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In defence of globalisation

In Defence of Globalisation   Jagdish Bhangwati

Essay by Anna Mkamburi student at school of education (www.aiu.edu)

 

 

Economic globalisation is the increasing interdependence of national economies across the world through rapid increase in cross-border movement of goods, services,              technology and capital. While globalisation is the rapid development of science and technology and increasing cross-border of labour

Bhangwati advocates economic globalisation by acknowledging foreign direct investments, movement of short term portfolio funds, technological diffusion and cross- border migration.

In this world, that is the global market in terms of economics nations are moving from one country to another as a result of reduced trade restrictions, opening up of domestic markets to attract foreign  investments, telecommunications and infrastructure are being improved where they already existed like the construction of Thika superhighway in Kenya connection Kenya to countries like Uganda, Ethiopia and Southern Sudan .Also, where infrastructure never existed  are being constructed like the railway line  and a highway which will begin to be constructed from Lamu town in Kenya opening up Somalia, South Sudan and Ethiopia because of the mega port which is under construction in Lamu, Kenya. When countries open up by loosening geographic, social and religious boundaries, then they learn new technologies from one another. People have become more human and thus the birth of economic globalisation

According to Jagdish, globalisation reduces child labour because when parents are employed they get enough money to take their children to school hence reducing illiteracy rates. When people are employed poverty rates reduce like the case of China where poverty rates reduced from 28%in 1978 to 9% in 1998, Vietnamese literacy rates among older girls increased as a result of increase of rice prices in the global market, ‘….Rice prices in Vietnam found out that older girls are typically the first to go back to school when the family can afford it.’’

Gender discrimination has also reduced as a result of globalisation in that many women are being employed in Export Processing zones hence increasing the rate of women emancipation and dependency on men.

As Bhangwati acknowledges that globalisation promotes democracy both directly and indirectly. He cites an example to a tribal community  of India village of Kamalpur,’’……..which cuts out middlemen and started using computers for selling directly  to the customers so they became independent actors  they started getting involved in democratic  processes to protect their economic interests. ’United States is a major trading partner with China for economic reasons and also to promote democracy in China which has one of the lowest democracy rates in the world.

 

A laissez-fair economy is what Jagdish is spearheading and it should be controlled,’…for free trade to work well, there should be monitoring, regulatory mechanisms and banking reforms to slow outflow of capital fund’ ’This is because,’…unfitted capital flows could be dangerous’ .Page 8.He defends this statement by saying that liberalisation of trade and investments work for a county’s prosperity. However, Bhangwati criticizes mismanagement of free trade area by former Soviet Russia which led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Asian financial crisis of 1990s.

He sees that correct policies and planning as capable remedies of ill effects of globalisation where he says that, ‘…..I have always argued for freer trade…as an often powerful weapon ….as an arsenal of  weapons policies that we can deploy ….’What he forgets is that free trade encourages dumping like the casa of fake Chinese mobile phones and other electronics dumped in African markets .A case in point was when Citizen News a television network in Kenya told an episode where two Chinese nationals were rescued by police in Meru town in Kenya when local residents launched them for selling them fake mobile cell phones from China. Dumping kills the local manufacturing industries.

Globalisation does not always reduce child labour in that when Indian textile companies banned child labour by adopting Tom Harkins Child Deterrence Act not all children enrolled in schools instead many ended up in prostitution and brothels,’…..Bangladesh industry dismissed 50, 0000 children from factories, most of those children did not end up in schools but instead fell into prostitution and other occupations’’.

The concept of globalisation according to Jagdish is that there is free movement of people which is not always true; the poor folks are not welcomed in America and Europe. Their migration departments ask for bank statements. The Unite States of America occasionally turn away many poor people of Hispanic and African descent, Israel is also extraditing Sudanese and Egyptians. It is only easier for people with money and skills to migrate than is for the poor.

Environmental tax emission as a way of controlling environmental pollution imposed to big companies is not a good solution because wealthy companies can continue destroying the O- zone layer through gas and buy their way out as the environment continues to suffer. Also, influential nations like the case of United States of America refused to sign environmental tax and got away with it as their industry continue to destroy the environment.

