Has Globalization of Politics Undermined Democracy? – Free Essay Examples

Has Globalization of Politics Undermined Democracy?

Introduction

The world is changing rapidly due to the integration and fusion of production, trade, communications etc. This global village is the outcome of universal financial markets, changes in transportation and revolutions in telecommunications. Due to the development of media and information technology, information is available in every nook and corner of the World. This globalization has especially affected world politics and economics. As the World politics is getting affected so is democracy1.

Due to globalization there are many decisions which are made beyond the control of the government. Some say this undermines democracy, others believe globalization is for the betterment of World politics. Therefore it is still controversial whether globalization of politics undermines democracy or not.

Thesis statement and Methodology

This report is focused in answering the following question;

“Has globalization of politics undermined democracy?”

In order to answer this question the report will mostly make use of a qualitative analysis. With the help of secondary research, as due to limitations primary research was not possible, the thesis statement will be discussed. As the sources used are secondary sources, hence it has been assumed that all the information provided in these journals, books, websites etc is true and up to date. Moreover, the information has been taken as it is and no changes have been made.

In order to answer this question, the first chapter will discuss about globalization in general. A detailed analysis will also reveal various advantages and disadvantages associated with globalization. The second chapter will focus more on the relationship between politics and globalization and how globalization has affected the world politics. A minor aspect of military conflict due to globalization will also be discussed.

In the third chapter the focus of globalization effects will shift from politics to economy. Another important area where globalization has had its impact is culture. Therefore, in the fourth chapter globalization, human rights and culture will be discussed. The fifth chapter will have few viewpoints regarding the future of globalization. The last two chapter six and seven will mainly focus on the relationship between globalization and democracy.

Historical Background

According to many researchers, globalization narrows down the options available for the elected boards. As these democratic elected boards now have lesser choices available, therefore it can be said that, globalization can pose problems for the national democracy2. Similarly, economic globalization also creates problems for the national economics.

If we look at the history and beginning of globalization, we can see that in earlier days when globalization was developing people took at as a phenomenon which will change the economics, politics and democracy of the world for betterment. However views have changes now.

New World Order, which was quickly developed after the end of Cold war, was the only form of globalization present at that time. This form of globalization was broken down in to steps and was adapted by only the developing countries. This concept was first spoken off publicly in the 1970’s when the Algerian President of that time called all the developing nations of the World, ‘United Nations’. This meant that the developing Nations were addressed as a whole, and this was the birth of Globalization3.

The new information world order or the new world order was the next stage of Globalization, which has also been mentioned above. Diffusing the news internationally or information sharing became another important step of globalization. UNESCO’s director played a very important and pivotal role in this process.

This new World order which is also the predecessor of globalization was practiced among the wealthy nations of the world and the third world nations were kept out of this. Therefore, later protests and demonstrations were organized in order to raise voice against this unfair capital distribution. Wealthy nations who were constantly trying to lower the prices of the exports from the poor nations, then started to think about this issue fairly. In 1980’s this new world order wave was at one of its highest crest. However, the industrialized nations clearly understood that this was a serious matter and that the third World’s protest against this unequal wealth distribution was just. Due to this the even refrained from buying raw materials from these nations at prices lower than average. However, there were many other things which were controlled by these industrialized and wealthy nations, such as the news agencies. UNESCO was constantly trying to remove this barrier between the two sets of nations and end the monopoly of the industrialized and ‘globalization affected’ nations4.

When the industrialized nations saw that the third world countries were teaming up against them, these industrialized nations brought globalization a step further and united their military and economic strengths under NATO. The United States also refused to rework on the new world order. Moreover, as United States was against communist nations, therefore it believed that developing a new information world order meant, giving the control in the hands of he communists leaders, who can censor the information as they want. This was not acceptable to America, and therefore it withdrew from UNESCO.

In the 1990s a new World order was developed which was again quickly accepted by the industrialized nations. This stage of globalization was even stronger and more globalized than before. Globalization now had a new meaning. In early 1990’s, during the war of Iraq, globalization became even more important. The reason for this change was the shift from only informational issues to economic and political issues. Globalization was now affecting political decisions also.

The new world order was now not implemented to bring a change in the nations rather it was there to stabilize the existing situations. This stage of globalization emphasized more on political situations rather than economic and informational situations. The United Nations was now responsible for making any international laws and making sure that the countries followed it. However, in the background it was the wealthy nations, who were running this. The claimed that as they were the industrialized and developed nations of the world, they should set out the rules to stabilize the world’ political situation.

