‘Globalization is intrinsically undemocratic because of the processes of decision-making on social and economic policy issues no longer lie within the control of national governments but with the goodwill of transitional organizations’
The term globalization has been broadly used since early 1990s though it has gradually developed since World War (II). Although there various ways of defining globalization, the concept can simply be described as process through which countries, individuals and people are increasingly getting linked and interdependent through amplified exchange of information (communication) and economic integration, travel and diffusion of culture (particularly Western culture) (Brahm, 2005).This essay will give a detailed overview of controversy surrounding how globalization has resulted to undemocratic actions among nations in respect to important social and economic policies’ decision-making process. The essay will do this by discussing how various kinds of globalization impact on decisions made by various countries other than looking at the role of transitional organizations in formulation of key social and political policies.
Due to the increased interconnectedness between several global aspects, it is believed that the role of individual government to make their own decisions is being overtaken by various influential international organizations and global economic leaders (Labonte & Torgerson, 2005). Accordingly globalization is basically undemocratic due to the fact that decision making on economic policy and social issues is no longer in the hands of national authorities but rests within the benevolence of transitional organizations.
Morgan (1992) defines democracy as a form of rule where absolute power vested among people and practiced by them either indirectly or directly via a structure of representation that normally entails free elections, periodically. In other words, a democratic society is such that there is respect and social equality among individuals in a community. Morgan (1992) asserts that on the other hand, undemocratic society is that one which does not conform to democratic ideals and principles or social equity. It entails the process of decision making process left in the hand of few influential figures.
Brahm (2005) asserts that the process of globalization is largely seen as involving four kinds of change. First of all, globalization entails stretching of economic, social and political undertakings across regions, continents and frontiers. Secondly, the process is evident by the intensification of flows and interconnectedness of investment, migration, finance, culture among others. The third aspect is hastening global processes and interactions. Lastly the mounting velocity, extensity and intensity of global interactions may be linked to the intensifying impact so that distant events’ effects can be highly significant at some other place hence bringing about substantial global consequences. Consequently, the borders between domestic affairs and global matters become progressively more fluid. This is one of the major reasons that have made the process undemocratic, contrary to the expectations of many.
There are many individuals rejecting the opinion that the world has entered an essentially new era. They include environmental groups, labor unions and economic nationalists who persistently warn that some elements of globalization such as free market might send more job overseas than it generates domestically (Tonelson, 2003). However there are still many who still feel that globalization is a genuine streamlining of social organization. This is because they site proof that human activity is now intercontinental or interregional in scale. Even though globalization process is historically rooted and long it is not teleological and not devoid of fits starts. This implies that globalization is not a natural phenomena and it is an ongoing course (Brahm, 2005). In other words, globalization is an extremely complicated interface of forces resulting to order and chaos, mutual aid and disagreement, and integration and breakdown.
There are several globalization aspects that affect decision making within individual countries to a very large extent. The aspects include: culture, politics, immigration, global trade, the role played by multinational organizations through corporate social responsibility, among others (Jones, 2010).
There are several types of globalization including, economic, socio-cultural and political globalization. All this forms greatly affects how countries make their own decisions, augmented by transnational organizations the process of globalization has greatly become undemocratic. Economic globalization has ensured intensification of capital flows and global trade like never before. However, present global economic drifts indicate that financial and economic integration has progressed only in a restricted manner. Economic flows continue to be concerted among the richest nations; North America, East Asia and Europe (Brahm, 2005).
As opposed to the belief that free global capital will bring homogenization, there is persistence in significant differences within compositions of economic life. This is even witnessed through multinational corporations, which are seen as major globalization agents, staying tied in important ways to their mother countries (Morales-Gómez, 2009). They have to base their development activities in their countries of operations on the wishes of their motherland. Global economy has been seen by critics as exploitation within itself as it gives more power to rich countries while neglecting the poor states. The rich determine what to purchase and their proffered costs, depriving of the poor nations’ rights to exercise their freedom of buying and selling willingly.
According to Labonte & Torgerson (2005), the political authority is also one aspect of globalization that has led to undemocratic events and misplaced decision making. One significant debate revolves around whether the nation-state remains out of date as the best political organization’s form. Social and economic processes persistently cross borders resulting to increasing hardships for nations to control their territories, a core element of sovereignty. Regarding many current matters, the nation-state has lost its identity as the most suitable decision making level. Conflicts have surfaced concerning how to create international organizations extra accountable and democratic due to this fact of structures of governance being instituted at the global scale to handle intensifying number of global tribulations.
Global governance has made it clear to many individuals that there is a transfer of real authority from sovereign states to non-state sectors and international organizations. This has generated questions as to how best they transformed to be more accountable democratically. Intergovernmental organizations have turned to be progressively more significant locations where there is contention concerning economic globalization. Additionally, there is uneven but growing effect on international organizations and nation-state from civil society groups. Non-governmental organizations maintain that they have a bigger say to monitor domination of the global north, corporate greed and national-self interest they identify to dictate most international organizations’ decision making. Talking of a civil society that is global also hides important distinctions among groups as to whether they are from the global North or South (Morales-Gómez, 2009).
