Is globalisation a neutral process?

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"Life record" of discussion with Jana Hybášková

Introductory thesis:

Globalization, from the global perspective, is neutral

The first globalization created the world price. Raw materials, agricultural commodities, industrial products, could be bought at different places for the same price. 20th century globalization anchored itself in world financial institutions, which were created to protect world price, world financial flows, and world markets. The aim was to keep stability of the world price system, avoid deep global economic and financial disruptions. The year 2008 most probably marks the end of late 20th century financial globalization. As we see it now, globalization is neither the source, nor the solution to financial and economic crises. It is a connector, transmitter, it amplifies. The question comes: how to avoid next round of globalization failure?

In local terms globalization functions as amplifier, as it exposes local societies, cultures to the pressure of global price, global financial flow, global know how and information flow. For many "globopolis" globalization is an opportunity, be it Dubai, Doha, Shanghai, Mumbai, Cairo. For Bamako, Calcutta, Khartoum, without sources of capital, energy, production or culture capital it takes opportunities off.

For many traditional pre-industrial societies, or harmed post conflict areas, without strong financial, energy resources, distant from global trade routs globalization leads to further marginalization. Exclusion leads to frustration, anger, and extremism. The step towards terror is clear.

The more economically active, internally stable, educated, rich the society is, the bigger is the chance to benefit from globalization. Dubai and Shardja, which were formerly very traditional Islamic societies, are good examples of taken opportunity.

Some societies are deeply wounded by being torn apart: the conflict of civilization does not lie between East and West, Christian and Muslim society, as much as it lies between the 12 stations of Cairo underground. The center - Midani Tahrir is marked by AmericanUniversity of Cairo - global university, with McDonalds, global village kids. Cairo Giza suburban underground station hosts African refugees, who historically always were illiterates. The 12 station distance, created by globalization, represents all depth of multiplication of globalization: grand and missed opportunity, global and local, universal and Islamic.

The question comes: how to mainstream globalization? How to manage its risks and opportunities? If we diminish the risk, will we diminish the benefits? How do we make win-win strategy for all?

Jana Hybášková, November 16th, 2010

Discussion questions [1]:

  1. Do you think our free market economy, especially against the backdrop of unfettered transnational financial operations and the financial crisis, is the right way to live in a globalized world?
  2. How can we gain more control over global items like the internet or international markets? Are organizations like the WTO or the UN suitable for this task?
  3. From your perspective and experience does globalisation have the potential to resolve a conflict not related to this phenomenon, for example, the Israel-Palestine conflict, or to possibly make it worse?
  4. What is the view of the population in Kuwait on globalisation regarding a win-win-strategy? Do they seek a win-win situation for everybody?
  5. Who do you think decides role allocation in this process of globalisation? Do you think some societies hold the main power in their hands or do you think every society has the power to take its place in the process of globalisaton? What possibilities do the countries without strong financial, energy resources have to become competitive?
    1. Is it impossible to create fair prices worldwide? Or are the institutions just not willing to change the status quo? If so, is the European Parliament willing and ready to engage? Do you have examples from your work in the EU parliament?
  6. Is terror a direct or indirect effect of globalization? Does globalization support terror in the sense that through interaction between countries and higher technological processes different moral concepts and different social values and standards are more visible and terror is a reaction to these differences?
  7. Do you think the process of globalisation is naturally neutral or should we interfere in this process? If so, to what extent should we actually interfere?
  8. Why do you think globalization is connected to the conflict between Christian and Muslim society? Considering the integration of Muslim immigrants in Europe, what do you think is the main problem to be solved now? Do you have any experience with this minority (Muslim immigrants) making demands and the perception of it in official places?


  1. answers under relevant links

Students of the 2009/2010 semester, Multiple Perspectives on Globalisation and Sustainable Development course, November 24th - 29th, 2010