Introduction Two articles concerning globalisation will be discussed in this comparative essay
Two articles concerning globalisation will be discussed in this comparative essay. Common themes and differences will be examined. The current context will be discussed in relation to the central arguments of both texts as well as the gender differentiated impacts of globalisation as they pertain to the articles.
Central Arguments and Underlying Frameworks
Shamali Guttal (2007) suggests that globalisation has many definitions, describing it as a process. The descriptive article discusses globalisation as a range of economic, social, cultural and political changes that have far reaching powers and effects. Guttal, 2007 p523 declares that “globalisation is a form of capitalist expansion” . Yet it is also a political process “it also needs the firm hands of states” (Guttal, 2007 p523). This appears to be one of the central arguments of the text. Two opposing sides are presented the proponents and the critics of globalisation. The author remains adamant of the political dimension to globalisation and illustrates this repeatedly when the “companion” of globalisation is named as liberal democracy and neo liberalism. A social approach is taken, highlighting the negative realities of globalisation “has fractured working classes and marginalised the poor”. The writer concludes that globalisation has failed to meet its claims of prosperity for everyone “globalisation has not delivered on its promises”.(Guttal,2007 p530)
The complex relationship that exists between globalisation and development is examined by the author. She illustrates repeatedly how the proposed benefits within it can contradict the global reality for people. There is widespread evidence of this in the literature regarding globalisation. Joseph Stiglitz,2015 proposes that globalisation has not brought economic benefits to people in the developing world. It is acknowledged that the rate of poverty in the global south has increased by 100 million while worldwide income has increased at 2.5 percent every year. (World Bank, 2000)
Branko Milnovics 2003 paper in comparison to Guttals discussion, focuses on different views of globalisation “the Two Faces of Globalisation”. There are however many resemblances in Guttal and Milanovics texts. Both confer with the views of the proponents and critics of globalisation. However Milanovics text presents a dominant and critical side “benign vs malignant”. He discusses the “globalisation cheerleaders” who propose globalisation as leading to “economic bliss” for everyone. (Milanovic, 2003 p 668) In contrast to Guttals, the central argument here is that there is an ignorance to the malignant side of globalisation. There is a “methodological misreading of the 19th century economic history”.(Milanovic, 2003 p 668) Milanovic focuses more on history than Guttal does, there is deeper discussion of colonialism “Colonialism, pillage and slavery were no less part of globalisation than the voluntary movement of Irish peasants to the United States..” (Milanovic, 2003 p670). Milanovic argues from an economists voice, he uses figures to dispute the “theory of convergence”. (Lindert and Williamson, 2001) He examines the Gini coefficient of gross domestic products to argue it was actually income divergence predominately in periods of globalisation “so basically, it is divergence all around..” (Milanovic,2003 p672) He concludes like Guttal that globalisation as we know it is not satisfactory for everybody and alternatives need to be sought “something is clearly wrong” (Milanovic, 2003 p 679) The articles are similar in that they both fundamentally agree that globalisation is flawed. However they outline their arguments in differently, through examining the political ties and social sphere (Guttal, 2007) and contrastingly, economically through the interpretation of figures and the historical lens.
Changes and the Current Context
Globalisation has become a major talking point .(Stiglitz, 2015) Guttal discusses how closely neo liberal political policies, deregulation of the market, shrinking of state control and accumulation of captial are all linked. She refers to the 1980s and the emergence of “Thatcherism and “Reganism” and the Washington Consensus in 1989.(Guttal 2007) It is argued that this led to private sector support thus corporations increased their economic power; “by the mid-1990s 51 of the worlds top 100 economic entities were transnational companies” (Guttal 2007, p525).
Guttal and Milanovic review the role of institutions essential to the process of globalisation. Milanovic 2003 on p 679 refers to the “moderators” such as the World Bank and the IMF. Both Guttal and Milanovic discuss the “disastrous” results brought by the structural adjustment programs (SAPs). However Guttal 2007 elaborates; SAPs are designed to “streamline” government spending in areas like health and education. Ultimately impelling globalisation in developing countries, breaking down barriers to trade and investment thereby increasing economic growth. Unfortunately as both Guttal and Milanovic argue they created further poverty and enshrined inequalities. Improper models of economic reform led to major financial crisis’s such as those seen in the bailouts of the 1980s and in Asia during the 1990s. (Stilgitz, 2015) The economic crisis of 2008 which originated in the US but spread globally supports the arguments in both texts. Austerity programs since 2008 are very similar to the SAPs of the past. (Beneria et al, 2016) It would seem that its history repeating itself, supporting the argument in both articles.