Considering the close relationship between technological innovation and globalization, research has attempted to illustrate how new and state-of-the art technologies will influence views of citizenship and democracy. Looking at on the surface, there is an impression that technologies will enable bigger availability of information letting the subjugated to rise up in opposition to authoritarian governments other than enabling the disadvantaged take part more equally in highly developed industrial democracies (Brahm, 2005). Contrary to this, right of entry to digital information is highly uneven even in the global North. Furthermore, using technology may bring about the risk demolishing social capital, seen by many as an important element of democracy. Proponents argue that democracy needs shared experiences and as we more and more get atomized by the internet, this will end. Actually the media’s proliferation and the internet, throttles debate through enhancing the way we customize the received information to suit our interests hence easily allowing us to reject views opposing ours (reference needed?).
Cultural globalization on the other hand has been enhanced through communication technologies and global media. Currently, virtually every individual on the globe is open to the elements to foreign practices and ideas. There are arguments that this is making individuals loose their national identities. Scores of people view cultural globalization as Americanization or Westernization. A significant distinction relating to current cultural globalization is its being greatly driven not by nations but by corporations (Labonte & Torgerson, 2009). Due to this, one of the core fears is the broadening of consumer culture. Cultural globalization entails unequal power’s processes that questions identities and traditions (Morales-Gómez, 2009).In cases of religious and ethnic groups feeling in danger due to globalization, a conflict may occur. It is surprising how this dissatisfaction has achieved renewed awareness as some look at modernity and globalization as a drive for Septembers 11 attacks. This is due to the perception that cultural variations greatly oppose change and heightened interaction results to conflict. Since then, Islamic fundamentalism has gained growing attention. Others view the conflict as long historical outcome of Christian and Muslim civilization.
Migration as an important aspect of migration has not only resulted to cultural and social effects but also economic effects. Transportation and communication technologies give migrants bigger chances to sustain links with their native lands. Highly open borders generate questions concerning identity‘s and citizenship’s notions. This has also increased the act of important national policies being handled by foreigners.
According to Deepak (2002), It is so obvious that transnational corporation, supra-national organization such as the United Nations, global entities such as the World Bank and international monetary fund and global civil society such as NGOs and civil rights movement greatly affect how individual states carry out there affairs. Transnational corporations have been criticized in harboring various globalization processes in almost all third world countries (Jackie, 2002).
According to Jackie (2002), as the transnational corporations are becoming more and more advance and multinational, they continue to influence and own more media organizations such that the decisions they came up with on the issue of globalization are not publicly discussed. In this time of globalization, it is very important that people are able to obtain information without any kind of resistance so as to obtain the required knowledge. It is very saddening that marginalized communities are unable to understand the motives of these multinational corporations and that of the various corporate which are led through globalizations. The fact that individuals are denied information is enough to declare that the corporations are undemocratic.
The constant efforts by the transnational corporation to expand their activities at a very high rate call for an alarming call. This is due to the fact that their expansions mean that there will be low cost in production and flexibility of the developing countries therefore inhibiting the growth cause by globalization (Jackie 2002). This poses threat to developing countries since they greatly rely on globalization in the growth of their economy and in ensuring that the people living in this country enjoy a life free from poverty.
Other than transnational corporation, the united nation agency which is an example of a supra-national organization has been in the forefront of making decisions regarding to globalization. United Nations agencies are well known for being part of challenges being faced by various government and other national legislatures. The fact that they are greatly engage in interests brought by globalization for developed countries to solve their own problems.
Jackie (2002) describe that The European Union came up with the idea of eliminating export of agricultural produce. The international trade movement union welcomed the idea without having a clear understanding the impact which could be brought out by the implementation such an idea. The elimination of agricultural produces indicate that famers will not sale their products to other nations, this is very bad since there will be surplus of production in the nation causing food to rot in the stores which instead could have been sold to other nations .It is the duty of the united nation agencies to ensure that a fair globalization is practiced by all nations regardless of the size and strength of various nations (Jackie 2002).
According to Jackie (2002), Marginalized people suffer from decision such as trade increase due to the fact that government of different nation reduce the number of workers, due to machines being produced that are known to perform more quantity and sometimes quality work compared to human beings, for example the use of computers has made work easier and more efficient (Deepak, 2002). This is very saddening since most of workers are found in trade industries; these workers will not be able to provide basic necessities to their families therefore, greater increase in the level of poverty (Deepak 2002). World trade organization (WTO) should be responsible in ensuring that its workers are protected other than making above decisions which will be offensive to the same workers. Globalization has made organizations such as WTO to formulate decision which will ensure that cheap labor is achieved other than ensuring that conditions of the people they are governing are improved through the provision of resources that arise due to the positive impacts of globalization.