Possibilities for action within the process of globalisation

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8. 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?

Jana Hybášková:

Globalization is naturally neutral. As much as it brings opportunities, it also causes harm. We clearly should not allow globalization to cause damage and world crises.

It is important to see if the world has taken the financial and housing crises as opportunities for improvement. So far, at least from what we know from new US and EU regulation packages, it is going in the right direction: risks should be covered properly. Off-shores should be stopped or controlled. Early warning mechanisms, mainly signaling new risks such as new financial derivatives, should operate. EU central banks should have more horizontal control functioning systems. The role of the EU central bank as a controller, and not only inflation matcher, should be enhanced. The big public deficits should be lowered. All these measures, if applied, will make global finances more stable, secure and sustainable.

The other example is climate. With all global warming, EU leaders have come to the understanding that we should make a deal: reduce our greenhouse emissions by 20% by the year 2020, bringing 20 % alternative and 20 % savings. 20 20 20 is great European achievement. We have a good partner asking even more – Japan. With Obama, the US is on board. The issue now, and this is a globalization issue, is the Third World and BRICS. Will we be able to share their costs? How much can we influence China and India to make their development more environmentally sustainable? How much they can share the costs of the least developed countries? With climate, we started to manage a globalization disaster. With the financial package of different G-groups we started to manage a financial disaster. The issue is whether can we make an opportunity out of this management? This will be possible in future?

Yes, we have to try to manage the global consequences of our global actions. The main aim is its sustainability. Sustainable development is connected to stability. Without stability, we can barely hope for sustainability. Only inclusive, not divisive processes are stable. So we have to try to make globalization as inclusive as possible, as stable and sustainable as possible.

These days we have a great new tool: Lisbon Treaty. The Treaty makes Europe a much more important globalization player. The EU has gained a legal personality. We are a legal unit in WTO and other organizations. We base our foreign policy on the rule of law, democracy, a free market economy and human rights. If nothing else, the Treaty has brought about a functioning body; we will have a better managerial position vis-a-vis globalization. Why not ask our trade and development partners more clearly: how does the law function in your country? How is corruption? What about impunity? Do you stick to basic human rights? Are economic opportunities in your country really equal? Do you really apply all ILO measures? What about your exploitation of timber? Closing one's eyes is not management. It is conceptual bribery. Will the EU treaty help us to stop/not apply arms licensing? To control money laundering? Will we stay blind to genocide in Eastern Congo? Or massive killings in Philippines? Or Darfur? Or Eritrea? If we ourselves stick to our own laws and rules with responsibility, we can manage globalization as a world opportunity. Our governments should not be lying to us first; we should be active citizens, we ourselves have enough power to ask for trade controls, goods embargos, arms controls, ILO standards. The argument of unemployment and crises in our own countries should never be misused. Then others, who could fall victim to our conceptual bribery, could follow us.

Jule Kathinka Plawitzki

Hey there,

To the answer of the ... question: Jana made clear that we have to be careful and differ in globalization and industrial modernization and to be very careful with a discussion about globalization enhancing terrorism. She gave us lots of examples that don't support this theory. But I thought about the cultural globalization going on. Jana pointed out that globalization as an abstract construct is neutral - but in reality there is mainly a (youth-) cultural one-way- homogenization, dominated by western lifestyle and supported by the media. Maybe that’s a typical female and not a scientific example, and of course you can discuss these examples as well: The “global” ideal of beauty: Asian girls who want to have “western-eyes” even through plastic surgery, and black women who try to become lighter skinned through dangerous crèmes. My point is that this - maybe in theory neutral - globalization in reality is dominated by a mainstream western culture - to be chargeable to other cultures adopting it. Personally, I think that is a huge loss… And isn’t this fact maybe enhancing terrorism (of course, there must be different circumstances as well) or enhance the conflict between Christians and Muslims? I mean in the way that facing this western cultural globalization, feeling powerlessness in maintaining one's own culture and own values, fear, desperation and in some cases hate as well? I know I have to be very careful with statements like this. I just think that is a thought, focussing on the economic dimension of globalization, and we should not forget about that.What do you think about this?

Saturday, 5 December

Jana Hybášková

Throughout my own experience I must admit I disagree with cultural globalization. I have pictures of my blond mother driving a Volkswagen Beat to Jasmine beach near Madraque, 20 km far from Algiers. Myself, I was baptized in Notre Dame d Afrique. Try to wear minijupe and go pray there...The same holds true for ladies on water skis in Kuwait city. Where are they? Where is my secretary Liala's face, which since 12th of September 2001 became fully veiled and hasn't been seen since?

Young Asian ladies believe in the mainstream, while young Americans die to go organic, never eating burgers, and never tanning their bodies. The mainstream in your understanding has a connection to globalization: until we can buy the same tea shirt by Paul Frank in London and Tokyo, why not to do so. Until we buy the same Rihana song we will do so. The same happened at the end of the WWII. Where ever there was English used and understood, people listened to pop culture. Only in our Eastern European case did we come to read Jack Kerouac twenty years after his death, as much as we started to admire Bill Viola twenty years later than US youngsters. I am not aware of the fact that we have already overcome this generation gap between the US, UK and Central and Eastern Europe. Name the Paris TOP tens - unless you live there, it is not part of your cultural mainstream. The fact that we buy the same t-shirt can not be called cultural globalization. It is globalization of world prices.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Svea Marie Wehling

First of all, thank you very much for the detailed answers.

