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Globalization movement

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At globalization today, a phenomenon that has been much concerned by nations, international institutions and the media has risen for a while, being the anti-globalization movement. Interestingly, anti-globalization that is springing up vigorously within the world range has become a kind of “globalization” in essential but possessing a different substance.

Globalization is one of the hottest questions debated worldwide. From the end of the 20th century to the early of the 21st century, on the one hand the pace of globalization is growing in intensity, on the other hand anti-globalization movement is rolling on with full force. As one of the very first concerns of the recent international publicity, anti- globalization movement has been stressed for a while since its birth in Seattle in 1999, followed by those famous events like in Davos in 2000, Washington in 2000, Quebec city in 2001, Goteborg in 2001 etc. Admittedly, anti-globalization movement, like globalization, has become an inevitable and objective reality in the economic integrity literature that we must research seriously.

Globalization is a concept frequently used by sorts of fields but rarely defined. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has given a general definition for globalization as:

Globalization broadly refers to the explosion of global linkages, the organization of social life on a global scale, and the growth of global consciousness, hence the consolidation of world markets (UNDP official website, http://www.google.com/u/undpsearch?domains=undp.org&sitesearch=undp.org&q=globalization).

Anti-globalization refers to oppose globalization. It is a kind of pejorative term used to describe the “political stance of opposition to the perceived negative aspects of globalization” (Wikipedia wibesite, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-globalization). Anti-globalization is a part of sustainable development as well, which tends to prefer local economic development, which matches to the value of socialism, the common good, anti-corporate, and anti-capitalism. Those who resist on anti-globalization are usually as the minority of the current political system who is usually perceived to be marginalized by mainstream society due to their strongly “anti-capitalization” views; mainstream society across the world are controlled by wealthy individuals or large corporations, who are reckoned by activists as the holders who have conflicting interests with the rest of society.

To understand the globalization and anti-globalization movement, another related concept must be much concerned, namely multinational corporation (MNC). MNC is major player in the globalization context, which is defined by Eweje (2005) in his lecture notes as a “company that is headquartered in one country but has operations in other countries features the leading force behind worldwide of goods, service, financial capital and intellectual capital.

This paper will review the anti-globalization events across the world comprehensively and systematically, investigate the characteristics and formats of the movement, analyze the motivations and goals of the movement, and exam the social framework of the participants to the movement. The paper then will look at the future direction of the movement and forward considerations against several important topics on the context of economic globalization. Besides, the points from both sides of globalization and anti-globalization will be discussed with the conclusion of how to make it to build a really advisable globalized society and economy.

The context of Anti-globalization movement

“Seattle Storm” occurred in U.S.A at the end of the November in 1999, was a prologue to anti-globalization movement across the world. Since Seattle, protests have swept across the world, whatever conferences of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, or the other global and regional meetings were held. Protestors were seen from time to time since December 1999, from Davos to Washington to Prague to Melbourne to Nice to Davos-Zurich to Quebec City to Barcelona to Goteborg and Genoa, so that leading media in the world call the year 2000, “the year of global protest” (Bello, 2001). We hereby might review the main events of the movement in historical order.

The meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) opened at Seattle in November 30, 1999. At the meantime, participants of anti-globalization from the worldwide gathered in the city to protest globalization especially economic globalization. There were roughly 50,000 protestors pouring onto the streets and taking place a large-scale conflict with armed polices. A McDonald’s, as the symbol of globalization, was trashed. The WTO meeting had to postponed five hours and a few delegates cannot presence the meeting of the first day. The Seattle police had to declare urgency and imposed a curfew that resulted in 310 people arrested and dozens injured. The meeting ended with the participants failing to agree (Weissman, 1999).

In Jan. 27, 2000, the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum was held on the Swiss ski resort of Davos. Anti-globalizers gathered in Davos to protest the globalization. “They came, they shouted, they attacked McDonald’s” (Chu, 2001, Jan. 27).

In Feb. 14, 2000, globalization protestors from the world gathered again in Bangkok, Thailand, to protested the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The protestors condemned the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Bank (WB) with the requirements where those international financial institutions take immediately action to mitigate negative impact of globalization to developing countries.

In April 16, 2000, IMF and WB group held meeting in Washington, DC. that was protested by some 30,000 came from worldwide. The professor Walden Bello of the University of the Philippines had a distinct description as:

Some 30,000 protesters descended on America’s capital in the middle of April and found a large section of the northwest part of the city walled off by some 10,000 policemen. For four rain-swept days, the protestors tried, unsuccessfully, to breach the police phalanx to reach the IMF-World Bank complex at 19th and H Sts.,NW, resulting in hundreds of arrests. The police claimed victory (2001, http://www.focusweb.org/publications/FOT%20pdf/fot58.pdf).