Creation of employment opportunities is not always the case. Globalisation in fact leads to unemployment in developed countries because developed countries solicit labour from skilled and semi-skilled labour from developing countries which is always cheap compared to developed countries. This has given rise to tensions and misunderstanding between the natives of developed countries and migrants sometimes resulting to loss of lives and destruction of property worth millions of shillings. The level of crime rates has risen up as a result of unemployment in developed countries. Developing countries have also witnessed an increase level of unemployment as a result of employment of highly qualified labour from developed countries as well as the use of capital intensive techniques in the form of machines which has led to the loss of many jobs like the Kenya tea plantations replaced many workers with harvesting machines resulting to the loss of jobs and an increase level of poverty as a result of unemployment.

Globalisation has empowered women that they nowadays look for employment in foreign countries. Bhangwati fails to explain that when women migrate to other countries they move away from their families and this weakens family relationships and ties as well as creating misunderstanding among family members. Many women and girls are being mistreated in foreign countries like the case of Kenyan and Ethiopian women and girls who are being mistreated in Middle East countries like Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Dubai. It also promotes human trafficking like Chinese who are offering fake white collar jobs in China to Rwandese and Ugandan girls who end up in brothels and slavery.

Economic globalisation has both positive and negative effects as discussed below;

Improved quality of products due to global competition and improved services to customers. Because of the economics concept that customer is always the king, nations have resorted to improve customer services so as to survive in the global market .Examples are the competition for copper markets between Zambia and South Africa, Kenya and Brazil competing for tea and coffee markets in the international world. Italy Fiat competes with Germany Opel for markets. England’s Land Rover and Scandinavia Volvo competes for global markets hence improved standards of customer services.

Foreign companies in developing countries have generated employment for the locals giving the natives an opportunity to tap useful talent which has been idle. Employment opportunities have led to improved standards of living, reduction in poverty rates and reduced dependency on the government. When people are earning salaries, the government tax them which in turn use the taxes to develop other sectors like building of schools, infrastructure and strengthening of its military for security purposes. Bhangwati states that,’…globalisation reduced poverty from 28%of the population in 1978 to 9% in 1998 in China. Employment has also led to parents enrolling their children to schools instead of being employed as child labourers. A case in point is Vietnam when parents where employed in the rice fields with good rice prices in the global markets many children especially older girls who were working in the rice fields where enrolled in schools. Mc Cormick states that,’….for without it, the developing world and the millions in it who live in extreme poverty will lose the best chance they have of improving their lot in life’. Multinationals pay wage premiums high above local wages, they also train workers and hence improving productivity .when workers are highly train, more employment opportunities open up.

David Ricardo’s law of comparative advantage works well for developing countries where many developing countries in Asia and Africa specialize in the production of raw materials mostly agriculture raw materials which they export to developed countries with high levels of technology and convert them into finished products which benefit both developing and developed countries. This law also advocates for the exploitation of raw materials which in developing countries are untapped.

Spread of positive cultures like the respect for women and children in many developing countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa together with the Arab world of Middle East and North Africa. Languages from the Portuguese, Arabs and Bantu of East Africa during  the early days when Arab traders and the Portuguese came to the East African Coast and intermarried  as they traded together and gave birth to Swahili language as a medium of communication which has now been adopted by many countries apart from East Africa like Congo and Zaire, Nigeria, Seychelles and Comoros island, Chinese and Japanese and hoping that one day the whole of Africa would speak and write it as there are plans on the way to globalise Swahili language which one day will become a common language among Africans.

Economic globalisation has given rise to standards of education in developing countries through training of locals by multinational companies; many students from third world countries are going to developed countries in search of quality education which they will use to better the levels of education in the native countries. Students like me do not have to travel to America in search of quality education but I can acquire it online as a result of economic globalisation.

Big communication companies like CNN, BBC, NYT, VOA, have connected the whole world through advanced communication technology. The world is now a global village, I can get news around the world any time of the day, like my case I have downloaded all the websites of big communication companies like CNN, NYT, BBC, Daily Mail, SKY News, News 24 and TMZ in my mobile phone, Samsung tablet and laptop without having to rely for someone to send me newspapers and magazines form other countries. Communication started improving as a result of globalisation a century ago.in Financial Times page 11,’……The first Trans-Atlantic telegraph was laid in 1866…..the entire world was

Connected by telegraph and communication times fell from months to minutes’.

