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globalisation viewpoints


global sceptics




(neither view denies globalisation, they simply differ over the extent to which it has impacted the globe and international relations)


basic overview of the three viewpoints of globalisation

hyperglobalisers — aligned with liberalism, globalisation is inevitable and irreversible due to technology, it is leading to a stateless world

global sceptics — aligned with realism, regionalism is more important than globalisation, globalisation is nothing new

transformationalists — changes overlay a static international system, offers a more balanced view of globalisation, a bridge between the hyperglobalisers overstatement of globalisation and the sceptics dismissal of the significance of globalisation


hyperglobalisers: main ideas about globalisation

hyperglobalisers are the chief believers in globalisation and regard globalisation in a positive and revolutionary light

their ideas emerge from the liberal view of globalisation

globalisation has not been exaggerated — humankind is truly entering into a new age and we are living in a truly globalised world of economic interdependence, political cooperation and a global monoculture

globalisation is a consequence of advances in technology, we are moving towards a ‘borderless world’ due to technological progress

in this borderless world, state borders are more permeable than ever before to goods, people, capital and ideas

Philip Bobbitt, an academic and lawyer, referred to the state being “hollowed” out by globalisation, as supranational interests and decisions challenge the importance of nation states


hyperglobalisers: what power shift is globalisation creating?

it is creating a revolutionary shift in the structures of global power, which will ultimately make the nation state obsolete

greater economic integration, instantaneous global communication, the growing influence of TNCs and the rise of non state actors have combined to challenge the centrality of the state in international relations

the state is increasingly having to share influence with other global actors and can no longer determine its own future, having to work within the economic and financial parameters established through globalisation

we are now living in a ‘post-sovereign state’ world

the end result of such trends is greater global governance and perhaps at some point, a world government which would possess sovereign authority over the world


hyperglobalisers: why is globalisation inevitable?

hyperglobalisers believe that globalisation is inevitable due to advances in technology

globalisation is inevitable as it is the logical extension of capitalism and the global market

there is no going back from globalisation, the world can only become more interconnected and interdependent, as seen in the rise of TNCs and regional institutions like the EU

some theorists differ on whether hyperglobalisation will be a good or bad thing — it can have various effects, but either way globalisation is happening and cannot be reversed


hyperglobalisers: effect of globalisation on the state

state sovereignty has been significantly impacted by globalisation in all its forms and this decline in state sovereignty has led them to cooperate

globalisation is creating a new era in history where both the importance and the authority of the nationstate is decreasing due to the economic logic of the global market....

• the state’s autonomy is in decline as its ability to manage strategic economic activities decreases due to the rise of TNCs, such as Nike and Apple, as well as regionalisation and global governance

• national economic strategies are unworkable in a global context and resistance to global markets is seen as futile and damaging

• markets have triumphed over states, delivering worldwide and growing prosperity


what three key benefits do hyperglobalisers see in globalisation?

hyperglobalisers see 3 key benefits of globalisation....

• the creation of a single global market through globalisation will bring wealth to all

• growing economic interdependence makes the cost of war too great, thus creating peace

• the widening and deepening of interconnectedness will increase international understanding, spread the ideas of liberal democracy and a human rights culture — this may create a truly global civilisation (Francis Fukuyama)


consequences of globalisation, according to hyperglobalisers

• decline in state autonomy and sovereignty

• growing global prosperity

• reduction in conflict as the cost of war is too great

• spread of liberal democracy

• the ‘borderless world’ will become a reality as the concept of the state becomes irrelevant (Kenichi Ohmae)