To be honest, I can't see why we still look at possible solutions from a national point of view. Obviously, we can't all be winners of globalisation, since we profit from each other and I can't think of any really strong trade bond between two or more countries within a closed economic trade system. Therefore, I can't quite understand why we can't get used to the idea of actual losers in globalisation (which now strongly refers to my essay). The EU trade controls themselve have had a huge impact on the competitiveness of other countries. I don't think we need to open the discussion about the destruction of 3rd world local markets because of European trade conventions. So, I am sorry, I'm getting angry though when reading about it.

Secondly, in the intoductry paragraph I read: "For many traditional pre-industrial societies, or damaged post-conflict areas, without strong financial and 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." I read from this that globalisation in some way enhances terror, but I can't find this in the answer in question two.

Another very basic question comes to my mind: How are we supposed to know that a process will be neutral in the end? Based on what indicators do we know? And besides my objection that I definitely don't think that the LDCs are our major climate problem, I do not know whether an economic union ought to have a personality, since the European Union not only regulates necessary but also superfluous conditions. From my point of view, a regulation for radio wavelengths is irrelevant in regards to the success of Europe being a global actor. All in all, I can't even link the answer including all this information about the Lisbon Treaty with the question. Since the process ought to be neutral? Why interfere at all? From my personal point of view, I can't see at all how we are supposed to know that there are as many risks as opportunities resulting from globalisation.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Corinna Lohrengel

"If we ourselves stick to our own laws and rules with responsibility, we can manage globalization as a world opportunity."

In answer to question 8, this sentence attracted my attention. In my opinion, it is the antithesis of what you, Jana, wrote right at the beginning of your answer: "Globalization is naturally neutral. As much as it brings opportunities, it causes harm." You described globalization as a neutral process and that's what it is in my opinion. Every benefit also has a drawback, there's no positive or negative aspect that prevails. And from my point of view, that's also the case even if we "stick to our laws and rules with responsibility", to quote Jana. Of course globalization is an opportunity for everyone and every country, but it also causes harm and strengthens differences concerning competitiveness. Maybe we diminish the negative effects, but the effects nevertheless won't disappear. Globalization is a chance for the industrialized countries and a risk for the developing countries - and will always be. Globalization is an independent process that'll continue even if we try to stop it. Just the way "once began-never stop". Even our laws and rules can't change this fact.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Jana Hybášková

Dear Corinna,

In it´s sum globalization is neutral. I disagree with globalization is a chance for the industrialized countries and a risk for the developing countries. The chances for industrialized countries are there because they have better legal systems. The key issue is the free market, which in legal terms means equal economic chances. If the rights of small shareholders are protected equally, if the right for access to information is equal, if corruption is strictly limited, if there is no money laundering and cross financing to bad frauds and loans, if any citizen has the same access to loan, if a public tender is really public, if there is a functioning public prosecution, if there is no impunity, if organized crime is marginalized, if the financial market works openly, and is not speculation-based, if access to energy and the strategic market is opened to the public…if all these ifs are fulfilled, globalization creates a win-win situation. The trouble with developing countries is not in their financial and economic capacities, it lies in their legal weakness. If they can limit above all these ifs, then they can be winners! By the way, a great example is last week´s Iraqi oil field bids! Iraq displayed its ability to be part of the developed world, independent of big bidders! No major stakes were made by Chevron or Exxon, the winner was Petronas and Lukoil!

Monday, 14 December 2009

Jana Hybášková

Dear Corinna, I do not agree with you that the internet and TV are outcomes of globalisation. They are outcomes of modernisation, and the industrial and information revolutions, but not globalisation. The internet, if I am not mistaken, was very much a function of the internal need of US defense systems, and TV developed exactly in the years when the first round of globalisation was rapidly decreasing.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Svea Marie Wehling

Serioursly, I still don't get why in the world the globalisation process is supposed to be neutral... Too bad I can't work it out with a response.

And once again, I have to add that the disastrous legal systems in the LDCs are not the only reason for their economic deadlock, I already mentioned my aversion to the glorification of the EU-trade agreements. Yes, they are good for us - they definitely do destroy other markets though. There is no way a market could possibly develop when EU-subsidised products overstock a developing market!!! And, after all, the Asian Tigers are not really famous for their brilliant and exemplary legal systems, are they? Or is it just me who didn't notice the low rate of corruption in these countries?

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Julia Wolter

Even though I'm very late I like to say thanks as well for this great opportunity to get in touch with Jana! (to apologise: First I was really ill, then there was a lot of trouble to get into the database in recent weeks..)

The 7th question was very interesting for me and I was head-nodding while reading the answer from Jana.

"...Why not ask our trade and development partners more clearly: how does the law function in your country? How is corruption? What about impunity? Do you stick to basic human rights? Are economic opportunities in your country really equal? Do you really apply all ILO measures? What about your exploitation of timber? Closing one's eyes is not management. It is conceptual bribery."

This part I felt very much in agreement. Everything seems to be very well observed and controlled and in best order, there are a lot of oversight organizations and so on... but I feel like everything is just organised to cover the briberies and other crimes which are going on in world trade. By reading the answer I couldn't resist the impression that the only question is always about the prices - not about circumstances, or even people...


Thursday, 31 December 2009

Svea Marie Wehling

Very true indeed. What a pity we haven't asked other countries yet, otherwise Akmal S. or some of the other (only official) 500 convicts might still be alive... I don't want to judge other ideas about justice, and being murdered because of non-violent crimes is not understandable for me, though.

Thursday, 31 December 2009