Globalization and liberalization essay

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Closely related to the emergence of nsms in the wake of the waning of the revolutionary project is the invocation of the concept of civil society for social transformation. This is highlighted by neera Chandhoke: since the late 1980s, the idea of civil society has exploded onto the political scene, to command both political vocabularies and activism as well as shape political visions. Unlike the revolutionary project, civil society promises no fundamental change in the socio-economic system and in the lives of the people. What it does do is to repose faith in the political competence and acumen of the ordinary people to shape their destinies in their own small but sure ways. It further raises the hope that the vibrancy of civil society may lead to mass mobilization on the lines of anti-colonial struggles. The concept of civil society is being widely invoked by scholars cutting across academic disciplines and activists alike to build up meaningful and effective responses to the gigantic forces of globalization and liberalization.

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It is interesting to industry note that scholars like wapner have pointed to the emergence of another form of politics, the world civic politics, being practiced by transnational environmental organizations. These organizations occupy the space outside the realm of government for organizing and carrying out efforts for environmental protection. Thus, the environmental protest movement is construed as emanating from the so-called global civil society, the level of associational life existing above the individual and below the state, but also across national frontiers. Frank, ramachandra guha and gail Omvedt are writer some of the theorists who have discussed the relevance of nsms in the context of the developing world. According to fuentes and Frank, nsms are popular social movements and expressions of peoples struggles against exploitation and oppression, and are assertions for survival by the marginalized and the deprived in a backward society with complex social structure. These movements are attempts at and instruments of democratic self-empowerment of the people, organized independently from the state, its organs and political parties, and they represent peoples quest for alternatives to the mainstream political and economic processes. Guha has argued that the nsms work at two levels simultaneously. At one level, they are defensive, seeking to protect civil society from the tentacles of the centralizing state; at the other, they are assertive, seeking to transform civil society from within and in the process advancing a conception of the good life somewhat different from. According to gail Omvedt, nsms are revolutionary in aspirations and anti-systemic in their impact; they are oriented as single issue efforts to bring about social transformation. These are social movements in the sense of having a broad overall organization, structure, and ideology aiming at social change. But since they have grown in a period in which the solutions of traditional socialism are over-whelming discredited, they are forced with the task of reinventing revolution.

Melucci, and resume Laclau and mouffe are some of the important theorists of nsms. All these theorists, in an effort to distinguish the new from the old, have focused upon fundamental shifts in the social structure the emergence of different actors, different issues and loci of action in post-industrial societies that are different from the old working class movements. These movements are social, rather than class-based, and are located in the civil society. There seems to be a consensus among most of the theorists of nsms that the emergence of new social groups, new interests and new values cutting across traditional class-based alliances pose a serious challenge to the prevailing political arrangement. The new ecological movements are construed as questioning and challenging the basic values of modern industrial society, modern technology and environmentally destructive way of life. They are also seen as advancing new conceptions of development and progress. Development is defined as development of soft and intermediate technology, and progress is understood in terms of societal, spiritual and psychological progress.

globalization and liberalization essay

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The Ogoni essay have paid a heavy price for their environmental activism; according to an estimate, over 2000 Ogoni have been killed, over 30,000 made homeless and countless other tortured, and raped. The aspect of state connivance with corporate interests in deciding environmental matters is perceptively highlighted by joshua karliner in his earlier mentioned book, the corporate Planet, his book presents a detailed analysis of how the emerging patterns of global environmental governance comprise a coalition. Environmentalism and environmental activists have generally been branded as stumbling blocks to progress and development by the state authorities in Third World countries. The response of civil society to environmentalism is in contrast to the state response to environmental protest movements. In fact, environmental protest emanates from civil society which nurtures and sustains it against state repression. Environmentalism or environmental politics needs to be understood against the backdrop of the emergence of new social movements (NSMs). And, it is important to note at the outset that the whole phenomenon of nsms is inextricably linked up with civil society activism in the wake of the waning of the revolutionary project. The feminist, the peace, the youth, the environmental/ecological and the national/ethnic movements are placed under the rubric of nsms. The working class movements waned in the west in the 1960s and the resulting vacuum started to be filled with these movements which transcended the class dichotomy and boundaries.