• globalisation has seen a growth in nonstate actors such as TNCs, NGOs and terrorist organisations


critique of hyperglobalisers

global sceptics challenge hyper globalisers’ viewpoint, arguing that it is unbalanced and exaggerated

it is inaccurate to claim that national governments are impotent and incapable of determining economic and other policies as most economic activity still takes place within the state borders

policymakers are not dominated by economic and technological forces — values and ideological perspectives also shape the decisions made by states

governments still play a large role in attracting inward investment and improving education, suggesting states are still highly important

governments have chosen to pool their sovereignty and work together to temper the effects of globalisation and related problems like terrorism and international crime — sovereignty is not declining, the role and significance of the state has simply been altered

pooling sovereignty give states more power and make them more effective rather than rendering them impotent as it enables them to tackle global problems that they cannot tackle alone

the end of state sovereignty is a myth, as seen in the US decision to invade Iraq

recent developments have reasserted the central importance of the state in securing national borders (e.g. against migrants, terrorists)


global sceptics: main ideas about globalisation

see much of globalisation as a myth and argue that the so-called integrated global economy does not exist

they question the extent to which globalisation is new and whether it has really challenged the authority of the state

globalisation has been exaggerated — particularly because most economic activity still takes place within the state, national economic policies are still highly relevant, TNCs are still primarily tied to their home nationstate and international trade and capital flows are not a new phenomena

they point to 1870 to 1914 as the highpoint of globalisation, suggesting that there is nothing new or revolutionary about globalisation and high levels of international trade or cross-border capital flows — during this period there were dramatic advances in telegraphic communication, the size and speed of ships and Britain’s commitment as a global hegemony advancing free trade liberalism

the ineffectiveness of political cooperation also demonstrates that globalisation has been exaggerated

in reality, regional, national and local economies are far more significant than the ‘global economy’

states are still the principal actors in the international system

modern day globalisation has failed to create a more global community


global sceptics: why does the integrated global economy not exist?

there is no global integrated economy as the majority of the global population, especially in the South, are becoming increasingly marginalised rather than being linked into the global economy

states are not bound by economic forces they cannot control — as seen in Theresa May’s post Brexit commitment to controlling UK borders even at the expense of losing access to the European Single Market

one of Trump’s first executive actions was to withdraw the USA from TPP, which had been designed to deepen economic ties between member states and dramatically reduce tariffs


global sceptics: the argument that international institutions and organisations do NOT weaken state sovereignty

the trend towards regionalisation and global governance remains weak as sovereignty still resides within states

regional and international institutions are not a sign of state weakness, but are bodies through which states strive to grow their own power and objectives, they are merely the vehicle by which states increase their own power

globalisation is a product of sovereign states agreeing to come together to increase their own power and influence, therefore it does not decrease state sovereignty — they use it to their advantage by pooling their influence on the world stage

states do not have to accept the authority of international institutions — as seen in the collapse of the Doha Round of WTO negotiations in which developing countries refused to continue to open up their markets without reciprocal Global North arrangements for agriculture


global sceptics: further criticisms of globalisation

the idea that globalisation is inevitable and that there is no alternative is an ideology that has been constructed to allow western liberal capitalist powers to advance their own interests and agenda

for example, by pressing for the weakening of organised labour and the scaling down business regulations

globalisation is a way in which western capitalist countries assert their dominance over weaker countries — it clearly does not benefit everyone equally


critique of global sceptics

huge advances in technology have made the world a much smaller and more integrated place

globalisation has not been exaggerated — economies are integrated into the world system, as seen in the rise of global economic governance institutions as well as global financial crises in which states cannot isolate themselves

countries are working more collaboratively, as seen in the rise of international institutions

there is a global flow of values, ideas and information

Heywood argues it is difficult to sustain the idea that globalisation today is merely a continuation of patterns seen in the past because goods, capital, information and people now move around the world more freely than ever before

this has inevitable and significant consequences for economic, cultural and political life

there is clear evidence of growing globalisation, which challenges the sceptic view that globalisation has been exaggerated


transformationalists: main ideas about globalisation

offer a middle path between hyperglobalisers and global sceptics

they argue that significant changes have occurred due to globalisation but the basic international system has not been fundamentally changed — therefore, the impact of globalisation should not be exaggerated

