In our modern society the distance between individual nations is
becoming smaller and gradually less important. As international trade
and investment grow, the economies of these nations are becoming more
integrated. This phenomenon has been labelled as globalisation.
On the surface, globalisation seems like the most favourable path for
the evolution of society, yet it can be argued that eventually the
economy will be controlled by a few major organisations, remaining
more powerful than any government or the vote of general public.
However this has been the situation for many indigenous people across
the world from as far back as the 13th century. Throughout history
dominant nations have been advancing their own civilizations through
exploiting the land, labour, raw materials and markets of weaker
nations. This process of capitalist engulfment is known as
imperialism. But is this the same as globalisation?
There are many similarities between globalisation and imperialism.
Firstly, the basic aim of globalisation, for a firm or nation, is to
invest and gain a profit, and although early imperialism may have
involved elements of discovery and territorial power, turning the
resources of the oppressed nation into money became the key motive.
On this level globalisation and imperialism seem very alike.
Political theoretician Michael Parenti has this to say on capitalist
“Capitalist imperialism invests in other countries, transforming and
dominating their economies, cultures, and political life, integrating
their financial and productive structures into an international system
of capital accumulation.”
~ Against Empire, Chapter 1
This definition can also be applied to globalisation, as countries are
invested into, in order to provide a source of “capital accumulation”.
In order to make these profits as high as they can be, globalisation
focuses on paying labourers as little as possible. The similarity here
is that imperialism is strongly linked to slavery, from the British
Empire’s rule over the Irish, to the Nazi employment of slave labour
in concentration camps and one can say that globalisation has also
enslaved millions by enforcing long hours for little pay in developing
countries which do not have any workers’ rights. Imperialist nations
saw an undeveloped country as, “not only a source of raw materials and
slaves but a market for manufactured goods.” I feel that those
striving for globalisation see developing countries in a similar way.
There are also differences between globalisation and imperialism, such
as the obvious fact that globalisation allows for an exchange to be
made between nations, rather than the one-way oppression of
imperialism. In fact, globalisation has been proven to be shrinking
the gap between rich and poor in parts of...