Poll- Globalization: For or Against

Do you support the trend of globalization? Do you support it only if certain ecological concessions are reached? Do you oppose it entirely? What is your rationale?

Personally, I support globalization in general, but demand certain aspects of sustainable development are recognized and incorporated into any globalizing framework. I encourage developments in information technologies, economic growth, regionalism, and transnational business practices, but at the same time I am concerned that climate change, slave labor, third world debt, and wastefulness are not being suitably addressed. Which puts me just about squarely between a mob of car tossing, Starbucks bashing, tree huggers (no offense) and a tiny elite of money grubbing, heartless, would-be plutocrats (no offense either). Where do the practical and knowledgeable denizens of the dope stand?

Can you be more specific in the question? I don’t like the idea of travelling to Indonesia and finding a McDonald’s on every corner. I want to see them living in their charming indigenous lifestyles. However, I don’t believe that you, I, or anyone else should be able to tell an Indonesian that he can’t have a McDonald’s burger if he wants one.

im speaking in extremely broad terms here. Do you want all the nations of the world trading, interacting, and yes even mixing and diluting their cultures? Or would you prefer everyone preserved their own traditions, and worried about their own problems?


Second that with force!

I’m against certain specific portions of today’s market liberalization: specifically, investor provisions like NAFTA’s Chapter 11, which allow foreign investors to sue nations over their laws in a private tribunal. Absolutely ridiculous.

See this thread: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?threadid=111605 and particular this link http://www.prospect.org/issue_pages/globalization/index.html to a special issue of The American Prospect on the subject. In particular, I think that Kuttner and Nobel-prize winning economists Stiglitz and Sen have things about right. To quote Kuttner’s summary of the issue:

In particular, I agree with Gadarene about NAFTA’s infamous Chapter 11.

The multinational corporations and financial elites have been extremely successful in formulating the debate as “Are you pro- or anti-globalization?” and unfortunately some of the “anti-globalization” protesters seem to have fallen into this rhetorical trap. The real question is not “pro” or “anti” but rather “how?” and for whose benefit. Until this is realized, the decisions are going to continue to be made de-facto for the benefit of the few who are powerful and organized.

[And before someone jumps in to claim that there are some policies where everyone benefits, I will point out that these are rather few and far between. In particular, on the margin there are always going to be trade-offs (i.e., give me a policy and I will give you an alteration of that policy whereby some people make out better and some worse). That this simple fact is not recognized just shows you how well one side is doing in winning the propaganda war.]

There was an excellent article in Foreign Policy this month about “Japanese Cool”… how Japan is successfully exporting its culture even in the face of a weakening economy. That, in my mind, is a powerful argument against one of the biggest critiques of globalization: that it leads to a world dominated by Americanized monoculture. It’s still valid, and I still think that real cultures do tend to be refined into their most banal versions too often, but it isn’t the “creeping Americanism” that some people define it as.

I think it’s important to remember what we’re debating over. Gadarene is right: states should have sovereignty over their own borders, and any rights of foreign investors should not supercede that, especially the phantom of “lost profits” that implies a right to profits that nobody deserves. It’s also important to recognize that unequal trade benefits no one, and that even the WTO is at the mercy of the more powerful states in ways that make the power balance inherently and inescapably unequal. Part of the reason it should be understood that states should retain sovereignty is that those that are powerful enough already do: I think that the current farm bill and the steel and lumber disputes make it obvious that state governments, as well as inherently having the right to alter their economies, are not willing to cede those rights if they’re powerful enough to get away with it.

In the end, the problem is that money is not enough: it comes down to questions of power. Globalization is meaningless as long as more powerful governments (or even corporations) can play with the rules, and although the theory may be laudable, the actual outcome can be not nearly so positive. I’m not sure how much more benefit globalization would grant first world service-based economies, and the power inbalances have lead to severe problems in the agrarian- and manufacturing-based third world countries that stand to benefit most from international trade. As long as Iowa farmers help determine the presidentian candidates, the agrarian third world will never really get a fair deal.

Globilization is a meaningless buzzword. Stigliz and Sen have is basically right when they point out that, by ensconing the debate in this big nonsensical word (the world economy was more globally linked back when Britian was an Empire, for goodness sakes!), one totally flies by all the different and very important debates that surround issues of global trade and global justice.

I’m for it. While it’s sad when people lose jobs because it’s cheaper elsewhere, I think in the end people win. The best analogy I heard was this–if you could cure all disease, would you prevent that because doctors would be out of work? Of course not. Doctors would be able to find work in another field with their skills. In the short term and in a small town, people may be hurt, but in the long run, people benefit.

