth #1: Globalization is a new, enlightened economy.

Truth:

“It is an old, colonial one. That is why movements from the global south call it
‘recolonization’. It reverses the gains of postcolonial governance in areas such as land
reform, nationalization of industries, and cultural protections. Indeed its policies mirror
colonial policies in uncanny ways. For example the outlawing of sale of unpackaged
cooking oil in India feels the same as the outlawing of production of homespun cloth”
(Amorystarr.com).

Myth #2: Globalization is some kind of “conspiracy” by big companies


against smaller countries.

Truth

It’s true, of course, that some companies are bigger, by financial measures, than
some countries. That’s a testimony to the market-based economy that more and more
countries are choosing to adopt. But no company or group of companies is calling the
shots. Consumers are calling the shots, by voting with their money for the products and
services they want and need. Those products are made more affordable

as factories rise and tariffs fall, all around the globe.

Myth #3: Globalization’s ‘evil tool’ is information technology.

“Globalization increasingly means the free flow of goods, services, capital,


knowledge – and ideas – around the world. Information technology is what makes it work
for people. It wasn’t tanks that broke down the Berlin Wall. It was ideas…shared by phone
calls and faxes and TV” (Amorystarr.com).

“Technology has been the other principal driver of globalization. Advances in


information technology, in particular, have dramatically transformed economic life.
Information technologies have given all sorts of individual economic actors—consumers,
investors, businesses—valuable new tools for identifying and pursuing economic
opportunities, including faster and more informed analyses of economic trends around
the world, easy transfers of assets, and collaboration with far-flung partners”
(Globalization 101).

“When US WEST introduced cellular phone service in Hungary, an 80-year-old


man cry as he reached the head of the line. He said: “I’ve waited all my life for this, and I
was so afraid I’d die before I got the chance to call my daughter from my own telephone”
(Amorystarr.com)

Myth #4: Globalization undermines cultural diversity.

“Get on the Internet and type “blankets” or “jewelry” or “sculpture” or “food.”


You’ll discover, as thousands of “bootstrap” businesses and crafts-people around the
world have: Globalization expands diversity. It gives geographically-isolated crafts-
people a worldwide market for their goods and services. It does the same for dances, and
dramas. Religions. Political philosophies. And shared interests, as well…Yes,
globalization brought McDonald’s to Hong Kong. But the menu, there, has had to take on
a decidedly Asian flavor, as well as giving Asians a new choice” (McCormick).

Myth #5: Globalization lowers labor standards, turning developing


nations’ workers into ‘slaves.’

“Actually, globalization is raising labor standards. A recent study by the


Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that foreign
corporations pay more than the average wage in every country in which they operate. In
Turkey, for example, foreign companies pay 24 percent more than the national average”
(McCormick, 2000).

Myth #6: Globalization means multinational corporations will flourish


at the expense of smaller companies and consumers.

Truth:

There are more than 60,000 multinational companies in the world. “Quite a few of
those are from developing countries. What we’re seeing is, as global companies move into
local markets, local companies move into global markets. Even the venerable Tetley Tea
Company in the United Kingdom is now owned by a conglomerate from India.
Globalization and freer trade make market access easier for everyone — especially small
businesses, which are quick to adopt new technologies” (McCormick, 2000).
Myth #7: Globalization widens the gap between rich and poor.

Truth:

The widening gap between the rich and poor countries could not be totally blamed
on to globalization. The gap already existed before the advent of the current globalization
process. On the contrary, globalization uplifted many poor economies. In the 1950s, for
instance, “the people of Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea lived in typical
developing-country poverty. But as other developing nations closed their doors to global
markets, these four took the opposite approach. Today … by deregulating their domestic
economies and opening up to global markets, (these) Four Tigers…have achieved
standards of living equivalent to that of industrialized nations……with per-capita incomes
in Hong Kong and Singapore rivaling those of the wealthiest Western nations. Thanks
largely to globalization, the United Nations Human Development Index, which measures
education, income and life expectancy around the world, shows steady improvement”
(McCormick, 2000).
Intellectual Property:
The Currency of Today’s
Global Trade
1. Intellectual Property and Global Trade

If the currency of the old capitalist social order is gold, the new currency of the new
informational capitalism is said to be IP, that is, ownership of ideas, industrial designs,
trademarks, copyright and other creative products and services based on human
creativity and innovation. “Creativity, in the form of ideas, innovations, and inventions,
has replaced gold, colonies, and raw materials as the wealth of nations” (Warshofky,
1994).