In May 1, 2000, a large-scale anti-globalization demonstration was held in London for the purpose of commemorating the Labor Day.

In the first ten days of September of 2000, the leaders of member countries of United Nations (UN) met in New York City. Meanwhile, numbers of anti-globalizers held the civil meeting opposite the building of UN.

In Sept. 26, 2000, some 10,000 protestors who rebuked that international financial institutions are the tool of capitalism, and demanded a close, demonstrated on the streets of Prague, Czech capital when the World Bank Group and the IMF held their annual general meetings. The demonstrators had a clash with policy involving hundreds injured.

In Oct. 20, 2000, the third Asia- European conference was held at Seoul, South Korea, attracting roughly 20,000 protestors from the global, who opened an antitheses forum to show up their anti-globalized views.

From 6 to 7 of December in 2000, the summit of the European Union (EU) held meeting in Nice, the port of France. According to North Eastern Federation of Anarchist Communists (NEFAC, 2000), this summit was still “designed to protect and help capitalism and the dominating classes”. Over 50,000 participators of anti-globalization demonstration successfully intermitted the meeting but clashed with police involving dozens arrests.

In Jan. 27, 2001, the World Economic Forum was held in Suez of Egypt accompanied with thousands of protestors who took place conflict with police resulting in about thirty people driven out and one hundred twenty ones arrested.

In April 20, 2001, at the Summit of the Americas, tear gas and water cannons were used to entreated protestors, four hundred activists thereafter were arrested.

In June 15, 2001, a violent clash because of the protestors from all over the continent against the summit of EU, which was held in Goteborg, Sweden, led to “injure dozens and hundreds of arrests” (Ratnesar et al. 2001). This time the organizers called for approximate 20,000 to take part in the protest.

In June 25, 2001, approximate 10,000 demonstrators protested the meeting of WB group in Barcelona, Spain. The meeting was forced to cancel; the protestors claimed victory.

The G-8 summit was held at Genoa of Italy from 20th to 22nd of July in 2001. Before the meeting opened, papers had reported that there would be over 150,000 anti-globalizers to gather in the city, demonstrate on the streets and protest the globalization. At least 20,000 police armed with “weapon” like tear gas and water cannons will be poured onto the streets to rigorously screen any walkers on the streets (Ratnesar et al. 2001). The Italy government indeed deployed naval gunship patrolling the port so as to protect George W. Bush and other seven leaders of the industrialized economies. As reported, at the last day before the meeting opening, protestors tried to breach the police block and entered into the spot of the meeting. There were approximate 500 people injured, 126 people arrested and most unfortunately a 23-year-old Italian, called Carlo Giuliani who was shot to death. There has no doubt that this was the most rough-and-tumble G-8 summit beyond the memory of the men (Ratnesar et al. 2001; AFP, 2001 June 21 and Brooks, 2004).

In the week of early February 2002, the World Economic Forum was held in New York where such Forum was the first time held out of the Switzerland since it was established in 1971. Political leaders, entrepreneurs, scholars and religious leaders from over one hundred countries totally approximate three thousand people were invited to attend the forum. The large number of protestors gathering in the city, reflected their dissatisfactions to globalization, and kicked against that the rich decides the world fate. UN Secretary General Kofi Annam visited the meeting an followed up on a proposal for a “Global Compact” with business in which insecurity of the world derives from the unbalance of the authorities and wealth (Bruno, 2002).

What we mentioned above is a kind of form of the anti-globalization movement that is characterized by that anti-globalization movement takes place same time and same location with international summit which is held in order to boost globalization. In the case, the former and latter almost always fight tit for tat, meaning that clash even riot will occur. On the other hand, there is another format movement against globalization that features as follows: anti-globalization activities occur with globalization meeting at same time but different place. The former has a long- distance dialogue and controversy with the latter without any conflict or violence taken place. For example, from January 31st to February 5th in 2002, at the same time as the World Economic Forum held in New York, the World Social Forum (WSF) organized by anti-globalization participants, took place in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The WSF is a non-government organization established to response to a counter-Davos summit (Bruno, 2002). As reported, there were roughly 60,000 people attending the meeting of WSF under the slogan “Another World is Possible” (Milstein, 2002). As a counterpoint to Davos, the Porto Alegre successfully achieved its goal under the support of the city government (Bello, 2001, http://www.nadir.org/nadir/initiativ/agp/free/bello/davosportoalegre.htm). Also, Bruno summarized the success of the meeting:

Instead of just protesting the WTO, WEF and similar bodies, worldwide social movements are coming together to imagine other options and to begin to create them. Porto Alegre meeting caught a wave of enthusiasm for combining resistance and re-invention, and the organizers expect this year’s meeting to be larger and better organized (2002).

