Read Stephen Clarke on globalization
and Gillian Bassett on the 'global village'
My thoughts on globalization
In my view I have mixed
feelings towards globalization. On the one hand
it is a good thing because it spreads trade and
jobs to different countries throughout the world.
On the other hand it has the effect that if a product
can be produced cheaper in one country, it will
not be produced in another country. This country
will then lose the jobs.
A good example of this
is ‘sweatshop’ labour in the Far East. Workers
there work long hours for low pay but workers in
Britain won’t work as long and want more pay.
Another bad point about
globalization is that because there are so many
multinational global companies there is no space
in the market for smaller companies. In the end
due to globalization the small companies will die
It is not just the expense
of producing a product that causes job loss. Another
factor is where it is made. For example, if you
produce a product on an island then you will need
to ship the product to other countries, but if
you make this product in a country which is joined
to other countries, then you will save money on
the price of distribution. A good example of this
is the Vauxhall plant in Luton. This plant is set
to close because Vauxhall think it would be a good
idea to move this plant to Germany. Vauxhall wants
to do this because Germany is in the centre of
Europe and this would make it easier to move the
In my opinion, I think
that globalization at the moment is being handled
badly. The companies are greedy and they don’t
promote worker rights. If globalization could be
handled better then I think it would be a good
By Stephen Clarke
The myth of the global
The global village is
a concept that grew out of the explosion of electronic
information and international trade. Somehow these
two would bind us more closely as a world, affirm
our common humanity. But, when one considers that
commodities and knowledge are both sources of power,
the question of whether they are distributed fairly
becomes paramount. And the pretty, happy word "village" appears
to mask a more menacing reality.
I would argue that with
all our progress we have created, not a global
village, but a global ghetto. An international
apartheid that divides the world along racial lines.
I grew up in the world's
most famous site of apartheid: South Africa. The
mechanics of our separation, black from white,
were sustained most powerfully through the control
of information. White Africans were shielded from
any knowledge about black Africans or any interaction
with them. The press was censored and TV was a
diet of American sitcoms. Black people were nearly
invisible. Most White Africans lived a life of
happily obscene plenty. Lulled by fashion and microwaves
and videos and computers and cars there was no
need to question the society in which one lived.
And Black Africans were utterly denied an education.
This single factor, more than any other, kept apartheid
in South Africa alive. Knowledge is power. It seems
significant that Nelson Mandela is, apparently,
the most educated man alive today. He collected
countless degrees in prison. It can be no coincidence
that towards the latter years of his sentence,
the South African government banned any type of
study in jail for political prisoners.
I began my teaching
career in a school in south east London, the same
borough that houses the HQ for the National Front.
So, I was not unduly alarmed that my students looked
at me with baffled faces when I told them I was
African or that they had never heard of apartheid
did not really surprise me. However, when I arrived
in Camden, that shining beacon of Liberalism, I
was aghast that my students here wore the same
look of incomprehension in response to the word " apartheid" than
their less enlightened cousins to the south. In
our global village how can people be ignorant of
My trip to America terrified
me more. Seattle it was; not even the hillbilly
hinterland of the notoriously narrow-minded Midwest.
And many people assured me in smug, braying cries
that America was indeed the very, very best country
in the world. It was the land of opportunity, the
place where anyone's dreams could come true. Most
horrifyingly, it was the mantra even of the very
newest of immigrants,freshly escaped from the very
countries that America plunders most brutally;
flushed with their success and eager to mouth the
PR rhetoric that seemed to constitute an American
identity. The television channels are a fodder
of American sitcoms; I could find no international
documentaries or news. The press seems to regard
international news as what was happening in another
state. ( No wonder the baseball league playoffs
are called "The World Series." ) The fashion is
for colonic irrigation and organic food. Obsessed
with their own purity and perfection people seem
to believe they can live purely and perfectly,
in some hermetically sealed bubble, mindless of
the squalor and disease and tragic,ugly poverty
that lies beyond their borders; whose deprivation
sustains their obscene plenty. As if the rest of
the world was just some bottomless pit that could
be plundered infinitely so that America could be
Bigger and Better and all Americans could have
their Dream come true..
I was paralysed and
speechless in the face of such gross ignorance.
What good is freedom of speech in a country of
elective stupidity? Relentless interrogation of
one's society is the requisite for sentience; the
quality that apparently differentiates humans from
insects. Instead, we trade a consumer wet dream
in exchange for information; surplus for stupidity.
Trading our common humanity for personal plenty.
What a trade-off. These are our global ghettos.
This is an international apartheid sustained by
wilful international ignorance. We are trading
our power as citizens for a role as passive consumers.
Even Tony Blair speaks of policy being directed
by "market forces." The Multi-nationals have more
power than most world governments. And the most
basic element of the capitalist model is inequity.
Inequality. Unfair trade.
Implicitly, we are saying
that we are happy to exist in a world where everyday
life is underlined by a quietly percolating truth
that our economy is maintained by the suffering
and pain and hunger and desperate, inhuman degredation
of more than half of the world. Democracy is not
a by-product of capitalism.
In Africa, there was
an urban myth afoot in the global village that
Western Governments had paid African countries
to take the toxic waste that they could not dispose
of. Trading in death. Trading in who dies and who
doesn't. The World Bank ensures that Africa will
never heal from the hideous ravages of colonisation
and slavery by keeping it in ransom to ludicrous
debt. South Africa currently has the highest crime
rate in the world. This is the legacy of apartheid.
Dead Pres, a hip-hop group, tell us that we need
a police force because we live in a world of haves
and have-nots. The legal system of the western
world is built around the protection of private
property. Not the protection of equality or dignity
Unfair trade is the
natural symptom of racism and xenophobia; the logical
outcome of viewing half the world as an expendable
resource to fuel the onward boot march of technological
advancement.The Industrial Revolution was sustained
utterly on the back of a ruthless colonisation
that provided almost costless raw materials to
maintain the economic transformation in Europe.
Still there are jaw-droppingly ahistorical opinions
that proclaim that, "The ravages in Africa are
the fault of the Africans." A stagering ignorance
or denial of the historical reality of centuaries
of slavery, colonisation, imperialism, explicit
policies of economic underdevolopment and, in its
final incarnation: unfair trade. What use is technological
progress if we cannot evolve in terms of our basic
humanity? Cuba has spent decades under the stranglehold
of American trade blockades, yet it trains doctors
from South America and Africa to the most exacting
medical standards for free. Our universities demand
hideous foreign student fees.
An American doctor working
in Haiti says, " Liberals think problems can be
fixed without cost to themselves. But there's a
lot to be said for sacrifice. It's what separates
us from roaches.we live in a time of great ease
and bounty. I have complete access to it all. But
at the same time, I have had the world revealed
to me as it really is. It isn't a different world-
it's the same world."
by Gillian Bassett