I think my single biggest problem with the opponents to it are that they are (in my experience) hypocritical college kids that don’t have enough to do and also have no real solutions other than “let’s riot and smash up a Starbucks and McDonald’s while complaining about police brutality”. I realize this is not representaive of everyone on this side of the debate, but that’s what I see. I invite someone better qualified than those to enlighten me and maybe I will change my mind.

Elwood: of course there are more reasoned forms of opposition to it, and not all of those college kids are really hypocritical or prone to smashing things. Unfortunately, the decentralized and chaotic nature of the opposition means that the defenders of globalization (which is, yes, a buzzword, but one that signifies a lot more than apos has given it credit for) can take free potshots all they want without having to worry about any organized defense of said “college kids”. While there are genuine critiques to be made of both globalization and it’s opposition, neither is really possible with the way things stand now.

If you haven’t yet read Thomas Firedman’s book The Lexus and the Olive Tree, check it out; he’s got lots of interesting things to say about globalization, even if the way he lurches around the planet can make your head spin sometimes.

Sorry, Thomas Friedman. Darn preview!

A one world government is the vehicle for the Antichrist!!
(channeling WildestBill here)

Don’t laugh too hard :smiley: - “Beast Government” is at an all time high and the coming of the Anti-Christ has moved a step closer with Le Pen’s election success. All in all, the Rapture Index[sup]TM[/sup] stands at a repectable 170 out of 225, just 12 points below its all-time high!!

It’s on the Internet - it must be true!!!


Actually, Thomas Friedman’s all but uncritical support for the impact of globalization is what makes my head spin. I don’t say don’t read it: but whoever reads it should know that Friedman is basically a cheerleader.

Aside: Thanks for posting that old thread jshore. I’m not surprised that globalization debate has continued during my hiatus ;).

We all think within our own frameworks, so from within mine –

I think the idea of “globalization” is essentially meaningless without a global-wide mechanism of enforcement. (See “need global government,” above.) I am personally against any global measure that impinges upon the sovereignty of nations – or, more specifically, my nation.

I do not think of myself as a “citizen of Planet Earth.” I am an American. (This is not to say that all nations, and industrialized nations in particular, do not bear responsibilty to and for the planet as a whole.) As such, I oppose submitting the U.S. to censure by any body without its (the U.S.'s, not the body’s) explicit consent. I am generally in favor of free trade, and I think the exchange of cultures is a good thing, even if those cultures are ultimately “diluted.” Culture is itself a fluid thing, and understanding of others is IMO crucial to lasting peace between peoples.

I’ve read Friedman’s book also. A fun read with a lot of evidence in support of Globalization especially from his own experiences, but almost completely lacking any reference to the ecological considerations I mentioned. Instead he makes overly simplistic analogies to “the olive tree” the symbol of heritage, culture, and custom but never gets into the details of his opponents’ viewpoint. I would give the book more credit if it was more balanced. Also, does anyone remember the numerous times he lauds Enron as a model corporation in the new Globalizing world? I bet he cringes every time he rereads that.

Two books I recommend are “The Globalization Syndrome: Transformation and Resistance” by James Mittelman and “State of the World 2002” from the Worldwatch Institute. The former isn’t as engaging as “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” but offers a more much holistic argument. Mittleman addresses the view of both the people benefiting and suffering due to globalization and calls for alternative solutions. State of the World 2002 was required reading for a poli-sci Environmental Policy class I took, but is an extremely information packed book. It addresses every issue anti-globalizationists are currently attempting to get onto the global agenda and provides study after study, statistic after statistic to drive that point home. Some of its conclusions are spurious and overly pessimistic; for example I don’t share their view that genetically modified foods will destroy agriculture as we know it, nor am I as concerned about over population. Call me naively hopeful, but I believe that technology will allow for the Earth to support far more people than the figure of 20 billion maximum carrying capacity argued by the book. Stephen Hawking and Ray Kurzweil put that figure closer to 100 billion, and I would put my estimation closer to theirs. But, on the issues of carbon based energy use, inequity of wealth, and climate change I am in full agreement that serious problems exist that are not being suitably addressed by the current globalizing model.

Hitherto this point, I had always been for globalization. However, recently I have found myself thinking that the U.S. would be wiser to impose stiff tariffs on oil and steel to protect two industries that will be essential in times of war. I think commerce and trade are good, but I am beginning to think we need to regulate the big multinational corporations more.

Oh, dear, I certainly never meant to imply that Friedman was 100% right 100% of the time, just that I found what he had to say very interesting and thought-provoking. (And BTW, he did give examples of those who were likely to be left behind by globalization if the gloablizers weren’t careful, and that maybe we should think about whether that was a good idea, and if not, how to make sure provisions are made for them.)

Sometimes frameworks, even overly general ones like Friedman’s Lexus/olive tree, are useful for organizing thoughts, even if it requires some shaving to squeeze specific events into the framework.