Globalisation has made easy for easier movement of goods and people  through the construction of ports like Amsterdam ,Jomo Kenyatta International airport the busiest cargo hub in Africa, constructional of railway lines like the Trans-Siberia railway line, East Africa railway line, electricity driven railway lines in South Africa, America and Europe, construction of aircrafts and airports for easy transportation of people and perishable goods like flowers from Kenya are everyday exported to Europe. The building of ships has made it easy for transportation of bulky goods like crude oil form middle East to other parts of Africa like Kenya for refining, liquidities gas like LPG and LNG which is highly flammable is easily transported by ships, Animals like elephants, lions and other huge and dangerous animals can be transported to zoos in America, Asia and Europe from Africa.

Economic globalisation has increased liquidity in capital. Developed countries like Belgium which has a reputation for brewing the best beers in the world are now investing in developing countries like East Africa in particular Rwanda .Companies like British American Tobacco has also invested in Kenya. American Java House has also increased their number of outlets in Kenya .The Hilton group of hotels are now found all over the world together with Sarova Starnely and Serena group of hotels.

Propagation of democracy ideals in the world  The United States of America apart from economic reasons is trading with China so that China can practice democracy according to international standards which are relatively low in China. Myanmar through the influence of the United States has also improved democracy rights compared to two decades ago where America sanctioned it so as to improved democracy rights between its citizens and the government. Democracy in middle East has improved significantly for women and children though the influence of globalisation and influenced of technology like Facebook and Twitter which saw many people from middle East unite and demonstrated which led to the removal of power of dictator leaders like Hosni Mubarak, Mohammed Gaddafi and gave rise to the new democratically elected presidents like the case of Egypt which has been under dictatorship for over five hundred years. Talks are also under way for dictatorship lead countries like North Korea and Cuba and the United States of America for democracy reasons.

As a result of globalisation, many organisations have been set up to save the environment like NEMA (National Environmental Management Association) in Kenya, The Green Belt Movement, and HELCOM to reduce pollution at sea IMO, BIMCO and WHO are all set with the aim of reducing environmental pollution of sea, land and water. Local communities have also been involved towards protection of the environment like in Arabuko Sokoke forest in Coast Province where locals rear butterflies for export to Europe in Arabuko Sokoke forest as a way of conserving the forest. In Malindi also in Coast province, Kenya, a turtle initiative group has been set up for the protection of turtles, turtle nests and their breeding grounds through involving the locals. Malindi, Mombasa ,Kilifi, Kwale  and Lamu which are some of the Districts making up the Coast Province in Kenya have set aside  a special beach cleaning day  aside from  cleaning the beach weekly by employed Kenyan youth  specialized in that job.

Because of economic globalisation, law can now be practised in any part of the world like the formation of The Hague which deals with the persecution of criminals internationally, the formation of Interpol, CIA, and FBI which helps maintain law and order internationally. The Hague has been successful in giving justice to many like the conviction of Charles Taylor. Fugitives can be repatriated to the country where they committed crime like the case of the Dutch national who killed three two women and an underage girl in the Caribbean and defected to Latin America.

However, economic globalisation has bought negative impacts in both developing and developed countries.

It has favoured the employment of child labour. Children who have attained an age for school enrolment are working in rubber fields in Liberia, children are employed in tea picking plantations and flower plantations in Kenya hence the levels of illiteracy are raising as well as school drop- out. Children are also employed in copper fields in Zambia exposing them to dangers like death when a mine collapse and exposing them to explosives which mostly contained lead traces which lowers expectancy rate and  the resultant poverty .India once employed over 50,000 child labour as well as Vietnamese children who were employed in rice fields. Employment of child labour has led to the exploitation of children rights, they are paid low wages in exchange for long working hours, their right to education is also violated because they are denied education and instead forced to provide cheap child labour. Some kid’s especially young children are exposed to sexual exploitation in exchange for employment. Boys are no exception to this evil. They are the emotionally and physically abused this later leads to low self -esteem and trauma among them some of them resort to violence as a way of solving their problems.

