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Globalisation: Threat or Opportunity?


  • Paul Streeten

    (Boston University, USA.)


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Streeten, 1998. "Globalisation: Threat or Opportunity?," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 37(4), pages 51-83.
  • Handle: RePEc:pid:journl:v:37:y:1998:i:4:p:51-83

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Williamson, Jeffrey G, 1997. "Globalization and Inequality, Past and Present," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 12(2), pages 117-135, August.
    2. Robert C. Feenstra, 1998. "Integration of Trade and Disintegration of Production in the Global Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 31-50, Fall.
    3. Wood, Adrian, 1998. "Globalisation and the Rise in Labour Market Inequalities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(450), pages 1463-1482, September.
    4. Wood, Adrian, 1995. "North-South Trade, Employment and Inequality: Changing Fortunes in a Skill-Driven World," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198290155, June.
    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. 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.
    7. Wood Júnior, Thomaz, 1995. "Workers," RAE - Revista de Administração de Empresas, FGV-EAESP Escola de Administração de Empresas de São Paulo (Brazil), vol. 35(2), March.
    8. Dani Rodrik, 1997. "Has Globalization Gone Too Far?," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 57.
    9. 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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    Cited by:

    1. Mishra, Sudhanshu K, 2018. "A Simultaneous Equation Model of Globalization, Corruption, Democracy, Human Development and Social Progress," MPRA Paper 84213, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Raza, Mohsin & Elahi, Muhammad Ather, 2014. "Globalisation, energy usage and sustainability," MPRA Paper 59323, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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