GLOBALIZATION

UNDERSTANDING  GLOBALIZATION

In olden times when the prince in a royal household committed a wrong and he had to be punished, a boy was produced to receive the whipping in place of the prince. Thus came into existence the ‘institution’ of the whipping boy. The naughtier a prince was, his whipping boy had to receive more of whipping. This is happening in Kerala today.  For all the ills of the state today, the whipping boy is Globalization. 

Globalization, in historic as well as pre-historic sense, is not a new phenomenon.   Perhaps globalization started when   Adam  and Eve were banished  from  the Garden  to the wider world .  God told Adam to earn his livelihood by the sweat of his brow  (which needed wandering about on the earth) and told Eve to deliver her children in pain  (which needed requisitioning the help of neighbors and initiated interdependence in human relations).

 A further push to globalization occurred when God scattered the sons of Noah who built the Tower of Babel , across, ‘over the face of all the earth.’  The globalization push was also manifested when God asked Abraham: “ Go out of your country, from your kindred and from your fathers house to a land I will show you” . The land was far away from Ur the native town of Abraham . Abraham going with his family to prosperous at the time is very much like a family from Kerala migrating today to the , the country   where milk and honey flow  . Indeed the Bible is replete with   stories and allusions to globalization.

 The Indian ethos exhibited both globalizing and anti-globalizing trends.  While on one side Hinduism traveled to East Asia , it’s Brahminical  version    imposed banishment  on those who  went abroad. Yet the ideal of vasudeiva kdumbakam  stands for the global village brought about by globalization . With Emperor Ashoka   sending  missionaries abroad,  Buddhism had  become   a  globalizing  force in the  third century B.C. Karl  Marx  believed in  a proletarian  revolution resulting in the workers of the world inheriting   the whole world  under communism . In recent times  Sree Narayana Guru was the prophet of globalization and spoke of  one  humankind . All these point to the fact that globalization is not new but as old as mankind.

This does not mean that globalization in every era had the same defining traits. Instead, globalization of each era had distinctive   features  relating to that era.  The globalization of our time is distinguishable by two elements from the globalization of former times. One is the collapse of travelling time from one point to another point on the globe.( The travel time is shorter  from  Thiruvananthapuram  to Toronto today than  it was in Abraham’s  time from ( former Mesopotomia)  to .  The  other is the collapse of  communicating  time between  people  irrespective of their geographical  location . (While it took an year for (  St ) Francis Xavier   S.J. to  send   a letter from Cochin   to  Lisbon  , it would take  just  two minutes    for  Archbishop Daniel Acharuparambil    to  do the same between Cochin and Rome by e- mail.)

It is the collapse of distance and time that has created the global village of our era. Just as it is difficult for a house holder to live in a village in isolation from other villagers behind high walls  and  locked gates , it is difficult for a country   to segregate itself from  other countries of the global village. Yet as in a village, the weak has to band together to resist the iniquities of the rich   and  assert the rights of the poor  who are also the children of God.

Let us admit that globalization is a phenomenon of great complexity, which involves not only flow of goods and services but also flow of ideas and free movement of all the children of God over all the parts of the earth. The WTO has also eventually to  work for  a visa-less world where   job opportunities arising any where  are  available to  the jobseekers  in every country. Unfortunately the WTO  deals with only a part of the  globalization process viz.  the free movement of goods , services , capital and the  protection of  patents and intellectual property rights.

Of the 192 countries in the world ( including the  new babe  ,  East Timor )  144  countries have become members of  WTO. Thirty  other countries including ,, , , Lithuania Romania, , are in the queue for membership.    and which account for  one third of humanity are  already  members of  WTO.  In other words  almost over 90 %  of the peoples of the world  have already opted for  globalization. Globalization,   as one writer said,  is the single train available  to  future.  Any one who  stand on the track  will be run over or left  out in the  cold  and bitter night of  isolation.

