Race, Poverty & Globalization Essay

2886 words - 12 pages

"Since 2006, more than 500 Bangladeshi workers have died in factory fires, according to Clean Clothes Campaign, an anti-sweatshop advocacy group in Amsterdam. Experts say many of the fires could have easily been avoided if the factories had taken the right precautions. Many factories are in cramped neighborhoods and have too few fire escapes, and they widely flout safety measures. The industry employs more than three million workers in Bangladesh, most of them women.
Activists say that global clothing brands like Tommy Hilfiger and the Gap and those sold by Walmart need to take responsibility for the working conditions in Bangladeshi factories that produce their clothes."

From article by Vikas Bajaj published in The New York Times, November 25, 2012

How is poverty related to globalism, and why are people of color under the most severe threat from this process? Certainly, other people are also under a threat from this globalization process, and some would assert that democracy and capitalism itself may be undone by this process if it is not checked. To answer the above question and to understand why minorities and other marginal populations are most at risk, it is first necessary to better understand what globalism is, particularly the type of globalism that dominates today's markets.
In the most general sense, globalism refers to “the process in which goods and services, including capital, move more freely within and among nations” (Greider 1997:32). As globalism advances, national boundaries become more and more porous, and to some extent, less and less relevant. Since many of our early industries, such as steel, were location-sensitive, there was a natural limitation to globalization. To be sure, some things remain location-sensitive, but mobility is the trend (Norwood 1999). It is assumed that liberalizing laws and structures, so that goods and services can become more globally focused, will produce more wealth, and indeed this seems to be true. Using this general understanding of globalism and globalization, it would be accurate to say this process has been developing and growing for well over a hundred years (Fishlow 1999:5).

BODY

My initial question—How is poverty related to globalism, and why are people of color under the most severe threat from this process?—can be divided into four sub-themes, all of which are discussed here, in the Findings section of this report. These sub-themes are:
1) Division of Color, Division of Power. As globalism grows, the division of power seemingly grows with it. This power, in turn, is creating an even further division in the labor force with people of color being virtually forced into jobs as slave laborers; 2) The U.S. as a Global Superpower. The U.S. has emerged as the world’s only super power and thus has a tremendous influence in setting the terms for global trade. The style of globalism pushed by the United States has favored the free movement and protection of capital, while being...

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