At the same time it was said that this globalization affect will help stop the arms race amongst the powerful nations. Moreover it will also help them to take part in developmental activities, especially in the third world, which was not possible without the cooperation of the industrialized nations. This globalization affect would spread democracy and help stop the cold war. However this did not happen. The term globalization was misused by the industrialized nations. United States attacked many poor nations on the basis of ethnicity and religion, and proclaimed that this action was to stop the spread of terrorist. None of this helped the poor nations, and the new World order did not prove effective. It was also claimed that this new World order will help in spreading democracy, which it did not. No proper international law was formed and hence none of the laws got implemented5.

Emergence of Globalization

Up till now, the term globalization was not implemented in its real sense. When globalization first started to gain popularity, it was confined to the wealthy nations only, and was there to replace the older New World order, which was itself a very raw form of globalization. It was hoped that globalization will help develop a conceptual frame. This framework will help the authorities to understand the international relations. These relations will further be developed with the help of democracy which was hoped to develop with globalization.

However yet again the nations were prompted with the same questions; ‘will globalization help the spread of democracy? Or will the globalization of politics undermine democracy?

Globalization definitely loosens the grip on the culture, communication and even politics of the nation. The nations are forced to adapt the changes brought all over the world. Moreover, in politics also, globalization can bring an overall change in even the third world. On the other hand, people who are against globalization believe that it is the largest threat to the developing and developed nations. Even the nations which have a very long history of a democratic political system can also get affected by globalization.

Globalization is a concept which has different meaning for different people. Some take it positively and others do not. In short it is the transfer of all kinds of cultural, economic and political differences between nations until a point where no differences exist as the nations accept a global change. Even though globalization has not been implemented to its fullest extent, however, the changes can be noticed. For example; all over the world every nation uses the internet.

“Globalization as a concept refers both to the compression of the world and the intensification of consciousness of the world as a whole… both concrete global interdependence and the consciousness of the global whole”6 As we can see from the above definition, the term globalization means the unification of any process or activity as a whole. Globalization is actually a phenomenon which brings a change in other parts of the world if anything changes in any part of the globe. The reason for this is that the world shares a social, economic and military space. Many people believe that globalization reduces the government control over various things and hence has a negative affect on the political environment of a country.

In other words globalization can also be called as the de nationalization. This denationalization leads to a global economy7. An economist has explained globalization as, “an inevitable phenomenon”. This phenomenon brings the world closer through the exchange of products and services. Moreover information exchange; knowledge and capital also play a vital role in this.

Over the last few years this change has been very fast. More and more people are shifting to cities, firms are going international, the economies of developing countries is growing and that of developed is declining. The table and the graph below show an increase in the Urbanization.

The main reason for this is the change and continuous advancement in technology and especially information technology. Due to information technology and use of internet the world has become a global village. Another important reason for the increased integration of globalization is the advancement in communication, transportation and science. Today, globalization is not just a trend. It is a phenomenon which is not only shaping the global politics but bringing big changes in the democratic environment and economies of the countries.8

Advantages of Globalization

Many people take globalization as a very positive phenomenon and believe that there are many advantages associated with it. These people say that globalization is increasing the interconnectedness of different nations of the world and this interconnectedness is better for the economy and political situations. Moreover these people also say that globalization is not only helping in developing a better economy but also helps in orienting a global value system.9

Globalization helps in lowering the trade barriers. This helps in opening up the world trade, and increases the demand and supply of goods and services. This has impacted the living standards of people all over the world. The standard of living has increased and the income of people has also increased. However, people who oppose globalization, also say that no doubt globalization has increased the living standards of people, but this standard has not risen for everybody. Many people live below the poverty line and the inequality in terms of wealth and income has increased considerably. However, this is considered as an advantage as this provides and incentive for the third world countries to get developed. For example; when any business or factory starts to operate in these countries, it provides jobs to many people and hence increasing the employment rate. This rate and other factors related to globalization help these nations to enrol themselves in the list of developing nations.

Another big advantage due to globalization is the big explosion in service trade which was not possible before. For example; with the advent of internet now many services are provided online also. Telecommunications, financial services and information technology jobs have been created all over the world and are not affected by different borders pr different countries. This explosion in the service industry has created more jobs also. All this was not possible twenty years ago when the concept of globalization was not fully developed, and as mentioned in the introduction, when globalization was in its early stages. Globalization has been possible due to an increase in the information which in turn was possible due to the advancement in the communication technology.

