|Source: wikipedia.org/Ken Banks
Globalization expands and accelerates the movement and exchange of ideas and commodities over vast distances. It is common to discuss the phenomenon from an abstract, global perspective, but in fact globalization's most important impacts are often highly localized. This page explores the various manifestations of interconnectedness in the world, noting how globalization affects real people and places.
Articles and Documents
2012 |2011 |2010 | 2009 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | Archived Articles
Domestic manufacturing in Bolivia has been crushed by the influx of cheap foreign goods, mainly from China. Bolivian products cannot compete in the global market because of the small scale production, the strict labor law which keeps labor cost high, and the frequent political unrest which hurt competitiveness by raising costs. The Bolivian economy is reliant on raw material extraction, and its trade deficit keeps widening. Although the government is making an effort to raise tariffs and create state-owned companies to save jobs, globalization seems to have caused more bad than good in Bolivia. (Associated Press)
Many in France are blaming globalization for causing high youth unemployment and a stagnated, post recessionary economy. With the 2012 presidential election approaching, the theme of “deglobalization” appears to be growing in popularity due to its nationalistic appeal. Left-wing candidates, including member of Parliament Arnaud Montebourg, are advocating European-based protectionism, and saying that “globalization” has caused France’s high rates of youth unemployment, destroyed natural resources, and made France vulnerable to the fluctuations of interconnected financial markets. While Montebourg is not a likely front-runner for the presidency, his surprising popularity has highlighted the French peoples’ disillusionment and has prompted a discussion of globalization. Ideally, this will “force politicians to work harder on their answers”, and they will work to improve France’s economic recovery plans and their role in a globalized system. (YaleGlobal Online)
This video is from the ground in Cochabamba, Bolivia, at the "World Peoples Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth." It depicts the energy and atmosphere of the event where over 15,000 people from around the world gathered, representing a wide range of civil society and a number of participating governments, to discuss alternative solutions to mitigate and adapt to climate change. (350 Movement)
The global financial crisis not only has increased the unemployment rate in the US, but it has also started a reverse migration. Research conducted by Vivek Wadhwa shows that many foreign-born workers - mainly from China and India - have considered returning home to better job opportunities. Restrictive immigration laws in the US also discourage foreigners from starting companies. This could damage innovation in the US high-tech industry, since a third of international patent applications have at least one inventor of Chinese or Indian heritage. (Yale Global Online)
Pratt & Whitney's International Aerospace Tubes (IAT) plant in Indianapolis is getting prepared for a big shift to Singapore. Some other companies like Whirlpool and Evansville are also moving to Mexico by mid-2010. The advantages of a "global" economy for the companies seem to be a disadvantage for "local" citizens and workers. Over 100 Pratt and Whitney IAT employees will lose their jobs and domestic companies relying on IAT will have to look for new suppliers. (Indystar)
Recently, Brazil received a shipload of toxic waste from Britain. Brazil imported what was thought to be plastic material for recycling. This toxic trash shipment violated international law under the Basel convention. Today, there are increasing cases of rich countries exporting toxic waste material in this way. The Basel ban is difficult to enforce and the United States has vigorously opposed it (TowardFreedom)
Migration is a major factor in global society. A recent study shows how the share of migrants in the total population has more than has doubled over the last forty years. Today, migration flows of workers from developing to developed countries have slowed down, due to the economic crisis. But increasing poverty at home and demand for low wage workers in rich countries will fuel ongoing migration flows.(YaleGlobal)
This New York Times article reports that English is rapidly becoming a global language in academia. At least 1,700 universities in countries with another host language offer master's degree programs in English, and an increasing number of schools "have stepped up English-language requirements" at undergraduate levels as well. Directors of these programs aim to prepare students "to be global leaders in this new era of internationalization," arguing that a universal teaching language is a necessary and "natural consequence of globalization."
This YaleGlobal article reports that, while economic globalization has brought about forced child labor, political globalization can "put an end to the practice" through public opinion. The 2001 Cocoa Protocol, for example, which promoted a label certifying chocolate products as "child labor free," arose out of global public outcry over the human rights violations in the cacao industry. However, the author argues that only a broad, unified approach by policymakers, companies, and civil society can successfully end the exploitation of child labor.
This Latin America in Movement article tells the story of farmers' struggle against dependence in a settlement in southern Brazil. When authorities gave 376 landless families access to 6,000 hectare land in 1999, the farmers, settling in agricultural villages, thought all their problems were solved. But as it turned out, they merely went from a relationship of exploitation with the landholding elite to one with multinational corporations. Switching from conventional to organic farming on part of their land, only switched dependence on technological packages to dependence on the corrupt businesses all linked to multinationals that perform the organic certification in Brazil.
