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Globalisation

Basic Course 4: The Resulting Problems of Globalisation

Globalisation affects us all indirectly. Clarifying this aspect and the wide-ranging significance of the topic is one of the aims of this basic course. As a part of this, a rational evaluation of the opportunities and risks, which set themselves apart from the current vilification or hymns of praise, play a core role.

"The dynamics of globalisation are driven by economic forces, but its most important consequences can be seen in politics" (Klaus Müller).

Catch phrases, which need to be queried and analysed, are also to be found in the debate concerning the resulting problems of globalisation. The diagram presents a selection of these catch phrases, which can be added to without problem, depending on the situation and the main points of emphasis. Current newspaper reports or Internet content encountered almost daily may provide a good starting point to this section.

An important aspect when querying these catch phrases can be found in Basic Course 2 on the dimensions of globalisation, where the question is asked concerning which aspects of the various dimensions are a part of globalisation (intersections) and which are not. At the same time, it is worth asking which partial aspects of the resulting problems referred to can be ascribed to globalisation, and which other causes are decisive.

Hence, in the area of social politics perhaps, numerous different analyses exist which question the strict chain of causes represented by 'globalisation > location competition > social dumping', and attempt to clarify the extent to which the amount of leeway available to the nation state in social politics is actually restricted by globalisation processes
.

Commentaries on the Resulting Problems

The frequently quoted maxim that the nation states are too small for the large problems, and too large for the small ones originates from a paper written by Daniel Bell in the 80s. Global problems such as the greenhouse effect are just as difficult to solve within the framework of the single state as local problems are in education.

The result: an erosion of the nation state. It does not disappear, or become superfluous, as many commentaries suggest, but simply erodes. Additional levels to solving the problem both above and below the level of the nation state are added to the picture. The former fixed limitations of territory of state, state power and the nation state is becoming more permeable. No more, but certainly no less lies at the foundation of the comment concerning the 'erosion at the nation state', which is particularly far advanced in Europe in the form of the EU. Here, the states have abdicated their central competencies up to and including sovereignty of currency to a new, supranational organisation.

These phenomena are altogether nothing new - they have been in discussion since the 70s under banner of interdependence - however, the processes have accelerated, and reached new dimensions in quality and quantity. This is what is new in globalisation.

This also applies to the same extent to the other aspects referred to in the diagram. Environmental destruction already existed prior to globalisation, just as unwarranted distribution did. But these problems are becoming more serious due to globalisation. What has in the meantime become a considerable movement amongst globalisation critics is heavily indicative of this
(see section on "ATTAC" on separate page). On the other hand, globalisation creates the framework for encountering global problems at a suitable, namely global level.

Reducing social benefits in order to reduce payroll fringe costs to increase competitive ability in global location competition is seen a pure necessity, above all by industry, whereas the trade unions warn of the dangers of 'social dumping'.

It remains undisputed that a worker in India earns less than in Europe, and that this will remain so in the foreseeable future. This provides business with considerable potential for threatening to migrate to 'low wage countries'. But this apparently clear correlation does not stand up to  more precise analysis. Decisions on locations are not made on the basis of wage costs alone. Other factors, such as the standard of education, or market presence also play a prominent role.

Globalisation does not mean that it is possible to manufacture products easily anywhere in the world. However, globalisation can be used as an argument or the bottom line for threatening migration
.

... go to Basic Course 5: Solution Strategies

[Author: Ragnar Müller]

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SubjectsHuman Rights  I  Examples  I  Democracy  I  Parties  I  Europe  I  Globalisation  I  United Nations  I  Sustainability

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This online service on the subject of political education was developed by agora-wissen, the Stuttgart-based Gesellschaft für Wissensvermittlung über neue Medien und politische Bildung (GbR) (Partnership for the Exchange of Information Using New Media and Political Education). Please contact us with your questions or comments. Translation from German into English by twigg's Übersetzung deutsch-english.