Those who oppose globalization forget  that  174 countries out of 192 countries of the global village would not have opted for membership of WTO had they not been convinced  that  there was  a net advantage  in  doing so. Indeed ‘net advantage’ is  the criteria for accepting globalization. For globalization  is not  a trouble free ,  fool proof  process. But it  is the  better of the options available to us to    deal with   chaos  that will reign  otherwise  over  the  market in the global village.  The 18  countries  which  have not queued up yet to join  WTO  will do so soon.

The  ice is already  melting in  North Korea where Stalinist  governance  had  failed to bring prosperity to  the people,  North Korea  has shown  its  intent to  dump Marx   and follow   the  ‘market’  recently.  The first Chinese model  special economic zone – where hire and fire  is the employment  rule – was opened  recently in .  Given time and opportunity,   the  remaining countries including and cannot but  seek membership in WTO.

If globalization is a historic process and it has advantages as proven by countries who have embraced it on the WTO forum, the question arises why  is it opposed by  intellectuals  both of the left and the right , in Kerala.

For one thing ,  Marxist parties are a force in Kerala despite   collapse of Marxist states   the world over. Most of the reigning  intellectuals of  Kerala are nurtured  in Marxist  ideology and phraseology for a very long time . The Marxist Parties of Kerala  being  rich in  cash and human resources are in a position to  patronize  the intellectuals .  In no way can  Prof . Sukumar Azhikode be categorised as a Marxist intellectual.  Yet  the professor appears more  on the  pages of Deshabhimani  than  on other  periodicals. While being camp followers  , these intellectuals  have to mouth slogans  which their patrons decide.

The other  reason is that  the Marxist  leaders  fear that any change in the status  quo   of the economy might  bring  prosperity  to the people which in turn will  erode their support base.   Marxism  feeds on poverty  and Marxists are afraid that globalization will  bring prosperity to people.

Unfortunately globalization like any  socio-  economic change  follows a ‘J’ curve of growth   viz.  decline first and  steep climb later. This gives opportunity to its critics  to  focus on the  initial decline  associated with globalization  such as cheaper imports and  loss of  traditional employment opportunities.

In modern economies, trade is the engine of growth.  However trade as an operation is beset with risks.  Due to adoption of the Soviet model of development has fallen far behind in  growth of trade. Although accounts for  one sixth of the population of the world  ’s share in global trade is only 0.65 %. The  CPM and CPI  think that  blocking globalization will  arrest the growth of  ’s foreign trade as also the country’s  over all economic growth. This they need for their survival . For, to repeat a fact again,   prosperity of the people  erodes their support as it happened in  countries in Europe   where they  had a strong presence long ago.

It is  easy to depict globalization as a  plot, a simplistic process,  in which  the rich nations take advantage of the  poor nations.  Man is driven by self-interest. Countries,  also. In  trade therefore, there   is   a hidden agenda  for reaping the maximum gain  in every deal .  The rich nations  desire to  open  up the markets of the poor nations  without doing the same thing  in return for  the poor countries.  As a result  trade become unfair for the poor countries in the  initial stage  because  the rich countries have more manipulative power in  decision making. This  misuse of  WTO  by the  developed countries  is to be expected  and the developing countries have to band together to defeat the former in their double game . The process may take  a little time till the  poor countries acquire  the requisite skills of negotiation in WTO forums.

Globalization in the global village can be compared  to the coming of age of a girl.  Her  biological destiny is fraught with  risks as well as opportunities . In globalization too the  opportunities have to  be seized and the risk minimized. The greatest risk  for fair trade  in globalization  is the rigging of the  rules of  institutions of control   - the IMF, the World Bank, and the WTO -   to  suit the interest  of the rich countries. This has to be resisted by the developing countries ( read , poor countries ) through   the strength of unity   taking  sound positions on issues  and voting together  in the WTO.


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Treat pleasure and pain , gain and loss ,victory and defeat ,prosperity and adversity ,heat and cold ,rain and sunshine , day and night and all dwandas alike. The manifested world is a network of dwandas , an endless parade of the opposites. Solve one pair another pair is born with a shrill or a silent shriek....
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