The advantages of globalization also extend to the capital markets, which have become truly globalized. Developing countries cannot imagine development in the income of its citizens if it does not allow foreign investments. Foreign investments create jobs in a country and increase the employment rate. The companies also benefit, as now they have access to new and bigger markets. The globalization affect also reduces the cultural differences and hence removing the cultural barriers among nations.

Below are some of the advantages of globalization.

  • Globalization increases free trade between nations, which is beneficial not only for the economy but for other things such as; employment rate etc.
  • Globalization also increases the liquidity of capital. This helps the investors to find investments in the developing nations worthwhile. As the investments in the developing nations come from the developed nations, their living standards become better and economies begin to prosper.
  • Businesses and organizations now have more flexibility as due to globalization they can operate cross borders also, which also increases their customer pool.
  • A global mass media is developed sue to globalization. This connects and holds whole the world together.
  • One of the best advantages of globalization is that it has increased the information sharing phenomenon. All over the world the information now travels not in minutes but just seconds. This has made it easier for the corporations and individuals to access information.
  • Due to development in the transportations, it has been easier for people to travel. Moreover, goods and services have been available at as lower cost due to reduction in travelling cost.
  • Globalization has reduced cultural barriers. This has created the ‘global village’ effect, and hence easier for companies and organizations to integrate into new cultures.
  • Globalization has helped in the spread of democracy, especially to the developed nations
  • Nations and states are now dependent on each other more making them communicate and integrate more.
  • The interdependence has reduced the likelihood of war especially between the developed nations.
  • Globalization has increased the awareness of environmental protection in the developed nations, who were first known as the industrialized nations and were the major contributors of pollution.

Disadvantages of Globalization

Globalization has many disadvantages associated with it also. For example; due to globalization many jobs are moving abroad and people are losing jobs back at home. In United Kingdom thousands of jobs are lost every year because these jobs are outsourced to India. Hence the unemployment rate increases. In America also, many employees are laid off very year, as the company cannot afford to keep them. The same companies then go for low waged countries and hire people from them. This might be a positive affect of globalization for the companies and corporations as they can increase their profit margins, but it is a negative thing for the economy as a whole. Many people also believe that this outsourcing in the long run is actually beneficial for the country, as the goods and services which are then sold at a lower price increase the prospects of expansion of that company, hence creating more jobs. However, up till now it has been a disadvantage.

Carrier is a company which makes air conditioning and heating units. It closed it New York plant. Almost 1200 people lost jobs. The same number of people was hired in Malaysia and Singapore as carrier could pay low over there. The company might have profited, but the people suffered. Similarly IBM announced that it will hire more people and it did. But these people came from India. Microsoft also contributed almost $2 billion to India’s economy.10.

As employments go outside the country, so does the capital. This has an overall effect on the trade and output also. Hence globalization as a whole affects the employment, capital, output and trade in a negative way. This is for the developed countries, for the developing countries as the capital, employment is coming inside the country; therefore globalization is beneficial for them.

Globalization has many other disadvantages also. It affects the local, federal and state taxes. As there are lesser people with jobs, therefore there are lesser people paying taxes. This affects many other things such as the education system. Youths in the country are seeing that more people are getting hired from low waged countries rather than their own country. This is having a negative affect on the country’s ability to produce educated youths and skilled workers. 11

One more disadvantage which has not been noticed yet is the materialistic lifestyle people are leading now days. They believe that their road to prosperity starts from the point they start spending more money. The society as a whole now believes that having a big account and the ability to buy expensive branded products means having a better lifestyle. The family values have begun to diminish and the global culture has penetrated in the societies. The following list summarizes the disadvantages associated with globalization.

  • Globalization increases the flow of skilled and unskilled labour / employees from the developing nations or the low waged nations to the developed countries. This reduces the employment rate in the developed countries.
  • Due to the effect of globalization, if one nation’s economy or political situation gets disrupted it will affect the whole world. For example; when America attacked Iraq and burned their oil wells, the petrol prices all over the world went up.
  • Due to globalization the corporate nation stats have more influence. However, previously it was civil society organization which had more influence.
  • Globalization will make few very influential corporations to control the world media. This will effect cultural expression of different nations.
  • Violence can increase, as people might want to preserve their cultural heritage.
  • More transportation of diseases from nation to nation. For example; earlier when travelling was not that common AIDS was confined to Africa only, but with globalization and with better transportations, it has spread all over the world. Similarly, dengue virus has also spread all over the world.
  • Fossil fuels and energy resources are being used up. In near future this problem will become the cause of many civil wars.
  • Big corporation and multinational organization will keep on polluting the environment, as they will have a lot of influence and might not follow the rules and regulations.