Innovation, both at the individual and group level, has been increasingly
acknowledged by many as the true wealth of nations in the 21st century: “The creative
economy has become a powerful transformative force in the world today and one of the
most rapidly growing sectors of the world economy, not just in terms of income
generation but also for job creation and export earnings (UNESCO & UNDP, Creative
Economy Report, 2013, p.15). A greater proportion of the world’s intellectual and creative
resources are now being invested in culture-based and IP-intensive industries. The
concept of intellectual property which was used to be a specialist, an arcane subject has
now moved center stage in the economy.

2. Types of Intellectual Property (IP)

2.1 Copyrights are creative works that have been fixed in a tangible form.

2.2 Patents are grants from the government that give you exclusive rights over your
invention for a specific amount of time, in exchange for full disclosure.

2.3 Trademarks are words, symbols, colors, sounds, or smells that someone is using
in conjunction with a product or service.

2.4 Trade secrets are secret information used by a business that derives its value
from being secret, and where the business is invested in protecting that secrecy.
2.5 Right of publicity is defined as your right to control how your name, likeness,
and persona are used by others.

3. US Control of the Global IP Economy

The American monopoly of the IP trade did not arise instantly. It started gradually
with the leading role of U.S. IP industries in creating a new IPR regime in the U.S.
economy which soon projected on a worldwide scale in the 1980s with the opening of
economies of developing countries through free trade and reduction and elimination of
tariffs in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), a multilateral agreement
signed by 110 countries around the world. Countries who signed this agreement also
agreed to the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and to GATT’s Trade-
Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights agreement (TRIPS), a multilateral
agreement which requires member countries to protect IP goods and services from
counterfeiting and piracy. Historically, the U.S. was the first country to realize how greatly
its economy depends on IP as a source of national income and employment.

Today, practically almost all sectors of the US economy rely on some form of IP,
because virtually “every industry either produces it or uses it” Thus, as early as the 1970s
when the world was reeling from OPEC’s oil price increases, the U.S. first saw the need of
new foreign policy for IP, for the ownership of ideas that suit American interest
(Warshofsky, 1994). From 1970s to early 1990s, there was a widespread belief that the
US economy had declined and overtaken by Japan and that this decline can only be halted
by a renewed emphasis on technological innovation to stimulate economic growth
(Landes & Posner, 2003, p. 2). The promotion and protection of American IP exports
gradually emerged as the most viable response to this decline. Riker (2012) explained that
there are strong indications that improvements in IPR protection in U.S. export markets
could increase export revenues and income from direct investment abroad, increase
royalties from licensing U.S. knowledge capital, or from a combination of these three (p.
288).

With this realization, the U.S. government shifted its economic focus from the
traditional manufacturing and exportation of “hard” and “heavy” goods to “soft” and
“liquid” goods and services of the creative economy which fit into the current
globalizations trends characterized by “liquidity” and mobility of things (Ritzer, 2010).
While China was busy converting its centrally-planned economy into a market economy
in the mid-1980s, the U.S. was preoccupied with harnessing its creative economy during
this period, laying the foundation of a new economic infrastructure based on human
innovation and IP.
To protect and accelerate the growth of this new-found “gold” in the U.S.
economy, the government, influenced by the intense and sustained corporate lobbying of
top IP pharmaceutical multinationals, gave IP protection a special legislative push. Since
the 1980s, the U.S. Congress introduced a series of legal reforms and innovations in IPR
to curb piracy and counterfeiting at home and abroad. As a result, the profitability of
American IP companies grew rapidly. Between 1987 and 1999, for instance, a period of
only twelve years, the annual U.S. receipts from foreign IP trade rose from $10 billion to
36.5 billion. American exports in high technology goods such as computers and electronic
products amounted to $190 billion out of the total exports of $690 billion (28%) (Landes
& Posner, 2003, p.3). The supremacy of IP in the US economy became apparent in when
nearly 61% of American exports, $775 billion, come from IP-intensive industries in 2010.