acknowledge that globalisation has had a deep impact on state sovereignty: national governments are changing and being challenged by non state actors

although they do not believe that globalisation signals the decline of the state, instead the state is continually having to adapt to the challenges globalisation presents

globalisation can divide as much as it integrates — it can create a sense of distance as the power that shapes local communities becomes increasingly remote

interconnectedness has increased in terms of breadth, intensity and speed and we are living in an increasingly connected world

the influence of TNCs has grown but states still retain the right to determine fiscal, trade and monetary policy, as illustrated by the bilateral trade deals President Trump favours


transformationalists: how has the state changed?

globalisation is neither weakening the state nor strengthening it, instead the nature of the state has changed and a new architecture of global politics is emerging

the state has been transformed in many different ways across different countries, meaning that the impact of globalisation is not uniform

many different types of states have emerged as a result of globalisation....

• national security states that seeks to protect against global terrorism

• competition states that boosts education, skills and training to get ahead in the globalised economy

• modernising states like China that mixes the free market and high levels of state control

in some instances, states have become failed states, like Libya, which cannot maintain internal sovereignty


transformationalists: in what ways has interconnectedness increased?

overall, major transformations have taken place in world politics as interconnectedness has increased in terms of breadth, intensity and speed

the BREADTH of interconnectedness now stretches across social, political, cultural and economic spheres

the INTENSITY of interconnectedness has increased, fuelled by diverse forces from migrants surges to social media

the SPEED of interconnectedness has also increased — huge flows of electronic money ensure that markets react almost immediately to events elsewhere in the world, illustrating the impact of technology


transformationalists: how might globalisation enhance sovereignty?

in some cases, globalisation can enhance sovereignty

for example, China’s global influence has dramatically increased as a result of globalisation, giving its government’s economic decisions worldwide significance

the internet has also been used by states to advance their own political ideologies, as the intense Russian nationalism of RT demonstrates


critique of transformationalists

this approach waters down some of the exaggerations of the previous perspectives

perhaps it is a more balanced viewpoint, focusing on the strengths of both previous views while leaving out the weaknesses


liberals: main ideas about globalisation

liberals have a positive view of globalisation and believe that it can bring trade, prosperity, peace, democracy, political freedoms and human rights to the global system

globalisation brings peace and reduces war — it is characterised by tendency towards peace and international cooperation as well as the dispersal of global power, particularly through the growth of international organisations

it benefits everyone — it is a win-win for all economically and in preventing conflict

globalisation is new and intensifying and states are in decline as a result

they are glad to see a decline in nation states and an increase in international cooperation

globalisation marks a watershed in world history as it has ended period during which the nationstate was the dominant global actor

states have lost power over the economy, being reduced to little more than instruments for the restructuring of national economies in the interests of global capitalism


liberals: benefits of globalisation

for economic liberals, globalisation reflects the victory of the market over irrational national allegiances and arbitrary state borders

the market draws resources towards the most profitable use, thus bringing prosperity to individuals, families, companies and societies

the integration of a single global economy produces increased productivity and intensified competition, which benefits all the societies who participate within it — demonstrating that economic globalisation is a positive sum game (a game of winners and winners)

globalisation brings social and political benefits — the free flow of information and ideas around the world widens opportunities for personal self development and creates more dynamic and vigourous societies

moreover, the spread of market capitalism is invariably associated with the advance of liberal democracy as economic freedom leads to a demand for political freedom


liberals: how does globalisation prevent conflict?

