Globalization: Social & Geographic Perspectives

a qwriting.qc.cuny.edu blog

response to 34 and 28

October 28th, 2010 · 2 Comments
Apr 5/Political Globalization & Cultural Globalization

In the article “Power Shift” the author discusses how national governments are losing autonomy and sharing powers with NGO’s. The author states that a main rise of the non state actors (NGO’s) is the computer and telecommunication revolution, and that this weakens the ties between people and their nations. He states how fax machines and internets connect us across borders, yet our own ties here at home are weakening. He also states that this disrupts hierarchies and spreads power among more and more people. Having power in the hands of too many people can cause many problems.
There are however, many upsides to NGOs. For example, they are quicker than governments to respond to new ddemands and opportunities. When adequatley funded they can outperform government in the delivery of many social problems. I think this is especially true because there are so many NGO’s that are trying to help/fight the issues that are going on in Africa. He also states that with the spread of expanding power it can avoid overly burdening taxation, which most governments succummb to. This is also very true because we keep seeing how taxes are being placed on more and more items, and the rates are going up.
There are many downsides too to NGOs. The author states how NGOs sometimes just focus on a particular interest, instead of having a strong voice for the common good. He also states how since NGO’s weaken the states, that there will be a lot of conflict.
I agree with both the pros and the cons because both of them support what is best for society as a whole. The pros of NGO’s limit the role of taxation from one prime government, yet the downsides is that since there is more power spread around the nation, conflict can arise, and that is not good for society what so ever.

This leads into how many people believe that GL has gone way too far. The author of chp 28 discusess why he supports this idea. He states how globalization fundamentally transforms the employment relationship because their barganing power erodes so workers can receive lower wages and benefits. This is not fair, and if lower wages are being offered this will inevitable increase the inequality within the country. Also, more workers can be easily substituted, ie, child labor in hondouras displaces workers in south carolina. People are losing their jobs because people can get them elsewhere,for cheaper. This idea sounds great for the manufacturer, however, it doesnt help the individual. The author states how globalization has mde it difficult for governments to provide social insurance. GL allows governments the option of increasing tax rates disproportionately on labor income. I believe that GL does benefit many people, but at the same time it does more or less screw over the underdog. So the question of “has globalzation gone too far” depends on who we are talking about, because for many, they benefit from it, but it has gone too far for that underdog.

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1    antoniomachevejr // Oct 31, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Your memo is rich in substance Amy, well done.
    I have some reservations about the author’s argument that NGOs are declining the authority of the state. The state can decide to remove NGOs from society, especially international ones whose mission is usually to pin point problems within a society rather than solving them. Examples of such NGOs are Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. These NGOs write huge reports on problems that the country being observed has and then publish them as a way to pressure governments to enhance its policies in a way that solves the issues. Governments usually get very annoyed by their presence. States that want to maintain a good image in the international arena usually try to cover up the problems that the NGOs pin point or create short term solutions to keep the NGOs quiet. However, the states that do not care simply close their borders to NGOs and civil society organizations. They have the right to do so because they are sovereign states and no external party has the right to intervene into their domestic affairs. One concrete, example is the government of Sudan during the Darfur Conflict, the president [Omar Al-Bashir] decided eliminate all international civil society organizations from Sudanese territory and he did so. Nonetheless, I do not deny that when active NGOs such as the Red Cross and Medecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) are much more efficient than the government in responding to crisis, it can create more trust for the NGOs rather than the government from the perspective of the local communities.

    Finally, in what concerns the shift of power, international NGOs can be intimidating in the developing world. I have seen lots of them from personal experience in Mozambique. They got lots of funding and huge Jeeps with fancy logos driven by locals and filled with foreigners, usually white or English and French speaking people, which are not the local languages. The people that work in NGOs in Mozambique live in fancy compounds and sometimes mansions (executive board). Therefore, NGOs in a lot of cases can be seen as powerful entities rather than concrete instruments to serve the people and improve lives, which in many cases is the truth. The best that the international community could do in this respect, would be to empower local citizens so that they can create sustainable NGOs that will serve the people rather than controlling people’s affairs. A father would much more easily accept criticism from his own children than a stranger.

  • 2    maruf // Nov 1, 2010 at 10:00 am

    I think the scenarios vary from country to country. NGO indeed sometimes or may be most of the time has taken advantage of the developing country’s and the way they have supervised their conduct was wrong. I personally has seen some example in Bangladesh that some NGO from western countries came and started their food for religion work. If you convert to Christianity, you will be given money, food and free education. Some may say, the person have a choice not to accept the offer. But, don’t you think it’s rather manipulation with a human being, luring a hungry soul and trade food for religion!
    I believe for cases like these NGO has lost some of it’s reputation in those developing countries.

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