World politics and globalization

Globalization is becoming one of the most important terminologies for the political leaders all over the world. Many economists say that majority of the changes brought by globalization have been in the last two decades. These economists also believe that these changes brought by globalization were positive12.

Today, if one thing happens in one part of the world, it affects many other nations. For example; after the September 11 attacks in the United States, many policies including the immigration policies have changed. Muslims all over the world are being scrutinized more, before they are given a green card, passport or even a visa13. Hence, it can be noticed, that due to globalization, no change can only be a national or a country wide change; all the changes are international and global.

Formerly the politics of any country was usually based on the national political system. It was the national government which was responsible for the economic well being of the country. Moreover, the government was also responsible for maintaining security and protecting the citizens of the country. However, with today’s changing and globalized political system, everything takes place at a global level. What policies have been implemented in Iraq and what is the Afghani President doing about terrorist activities in his country, all are discussed globally. The government of any nation has to first keep in mind the international laws, rules and regulations before implementing any policy or law. The economies and the political system all over the world are now integrated in to one.

Globalization has increased the integration of politics at a global level. For example schemes such as the European Union, International Monetary Fund, World Bank and World Trade Organization, all reflect the extent to which the world has started to practice globalized politics. An organization in one country now has liaisons in other countries also. NGO’s and other civil society organizers now keep a watch on the political activity in the country. Government of any country now does not work through a national government, but has influence and lobbies outside the country also. All of this has now made politics an international affair14. Globalization has definitely had a very huge impact on the cultures of the World. For example; in many remote areas of Africa, where a drink is hard to get, the loud advertisement of Coca Cola can be heard in the streets. In Hyderabad, a small city of Pakistan, women were not seen around, and even if one was seen she would not be without any overall (Burqa). However, today females can be seen clad in jeans and t-shirt, and this has become a norm in the society.

People have changes their ways of lives in order to adapt the more globalized way of living. As globalization is opening new opportunities and technological advancements has made information available at the fingertips, therefore, people are now aware of what is going on in the World. People are now aware of their rights. This means globalization has increased the awareness amongst people. Now they know their rights as compared to previously when African people were taken as slaves and they thought it was what they had to do. With increased awareness, today no white person can take a black person and make him work against his wish.

Language is an important element of any culture. Due to globalization, people are accepting more of English which has become a global language and are forgetting their own. The graph and table below shows the number of World languages, which are in danger of extinction.

The numbers of languages which are in danger of extinction vary from study to study. However the average remains the same. According to Wade15, almost half of the total world languages are in the danger of extinction and this is due to globalization.

Many researchers believe that the language of a place should be preserved because it s the identity of the people of that place. The language of a nation shows that these people have a right to choose their own fate. Many people can speak different languages, but they can express the best in their own language. There are many things which are the gift of one language and cannot be changed in to any other language, and even if the particular terminology etc is translated it looses its touch. Therefore, according to wade, the language of any place should be preserved.

References

Beliaev, Mikhail (2003). Globalization; democracy and globalization: Sources of discontent. Department of cultural studies, Saratov state University.

Bhagwati, Jagdish, Panagariya, Arvind and T. N. Srinivasan (2004). The muddles over outsourcing ;The Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 18, No. 4 (2004), pp. 93-114.

Brysk, Alison (2002). Globalization and human rights; Transnational Threats and Opportunities. Web.

Charting a New Course Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. (2001) Mauricio A. Car Fernando Henrique Font (Author), Fernando Henrique Cardoso (Editor), Mauricio Font (Author)ISBN-10: 0742508935 ISBN-13: 978-0742508934 Pg 257.

Demokratia, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, “A Greek-English Lexicon”, at Perseus.

Dobbs, Lou (2004). The Myths of Outsourcing and Free Trade is in Exporting America: Why Corporate Greed is Shipping American Jobs Overseas. New York: Time Warner Books, 2004. ISBN No. 0-445-57744-8.pp.16.

