Globalization

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Globalization, according to one source, is defined politically and economically as "the process of denationalization of markets, politics and legal systems, i.e., the rise of the so-called global economy. The consequences of this political and economic restructuring on local economies, human welfare and environment are the subject of an open debate among international organizations, governmental institutions and the academic world."[1]

Globalization removes control over local resources to remote insensitive trans-national corporations operating solely on an agenda of profits, underinformed of and with insufficient concern for local effects. It exemplifies the socialization of costs and privatization of profits. "Agricultural workers and their families are being poisoned, rural lands, forests, oceans and waters are devastated, biodiversity is being destroyed, and food is unfit for human consumption. With these words, 140 participants from 17 countries at the First Pesticide Action Network Asia and the Pacific Congress in Manila last week [April 2003] warned the world that industrial agriculture as conducted by transnational corporations is undermining the resources needed to sustain food production."[2]

Another perspective equates globalization with the phenomenon of intercontinental contracting. Keith Porter writes: "People around the globe are more connected to each other than ever before. Information and money flow more quickly than ever. Goods and services produced in one part of the world are increasingly available in all parts of the world. International travel is more frequent. International communication is commonplace."[3]

Porter adds: "While some people think of globalization as primarily a synonym for global business, it is much more than that. The same forces that allow businesses to operate as if national borders did not exist also allow social activists, labor organizers, journalists, academics, and many others to work on a global stage."[4]

"Since the Seattle surprise of 1999, it has become standard procedure to erect a miniature police state around globalization summits, and it's hard not to read these rights-free zones as prefigurations of what full-blown corporate globalization might bring. After all, this form of globalization would essentially suspend local, regional, and national rights of self-determination over labor, environmental, and agricultural conditions in the name of the dubious benefits of the free market, benefits that would be enforced by unaccountable transnational authorities acting primarily to protect the rights of capital." --Rebecca Solnit, November 2003.[5]

Promotion of Conflict

"Many of the armed conflicts of recent years have been sustained by economic activities of combatants with access to global markets. Today's warlords, make use of global financial and commodity markets to transform control over natural resources into war fighting capacity. Under the cover of armed conflict, legally or illegally produced commodities are traded on the legitimate, but highly unregulated, global markets to obtain financial resources, weapons and other materiel needed to sustain the war."[6]

Globalization of North America

The activity of globalization can be applied to, or against, any country, including the U.S. March 28, 2003, Public Citizen:

"Without approval by Michigan's legislature or Gov. Jennifer Granholm, the Bush administration plans to submit offers next week at the World Trade Organization (WTO) that could require the state to open public services to foreign, for-profit ownership and strictly curtail state regulation of banking, insurance, electricity, water systems, transportation, alcohol distribution and professional services including those provided by doctors, lawyers and accountants.
"States would be required to conform their policies to global rules established as part of negotiations occurring under the WTO's General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). The threat to numerous state laws and policies was revealed only weeks ago when the European Union's (EU) demands of the U.S. were leaked from the secretive talks being held at the WTO's Geneva headquarters.
"The leaked documents showed that a stunning scope of domestic policies that citizens expect to be set by their federal, state and local officials are poised to be eliminated in global negotiations pushed by giant, multinational service sector corporations such as Arthur Andersen, Halliburton Company and RWE/Thames Water. The policies include the privatization and deregulation of public energy and water utilities, postal services, higher education and alcohol distribution systems; the right of foreign firms to obtain U.S. government small business loans; and deregulation of private-sector industries such as insurance, banking, mutual funds and securities."

The website "Progress Report" observes in October 2003 that

Mining corporations, many of which are not even American, receive huge welfare handouts from U.S. taxpayers in the form of access to public land at far less than the market value. Billions of dollars' worth of precious metals and other natural resources have been taken from public land, without any compensation to U.S. taxpayers.
Now in a new development, instead of reforming this scandalous situation, the Bush administration is making it even worse by telling mining corporations they can pollute public lands without liability -- the full cost and liability hits the taxpayers instead.
"Negotiated behind closed doors between the Bush administration and America's most toxic industry, this outrageous reversal directs the government to quit enforcing existing federal law," said Steve D'Esposito of Mineral Policy Center.

Globalization of Latin America

See article on Imperial terror in South America and links therefrom.

Globalization of the Middle East

Since U.S. and U.K. forces, the "coalition of the willing," began the campaign (Gulf War II) to oust Saddam Hussein and his "repressive" and "malignant" Iraqi leadership, other challenges for globalization may be on the horizon. Some are seeing Iraq's -- and the Middle East's -- future through other definitions like Americanization, or the Pax Americana doctrine.

An increasingly popular view is that Islamist activity is more anti-imperialist than religiously motivated. Olivier Roy of the Open Society Institute has broached the view that any model of an Islamic caliphate would almost certainly be defined by its resistance to economic globalization, rather than any religious ideal.

Globalization of Iraq

Globalization of Africa

Jim Lobe, Washington, D.C., October 28, 2003 (OneWorld) writes:

A dozen major international human rights and develoment groups are calling on the UN Security Council to press the United States and other western governments to launch immediate investigations into the involvement of multinational corporations based in their countries in profiteering from the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. See war profiteering.
The appeal--by such groups as Human Rights Watch (HRW), Friends of the Earth (FoE), Oxfam, and the International Human Rights Law Group--charges that multinational corporations (MNCs) have developed "elite networks" of key political, military, and business elites to plunder the Congo's natural resources during a five-year conflict that has caused the deaths of more than three million people--the highest civilian death toll of any war since World War II.
The groups' appeal comes on the eve of the final report of a Panel of Experts ["Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of the DRC"] that was established by the UN in 2000 to study the illegal exploitation of the DRC's abundant natural resources.

References

Also see

Related SourceWatch Resources

External links

General Resources

Resources critical of Globalisation

"Pro" Globalisation Resources

Globalisation Articles

Further Reading (Books)