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Manifold risks, vulnerability and failures in globalization process: Empowering local organization to engage and benefit in the process Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Samo, Germany Sep 11, 2007
Globalization   Opinions
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Globalization presents quite a significant numbers of opportunities for developing countries; at the same time it exposes the countries to greater risks as a consequence of the process. The risks take different forms such as economic, socio-cultural and political. The question that usually follows is; who are the vulnerable? I mean who are those prone to the risks posed by the globalization process. Since the process is benefiting different categories of people than others, and in fact different countries than others. In my view, the vulnerable are those people and/or country that have very limited capacity to manage the unfolding risks imposed by the process. Most of the vulnerable are found in developing countries, especially Africa.

Sustainable Livelihood Literature, inspired by the works of the Nobel laureate Amartya Sen clarified the economic approach of vulnerability as “the likelihood of loss of well being due to a combination of risks…”, following Mike Davis term of “semi-proletarianization”. The resultant effect of rapid economic integration of great subsistence peasantries of Africa into the world market was the creation of surplus population lacking existential means of survival. This had greatly increase inequality in the global economy, depicting a major failure of the process. Therefore this seemingly intractable and continuous gap between the rich countries and the countries of the “south” had generated a lot of scholarly debates.

For our purpose here, the article would attempt a way of empowering the local organization to engage in the process of globalization in order to minimize the socio-economic vulnerability of the “locals”. In other word, it would identify the means by which Sub Saharan African countries can benefit in the global economy. This would be access against the backdrops of the risk people of this region are prone to in the process and how local organization can be empower to reduce the vulnerability. Can the vulnerable in Sub Africa be made to benefit in the process rather than been at the receiving end? Are there organizational capacities to engage favorably in the globalization process? How should local firms and/or organization compete favorably in the continuously expanding global markets? Can the state of the region be pro-active rather been passive in the global arena? These are some of the major issues that this essay would attempt to critically examine.

The risks associated with the process emanates as social and economic space of countries continue to transcend their boarders. On this basics, the rich country of the “north” are able to cut-across their economic and social-cultural space. This makes poor/developing countries to be susceptible to the economic, social and cultural myth of the west. Competition became the order, and local organization cannot meet-up with efficiency and effectiveness of foreign firms due to capital and technology superiority. Therefore, widespread job-cuts became common; and ranks sizing and downsizing became a popular term among local organizations.

This follows that the process of globalization exposes developing countries to likely economic recessions. It in turn leads to increased social and economic inequalities in the distribution of wealth. Critics of the process had described it as leading to an explosive growth in inequality. Mike David made reference to the IMF/World Bank Structural Adjustment Programme (which is associated with globalization) as primarily responsible for “increase in urban poverty, increase exclusion and inequality and weakling urban elite… ” Jan Aart Scholte refers to it as the “the pain of global restructuring”. Importantly, the process is bringing in a new way of division of labour; the debt of work redefine and its consequential mass production with resultant effect of structural unemployment in Africa. What comes to mind here is if Sub Saharan countries have the substantial capacities to govern global economy in order to minimize the risks it posed. In actual fact, globalization process moves beyond the global economic integration and has taking world politics from the state-centric, sovereignty based model of governance to a more multilayered system. The implication of this to Sub Saharan African countries was that they are gradually loosing the control of territorial and economy space. In other word, they have been reduced to mere regulatory bodies for sustenance of the process.

In the light of the implication of the risk posed by globalization process, large numbers of people are insecure. Ulrich Beck argued that globalization could be seen as modernization of modernization that replaces industrial society with a risk society riven by insecurities. As stated earlier, the vulnerable are the insecure and in most cases are not benefiting from the process. The informal sector of the economy is always the most venerable. And considering the fact that large number of people still survive through the informal sector of the economy in this region implies that the process would have considerable effect both positive and negative on the people. In consequence, the process has tended to reduce their standard of living of large number of people from this region. In the case of corporate organization, local manufacturing firms are producing below capacity in the face of competition. The former World Bank director, Joseph Stiglitz had once stated that the unfair trade liberalization has forced many poor countries to compete with highly developed and industrialize American and European countries. From the foregoing therefore, this write-up would delve into analyzing some specific and cogent ways for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to engage effectively in the process. Essentially, the analysis would be narrow down to policies adjustment by which Sub-Saharan countries and local organizations need to concentrate upon in order to benefit in the contemporary order.

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