The export of copyright-based industries such as films and computer software also
increase with $89 billion in 2001. With sustained efforts of the U.S. government to protect
U.S. goods and services from counterfeiting, the dramatic growth of IP trade at home and
abroad continued to intensify in early 2000s (Landes & Posner, 2003 p. 3). In 2010, the
total merchandise exports of the US IP-intensive industries has already reached a
staggering $775 billion, accounting for 60.7 percent of total U.S. merchandise exports and
for 40.0 million direct and indirect jobs or 27.7 percent of all jobs in the U.S. But in 2012,
the IIPA estimated that the value added by the core copyright industries to U.S. GDP
exceeded $1 trillion dollars ($1,015.6 billion) for the first time, accounting for 6.48% of
the U.S. economy and the value added by the total copyright industries to GDP exceeded
$1.7 trillion ($1,765 billion), accounting for 11.25% of the U.S. economy (Siwek, 2012, p.2).

In the realm of patents, the U.S. IP industries also showed dominance in the U.S.
economy. In patent medicine, four (7) out of the top ten (10) pharmaceutical companies
in the world are American multinationals with Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer occupying
the top spots with revenues of US$61.9 billion and US$50.01 billion respectively.. In
computer technology, the U.S. is overtaking other countries in terms of inventions in
computer products and applications. The global leader in technology patent, the
International Business Machines (IBM), for instance, has been a consistent number one
patent creator in the world for a long time, amassing more U.S. patents than any other
companies in the last 21 years. In 2013 alone, it created a total of 6, 809 patents, with
more than 30% of these came from overseas.

The significant contribution of the IP industries to the U.S. economy has pushed
the U.S. government to prioritize IPR protection at home and abroad in order to curb
counterfeiting and piracy of American IP products. The strengthening of IPR protection
abroad aims to build a global IP legal regime which makes it difficult for counterfeiters
and infringers to hijack the exports of U.S. IP multinational companies (MNCs), the new
key drivers of the American economy. The grand scheme of the U.S. includes the global
institutionalization of the TRIPS and its own version of IPR protection which can
dominate its top economic competitors and leading IP counterfeiters such as China,
Brazil, India and Russia, and other piracy-laden ASEAN countries. To achieve this end
without manifest opposition from developed and developing countries around the world,
the U.S. has to use a consensual power judiciously in the diplomatic front through the
cultural institution of law as a mechanism to shield its hegemonic agenda of dominating
the global IP trade as well as to project an image that the American-style of IPR protection
serves the economic interest of all nations in the world.
What are the Effects of
Globalization to Morality,
Love, and Marriage? Who
Controls the Global Trade?

What is Globalization?

Globalization sees the world as becoming a small village and network that connects
people, spaces, things, and technologies. Not all scholars believe that the process of
globalization is taking place in our midst. But for some who believe and assume a globalist
perspective, globalization is a pervasive phenomenon that affects almost all aspects of
people’s public lives, even people’s concept of commitment, love and marriage.

Globalization is a complex and difficult term with various definitions and


dimensions. The American sociologist George Ritzer (2011) defines it as a “transplanetary
process(es) involving increasing liquidity and growing multi-directional flows as well as
the structures they encounter and create” (p.2). Under this definition, the processes of
globalization do not only affect a group of people, nations or states, but social structures
of societies around the globe. Unlike other definitions, this definition does not emphasize
global integration but rather reduction of integration caused by growing “liquidity” of the
world and by globalization’s multi-directional flows which make reality more diverse and
in a state of flux.