As foregoing mentioned, not themselves of the globalization meetings but accompanied anti-globalization protests make the world surprise, upset, rivet and consider on how we can deal with the pressure from both globalization and anti-globalization movement. Of course, the authorities might not allow anti-globalizers to join the meetings so that the latter has to represent in such “illegal” ways. Each time the organizers of the meeting delay police even troop as if faced with a formidable foe, which results in a higher-level opposition emotion between anti-globalization movement participants and governments. Therefore, any one of the international economic organizations, host countries of forum has to consider over and over when they hold important meetings in order for seeking better approaches to handle anti-globalization protestors (Feron, 2004).

Actually, most of the anti-globalization protestors come from rich countries, which consist of complexly social classes such as activists from labor union, environmentalists, sympathizers of the third world countries, those anarchist, protectors of primary products in developed countries and protestors of “neo-liberal” and capitalism. Their organizational formats include sorts of non-government organizations and protesting alliances or coalitions. Furthermore, the reasons why those people oppose globalization are different. Some think of the globalization as the “company globalization”- the company leaves for other countries possessing cheaper labor and materials.

What they therefore oppose to globalization is because they are facing with the pressure of unemployment; some believe that the free trade in globe is the prime criminal of poverty and environmental degradation because they just superficially, partly even radically understand trade liberty; some are afraid that globalization will widen the gap between the rich and poor, slow the pace of global democracy so that international institutions have to obey interests of those multinational corporations (MNCs) or the capital; some sympathize those third world countries of Africa and Asia which are usually perceived to be marginalized in the process of globalization. Besides,there are some young people blindly protesting globalization.

Analysis of the motivation and goals of the Anti-globalization

Given different formats, social compositions and reasons of the anti-globalization, it is not hard to identify its motivation and goals. In
summary, reasons why they oppose globalization are as follows:

1. Anti-globalizaters believe that it is the globalization that widens the gap between rich and poor, including not only the gap between developed countries and developing ones, but also the internal gap of one country.

2. The opponents believe that governments of industrial countries cooperate with MNCs, through globalization to promote “neo-colonialism” including financial colonize and technological colonize, to bring grief to developing countries (Ryder, 2003).

3. The protestors consider that developed countries pursue globalization resulting in the loss of job opportunities in the home country.

4. The globalization is reckoned as the foe that harms the agriculture of developing countries.

5. The globalization is deemed as the tool of industrial countries to transfer environmental crisis, to destroy ecosystem of other countries (Wissenburg, 2004).

6. The anti-globalizers believe that western industrial countries infringe upon the sovereignty of developing countries, erode their culture and tradition, and even threaten their social and economic stabilization (Ryder, 2003; Worth & Kuhling, 2004).

Therefore, those who participate anti-globalization movement might have different motivation but obviously not beyond the scope of activists from labor union being afraid of losing their jobs, environmentalists who believe that globalization causes degradation of environment, sympathizers of the third world countries being thought of as debt twister, protectors of primary products in developed countries, those anarchist, and protestors of “neo-liberal” and capitalism which are seen as “a system that cannot significantly address issues of social justice” (Bhagwati, 2002).

Although the motivation and goals of the movement are various, its core can be rooted in social justice and human rights (Vayrynen, 2000). The complexity of participants of anti-globalization movement decides that the goal of the movement is complicated. Admittedly, the opponents of globalization might claim different goals regarding to the different topics of globalization meeting. However, opponents, in essential, claim including almost all sorts of aspects like economic, political, environmental, technological, and cultural etc., which are reckoned as, really related to the globalization.

The movements might involve from claiming debt relief of poor countries to protecting culture and tradition of developing countries; from maintaining independent sovereignty of the nation to arguing against neocolonial; from opposing take- over of MNCs to discontent with neo-liberty to fighting capitalism; from demanding building a world without troop to a “no- company- controlled” society, in aiming at various and complex goals. For example, people who participate demonstration during the period of the meeting held in Genoa of Italy in 2001, claim the slogans that “range from saving the earth to defending worker’s rights and opposing free trade etc.”(Ratnesar et al, 2001).

