Globalization: Ten Years Later

Author Contends Globalization Has Mixed Results Over Last Decade
The Oxford University’s blog, OUBlog, features an interview with Manfred Steger, author of Globalization: A Very Short Introduction, how globalization has changed in the last decade and where it is going in the next five years.

Steger believes market-based globalization in the long-term will benefit all, but the last decade the beneficiaries largely have been the wealthy.

“But a recent major study undertaken by Branko Milanovic, the leading economist at the World Bank, shows that the bottom 5% of the world population have not benefitted at all in more than 2 decades of market-led globalization. Of course, there have also been improvements in global South countries like China and India, but the economic benefits have disproportionately gone to those at top income bracket. I think it is important to develop more ethical forms of globalization aimed at reducing the growing inequality gap within and among nations,” he says, and adds that there has been an environmentalist cost to globalization as well.

“The problem is not just global warming, but various forms of transboundary pollution (such as the staggering amount of trash and plastics that find their way into our planet’s soil and oceans) and the rapid decline of biodiversity. And if we don’t switch from fossil fuels to alternative forms of clean energy any time soon, we will reach our ecological point of no return.”

Does Democracy Prevent A Maximum Form Of Globalization?
Dani Rodrik, a professor at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton University, contends that democracy has partly limited the full realization of globalization. He argues that different societies have different needs and preferences in terms of how they structure the institutions governing financial markets and that in itself prevents a pure form of globalization.

But, he says, a pursuit of democracy should always preempt maximum globalization.

“Maximum globalization would get us to one particular point on the global efficiency frontier. The trouble is that other societies may prefer different efficient points. Moreover, societies have other goals besides efficiency that may well require that they select a point inside the efficiency frontier. Ultimately, markets need to be embedded in institutions of collective deliberation and social choice for making such tradeoffs. For good or ill, democracy is the only institution that we have for this. Weakening democracy in the quest for deeper globalization is one of the worst bargains we could strike,” he writes.

In One Chart: Why Capitalism Is Better Than Socialism
American Enterprise Institute scholar Mark Perry features a graph on his blog that illustrates “one of the most remarkable achievements in human history – the 80 per cent reduction in world poverty in only 36 years, from 26.8 per cent of the world’s population living on $1 or less (in 1987 dollars) in 1970 to only 5.4 per cent in 2006.”

Four Flashpoints To Watch In 2014
Not surprisingly, North Korea made Harry Kazianis’ list of four flashpoints to watch in 2014.

 

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