Liquidity vs. Solidity in Globalization

The terms “liquidity” and “flows” of Ritzer’s definition have significant


implications to people’s behavior, particularly to their commitment to love and marriage.
Liquidity is a metaphor used by some globalists to explain the growing flexibility and
mobility of things, brought about by the current processes of globalization. Liquidity
simply means that things, information and places are increasingly becoming light and
thus easy to transport from one place to another. “Liquids” can easily “flow” to different
locations with the capacity to change their form to adapt to the environment. With today’s
globalization and technological innovation, almost all things have become light, mobile
and flexible. Today’s home appliances, cars, and mobile phones, and other gadgets, for
instance, have become lighter, thinner and smaller: easy to move, manipulate and
transport, but more powerful and advanced in functions than the older models! Even jobs
have become liquids in today’s global era. They have also become light such as marketing
a product online than doing it through physical presence.

The opposite of liquidity is solidity. Solidity which characterized the modern milieu
prior to the current information era, makes people, things, information, and places
“harden” over time and place and are therefore “heavy” and difficult to transport. Old car
models are more “solid” and heavy compared to the newer models. Stone tablets, large
personal computers, magazines, books, and gadgets which are “heavy” to carry are now
being replaced by light but powerful smart phones, ipods, e-books and other light high-
tech gadgets. With digital technology, modern transport system, free trade, and increased
migration, the mobility of people, information, goods and services becomes swift and
convenient.

What is the Effect of Globalization to People’s


Mind and Morality?

If the mind is a social product, then it can easily be influenced by the physical
and social environments which surround it. If the world today is fast evolving because of
globalization’s liquidity, then people’s minds, particularly those of the urban dwellers who
are exposed to the rapid pace of the global life in mega cities, are more likely to undergo
constant mental recycling in their personal and communal values. The digitalization of
life by the Internet, smart phones and other ICT technologies with its lighting speed has
also eroded people’s capacity to stall and be “fixed” in their mental frames and moral
commitments. The “solidity” of traditional values such as love, marriage and commitment
is now being challenged by the growing “liquidity” of the secularizing postmodern
environment of the global era to become “liquid” and contingent. The concept of
commitment which is popularly taught in churches and schools as fixed and sacred is now
being “liquified” and secularized by the various flows of globalization in temporal and
cyber spaces.
The challenge of globalization to people’s commitment to love and marriage can
now be felt by many people in developed countries as well as in developing countries of
Southeast Asia such as the Philippines. One major process of globalization which has a
direct impact to marital commitment is the domestic and international migration. As
employment opportunities are increasingly concentrated in urban centers, particularly in
mega cities (cities with more than 10 million population) of developing countries due to
the growing poverty in the rural areas, people become detached from their own religious
communities and kinship networks which support their traditional religious beliefs and
values. Migrants who come from rural communities with their traditional concepts of love
and marriage find themselves exposed to the alienating social environment of the city
which encourages promiscuity or “love without commitment” or what the sociologist
Anthony Giddens calls as confluent love.

What are the Effects of Globalization to Love and


Marriage?

In his book, “The Transformation of Intimacy: Sexuality, Love and Eroticism in


Modern Societies,” Anthony Giddens (1992) describes confluent love as a type of love
which is based on pure relationship. And a pure relationship is a “social relation…entered
into for its own sake; and which is continued only in so far as it is thought by both parties
to deliver enough satisfaction for each individual to stay within it” (Cornville & Rogers,
1998, p. 97). ‘Unlike romantic love, confluent love is not necessarily monogamous, in the
sense of sexual exclusiveness. What holds the pure relationship together is the acceptance
on the part of each partner, ‘until further notice’, that each gains sufficient benefit from
the relation to make its continuance worthwhile (Giddens in Giddes, 2011). Romantic love
is a type of relationship which is often viewed as ‘forever after’ monogamous love. This
type of love prepares people for the life-long commitment of marital love after courtship
and engagement.

