Globalization & Development
Globalization results from the removal of barriers between national economies to encourage the flow of goods, services, capital, and labor. While the lowering or removal of tariffs and quotas (see General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs, or GATT) that restrict free and open trade among nations has helped globalize the world economy, transportation and communication technologies have had the strongest impact on accelerating the pace of globalization (Investinganswers/online). Globalization strengthens linkages and interconnections and brings to the fore the notion of the “global village”, eliminating or reducing the constraints imposed by time and geographical space such that actions in one part of the world affect people in other parts.
I will look at the important issues and dimensions of the global economy that impact, both directly and indirectly, on developing countries, at the national, regional, and community levels. This will focus on my understandings of this issues as facilitated in a learning environment, and what new concepts I learned, what captured my heart, emotions and attitudes and what actions I take from the change.
Globalization and Culture
Refers to the transmission of ideas, meanings, and values around the world in such a way as to extend and intensify social relations. This process is marked by the common consumption of cultures that have been diffused by the Internet, popular culture media, and international travel (Wikipedia).
In Kenya this has had great impact on our food, clothing, beliefs, religion, politics and even trade. We now prefer ‘fast food’ to our local organic foods like cassava, yams and traditional vegetables, and if we have to eat them they have to be transformed into fancy dishy names. Our dressing and style of dressing has transformed and we are more inclined to TV and internet fashions. Our attitudes towards our indigenous knowledge, food, clothing and ways of knowing have been invaded by new, more ‘exposed’ kind of thinking, knowing and doing.
Globalization and Society
A society, or a human society, is a group of people involved with each other through persistent relations, or a large social grouping sharing the same geographical or social territory, subject to the same political authority and dominant cultural expectations. Human societies are characterized by patterns of relationships (social relations) between individuals who share a distinctive culture and institutions; a given society may be described as the sum total of such relationships among its constituent members (Vivek Kumar.Slidesshare.net).
Today in my country, and basically all over the world, we now have a ‘global village’, with all the amenities I may find in my village. I can have a relationship with people in different parts of the world and have the same cultures - i.e. work, music, language etc. -all while in the comfort of my living room!
Globalization and Politics
Political globalization refers to the growing power of institutions of global governance such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Trade Organization (WTO). But it also refers to the spread and influence of international non-governmental organizations, social movement organizations and transnational advocacy networks operating across borders and constituting a kind of global civil society (Collins Crouch). Political globalization also includes the growth of the worldwide political system, both in size and complexity. That system includes national governments, their governmental and intergovernmental organizations as well as government-independent elements of global civil society such as international non-governmental organizations and social movement organizations (Wikipedia).
At a national level, we now see that no elections can happen without the involvement of the international community. They observe, influence and sometimes dictate the results and outcomes of elections and political decisions in my country.
Globalization and Economy
Economic globalization refers to the increasing interdependence of world economies as a result of the growing scale of cross-border trade of commodities and services, flow of international capital and wide and rapid spread of technologies. It reflects the continuing expansion and mutual integration of market frontiers, and is an irreversible trend for the economic development in the whole world at the turn of the millennium (Gao Shangquan-Economic Globalization: Trends, Risks and Prevention). Economic globalization includes the free movement of goods, capital, services, technology and information. It is the increasing economic integration and interdependence of national, regional, and local economies across the world through an intensification of cross-border movement of goods, services, technologies and capital (Wikipedia).
In my personal context, this has opened doors for products in my community like tea, coffee, crafts, sugar and labor to be exported out to other parts of the world, hence earning my community foreign income and uplifting their economic status. But this is only benefiting a limited few in my village because open and free trade, repercussions of structural adjustment projects, and invasion of multinationals has brought dissolution and poverty to my people. Our sugar factories are closing down, others are downsizing in terms of labor as well as production. This means the sugar economy depended upon by my community can no longer sustain the community. Cheap global sugar has flooded the local market making farming Kenyan sugarcane an exercise in futility. The cost of local sugar production has priced local farmers out of their own local market. This has led to increased school dropout due to unpaid school fees, the closing down of businesses, breakdown of societal fabric, with more and more people - especially the youth - engaging in uncustomary activities or leaving the community to look for survival elsewhere.
Globalization and the Environment
The environment is now considered the “common heritage of mankind,” and environmental problems are increasingly the subject of international efforts because of their cross-border effects and the impossibility that just one or a few nations can solve these problems on their own (Baslar, 2011). The notion of sustainable development has gained great prominence in development circles. Yet, it is hard to pinpoint exactly what it means and, equally importantly, how it can be achieved, particularly in a globalized world where, many argue, relatively little attention is paid to the notion of sustainability, especially within the context of the environment. (Santo Dadora-Development Leadership Manual Coady 2017).
What happens in one part of the world affects all the other parts. The phrase ‘global warming’ was something that people in my community would not imagine could affect their community and villages. It is such a big name such that envisioning it is hard. But then, it can be noticed in the depleting water we drink, the erratic rainy season, poor farm land, drying rivers and depleting forest covers. Comments like “nowadays the sun is too hot in the day and very cold at night", or "the crops have dried up in the farm due to poor rains and this year there will be hunger” are now common in my village.
Just like system thinking, the smallest part of the system is affected by how the whole system works and the large system is affected by the smallest part of its system. Part of my culture can be found and is practiced in the North, the small crafts business by the women in my village is influencing the international market and earning foreign exchange for my country. Likewise the political, economic or environmental decisions made at the international level affect my village and the people in it just as I have stated above. The Macro and the Micro need to work fluidly to enable a balance in the Global. Unfortunately, this is the ideal not the reality.