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key debate between the different viewpoints of globalisation

the various viewpoints of globalisation differ in their belief about the impact of globalisation, including its advantages and disadvantages

hyperglobalisers and liberals argue that globalisation is a win-win and that everyone is able to benefit from it

they argue that global markets bring trade, prosperity, lower prices for consumers, peace, democracy and human rights

however, critics of globalisation, including global sceptics and realists, believe that it favours the rich, the West, the USA and TNCs at the expense of the poor, working people, developing countries, the environment, democracy and national identity and culture


impact of globalisation on the nation state and national sovereignty

the state has been central to the international system for years but many argue that the state can no longer be realistically considered sovereign due to globalisation

while the state still has legal sovereignty and theoretical sovereignty, the realities of the 21st-century suggest that states are essentially impotent and powerless in the face of global and regional challenges

states are increasingly being considered as ‘post sovereign’, meaning they no longer have the ability to actually exercise their sovereignty

they may wish to exercise absolute and unlimited power within their territory and externally within the international system but in reality, they cannot achieve their goals


liberal and realist views of the impact of globalisation on the nation state and national sovereignty

liberals argue that the state is not sovereign

they argue that due to the creation of a single global economy, states are no longer the sovereign bodies they used to be

states are deeply affected by global economic winds and no state can isolate itself from global economic challenges

there is an increasing trend for decisions affecting states to be taken at global and regional levels, such as in the UN, the IMF and the EU — decisions about economics, trade and the environment are taken at these institutions, rendering the nation state a less significant actor and reducing its sovereignty

decisions taken by the European Court of Human Rights and the World Trade Organisation can also impact sovereignty

however, realists believe that the decline of the state is exaggerated and that states are still the major actors in the global system


case study into the impact of globalisation on the nation state and national sovereignty


the crisis began in the USA, where mortgage lenders faced difficulties in the sub-prime mortgage market because risky loans were not being paid back

these bad debts were packaged and sold on in complex financial products to banks around the world, which had then taken on these risks themselves

the ensuing uncertainty in the global banking system led to a credit crunch, with banks refusing to do business with each other

what started out as homeowners in the USA unable to meet their mortgage payments almost led to a global financial collapse that no state could isolate itself from

this demonstrates that the world is deeply interconnected


globalisation and contemporary issues

globalisation involves a shrinking, more interconnected and interdependent world, meaning that issues like poverty, conflict, human rights and the environment are increasingly shared issues

for example, poverty in sub-Saharan Africa leads to the movement of people to Europe, mass migration like this causes tension and ensuing inequality and resentment can inspire terrorism and lead to conflict

conflict and war in one country or region can easily spill over into neighbouring countries


how does globalisation affect poverty?

some argue that globalisation has caused poverty

with the transfer of jobs to low-cost countries, such as outsourcing call centres to India or producing clothes in the Far East away from Europe and the USA, unemployment can occur in countries that lose these industries

likewise, the opening up of developing markets to Western competition can kill off local companies

the theory of comparative advantage can condemn developing nations to remain focused on the primary sector such as crop production, thus limiting their economic growth

however, there is considerable evidence that globalisation is lifting countries and people out of poverty — those countries that have opened themselves up to trade in recent decades have seen economic growth and the improvement of living standards

while not all citizens benefit equally, there have been positive changes due to globalisation


how does globalisation affect conflict?

poverty, inequality and fear caused by globalisation can lead to conflict

conflict and tension arises as western states do not want to lose the considerable advantages they already have, but developing nations do not want to be deprived of the gains of globalisation and growth that they think they have earned and are entitled to

around the world, nationalism (which has a tendency to blame others for a nation’s misfortunes) has been rising due to the perceived threat of globalisation

nationalism is a well-known threat to peace and conflicts have a habit of spreading

this has been the case in Syria where the civil war has led to increased regional tensions involving Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran

millions of refugees have been forced to leave their homes and flee to Europe or neighbouring countries, which has contributed to the migration crisis in Europe

this migration crisis in itself has led to serious tensions and conflicts within Europe


how does globalisation affect human rights?

the humanitarian plight of Syrian refugees and the human rights abuses they have suffered in the civil war have caught the attention of many

however, the inability to protect these people has also damaged the reputation of the international community and its organisations


how does globalisation affect the environment?