But confluent love is different from romantic or marital love. The essence of
confluent love is its contingency or “liquidity”. It is not a “till-death-do-us-part” kind of
relationship. It lasts as long as the lovers find the relationship mutually fulfilling. Thus, a
one-night stand, a regular orgy of couples, or a temporary live-in arrangement or
cohabitation with no intention of marrying, are some expressions of confluent love.
Furthermore, confluent love, unlike romantic love, is not always monogamous.
Sometimes it allows polygamous, bisexual or homosexual relationship. In this sense,
confluent love does not conform to the criteria of true love as defined by the Bible and
Church teachings. It has no religious dimension. It ends when both or all parties involved
feel that the relationship is no longer working and satisfying. “The emergent morality of
confluent love recognizes the rights of individual to happiness and appropriateness of
ending relationships that are no longer experienced as fulfilling” (Goodwin & Cramer,
2009, p. 48). This emerging concept of love and commitment, facilitated by the liquidity
of the world by the process of globalization and secularization, contravenes the religious
understanding of marital love as sacred and a lifetime commitment.

The time has come for religious leaders and moral entrepreneurs to evaluate their
evangelization strategies or catechisms on love, marriage and commitment and find
appropriate and creative means to counter the influence of confluent love in today’s global
world!

Who Controls the Wealth of the Earth in Today’s


Global Trade?

The Unholy Trinity consisting of the World Bank, IMF, and WTO

The World Bank

2. The International Monetary Fund (IMF)

3. The World Trade organization (WTO)

An emerging pattern in international trade that affects the primary role of the state
to protect the common good is the weakening of the state power to intervene and to
legislate in economic affairs owing to the powers of multilateral institutions such as the
GATT-WTO, World Bank and the IMF to dictate on governments to align their economic
policies and laws to multilateral and bilateral agreements with other powerful countries.
These agreements take away from developing countries their economic sovereignty as
they are not totally free to intervene on their own in the local economy, particularly in
areas predetermined in trade agreements, even if such intervention is necessary to protect
the common good. For instance, the imposition of the indirect tax such as the E-VAT by
the World Bank in Philippine economy is likely to hit the poor but the government is
inutile to avoid it as it is under pressure to generate revenues to improve its international
credit standing. The legislation of E-VAT to increase revenues is not a state intervention
based on the Philippine government’s assessment on what is best to protect the common
good from budget deficit but an idea and pressure coming from a foreign multilateral body
dominated by rich countries. The Catholic Social teaching condemns this coercion in
international trade. “In international exchanges there is a need to go beyond relationships
based on force, to arrive at agreements reached with the good of all in mind“ (Octogesima
Adveniens, n.43). [T]the most important duty in the realm of justice is to allow each
country to promote its own development, within the framework of a cooperation free from
any spirit of domination, whether economic or political” (ibid). “In order that
international trade be human and moral, social justice requires that it restore to the
participants a certain equality of opportunity” (Populorum Progressio, n. 61).

As early as the papal letter Rerum Novarum, the Pope has recommended the
review of economic contracts and revision of relationships entered into by nations in
international trade whether they serve social justice and protect the common good or not:
“an economy of exchange can no longer be based solely on the law of free competition, a
law which, in turn, too often create an economic dictatorship. Freedom of free trade is fair
only if it is subject to the demands of social justice” (Populorum Progression, n. 59). “Thus
it is necessary to have the courage to undertake a revision of the relationships between
nations, whether it is a question of the international division of production, the structure
of exchanges, the control of profits, the monetary system—without forgetting the actions
of human solidarity—to question the models of growth of the rich nations and change
people’s outlooks, so that they may realize the prior call of international duty and to renew
international organizations so that they may increase in effectiveness (Octogesima
Adveniens, n. 43).

Finally, the Pope recommends that there should be one system of weights and
measures in the commercial relations of nations: “What holds for a national economy or
among developed countries is valid also in commercial relations between rich nations and
poor nations” (Populorum Progressio, n. 61).
THEO
SOCIO
LOGICALLY
YOURS

By

Dr. Vivencio Ballano