History has proven that despite wars and economic crisis there is no evidence that the advance of globalization has led to unemployment in advanced industrial societies. Authors such as David Brooks and Thomas Friedmann argue that globalization “is the chief process driving our acts”. At first, the phenomenon of globalization can be understood as a multidimensional trend, with each aspect; economic, military, cultural, technological, political and environmental, requiring particular attention.
The first manifestation against the risks of globalization was during the financial crisis in Mexico in 1982 that spread to other countries. Blaming globalization was a line more easily found, especially by politicians who insisted on not recognizing that cutting government spending, decreasing tariffs and liberalizing the economy would have been the effective way to conduct the economy of their countries.
During the decades of the 70′s and 80′s, many economists believed that if countries kept their currencies linked to the U.S. dollar they would be guaranteed a sure way to avoid instabilities caused by strong financial markets. This act has proved a failure because against the increased flow of capital it was impossible to implement policies that would avoid domestic instability of the currencies, but in many countries globalization was blamed for this situation.
Many authors consider globalization a potential enemy. For some like Martin Carnoy the advance of globalization with its new technologies causes a destruction of countless jobs and is replacing the human being by the machine in a process called automation.
Perhaps there is a solution in mind that many do not want to take. The sociologist Emile Durkheim wrote in the 19th century that education should be treated as a virtue. To the old master, education plays a crucial role in the modern society; giving people knowledge and skills they need to live their social roles. Therefore, the knowledge in modern societies would be the key-tool for the individual to fit the inevitable process of economic globalization and the increase role of new technologies. It is not a good idea start here into the merit of the discussion involving many sociologists and economists and their opinions about what kind of knowledge would be ideal. There is no doubt that an open society is better able to perform that task, and more equipped to absorb new knowledge and apply them more efficiently. The industrial societies of today are experiencing a period of great competition among them and are facing the dilemma of how to bring science and technology o society itself without losing sight of living in a real globalized society.
The paths of globalization in industrial societies depend on the solution taken by themselves with the problems arising with the economic crisis of 2008/2009. Initially, these problems were felt most keenly in peripheral economies such as Africa and parts of Latin America and currently Europe is the centre of the “economic hurricane”. In the past, the Washington Consensus emphasized the necessity to implement effective measures so that these economies may reduce the dramatic levels of poverty that have endured long-term and the building of mechanisms to block other global financial crises do not become so devastating. Richard Ford, an American professor of Law at Stanford University, whose article “Why the Poor Stay Poor” argues that the problem of global poverty today is deepening due to additional factors such as racism in the global marketplace. Many developed countries have not yet established effective measures to avoid the huge difference that exists between black people and white people in the rapidly developing economies like Brazil and South Africa for example. Unfortunately, the problem trends worse considering the strong economic growth in China. The U.S. President, Barack Obama has tried to isolate China visiting others potential allies such as India and Brazil hoping to expand trend. The goal is to make India as a partner and leave China more isolated. In trust, the “China factor” tends to weaken rising economies such as Brazil, South Africa and Russia because it has a strong capacity for domestic production and more than 80% of the global economy depends on its products in heating markets. In summary, the economic conditions in these countries inclined to become even more problematic for those who are still a marginalized groups such as poor and immigrants. This point is extremely clear, financial globalization has been a “substantial source of income inequality” and “has not contributed to strengthening the overall productivity and increasing employment”, according to the annual report of the International Labour Organization(ILO) released last Friday, November, 12. “Globalization failed to contribute in developing the overall productivity and job creation” but also “increased economic instability”, says ILO. American economic policy has done little to improve the standard of living of people earning just over $US 6 per hour. A survey conducted in 2009 by New York University found that approximately 37 million Americans are living below the poverty line. This corresponds to 12.6% of the population. The last time poverty fell was in 2000 during the Clinton administration: the index was 11.3%. According to professor Larry Aber, New York University, “companies are becoming more riches and families earning less and less.
Even film entered into the debate over the effects caused by globalization. For example, the movie “The International”, a thriller that has its hero an Interpol investigator seeking to unravel the intricacies of a conspiracy involving bankers and arms dealers to Africa countries. The villain of history is “the system”, international capitalism, where money circulates with impunity. Another example, is the documentary “The Shock Doutrine”, based on a book written by Naomi Klein, a Canadian filmmaker, which shows how Neo-liberalism took a crisis to implement projects for economic deregulation and the transfer of money from the public to the private sector. Finally, a movie made by Canadian director Richard Brouilette, called “L’encerclement”, which is a fierce critique of the neoliberal agenda, interviews a long line of intellectuals and critics of globalization activists. In summary, Brouillete sees in large corporations and international financial organizations like World Bank and IMF(International Monetary Fund) a network of conspiracy in influential business and the concentration of wealth in few hands.
Finally, how to deal with the problems created by globalization such as poverty and the high number of unemployed among immigrants in Canada, Australia and England? Perhaps the best answer was already given by the economist John Maynard Keynes in the decade of the 1930, when he claimed that besides the interference of the State in times of crisis it would be effective to create conditions to enable the initiative and creativity in democratic economies. We must fight for implementing a Human Rights agenda which is more consistent and rational. Just pay attention to the divergences between Barack Obama and Stephen Harper analyzed in the excellent article “Globalization 3.0″ written by John Ibbitson, quoted here. Ibbitson reminds us that the United States are worried about themselves and the American tendency from now on is to participate effectively in this “war currency” with all the advantages possible not caring about the consequences that provoke in several economies.
There are many divergences on the future that global economies will have. Experts like Kevin Carmichal, a Canadian journalist at The Globe and Mail newspaper wrote an article called “The G-20′s Modest Task:Bringing Order Out of Global Chaos” in which his central point is quoted here.”The G-20 is a chaotic assembly that is still figuring out how work together. The Bretton Woods negotiations amounted to economist John Keynes, representing Britain, trying to dislodge the United States from its initial position> No one country dominates today as the U.S. did after the war. Mr. Keynes was supremely frustrated by the Americans, but it is by no mean obvious that he would fare any better in today’s menagerie of competing global interests.”(The Globe and Mail, Monday, November 8, 2010).
However, it is not a good idea to finish this article in a pessimist line. As much as authors like the theme of globalization, also believe in a human being as the “instrument” that could change the trajectory of this process that currently appears to confuse and contradict. Everything depends on how the leaders understand the need for social reforms and to identify priorities and finally puts them into practice. On the other hand, countries like Canada and Australia worry social scientists because the issue of multiculturalism in Canada for example, seems to function more as a barrier than as a process of integration. Here there is a strong trend of isolation by those immigrants who come from countries with little democratic tradition, and are significant in number. That can create a enormous problem to Canada to build an effective “agenda” in the future. There is no doubt that Canada and Australia are countries that have strong participation in the process of globalization. Immigrants urgently need to understand that their participation in the political process generated by globalization is an effective way to generate a new type of globalization not only centered in the economic trend, the easiest of all, but a process in which the concept of citizenship is no longer just a concept, an abstract idea without practicality or just to help them to get a Canadian passport. In short, a “citizenship on account of globalization”, why not?
By Giovane Batista