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Double Face of Globalisation Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by chidiebere arinzechukwu, Nigeria Oct 8, 2004
Citizen Journalism , Poverty , Health   Opinions
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Globalization is the great economic event of our era, its now bringing unprecedented opportunities to billions of people throughout the world. Globalization is the term some use to describe the growing worldwide interdependence of people and countries. This process has accelerated dramatically in the past decade or so, largely because of huge advances in technology. During this time the divisive blocs of the cold war have virtually disappeared, trade barriers have come down, the worlds major financial markets have been integrating and travel has been cheaper and easier. Globalization has enriched the world scientifically and culturally and benefited many people economically as well, offers enormous potential to eradicate poverty in the 21st century. The reason for this optimism is the dramatic increase in prosperity that globalization has brought in its wake. The average family in the world today has three times more income than it did 50 yrs ago. Some analysts see another advantage to economic integration. They feel it will make countries more reluctant to go to war. Globalization increases the incentives for not making war and it increases the cost of going to war in more ways than in any previous era in modern history?
More interaction among people also has the potential for improving global solidarity. Some human rights organizations have been able to tap the resources of the internet to promote their causes effectively. The 1997 International treaty outlawing land mines, for example, was achieved in part by using electronic mail to mobilize diverse support groups throughout the world. Most people in the world now have access to a television, even if they don’t own one. By 1995, there were 235 TV sets for every 1000 people world wide, almost double the number in 1980. Today, no country can ever truly cut itself off from the global media. Some 300,000 new users get connected to the internet every week. In 1999, it was estimated that 700 million people were expected to come on line by the year 2001. Fiber-optic cables and satellite networks have slashed telephone costs. The cost of a three minutes call from New York to London fell from $245 in 1930 to $.35 cents in 1999. Wireless networks have made the mobile phone as commonplace as the computer. By the end of the year 2002, there will be an estimated one billion people using mobile phones, and many of these users will be able to use their phones to access the internet. We, the people of the earth, are one large family. The new epoch offers new challenges and new global problems, such as environmental catastrophes, exhaustion of resources, bloody conflicts and poverty. In December 1999, a meeting of the world trade organization held in Seattle, USA was interrupted by a riot. Police used tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray to restore order. Finally they arrested hundreds of people.
A whole litany of concerns about job security, the environmental and social injustice. Their fears have not abated. Since 1999, anti-globalizations demonstrations have escalated in size and intensity, probably the greatest concern about globalization is the way it has widened the gulf between the haves and the have-nots. While global wealth has undoubtedly increased, it has become concentrated in fewer hands and fewer countries. The net worth of the 200 richest people on earth now exceeds the combined income of 40% of the people who live on the planet-some 2.4 billion people. And while wages continue to rise in wealthy countries, 80% impoverished countries have actually seen a decline in average income over the past ten years. The globalization of money markets has introduced another destabilizing factor. International investors may sink huge sums of money into developing countries but later withdraw their sums suddenly when the economic out look worsens. Such massive withdrawals can plunge one country after another into economic crisis. The monetary crisis in East Asia during 1998 caused 13 million people to loose their jobs. In Indonesia, even those workers who kept their jobs saw their real wages cut in half. The distribution of global wealth has never been fair, but economic globalization has widened the chasm between the rich and the poor. Experts claim that during the past ten years, the number of people below the poverty level in India has gone down from 39% to 26% and that Asia as a whole has seen a similar improvement. In sub Saharan Africa and some other less developed regions, income has actually decreased in the past 30 years. The International community allows nearly 3 billion people almost half of all humanity to subsist on $2 or less a day in a world of unprecedented wealth. Not long ago the fortune of the richest man in the United States surpassed the combined net worth of more than 100 million of his fellow Americans. In 1998, for example, just ten companies controlled 86%of the $262 billion telecommunication business but human rights and labour rights are not a priority on their agenda. Unfortunately, tools of trade and commerce can easily be converted into tools of crime. Drug cartels have found a host of new opportunities to launder their billion-dollar profits. The elimination of many customs controls and the increasing movement of people also make it much easier for the cartels to transport illegal drugs from one country or continent to another. Crime syndicates have global operation and between them they gross an estimated $1.5 trillion a year- more than the gross national product of France. The internet too has proved to be an ideal tool for dishonest computer specialists. In 1995 one hacker stole information said to be worth $1 million as well as 20,000 private credit card numbers. Stealing through the use of new technology is less risky and more profitable. Terrorists also use the tools of globalization. Terrorists also make use of internet to promote suicide bombings and bioterrorism. Thanks to global news coverage, the kidnapping of a few western tourists in a remote corner of the planet can serve to give instant publicity to practically any political grievance. It is without controversy to know that globalization has done more bad than good.

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