In both pieces China is an example of a nation that did not follow the general economic advice of globalisation and is fast becoming the greatest challenge to US dominance of the economy. (Walden,2006) China built their economy while maintaining high tariff rates throughout the 1980s/ 90s, rates twice as high as those in developing countries. (World Bank, 2002) The election of American President Donald Trump in 2016 and his promise to renegotiate trade agreements imposing trade restrictions, will on one hand strengthen the arguments while on the other contradict the arguments made in both texts. Historically, the US spearheaded globalisation with the creation of the World Trade Organisation in 1995 and multiple trade agreements including NAFTA. However Trump is now advancing a major change in how the economy works. (Stiglitz,2018) This supports the arguments in the articles, there needs to be change.
Its proposed that trade agreements actually help people in the global south and women in particular by including anti discriminatory clauses that promote economic benefits to a country once they adhere to minimum practice standards. (World Development Report 2012) Neymayer and Desoya 2007 found that trade openness is linked with better economic rights for women. Therefore this may contradict the arguments that globalisation does not work. However as WDR 2012 highlights the impact of trade liberalisation varies across countries. Likewise, Brexit holds precedent for other countries to perhaps reform their political, legal and economic arrangements. No matter what the outcome there will be impacts on globalisation as we know it. (Blockmans,2016)
Gender differentiated impacts
Overall both articles have failed to consider the gender differentiated impacts. The Keynesian policies of the 1940s-1960s considered women to be dependants on the wage earning males. (Elson and Cagatay,2000) In the 1970s attitudes changed, partly enabled by Ester Boserups book “Women’s Role in Economic Development”. The role of women’s productive work in developing countries was highlighted. Both articles in discuss the negatives of globalisation and how it has not delivered on its promises. Feminisation of labour was not discussed in either text. Policies have put pressure on women especially in developing countries to seek employment often being informal or in export orientated production. Women are on the lower rungs of global commodity chains due to lower wages and short tenures. (Beneria et al, 2016). Women in formal and informal work still shoulder an unequal division of work in the home, making it more difficult to balance both.(Pearson and Kuskabe,2012)
However as Milanovic 2003 surmised globalisation is a multi-faceted process and can be seen many different ways depending on culture and socio-economic status. Arguments can be made for globalisation that can contradict both the articles discussed in this comparative. Fontana, 2009 found that for export workers in Bangladesh, working gave them more power in decision making in the home. Also some women felt the wages they were paid were better than alternatives even when the pay was low and the work unstable. (Kabeer, 2004)
There is increased awareness of the interconnectors of the global economy, creating demand for acceptable labour standards. (Sweetman and Pearson, 2012) Many corporations are actively engaging with codes of conduct due to growing consumer awareness of acceptable working conditions. In Indonesia between 2009-2011 factories, unions and international brands worked together to ensure the rights of workers (Sweetman and Pearson, 2012). The campaign for women’s rights to be seen as human rights led to UN adoption of the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW) in 1979. Furthermore gender related issues were tackled in Development Theories for Women in a New Era (DAWN), the ILOs Decent Work Agenda and the Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work along with recognising the importance of trade unions. These measures have all helped in establishing better working conditions for women. (Beneria et al, 2016) The argument that “third world women” cannot be defined as one homogenous group, there are variations within culture, ethnicity and reasoning must be remembered.(Kabeer,2004) The two texts do not acknowledge this.
Capacity development and cooperatives have helped women remain visible along the global value chain. (Sweetman and Pearson,2012) Training specifically tailored to suit the needs of particular groups of women along with microfinance works well for some women.(Buivnic and Furst Nichols,2016) The impact of gender differentiated issues on the central arguments of the texts are significant. On the one hand the inequalities that exist for women in the workforce are promoted by globalisation supporting the arguments. Contrastingly there are arguments as outlined above that globalisation has provided opportunities to some women especially in the Global South.
The two texts both have similar central arguments in that they explore globalisation through its proponents and its critics. Guttal links globalisation as a political process. Milanovic examines it through an economists perspective. Ultimately they both claim that globalisation as we know it has not lived up to its promises albeit in different ways. Some issues relevant to the 2018 context are discussed in this essay as well as gender differentiated impacts.