Despite cultivating more land than in previous years, cotton farmers in Burkina Faso earn less as raw cotton prices dropped more than 20 percent from 2004 to 2006. Cheap cotton from the US drives prices down. While Burkinabes cannot replace cotton for any other crop, the US government keeps the US cotton industry alive by giving US$1 billion in subsidies to only 25,000 farmers. With WTO negotiations collapsed and congressional and presidential elections looming in 2008, US legislators may not agree on any subsidy cuts at the 2007 Farm Bill revision. (Inter Press Service)
Many analysts see India as one of globalization's big success stories due to its economic growth rate of 7% in 2005. Nevertheless, many people, especially in the poorer northern regions, can no longer afford their former living standards, since consumer prices grow around 4% every year. With most Indians not educated sufficiently to compete in the new, flexible labor market and with environmental damage on the rise, criticism of India's rapid economic liberalization is getting louder. (Der Spiegel)
With the birth of Internet, many journalists and policy analysts affirmed that in a few years this new technology "would liberate the oppressed." They were only partially right, as these theories ignored the role of big economic and political interests. Chinese officials arrested a journalist for "providing state secrets to foreign entities" even though he had sent the message through an anonymous account. Yahoo had provided the Chinese government with telephone number and address of his office. The author warns that while some are celebrating the democratic transition, others are making this democracy "filtered and controlled." (Guardian)
As health gains importance in the global agenda, international health policy-making has slowly moved away from public spheres and is now concentrated in the private sector. This allows the interests of transnational corporations and their shareholders to shape global health policy, weakening the effectiveness of regulation and accountability in policy-making. (Globalization and Health)
This article looks at the effects of economic liberalization in Latin America's food retailing system and identifies small scale farmers as the "losers of globalization." Corporate transformations of the regional food sector and its failed trickle-down economics have not generated wealth but rather increased the social inequalities in the region, forcing smaller growers to migrate. (New York Times)
By opposing water privatizations and further establishments of foreign oil corporations, Bolivia – the second most unequal society in the world - resists the "violence of neo-liberalism." While economic globalization has increased the power of corporations, Bolivians want to regain power over the decisions that shape their daily lives. Corporate exploitation of Bolivia's natural resources results in only $18 per $100 of extracted oil staying in the country. (Global Exchange)
This article looks at the rise of anti-privatization struggles in Latin America by exploring how current resistance links back to the International Financial Institutions' privatization policies and the subsequent debt crisis. The author argues that the continent's resistance to privatization reveals emerging forms of struggles and empowerment of people versus outsider expert management. (Americas Program)
This article looks at European attitudes towards globalization. It states that during the 1980s, Europeans perceived the integration of the European Union (EU) as a force which triggered globalization and liberalization. By now, the article further argues, the EU has become an "imperfect" but "indispensable" tool for Europe's management of globalization. (YaleGlobal)
For indigenous populations, globalization resembles a second colonization as decisions of powerful nation-states, corporations and financial institutions ultimately determine their destiny. This article explores how indigenous people organize and struggle for autonomy in response to neo-liberal globalization. (Interhemispheric Resource Center
Megacities – the rapidly growing urban areas that are both "centers of concentration for world wealth and arenas of despair for hundreds of millions" - mirror the twofold reality of globalization. This Yale Global article addresses the issue of migration and urbanization and analyzes how the invisible forces of globalization challenge both individual lives and the formal power of governments.
Pregnant women, who work in the Dominican Republic's export-processing sector, face dismissal and major difficulties when attempting to find work afterward childbirth. The proposed US-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) ignores workplace sex discrimination and thus if enforced, would allows these inequalities to persist. (Common Dreams)
Over the last decade, China has attracted more foreign investment than any other developing country, largely attributed to its southern commercial hub, Guangdong, which grows 10 percent annually. However, this article argues that the lack of labor laws in Guangdong has caused tens of millions of industrial workers to struggle for basic rights, including their ability to earn enough money to send their children to school. (International Herald Tribune)
Cheap labor in poor countries is driving the current boom in transnational call centers. In India, call centers employ 200,000 people with estimates of this growing by 68 percent over the next year. This article argues that call centers in poor countries provide little skill development, whilst creating social and health problems for workers. (CorpWatch)
This article examines the growth of geographical, physical and, increasingly, digital immigration barriers to the free movement of people between rich and poor countries. (TomDispatch.com)