Thus, the environment is construed as representing a marker where popular resistance to globalization is manifest. According to mittelman: Environmental politics offers a useful entry point for assessing counter-globalization. Environmental protest may be understood as constituting an important aspect of the enterprise of developing meaningful and effective responses to the ongoing processes of globalization and liberalization. The state response to environmentalism has been one of suppression and cooptation. At times it has employed repressive methods to brutally suppress powerful environmental movements at others it has offered concessions to blunt the effectiveness of environmental protest. The state has sided with corporate interests and the rich and the powerful against the concerns and welfare of those involved in environmental protest movements. The brutal suppression of the Ogoni struggle against Shell at the hands of Nigerian authorities testifies to the general approach of the state to environmentalism. The Ogoni leader Ken Saro-wiwa was sentenced to death by the nigerian authorities in September 1995 for campaigning against ecological destruction by the multinational Shell Company; the Shell Company makes billions of dollars extracting oil in Africa, while playing havoc with the livelihoods and the. The nigerian military regime has actively collaborated with the Shell to crush the native resistance.

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globalization and liberalization essay

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Giddens, for example, sees the emergence of environmental politics as a politics mobilized by interests in self-preservation and as a politics mobilized by ideal values and moral imperatives. Ecological movements, he observes, bring us face to face with those dimensions of modernity which have been hitherto neglected. Beck has maintained that the elite is able to effectively conceal the causes as well as the consequences of hazards and risk of late industrialization; he has termed this organized irresponsibility. He has observed nature that in this context a number of new forms of protests emerge which fall outside the conventional class politics and parliamentary institutions. For Habermas, the ecology movements are a response of the life-world to its colonization. Thus, the new movements reflect problems that can only be resolved through a re-conquest of the life-world by communicative reason and by concomitant transmutations in the normative order of daily life. All these three social theorists have emphasized the necessity for democratization of state power and civil society to check environmental degradation.

Giddens suggests that in order to avoid further harm to the environment, the very logic of unchecked scientific and technological development would have to be confronted; he is of the opinion that since the most consequential ecological issues are global in nature, forms of intervention. Beck suggests that areas of decision-making affecting the environment must be made open for public scrutiny and debate; simultaneously, legal and institutional controls must be made more effective. Habermas argues for the creation and defence of a public sphere for a rational democratic discourse to take place. All these scholars have pointed to the limitations of the representative character of liberal democracy and have emphasized the necessity of making it truly participatory for attaining environmental sustainability. More recently, james. Mittelman has tried to understand environmental resistance politics in the context of globalization. Interestingly, mittelman understands the environment as political space where civil society voices its concerns.

Ulrich Beck distinguishes the modern society from the pre-modern societies as the risk society, characterized by increasing environmental degradation and environmental hazards. In an interesting analysis, neil Smith suggests that capitalism propelled by the dictates of the accumulation process attempts a qualitative transformation of nature, which is furthermore generalized at a global level. In effect, taking his cue from Smiths analysis, rohan d souza argues, the complexity of nature and its innumerable inter-linkages are broken down, dissolved and then treated as capitalist commodities. Citing Jack Kloppenburgs First the seed: The political Economy of Plant biotechnology, d souza further argues that the entire biotechnology revolution, with all its potentially dangerous ecological consequences, is essentially the projection of the image of capital into seed production. In the context of neo-liberal globalization, joshua karliners The corporate Planet and of Pratap Chatterjee and Matthias Fingers The earth Brokers deserves a mention. Karliner argues that the dominant forces driving emerging patterns of environmental governance are those associated with economic globalization.


Along with Chatterjee and Finger, he argues that the progressive opening of economies to global flows of capital and goods is driven by the interests of tncs. Interestingly, analyzing unced from this standpoint, they have tried to show how this global forum was hijacked by those who are the agents of environmental change who ought to be governed in the first place. Recently, in a similar vein, sunita narain has lamented that globalization has not been accompanied by any form of political globalization. Narain has observed that no political leader is sufficiently interested to ensure that the emerging global market or the emerging global ecological policy is managed in the best interest of the maximum number of people and on the basis of the principles of good governance. According to narain, environmental diplomacy has turned into petty business transactions built on principles of mutual benefits, disregarding their societal costs, instead of governance systems that are based on the principles of democracy, justice and equality. The growth of environmental politics has also not gone unnoticed by scholars who have highlighted the importance of environmentalism/environmental protest movements to counteract the destructive effects of the capitalist mode of production and consumption.

