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Globalization: An Ideology Of Western Elitists?

1228 words - 5 pages

Globalization, both as an ideology and process, has become the dominant political, economical and cultural force in the 21st century (Steger, 2002, 6). As a social and economic concept, globalization has its roots in neoliberalism which advocates: the primacy of economic growth, free trade to stimulate growth, a free market, individual choice, reduction of government regulation, and global social development based on a western model (Steger, 2002, 9). Although globalization is not a new concept, technological advancements in the last few decades have, for the first time in human history, allowed for real global production, transport and communication. Nowadays, transnational corporations can “produce anything anywhere on the planet and sell anything anywhere on the planet” (Keeling, 2002). While the benefits of human social and economic interactions are hard to ignore, globalization and its agencies also contribute to: the depolarization of society, the undermining of democracy, and the denationalization of the globe. This paper will assess the various political and economic factors of globalization from a socialist perspective.
Globalization creates and amplifies depolarization on a regional, national and global level. First, the main criticism of globalization is its role in creating and increasing the gap between classes in society. This “developmental gap” is characterized by and increased concentration of national income in the hands of fewer people (Keeling, 2002). When such social hierarchy exists, a small percentage of individuals or groups have total control over production, finances and information. Thus, the labor force is not only exploited for the economic benefit of a country and a select few modern-day oligarchs, but also neglected by official statistics. For example, macroeconomic statistics are mostly used as indicators of developmental progress, while individuals and communities are not included in such developmental analysis and are often labeled as insignificant or short-term trends (Keeling, 2002). Under such conditions that deny materialistic inequality, egalitarianism cannot be achieved. Even though true egalitarianism is more of an idealistic than a practical concept, countries should nonetheless take steps to reduce the gap between classes (Dyck, 2009). In the unforgiving world of global market competition, governments should make sure that economic gains of the elites also translate into economic gains for the workers by ways of increased taxation and welfare programs (Dyck, 2009).
The role of government and democracy weakens with increased exposure to globalization. Neoliberal theorists, like Adam Smith, believe that the market should work under the principle of homo economicus, in which isolated individuals work only in their self interest (Steger, 2002). Some expand this idea even more by suggesting that economics have a superior position to politics and that the two should always be separate. The application of...

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