climate change is a significant challenge for humankind and one which no state can solve by themselves

as people in developing nations start to consume at the levels of western citizens, a tremendous strain is being placed on the world’s resources

food and meat production, fish for human consumption, oil, coal and gas extraction, CO2 omissions into the environment and pollution in the air, land and sea are some of the challenges facing the environment

arguably, globalisation has increased these challenges

although, globalisation has also led to the development of international institutions and agreements to tackle such environmental issues


economic globalisation promotes prosperity and opportunity for all


economic liberals argue that the market is the only reliable means of generating wealth and the surest guarantee of prosperity and economic opportunity

competition and the profit motive provide incentives for work and enterprise and allocate resources to their most profitable use

the transborder expansion of market economics is a way of ensuring that people in all countries can benefit from the wider prosperity and expanded opportunities that only capitalism can bring

the world is becoming flatter as globalisation has levelled the competition playing field between advanced industrial and emerging economies


economic globalisation promotes prosperity and opportunity for all


the rise of newly industrialising countries (NICs) are a key illustration of the benefits of globalisation

NICs have based their development on a strategic engagement with the global economy, rather than any attempt to opt out of it

China is the most notable example of how an NIC can make globalisation work for its benefit — by Chinese calculations of poverty, which are based on the amount of food needed to sustain a human being, absolute poverty fell from 250 million at the start of its reform process in 1978 to 28 million in 2001

the World Bank accepts that China has brought about the most spectacular reduction of poverty in human history and the UN acknowledged in 2008 that China had already achieved the key Millennium Development Goal of halving the number of people in extreme poverty by 2015

states such as India, Brazil, Mexico, Malaysia and the East Asian Tigers (Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan) have adopted similar strategies


economic globalisation promotes prosperity and opportunity for all


international trade benefits countries because it allows each country to specialise in the production of the goods and services that is best suited to produce — this is known as the comparative advantage

free trade therefore draws economic resources at the international level to their most profitable use and so delivers greater prosperity for all

specialisation also enables production to be carried out on a larger scale and therefore offers the prospect of great efficiency

for instance, economies of scale can be gained through the greater use of the division of labour, the ability to buy raw materials or components more cheaply and the lower cost of overheads

in addition, consumers benefit from this because they have a wider choice of goods, including foreign produced goods as well as domestically produced goods — more intense competition, particularly from more efficient and low-cost producers, also tends to keep prices down

as international trade allows countries to specialise in the production of goods or services in which they have a comparative advantage, it makes the rich richer but also makes the poor less poor


economic globalisation promotes prosperity and opportunity for all


everyone is a winner in economic globalisation

although it makes the rich richer, it also makes the poor less poor because international trade allows countries to specialise in the production of goods or services in which they have a comparative advantage

similarly, transnational production is a force for good — TNCs spread wealth, widen employment opportunities and improve access to modern technology in the developing world, helping to explain why developing world governments are usually so keen to attract inward investment

economic globalisation is therefore the most reliable means of reducing poverty


economic globalisation promotes prosperity and opportunity for all


economic globalisation does not just make societies richer, an open market based economy also brings social and political benefits

social mobility increases as people are able to take advantage of wider working, career and educational opportunities

the despotism of custom and tradition is weakened as individualism and self expression a given wider rein

economic globalisation is also linked to democratisation, the two processes coinciding very clearly in the 1990s — this because people who enjoy wider economic and social opportunities soon demand greater opportunities for political participation, particularly through the introduction of multi-party elections


economic globalisation does not promote prosperity and opportunity for all


critics of globalisation have drawn attention to the emergence of new and deeply entrenched patterns of inequality

they argue that the winners of globalisation are TNCs and industrially advanced states, particularly the USA, while the losers are in the developing world where wages are low, regulation is weak or non-existent and production is increasingly orientated around global markets rather than domestic needs

by being forced to serve the needs of the world economy, developing countries are locked into the production of food and raw materials, thereby preventing them from making further economic progress

similarly, the advance of globalisation has been associated with growing rural poverty — rural areas account for 3/4 of the people living on less than one dollar a day

this occurs largely because pressures from the global economy have massively disrupted agricultural practices in the developing world, encouraging peasant farmers to convert to cash crops, produced for export, and abandon subsistence farming geared to local needs and local communities


economic globalisation does not promote prosperity and opportunity for all


China’s remarkable success in poverty reduction has not been without its costs, including greatly increased pollution, enormous migration shifts through rapid urbanisation, concerns about safety at work and the fracturing of family structures

although Chinese economic reforms since 1978 have substantially boosted average incomes and dramatically reduced absolute poverty, they have also been associated with fast rising income inequality, particularly reflected in the widening of the urban-rural divide

while between-country inequality is diminishing, within-country inequality has generally been growing