Duru Ford L. (2002). The macdonization of Hongkong Global Policy Forum.Radio Northerland.

FP (foreign policy) (2007). The globalization index. Web.

Frankel, Jeffrey (2000). Globalization of economy. Kennedy school of government; Harvard University.

Fridah, M. (2002). The Effect of Globalization on Culture in Africa in the Eye of African Woman. Echo. World Council of Churches.

Global Policy Forum (n.d). Globalization of politics; United Nations.

Globalization And Politics: Promises And Dangers by Jan-Erik Lane Pg 3 Ashgate Publishing (2006) ISBN-10: 075464667X ISBN-13: 978-0754646679.

Globalization and the Politics of Development in the Middle East (The Contemporary Middle East) Clement M. Henry (Author), Robert Springborg Cambridge University Press (2001) ISBN-10: 0521626315 ISBN-13: 978-0521626316 Pg 199.

Haag, Stephen (2000). Management Information Systems. ISBN 0-7600-1091-9.

Jean T. (2002). The hidden dimension of globalization: What is at stake geo culturally? Global Policy Forum, New York, ATTAC 29.

Krugman, Paul. 1995. “Growing World Trade.” Brookings Papers on Economic Activity 1:327–77.

Lindsay, James M. (2003). The Globalization of Politics: American Foreign Policy for a New Century; the Brookings Institution. Web.

Porter, Keith. (2003) Globalization; good or bad; Global Envision. Web.

Prechel, Harland (2006). Politics and Globalization, Volume 15 (Research in Political Sociology) JAI Press; 1 edition; ISBN-10: 0762313161.

Robertson, Roland and White, Kathleen (2002). Globalization; critical concepts in sociology. Routledge, ISBN-10: 0415236878.

The World Bank Group.Introduction to Globalization (2004). Web.

Unearthing the Politics of Globalization Philipp Muller Publisher: Lit Verlag (2004) ISBN-10: 3825869555 ISBN-13: 978-3825869557 Pg 157.

Wade, A. (1997). Globalization and its Limits: Washington D.C.: Brooking Institution Press.

Wade, Robert. 1990. Governing the Market: Economic Theory and the Role of Government in East Asian Industrialization. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Wallerstein, Immanuel. 1974. The Modern World-System. Vol. 1, Capitalist Agriculture and the Origin of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century. New York: Academic Press.

World Public Opinion organization (2002). Globalization in General. Americans & the World: Public Opinions on Intel Affairs. 2002.

Footnotes

  1. Beliaev, Mikhail (2003). Globalization; democracy and globalization: Sources of discontent. Department of cultural studies, Saratov state University.
  2. Eriksen, Erik Oddvar. (1999). Globalisation adn democracy. Arena working papers. WP99/23.
  3. Eriksen, Erik Oddvar. (1999). Globalisation adn democracy. Arena working papers. WP99/23.
  4. Eriksen, Erik Oddvar. (1999). Globalisation adn democracy. Arena working papers. WP99/23.
  5. Eriksen, Erik Oddvar. (1999). Globalisation and democracy. Arena working papers. WP99/23.
  6. Robertson, Roland and White, Kathleen (2002). Globalization; critical concepts in sociology. Routledge.
  7. The World Bank Group.Introduction to Globalization (2004).
  8. Porter, Keith. (2003) Globalization; good or bad; Global Envision.
  9. World Public Opinion organization (2002). Globalization in General. Americans & the World: Public Opinions on Intel Affairs.
  10. Bhagwati, Jagdish, Panagariya, Arvind and T. N. Srinivasan (2004). The muddles over outsourcing ;The Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 18, No. 4 (2004), pp. 93-114.
  11. Dobbs, Lou (2004). The Myths of Outsourcing and Free Trade is in Exporting America: Why Corporate Greed is Shipping American Jobs Overseas. New York: Time Warner Books, 2004. ISBN No. 0-445-57744-8. pp.16.
  12. Prechel, Harland (2006). Politics and Globalization, Volume 15 (Research in Political Sociology) JAI Press; 1 edition; ISBN-10: 0762313161.
  13. Lindsay, James M. (2003). The Globalization of Politics: American Foreign Policy for a New Century; The Brookings Institution.
  14. Global Policy Forum (n.d). Globalization of politics; United Nations.
  15. Wade, A. (1997). Globalization and its Limits: Washington D.C.: Brooking Institution Press.

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