What kind of Globalisation do we want?
What is wrong with Globalisation?
- Terrible inequality and Unjust Distribution of Wealth In 2013, less than 1% of the world’s richest population alone owned more than 41 % of the global wealth! On the other hand, more than 68% of the poorest population lives on a meagre 3% of the global assets.
- Iron Hand of Power in Velvet Glove of Development Who wields the power? The post-cold war globalization we have now is in a uni-polar world. The US, through the WTO, the World Bank and their trade agreements etc., is in a position to dictate terms to the rest of the world. While people and ‘developing’ nations are enamoured of the same western model of development, subtly and gradually, it is the poorer people who suffer. For example, when farm subsidies are allowed in the US but not in India, imported wheat, corn etc. keep the prices of crops artificially low in India and that is one of the reasons about 3 lakh Indian farmers have committed suicide in the last 2 decades. Globalisation has also turned people into “markets” for non-essential products and their wealth in the form of land and natural resources are taken over.
- Globalized Economy Fosters Corporate Greed Neo-Liberal Globalisation, launched in 1990, was meant to bring down national barriers to trade, and open up markets so that everyone, the rich as well as the poor will benefit. The reality after 23 years is that the biggest beneficiaries have been the huge multinational corporations across the world. The top 500 multinational corporations account for nearly 70% of the world-wide trade. 51 of the 100 largest economies in the world are corporations. Meanwhile the numbers of people living on less than $2 a day has risen by almost 50% since 1980, to 2.8 billion - over 40% of the world’s population.
- Suicidal Increase of Carbon Emissions While the short term focus of globalisation is more profits for the corporations and growth of GDP for countries, the long term sustainability is feebly dealt with. In the process, along with a faster rate of development in developing countries and only limited decrease of carbon emissions by the developed countries, world carbon emissions have increased from about 350 ppm in 1990 to 395 ppm in 2013. (350 ppm is the acceptable limit for carbon emissions, beyond which climate change effects is expected to be more pronounced). The growth in emissions from fossil fuels increased from 1.3% per year for 1990-1999 to 3.3%peryear during the period running 2000 to 2006.
- Faster destruction of Eco systems / Forests Without healthy, thriving forests, planet Earth cannot sustain life. As much as eighty per cent of the world’s forests have been degraded or destroyed. 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions are the result of deforestation. Globalisation is responsible for the faster destruction of species and ecosystems through accelerated increase in infrastructure - buildings, roads, mining, dams and nuclear power stations etc. It has also speeded up urban conglomerations which are highly unsustainable. Sadly, a huge number of plant and animal species have already becom extinct and about 25% of biodiversity on the planet is expected to disappear by the end of the century.
- Monopolization of Agriculture, Food and Health Systems With the spread of patented hybrid and GM varieties, monoculture and industrial farming in developing countries, the control of seeds is passing into fewer and fewer hands. In India Monsanto and 2 other MNCs control 53% of seed sales. In the US alone, more than 80% corn and 90% soybeans is attributed to Monsanto - Is control of global food systems the next colonization? Also, modern medical system is highly monopolized with the help of patents. High capital businesses are all under oligarchies
- Destruction of Social Systems / Communities Globalised capitalism is presented as an entirely positive and natural as well as an inevitable growth phenomenon. The negative fall-outs of large scale capitalism are complex and often not obvious. The average person enjoying some of the goodies produced by the system is not able to connect the dots and realise that globalisation is at the root of not only widening economic inequality, but also the suffering of billions around the world who have lost their land, their homes and often their livelihoods. It may be argued that many find new jobs and purchasing power. However, the biggest malaise of this century, it is predicted, will be a sense of alienation. Modern globalisation is not able to compensate for the break-up of families and social systems and the resultant loss of community. It is definitely an economics of unhappiness.