Environmentally, cities like Nairobi, Lagos have been reduced to garbage dumping sites this has led to health hazards. Gabon Rivers are flowing with timber wastes from the factory meals which have led to the death of fish and other marine life. Human beings and animals are exposed to drinking water full of lead traces and other chemicals for treating timber in factories. The sugar factory in Natal Province in South Africa has led to the pollution of river Umpholosi, Umzimkulu and others. This has led to the reduction of water levels and depositing of fertilizer chemicals in rivers which pose a health risk to fish consumed by the locals as well as dumping of sewage in the rivers. Gases being emitted by aircrafts have led to the depletion of Ozone layer which in turn leads to climatic changes and global warming with its resultant rising of sea levels and melting of ice and glaciers. Oil spillage in seas and ocean like the resent spill of British Petroleum in the ocean has its resultant results in a short span of time where recently a significant number of fishermen caught deformed shrimps and prawns.

Economic globalisation with its sister free market has resulted to dumping .A case in point is the manufacture of fake Nokia phones and electronics which are sold cheaply in the African market. This is exploitation of people as well as destroying markets for genuine products which are expensive. Another case is the smuggling of coffee beans from Uganda to Kenya which were being sold at a cheaper price hence destroying markets for Kenyan farmers. The recent burning of over three tonnes of maize containing harmful aflatoxin bacteria imported at a cheap price from South Africa almost threatened the lives of innocent Kenyans some of which had already reached the local market and was being sold at a cheaper price at the expense of a common man.

Income inequality gap has been increased as a result of economic globalisation. During the colonial era, Africa was forced to depend on exports whose prices were controlled by the world super powers and imports were made expensive resulting to unfavourable balance of trade .As a result of balance of trade deficit, Africans states are forced to finance imports through borrowing from foreign sources which has led to the increase in foreign capital and foreign donor aid from donor agencies which are paid heavily through the nose. Bhangwati acknowledges in page 5 that,’………in agriculture there are extensive tariffs in the importing poor countries’. Also Lenin Bukharin argues that,’……..globalisation in essence capitalises exploitation of weaker nations …….’’Bhangwati also acknowledges unfair trade in that,’…unfair trade that are passionately levelled today at International institutions and also by the rich nations …they maintain protection for themselves while they force others into free trade. ’Donor aids also gives birth to another social evil called corruption where the donor aid disappears ‘big fishes’ at the expense of common man through payment of high taxes to pay for donor aid which vanished into the thin air while our members of parliament refused to pay taxes it is the common man who pays as the big fishes enrich themselves by storing their money in foreign banks .A case in point in Kenya is where donor aid from Canada meant for free primary education disappeared. A sum of 2 billion shillings is yet to be accounted for which everyone from the Ministry of Finance to the Ministry of Education denied responsibility and refused to step down to pave way for investigation until now the dust has calmed down it us the common poor people to pay. When a foreign donor aid was used to buy maize from South Africa, yes, it was bought but ended up in South Sudan; the Ministry of Agriculture denied responsibility while some innocent poor Kenyans lost their lives from hunger. The disappearance of donor aid among African nations is common. Borrowing should be limited to save the common tax payer as the rich continue to get richer through stealing and the poor gets poor through paying inflated taxes which one cannot account for, According to Collier,’…the growth of global trade has been good for Asia…’.This is true only Asia has benefitted but not Africa. Also multinational companies pay different wages for the same job done in different countries. Wages for a person working as a receptionist for Hilton Group of Hotels differ, those in Africa and Asia receive a lower wage than those working in Europe and other continents yet they have the same qualifications.