Future direction of the movement

Globalization is still a game that is so far only played by minority of authorities. Globalization cannot gain driving sources unless it is really connected with most civilians because only if people have found immediate interests and risks of globalization, the latter could be durative. Unfortunately, faced with the wave of opponents in Genoa, G-8 summit did not profoundly consider current limitation of globalization so that that proclamation “continuously carry out globalization in order for interests of poor countries”became a beautiful bushwa (Feron, 2004).

Although it is rolling on with full force and increasingly grows in strength and numbers, the anti-globalization movement is now located at a situation of losing control. According to Raimo Vayrynen, the future of the anti-globalization is now challenged by some objective factors:

Although it appears to be growing in strength and numbers, the anti-globalization protest movement is now at a cross-roads. The core of the anti-globalization movement, which is rooted in social justice and human rights, has been unable to control violent fringe groups. Furthermore, international economic agencies such as the World Bank and the IMF have been surprisingly responsive, expanding and accelerating their policies on debt relief and strengthening their focus on the mitigation of poverty. The protest movement thus faces the challenge of developing new instrumental goals for the next phase (2000).

The phenomenon of anti-globalization, at present has drawn many attentions, especially for supporters of “neo-liberty” who are afraid of innovation. However, as analyzed above, anti- globalization movement cannot yet come into being a subversive power owning to its own limitation, namely the proposal of renovation for overthrowing existing system cannot be responded widely. Consequently, although such movements impact existing nation machine, authorities still have considerable capabilities to set off these influences. The disputation between governments, corporations and such non-government organizations, is hard to make the capabilities of nations weaken, while MNCs will be more restricted in morality, likewise, neither corporations nor anti-globalizers will be in dominion.

Analysis and Criticisms

As globalization, anti-globalization is an extreme complex issue which is worthy of studying profoundly. In my opinion, anti-globalization is a necessary partner of globalization, and has formed another “globalization” in terms of its influence and scale. What we looked at is only some protest movements arround international economic meetings, whereas the public opinion for anti-globalization has been full of the world and obtained more and more agreement. In general, the anti-globlaizers have various motivations, opinions, strange actions, and even are going with nonsensically and radically violent methods. Of course, such actions count for little but their essentials deserve to be thoughtful.

Three issues arround the anti-globalization phenomenon should be considered. First, is there any fatal economic, political and social flaw existing in current globalization? Secondly, current globalization is at earth whose one? Why some can benefit from globalization but others lose more? Thirdly, whether or not globalization has only one notion and model?

The answer to the first question is obvious. Current globalization does exist unilateralism, weakness and shortage. In economy, current globalization lays particular stress on trade and investment liberty which center on corporations. Neverthless, global economic liberty does not mean that the national economy will develop at full speed. Globalization will weaken nation’s traditional function, in the situation of capital flowing over the national control, any openning country will be influenced by fluctuant capital market. Financial crisis and related recession occurred in Asia, East Europe and Latin America over the past few years have give us best examples. In political, globalization has been reckoned by some people as the tool by which the U.S power will influence the world political ideology so that opponents equate globalization to Americanism. Anti-globalization actions cannot be seperated with their feelings of conter-Americanism.

Social matters initiated by globalization are much more than other facets: globalization development is almost at same pace with global environmental degradation so that opponents ascribe worse ecosystem to outcome of globalization; current globalization ignores issues of distribution of wealth, resulting in larger gay between rich and poor; owing to relatively non-fluid of labor among countries, worker’s rights and interests will be damaged both in developed and developing countries when MNCs deploy their human resources in global range; in addition, globalization may bring people impact of cultural identification.

For the second question, its essential is as for upholding or opposing globalization. Although it seems to be impartial in distribution of interests, globalization development in fact is not balanced as any other thing, that is, some countries benefit from economic liberty but others are gradually marginalized. The U.S became the biggest winner and is of capability of exploiting other inferiors through globalization. For example, the U.S requires China to fully open orange market, but because U.S more developed economy, meaning that government may subside its agriculture products exporting, the U.S corporations can dump their products by less market value than one in China so as to occupy Chinese market. If China levies penalty tariff on U.S products, China maybe need endure revengeful risk from the U.S. Therefore, most anti-globalization protests are against the United States.

For the third issue, the perspective of current globalization is U.S edition that is seen as the mainstream vision. It appears to be the only one of “made in U.S.A”. However, with understanding of globalization made unceasing progress, both nations and people call for plural globalization editions that can use diverse scales other than American one to measure international issues.

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