Some Thoughts on Globalization
The world is getting smaller……rapidly
As a citizen of Australia, we enjoy the privilege of being part of the global North whilst being able to control the influx of migration in to the country. Is this a god thing though? We have certainly seen greater flows of immigrants from all corners of the world since the changes to Australian immigration laws 40 years ago. The flow of people, therefore, into the nation has increased the amount of globalization we now enjoy through different cultures and a broader mix of citizenship. We watch with interest the lack of global governance that appears to exist in the rest of the world and the tightening of borders against immigrants fleeing war, famine and persecution. The UN, as a global entity designed to bring nation states together to resolve across border issues is failing to find relevance as many European countries revert to a closed nationalistic view. Bartelson discusses the concept of transcendence. It is maybe this concept of a self-driven view of globalization that reduces the flow of people through the removal of units and dimensions. Some of these sentiments are also echoed in other articles that discuss the erosion and reshaping. What future will nation states play in the movement of people, trade and technology? Multinational corporations already act in a global manner and are adept at adapting to regional requirements and exploiting the available resources, whether human or other, in achieving desired outcomes. Hyperglobalizers are already espousing this future as the workable model for the globe. Does this mean that we have gone too far already? The developing economies of the world still require a lot structural support to deliver basic standard of living to the bottom billion people. If the North has a view of globalization that does not encompass the development of the South, that is regionalized for their needs, there is increased risk of conflict as nations refused to be dictated too. North Korea is an example here. Their own government are trying to protect their citizens from globalization but at what cost.
Globalization and the environment, particularly harm to the environment, are a growing issue that governments are failing to adequately address. This may be due to the short tenure that many politicians have and the inability to maintain a consistent focus on the issues for a length of time. Environmental issues are a global problem as we are all affected by or part of creating the issue. Growing wealth in developing countries will escalate the amount of pollution and waste being produced. MNC’s manufacturing in developing countries shift responsibility away from their own nations to governments that are keen to attract their business. The issues can feel insurmountable to individuals in the global North so one wonders how the millions of people in the South feel about these issues. Their primary needs are limited to survival, in some instances. If you look at the environment and parallel it to the discussion on global social justice, then there should be interest taken to ensure that all people have the right to clean air and water, as a minimum. Wealth and lifestyle will become irrelevant if we are all fighting over a clean water supply. Countries, such as China and India, that have millions of people moving into a more middle-class lifestyle are arguing that because developed countries already produced pollutants for so long, they should be able to catch up. With this attitude it will be difficult to get the global community to react in a manner that addresses these issues. There is no doubt that these two huge populated countries are working to address renewable energy and other ways of dealing with pollution, but a cynical eye could this as a form of tokenism.
The current global issues to do with mass migration to the EU due to conflicts in the middle east has amplified his and Ritzer’s writings of these events. The numbers quoted in Ritzer of migration, deaths in the Mediterranean and the tightening of borders has jumped significantly in the last 18 months. It has also led to an increase in the power to the marginal right-wing political movements of some countries, particularly Germany and the increased cost burden on countries already suffering economic downturns. Closing borders is becoming more difficult and the vision we see on the internet or television just showing masses of people polarize people to forming opinion on them and their plight. This is often at a race level as it is difficult to know their country of origin. The ability bestowed on us to travel freely around the world as citizens of a safe and wealthy country are rights that we easily overlook. Being held up at extra 30 minutes at an airport customs line is viewed as outrageous. Migration is by no means a recent issue. The use of labor from other nations has been common practice. One example of this how immigrants from Italy were used in the US, and other nations, as the globe underwent economic expansion and the lack of opportunities at home diminished. Between 1870 and 1914, over 16 million Italians migrated overseas looking for work and opportunities. To contrast with this, the challenge of individuals and groups in the last twenty years to flee war affected countries is perilous and with very little opportunity of the end destination being controlled. The difference between wanted and unwanted migration could not be more different.