According to Green and Seidman, multinational companies as a result of economic globalisation are known for profit repatriation,’…….It has been estimated that profit interests and personal remittance exported from Africa  total as much as one quarter of the continent’s gross annual income’’(1969 page 128).This is true. Lucrative   profits which are made from multinational companies are immediately sent back to metropolitan banks, and home offices which hampers domestic capital formation and results in a net overflow of capital from African states to the big nations in form of repatriated profits. According to Miller,’….Shell’s Oil 1990s gross national income was more than  the combined GNPs of Tanzania,Ethiopia,Nepal,Bangladesh,Zaire,Uganda,Nigeria,Kenya and Pakistan-countries  that represent almost one tenth of the world’s population. ’Therefore this confirms that multinational corporations are strong  and negotiate their way out  like the loss of lives and destruction of livelihoods in Ogoni –Shell saga that led to the killing of author Ken Sero Wiwa  an author of the short story ‘Africa kills her Sun’ ’Ironically Ken was prophesying about his untimely death  and the eight others who lost their lives as a result of the shell saga in 1996.To date justice has not been done to Wiwa and the eight others because they were the small fishes hence confirming that multinational corporations hinders democracy as they are wealthy and can buy their way out. Seidman acknowledges that,’…….results in the termination of ‘national’ economic policy and even the limitation of domestic investments resources by foreign public and private interests. ’Noam Chomsky acknowledges that,’….the WTO only serves the interests of multinational corporations ……WTO is killing people. ’In Defence of Globalisation page 15).According to Michel Foucault,’….corporations will dominate and exploit workers under the liberal rules that define capitalisation, and by extension, globalisation’’.

Globalisation promotes commercialisation traits like the same lifestyles. This has led to the death of local markets. The case of teens copying famous superstars and movie stars the way they dress .talk especially vulgar language which according to African culture and taboos is not allowed, eating junky food in the name of modernisation ,change of eating habits as they tend to copy their gods which leads to xenophobia, cancer and drugs addiction. Youth want to wear the same clothes their superstar wears forgetting their financial ability some end up in prostitution, drug dealing and stealing to keep up with their demi-gods. Some teens cannot speak their native language but resort to fake American ascents full of vulgar. The formation of sheng language popular among Nairobi youth is a language mixed from native languages, Swahili and English, according to Data from the ministry of Education the levels of performance in Swahili and English papers have drastically reduced as a result of speaking and writing in sheng. While other countries are running towards perfection of their languages we the Kenyan youth are championing towards their downfall our leaders do nothing as youth who never stepped in higher institutions print dictionaries for sheng language because they take their children in Europe and Americas to study while the poor confused fellow is struggling towards the downfall of the two languages. Poznan acknowledges this trend,’….it is leading to a world in which every country looks like Southern California’’. (2008 page 11).

Disease is spreading like wild fire as a result of globalisation. Example is AIDS and HIV which is now a global non-curable disease which originated form Sub-Saharan Africa. Diseases like Swine flu and bird’s fever which originated in Asia have also claim a number of lives as well as outbreak of Ebola from the Congo forest which have claimed lives of Congolese, Ugandans and Kenyans. Another case of big bees from Chinese porcelain pots meant to be exported to Europe, big bees than the honey making bees have found their way to Europe through these pots. They have adapted to European weather and multiplied; they attack, kill and eat honey making bees in Europe posing a threat to the honey market and the extinction of honey making bees. I got this information from a Flemish Newspaper called De Standaard of 3rd August 2012, which I will attach to this essay.

Drugs are now circulating among youth just like water in the rivers. The Kenyan Coast is one of the most affected among many nations. Youth engage in drugs in the name of moving with the world who end up being addicted exposing themselves to health risks like cancer, those addicted who cannot afford become thieves, some resort to drawing blood from those who have already taken the drug using one syringe to inject the blood to their blood systems forgetting that they are exposing themselves to diseases like AIDs which are transmitted through blood. The youth who make up the working class thus become dependants to the old folks and this pose a danger to a country human resources like labour. Over 70% of Kenyan youth today are drug addicts. Malindi famously known as Sicily is the drug hub of East and Central Africa where children as young as 10 years of age are drug peddlers and addicts, they are commercial sex workers, sex tourism and the government of Kenya’s mouth is zipped so as not to scare away tourists who majority come as sex tourists exploiting mostly children as young as 10 years of age. It is a pity that some hotels in South Coast Mombasa are discriminating the local people even if you have money because you are black you cannot enter some big hotels  so as not to annoy tourists, Imagine being discriminated by your fellow countrymen because you are black and you have the money to cater for your expenses! The loss of lives of 50,000 Mexicans in the name of drug cartels and war loads fighting to control drug routes to the USA is horrible. It’s shocking how they butcher fellow human beings, yet the world does nothing to help the government of Mexico. Like they say drug trade is an evil controlled by many top government officials in different countries they cannot fight their own, they laugh themselves on their way to the banks as poor youth butcher each other while they enjoy state protection.

