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Globalisation: Threat or Opportunity?

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  • Paul Streeten

    (Boston University, USA.)

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    Abstract

    Globalisation is transforming trade, finance, employment, migration, technology, communications, the environment, social systems, ways of living, cultures, and patterns of governance. The growth of technology and globalisation mutually reinforce each other. Much of the process of globalisation is historically not unprecedented, but the technology, the setting, the absence of a single dominant centre, and certain features such as the replacement of trade of raw materials for manufactured products by largely intra-sectoral trade, are new. International interdependence is growing, and to some extent and partially, so is international integration. But it is accompanied by disintegration and fragmentation of other parts. Partial international integration (mainly of the elites), without global policies, leads to national social disintegration. Is globalisation a threat to humanity or an opportunity? A tentative balance sheet is drawn up. Markets, to be efficient, have to be embedded in a framework that enables their productive potential to flourish and to be used for socially and ecologically sustainable development. The reduced power of national governments combined with the spread of world-wide free markets and technological innovation without a corresponding authority to regulate them and hold them accountable has contributed to the marginalisation of large regions and groups of people. The state has become to some extent ungovernable, while the global society is ungoverned. Unemployment, poverty, inequality and alienation are increasing, partly (though not solely) as a result of this process. Crimes, drugs, terrorism, violence, civil wars, diseases, and environmental destruction are also becoming globalised. In the struggle of international competition capital, technology and high skills dominate the more readily dispensable factors unskilled labour and the environment. Cost reductions are carried out and labour and nature suffer.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Pakistan Institute of Development Economics in its journal The Pakistan Development Review.

    Volume (Year): 37 (1998)
    Issue (Month): 4 ()
    Pages: 51-83

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    Handle: RePEc:pid:journl:v:37:y:1998:i:4:p:51-83

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    1. Wood, Adrian, 1998. "Globalisation and the Rise in Labour Market Inequalities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(450), pages 1463-82, September.
    2. Dani Rodrik, 1997. "Has Globalization Gone Too Far?," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 57.
    3. Streeten, Paul P., 1989. "International cooperation," Handbook of Development Economics, in: Hollis Chenery & T.N. Srinivasan (ed.), Handbook of Development Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1153-1186 Elsevier.
    4. Jeffrey G. Williamson, 1996. "Globalization and Inequality Past and Present," NBER Working Papers 5491, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. O'Rourke, Kevin H & Taylor, Alan M & Williamson, Jeffrey G, 1996. "Factor Price Convergence in the Late Nineteenth Century," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 37(3), pages 499-530, August.
    6. Robert C. Feenstra, . "Integration Of Trade And Disintegration Of Production In The Global Economy," Department of Economics 98-06, California Davis - Department of Economics.
    7. Wood, Adrian, 1995. "North-South Trade, Employment and Inequality: Changing Fortunes in a Skill-Driven World," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198290155.
    8. Adrian Wood, 1995. "How Trade Hurt Unskilled Workers," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 57-80, Summer.
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