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However, parallel to worsening of the environmental situation, the recent decades have also seen the growth of environmental movements and of environmental politics to salvage the situation. Advertisements: In this context, two issues deserve our attention: the causes and consequences of environmental degradation, and the role environmental politics can play in checking environmental degradation. It is noteworthy that scholars have pointed to the inadequacy of the conceptual framework of classical social theory writing of Marx, weber and Durkheim to address the issues relating to environmental degradation. Anthony giddens observes that although all three authors, durkheim, marx and Weber saw the degrading consequences of industrial work upon human beings, none foresaw that the furthering of the forces of production would have large-scale destructive potential in relation to the material environment. However, in recent times, thinkers like ulrich Beck, clause Offe, jurgen Habermas and others, including Anthony giddens, have addressed themselves to the issues relating to environmental degradation and the emergence of environmental politics. Giddens, for example, has argued that capitalism combined with industrialism is responsible for the environmental crisis. Likewise, habermas sees capitalism as the primary cause of environmental degradation.

globalization and liberalization essay

The main economic decision-makers hailing from the developed countries and big mncs are hardly bothered about the social and ecological consequences of neo-liberal policies in developing countries. The free play of market forces, that neo-liberal globalization advocate will tear apart the nature in its drive to maximize profits. Progressive worsening of the environmental situation, particularly in post-war years, is a reality. The recent past has alexander seen scholars expressing grave concern about the deteriorating state of the environment. Thus, david Goldblatt has observed that contemporary forms of environmental degradation present one of the most, if not the most, complex and catastrophic dilemmas of modernity. In a similar vein, Ernst. Von weizsacker has expressed his serious apprehensions that if current trends of environmental degradation continue, the 21st century will be marked by an enormously endangered natural environment. He calls for a political intervention to salvage the future from environmental degradation; this he terms Earth Politics.

of the imf and the world Bank, and the formation of wto, yaghmaian thus argues, constitutes the fabric of the emerging regulatory mechanism. The sap and stabilization of the imf and the world Bank facilitate international accumulation by seeking national institutional restructuring in the loan-seeking countries. Yaghmaian has further argued that the usa has played a determining role in the creation of regulatory and institutional arrangements that facilitate international this context, the proceedings of the International meeting, held in Latin America during July 27 to august 3, 1996, are noteworthy. Representatives from Europe, the usa, latin America, japan and other Asian and African countries participated in the round tables at the International meeting. In the deliberations at the round tables, links were established between neo- liberalism as a discursive ideological form and as world restructuring of capital. Neo-liberal globalization is widening inequality between nations and within countries and is playing havoc with the environment, particularly of the developing world. The conditionalitys coming with the-neo-liberal model of economic growth impose serious constraints on the ability of the policy makers in developing countries to pursue independent economic and social policies, thereby rendering them vulnerable to economic crises and social unrest. Neo-liberal globalization creates serious economic, social and environmental problems.

Briefly stated, neo-liberalism is a culturally specific formula which has been projected and propagated as a moral proposition having universal validity and applicability; it essentially stands for macro-economic growth and hardly pays any good attention to the distributive aspects of economic growth, employment generation, social security. Advertisements: neo-liberal ideas have served as a political and ideological tool for the drive towards globalization. The early 1980s saw many developing countries getting into heavy debts. The mounting external debts gave ample scope for international creditors and donors to shape macroeconomic policies in loan- seeking countries. Since the early 1980s the sap and stabilization mandated by the imf and the world Bank have opened up the national economies of the loan-seeking countries. Neo-liberalism has advocated privatization, deregulation and indiscriminate opening of the market as a panacea for the afflicted economies of the Third World. The imf and the world Bank play a direct role in the drive towards globalization by assisting the donor countries within a framework that facilitates international accumulation. Behzad Yaghmaian has argued that the emerging international accumulation requires the creation of global institutions and the formation of suitable regulatory arrangements to secure the regime of international accumulation.

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Advertisements: Globalization, liberalization and Environmentalism! The last two decades have seen rapid growth in neo-liberal philosophy and economic practices all over the summary world, thereby changing the very nature of world capitalism. New capitalism or globalization seems to be the order of the day, affecting every aspect of human existence and every region of the world; it is marked by unprecedented growth in information and communication technologies, restructuring of production and distribution systems, trade liberalization, de-territorialization. It is interesting to note that neo-liberal globalization is increasingly being taken as a point of departure by scholars interested in analyzing and understanding issues falling at the intersections of economy, polity and society. Advertisements: The 1980s saw the resurgence of neo-liberalism in the usa and the uk with Ronald reagan in the usa and Margaret Thatcher in the uk advocating free play of market forces in the economy and reduction in the welfare functions of the state. Neo-liberalism is said to have appeared as an antithesis to keynesianism and socialism. The prominent neo-liberal theoreticians are Frederick von hayek, claus svamp and Milton Friedman. Allegedly, their ideological considerations involve an inaccurate reading of history that claims to demonstrate the failure of earlier development models from socialism to keynesian state-led capitalism, and by powerful ideological shifts that reify markets over governments. According to milton Friedman: Market is much more effective than the state in attaining social goals.


globalization and liberalization essay
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