Gidden counters by suggesting
that the international capital is not as dangerous and wild as
thought by Hunton and it opens new possibilities. He endorses
Francis Fukuyama’s thesis in his "End of History"
as he finds no alternative to the market economy. Hunton finds
Fukuyama missing the point as beneath the technological change
rough and tough old capitalist truths are being re-asserted
and the people are being exposed to hard brutalities.
In the USA
one sees the emergence of the super-rich, conspicuous
consumption and extraordinary wealth, on the one hand, and a
fall in the real wages of the blue-collar workers, on the
other. Giddens dismisses this criticism as too close to old
In the end,
both agree that they are on the same side of the fence, in
spite of disagreement on some issues. How the barricade is
dismantled, pushing both to the same side is not clear from
the clash of their arguments. It is crass pragmatism rather
than intellectual integrity that ultimately prevails, perhaps
to add to the saleability of the book.
Castells sees globalisation as a threat to the global
prosperity as instability is rooted in the financial market.
He finds Silicon Valley like societies as archipelagos of
prosperity surrounded by a sea of poverty in the planet. This
is not only ethically questionable but, more important,
politically and socially unsustainable.
and George Soros are both worried about the destabilising
impact of global financial markets and argue that the East
Asian crisis of 1997 emerged from the structure of the
financial system rather than from the inherent weaknesses of
the economies concerned.
examines the genesis of the crisis from a fresh angle that
sounds quite convincing. Generally, the crisis is blamed on a
weak banking system, government subsidies, widespread
corruption, crony capitalism and the like — flaws inherent
in the economies of the so-called Asian Tigers like South
Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, etc.
Volcker finds the roots of the crisis in the financial arena
dominated by global capital markets than in the structural
flaws which have been at the centre of so much attention. He
correctly points out that small economies are inherently
vulnerable to the volatility of the global capital.
blames the functioning of the IMF for the crisis. He holds the
IMP responsible for the disparity between crisis prevention
and intervention and the asymmetry in the treatment of lenders
Jeff Faux and
Larry Mishel in their scintillating piece "Inequality and
global economy" tellingly quote the World Bank President
James Wolfensohn observing that financial markets in the
spring of 1999: "At the level of people, the system isn’t
working."Promises of globalisation have not been realised.
Inequality within and among nations has increased. The rate of
growth of the American economy in the 1960s was 6 per cent per
year. Then the ratio between the income of the top chief
executive officer of the American corporations and the average
production worker was 39 to 1. In 1997; after three decades of
slower growth this ratio was 254 to 1. The resentment against
globalisation is understandable as it leaves many people
behind, with riches accumulating at the top.
Shiva, a contributor from India, is a known critic of
globalisation as she finds it a serious threat to the
environment and biodiversity. In a world dominated by global
capital, resources move from the poor to the rich countries
and the pollution moves from the rich to the poor. The Third
World has to bear a huge environmental cost. The livelihood of
the poor of the world is based on biodiversity and indigenous
knowledge. This resource base of the poor has come under a
serious threat as the plants and seeds are patented and
claimed as inventions of western scientists and corporations
(patenting of the basmati rice by an American concern is the
everything becomes tradable, ethical and ecological, limits on
commerce are being torn asunder. "As dollars replace life
processes in the domain of life," concludes Shiva in a
poetic vein, "life itself is extinguished".
finds the nation state, class, ethnicity and the traditional
family in the decline. The ethic of individual self-fulfilment
is the most powerful ethos in modern society. And
globalisation is in tune with this ethos. Polly Toynbee talks
of global culture and finds "culture panic" as
espoused by some ethnocentric groups, uncalled for. There is
no danger of cultural contamination as cultural cross-fertilisation
is the essence of art.
nothing wrong with the tidal wave of divorce that follows the
western cultural influence as it provides an opportunity to
women to walk away from a violent, abusive, unequal and
unhappy marriage. Is this not feminism run amuck? A woman
should have the freedom to break an unhappy marriage. However,
the way the marital alliances are broken in some western
countries on the flimsiest ground poses a serious threat to
the sanity and harmony in society.
worried over the way multinational corporations are eating up
television stations (the range of Murdoch’s operations
provides a telling illustration). However, is it not in tune
with the process of globalisation? One cannot eat the cake and
have it too.
The book under review is one
more addition to the volume of literature on globalisation
Globalistion brings new possibilities but also new risks, the
editors point out. This, in the opinion of this reviewer, is
being neither here nor there. The essence of globalisation is
not its international range, nor its speed acquired through
technological innovations. These two things were present in
the international capital even earlier, though on a smaller
scale. Its essence lies in the profit motive as an end in
itself. And in search of profit, it can be ruthless and the
talk of working out a harmonious relationship between the
international capital, on the one hand, and environment,
ecology and the life chances of the common people, on the
other. Given currency by the apologists of the unruly
international capital, it is a ruse at its worst, and a pious
hope, at its best.