Globalisation in the name of religions has favoured so many social evils and poverty among many and the spread of war. Christianity forbids the creation and accumulation of wealth like Wesley quotes,’’…but as riches increase so will pride, anger and love of the world in all its branches....’’Islam advocates for Jihads which leads to losses of lives and destruction of hard earned wealth and property instead of engaging in dialogues. Isla also forbids the payment of interest rates in banks. Buddhism forbids the exploitation of natural resources which may be wasted, Hinduism forbids the killing of cows, and they should die a natural death. Someone might be crying about poverty yet he or she has a herd of cows in his farm. 

International terrorism is prospering under globalisation like the bombing of American embassies by Al Qaeda in Nairobi and  Dar el Salaam, the bombing of Paradise hotel belonging to Israel in Mombasa ,the bombing of Pentagon and its twin sister by terrorists, the recent bombing of Israelites in Bulgaria by Al Qaeda. The most wanted terrorist in the world was gunned down in a  which is not his country of origin.Felicien Kabuga the Rwandese fugitive is alleged to be hiding in Kenyan soil and is being sheltered by top government officials. This has led to the mysterious deaths of people with information concerning the where about of Kabuga in Kenya like the Journalist who photographed him was gunned down, the doctor who was treating him died recently of fatal food poisoning and the alleged cook’s body was found in Ngong forest with gun shots.

According to ILO, multinational corporations as well as national enterprises should respect the right of workers they employ,’’…freedom of association and effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining’’.

Plastic containers and polythene bags should be recycled like the case of Senegal where they make beautiful handbags, shoes and baskets from recycled plastic materials. This will create employment opportunities, government source of taxes will increase, and children will be taken to schools, improved standards of living as well as saving our environment from pollution and degradation. Bamburi Cement Factory in Kenya set up Harler Park in the late 1970s to counter environmental degradation after mining limestone. Today the park is a source of revenue to Kenya, a source of employment opportunities and a home to the endangered Rotsch-Child giraffe.

It is essential to develop and strengthen the judicial and non-judicial complaint mechanism in order to improve remedies for human rights infringements committed by national companies and multinational companies.

‘…Regionalism can be a response to globalisation and at the same time stimulate micro-economics forces that drive globalisation….’’. (Oman, 1994, pg.16)

Restructuring of the tax system so that the environmental effects of different economic activities are integrated into the price mechanism by special taxes or possibly by auctioning emission permits. This will be efficient according to Bhangwati since the price mechanism is the most powerful instrument for monitoring and guiding both business and consumers to adjust their own choices including the direction of their technology innovation.

Trade can be made more efficient among nations by unravelling bureaucratic snags and quicker, smoother and cheaper trade between the countries will be realised.

As Bhangwati acknowledges, ’correct policy and planning are capable remedies of the ill effects of globalisation’’.

There should be free movement of goods according to Jagdish and not capital because he believes that short term capital can destabilize the emerging markets because of the loss of confidence in the domestic market. Capital controls cannot substitute for real reforms according to Daniel Griswold

There should be unemployment insurance, retailing programs and initiatives to reduce volatility in agriculture.

Migrants should be spread all over the country so that they do not affect the wage of a region according to Jagdish Bhangwati

Rich countries can help relieve child labour through building of schools.

 Efficient governance in conjunction with reformist’s economy globalisation strikes out the centre of the power of the bureaucrats governed economy and thus the economic power shifts from public sector to private sector. Jagdish

In conclusion, economic globalisation has bought forth more positive implications and the negative ones can be corrected as per recommendations above and that economic globalisation is a gradual process which can be used by developing countries for the improvement of their economies. Rich nations should lessen protectionism in their economies and opt for free and fair trade with the developing ones so as to achieve balance of trade and terms of trade.

Arrighi, G and Saul, J. (1968).Socialism and Economic Development in Africa, Journal of Modern African Studies, vol, VI, no.2

Coates, B. (2002).Director of Word Development Movement of World Economic Forum (WEF) Debate: Globalisation: Good or Bad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

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