Cornia (2003) found that 2/3 of the 73 countries he analysed appeared to have widening within-country inequality rates between 1980 and 2000 — most evident in the USA and the UK, which have most enthusiastically embraced neoliberal economics

income inequality has widened because of financial deregulation, checks on social security spending and cuts in personal and corporate tax levels


economic globalisation does not promote prosperity and opportunity for all


economic globalisation leads to the race to the bottom

it diminishes the influence of national governments as government policy is driven by the need to attract inward investment and the pressures generated by intensifying international competition

integration into the global economy therefore usually means tax reform, deregulation, limiting workers rights and scaling back welfare

the alleged link between global capitalism and democratisation is also a myth — corporate power has become stronger as businesses have been able to exert increased political advantage through their ability to relocate investment and production almost at will

while trade unions have been weakened by the fear that agitation for higher wages or improved conditions will merely threaten job security


globalisation has been a force for peace and stability


the increasing emergence of global governance, such as the role of the UN, demonstrate that globalisation lead to stability and peace

growing political globalisation has created a rule and norm based international system that limits sovereignty and restricts the behaviour states, it is also supported by most states

it has led to international institutions and international law, which breed cooperation, peace and harmony on the global stage


globalisation has been a force for peace and stability


democracy has spread due to globalisation and ‘zones of peace’ have emerged in which military conflict has become virtually unthinkable

this certainly applies to Europe, which was previously riven by war and conflict, North America and Australasia

history seems to suggest that wars do not break out between democratic states, this is known as the democratic peace theory

cultural ties develop among democracies because democratic rule tends to foster particular norms and values

the common moral foundations that underpin democratic government tend to mean that democracies see each other as friends rather than foes


globalisation has been a force for peace and stability


conflict is less likely when nations have established patterns of economic interdependence that result from global free trade

free-trade, fostered through economic globalisation, has helped to underpin international peace and harmony for two main reasons

firstly, in leading to greater economic interdependence, it pushes up the material cost of international conflict and makes warfare between trading partners virtually unthinkable — economic globalisation makes war less likely because war is too expensive

secondly, economic links between countries inevitably lead to greater understanding between them and strengthened respect for each other’s distinctive cultures and national traditions


globalisation has been a force for peace and stability


technology and TNCs, especially media corporations, have created a more uniform global culture built around liberal values, global goods and a global flows of news and information

there is a move towards a single global community where people feel a connection and obligation to each other, creating shared norms and values in areas like human rights, which are weakening state sovereignty and increasing cooperation and peace


globalisation has not been a force for peace and stability


due to the system of international anarchy, there is no higher authority than the state

so without an authoritative, global decision-making body within enforcement powers, political globalisation struggles to deal with issues of conflict resolution

evidence of this can be seen in the numerous failures of the UN and NATO


globalisation has not been a force for peace and stability


the idea that liberal democracies are inherently peaceful is unconvincing

realists argue that the constitutional structure of a state does not alter the selfishness, greed and potential for violence that is simply part of human nature

far from always opposing war, public opinion expressed through the democratic system sometimes impels democratic governments towards foreign policy adventurism and expansionism, leading to tension and conflict with other regions

it does not necessarily follow therefore that the global spread of liberal democracy will lessen conflicts


globalisation has not been a force for peace and stability


cultural globalisation has been perceived as a threat to national distinctiveness and national identity

many cultures feel threatened by the perceived cultural flattening and cultural imperialism of globalisation

for example, ethnic nationalism (Chechnya) and cultural nationalism (Catalonia) has grown, while nationalism and the nationstate (as seen in Trump’s ‘America First’ doctrine) has also strengthened