liberal emphasise the importance of global corporation and believe that globalisation is a way of encouraging greater connectivity between states and people, thereby creating greater trust and understanding

according to the Dell Theory of Conflict Resolution, economic globalisation has dramatically increased global trade, which binds countries into the same global supply chains, thus preventing conflict

political globalisation develops cooperation between states and nonstate actors over issues such as climate change, conflict resolution, nuclear non-proliferation and terrorism

liberals therefore regard globalisation positively since it establishes the foundations for global governance in which states see greater value in cooperation than in conflict

the advance of regionalism challenges the primacy of the nationstate, reducing the risk that nationalist hatreds and resentments may lead to war

a more globalised world will be a safer world in which states are motivated less by egotistical principles of power maximisation and more focused on working together to solve collective security dilemmas

since liberals argue that state egoism caused the wars of the 20th century, the only way of avoiding war in the future, as well as safeguarding the future of the planet, is to embrace globalisation as a method of enhancing common humanity


realists: main ideas about globalisation

essentially global sceptics and take a sceptical view of globalisation

the state continues to be the main actor in the global system and the most important, dominant one too — instead of being threatened by globalisation, states’ capacity for regulation and surveillance may have increased rather than decreased

globalisation has been made by states, for states, particularly dominant states — states have promoted globalisation in their own interests to promote and increase their own power, therefore globalisation does not render states impotent

developments such as an open trading system, global financial markets and the advent of transnational production were all put in place to advance the interests of Western states, particularly the USA

international organisations are merely vehicles for state interests and are thus state centric

globalisation is a threat as it can make the world a more unstable place due to increasing competition and conflict

globalisation is not a new process


critique of liberal view

globalisation can be seen as a form of cultural imperialism and Americanisation, which has led to the rise of militant Islam, demonstrating that globalisation does not always prevent conflict

globalisation does not benefit everyone — it favours the West, particularly the USA


realists: what are realists sceptical about?

sceptical about the extent to which globalisation can or should challenge the primacy of the state in global relations

believe that the nationstate should act according to the interests of its citizens and in a dangerously anarchic world, attempts to pretend that we all pursue the same interests are both hopelessly idealistic ultimately self-defeating

therefore, attempts to put constraints on states freedom of action and to pool sovereignty through regional or intergovernmental organisations are dangerous and undermine the absolute right of the state to determine policy itself

doubt the effectiveness of liberal cooperation and are wary of attempts to develop universal human rights since this can dangerously challenge Westphalian principles of state sovereignty, which is the bedrock of global stability


realists: in what ways does globalisation lead to conflict?

realists question the notion that globalisation is associated with a shift towards peace and corporation

instead, heightened economic interdependence is as likely to breed ‘mutual vulnerability’ and therefore lead to conflict rather than cooperation

globalisation creates tension as it makes developed states richer and marginalises other states

it is an uneven, hierarchical process characterised by the growing polarisation between the rich and the poor and the weakening of democratic accountability and popular responsiveness — this creates conflict


realists: views on regionalism, humanitarian intervention and trade

dismiss attempts to create greater regional integration, most notably in the EU, since only the nationstate can meaningfully lay claim to the loyalty of its citizens

humanitarian attempts to intervene in the affairs of other states, although they may be guided by the best of intentions, are likely to cause more harm than good — for example, the invasion of Iraq caused instability in the region and led to the rise of ISIL

less ideologically committed to free trade as they believe that states should advance the interests of their own citizens in global trade

President Trump’s commitment to protectionism therefore provides a highly realist approach to international trade, in which his focus on protecting US workers’ jobs contrasts with liberals’ ideological commitment to free trade economic globalisation


other approaches to globalisation

MARXIST — see globalisation as the establishment of a global capitalist order

MARXIST — globalisation it is an uneven, hierarchical process characterised by the growing polarisation between the rich and the poor and the weakening of democratic accountability

FEMINIST — linked globalisation to growing gender equality, for example the destruction of small-scale farming in the developing world largely carried out by women

POSTCOLONIAL — cultural globalisation is a form of Western imperialism which subverts indigenous cultures and ways of life, leading to the spread of soulless consumerism


liberal link to economic globalisation

economic globalisation is closely associated with liberalism

derives from 19th century liberal thought, which are regarded free trade as a moral good since it encourages cooperation between states

according to liberalism, free trade between nations reduces the risk of war between states