there has also been a rise in religious fundamentalism to combat cultural flattening by globalisation

this backlash is seen as threatening the existing global order, leading to an increased chance of conflict and weakening the ability of international institutions to act collaboratively to tackle global issues

it appears that globalisation has led to conflict rather than prevented it — conflict has grown in response to globalisation, especially from those who view it as a threat


human rights have been advanced on an international level and are well protected


liberals claim that human rights are universal rather than relative

there is such a thing as a global community and there are certain human rights that, by virtue of our common humanity, we all possess

human rights are therefore the valid claim of all individuals, regardless of their nationality, race, gender, legal status and so on

examples of international human rights-based law; UDHR + ECHR


human rights have been advanced on an international level and are well protected


in 1948, the UN issued the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which established certain human freedoms that all humans have a right to enjoy

the UDHR recognises the “inherent dignity” and “equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family” as “the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”

it sets out the core civil, political, social and religious rights that we should all enjoy, whomever we are and wherever we live

just as respect for the rule of law provides the basis of a liberal democracy within the nationstate, the acceptance of international law is seen as a prerequisite for adherence to a global standard of human rights

the UDHR does not represent hard international law since states ate not bound to obey it, however it possesses great moral persuasive power

it also provides a standard of human rights accountability by which the international community can judge states — for example, Human Rights Watch uses the UDHR to measure the extent to which governments abuse the rights of their citizens


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948): examples of rights included in the UDHR

ARTICLE 1: all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, they are endowed with reason and conscience and should act awards one another in the spirit of brotherhood

ARTICLE 2: freedom from discrimination

ARTICLE 3: the right to life, liberty and security of person

ARTICLE 4: the banning of slavery in all its forms

ARTICLE 5: prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment

ARTICLE 6: equal recognition before the law, ARTICLE 7: equal protection by the law, ARTICLE 8: the right to a fair trial

ARTICLE 9: protection from arbitrary arrest, detention or exile

ARTICLE 12: the right to privacy

ARTICLE 18: freedom of thought, conscience and religion, ARTICLE 19: the right to freedom of opinion and expression


European Convention on Human Rights (1950): examples of European states changing their domestic laws to conform with the Court’s rulings

in 1981, after the Royal Ulster Constabulary questioned Jeff Dudgeon about his sexual preferences, the ECtHR declared that Northern Ireland’s criminalisation of homosexual acts was in violation of the ECHR and in 1982, Northern Ireland’s domestic law was altered to decriminalise male homosexual sex

in 1999, the Court ruled that the dismissal of two gay men from the military was in breach of their right to a private life, as a result of the ruling, the UK recognised the equal rights of gay people to serve in the UK military

in 2010, the Court ruled that section 44 of the UK’s Terrorism Act 2000, which authorised police to stop and search people without grounds for suspicion, was contrary to the ECHR and Theresa May, as Home Secretary, immediately complied with the ruling and the law was changed

the rise of more authoritarian governments in Turkey and Russia, as well as claims by individuals (often Roma) in Eastern European states that their human rights are being ignored, demonstrate the importance of the ECtHR since it provides plaintiffs with the opportunity to achieve justice beyond the confines of the nationstate

in 2016, the Court delivered 993 judgements; 222 against Russia, 77 against Turkey, 71 against Romania and 70 against Ukraine — the greatest number of violations of the ECHR involved the right to liberty and security and inhuman or degrading treatment


European Convention on Human Rights (1950): examples of rights included in the ECHR

ARTICLE 2: right to life

ARTICLE 3: freedom from torture

ARTICLE 4: freedom from slavery

ARTICLE 5: right to liberty and security

ARTICLE 6: right to a fair trial

ARTICLE 8: respect for private and family life

ARTICLE 9: freedom of thought, conscience and religion

ARTICLE 14: freedom from discrimination


human rights have been advanced on an international level and are well protected


the 1950 European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) came from the aftermath of WW2

it enumerates what rights European citizens may claim by virtue of their humanity, rather than by means of their national citizenship, and also established the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR)

it has established a powerful standard of human rights which has greatly affected the development of European domestic law

the ECtHR’s rulings on member states are binding but not enforceable, but there have been numerous cases where European states have changed their domestic laws to conform to the Court’s rulings