To what extent has globalization reshaped international politics?
To what extent has globalization reshaped international politics?
Globalisation as described by John Bayliss is the widening, deepening and speeding up of global interconnectness. Distinctions are usualy made between economic, cultural and political forms of globalization.Over recent years Liberals have tended to agree with the statement whereas the Realists disagree with the statement.
Liberals, or hyperglobalists as they are sometimes referred to believe that, globalization assures efficiency and that it increases welfare throughout the world. They also believe that the concept of globalization is unavoidable and should therefore be embraced instead of being criticized. The liberal view is one usually adopted by economists, part of the reason for the liberal viewpoint gaining credibility and being taken on by such groups is due to the fall of the socialist countries which demonstrates the need for a global society.
This led the economists to recommend the need to liberalise the economies by minimizing state intervention and maximizing competitiveness. Bolshevik Russia provided a key lesson in this when the peasants used to feel deep injustice as their produce was taken to a state run distributor meaning they were not paid accordingly to their work load. This eventually drove them to burn their own crops so that the state couldn’t get their hands on it leading to a great famine. Economists used this a guarantee for success with most alternate approaches being condemned.
Liberals equally argue that however globalization threatens the role of the nation state and detracts from its power and influence. They argue that being part of the global community somewhat constrains the state in what it can and cant do thus weakening its influence. The treaty of Westphalia in 1648 which defined state boundaries can also been seen as coming under threat as the world becomes more globalized and people become more mobilized.
This has led to talk of Ohmae’sborderless world within which state boundaries are permeable thus leading to trade and social opportunities but however diminishing the power of state sovereignty. Things such as how there has been a growing trend in the belief that there are international human rights ot which all countries must adhere to. Liberals argue that the idea of individual rights are morally superior to the state’s right to independence and autonomy.It can however be seen as increasing a state’s actual power as they have more access to influencial decisions such as NATO and the UN. Previously territorial borders and the cultures that these differences brought with them differentiated countries. These borders brought with them powers for the states to organize people and institutions. However now that these borders have effectively been illegitimized states have lost these powers which they previously retained.
Equally now that these borders have been breached more and more companies are looking towards the developing world to produce their goods due to the cheaper cost of labour and different tax laws. This has a knock-on effect on the states as levels of unemployment inevitably rise. Liberals however see other benefits in a borderless world, one benefit they see is that a borderless world allows countries to cooperate with much more ease than before. Liberals view this as a major factor due to nowadays many issues being global rather than in the past where they may have just affected that one individual state. Global issues such as global warming, terrorism and pandemic diseases require world organisations such as the UN to tackle these issues.
Globalisation has coincided with a rise of NGO’s and transnational companies. This is again due to the ability for organizations to not be restricted by state boundaries thus meaning not only can they diversify in their product or service but they can also do it for a cheaper price than previously achievable. This however has brought about a social cost with transnational companies such as Primark exploiting these opportunites but opening up sweat shops in Africa and Asia whilst employing children on very low wages. These sort of occurrences have brought not only Primark into disrepute but also Western society as a whole.
The rise has equally seen states mould some of their policies around the idea of trying to attract these NGO’s and transnational companies into their states. Tactics may include tax reductions or simply the promise of state perks. The states know that the NGO’s and transnational companies will help to bring with them prestige but also more importantly employment which will help their chance of staying in power as a major factor in elections is the economic situation in the country and this is what governments are ultimately judged on. Transnational companies now account for 70% of world trade which helps emphasize their importance to the economy. It can also be said that they bring technological advances around the world which can only really be deemed as a positive.
Liberals argue that economic cooperation leads to political cooperation. This is due to economic cooperation being able to dictate the country’s policies. This is because of the fact that the government know to be regarded as a success the economic stability of the state is one of the most important things. This leads the state into cooperating with not only transnational organizations but similarly other states in order to maximize their possible economic opportunites. A major example of economic cooperation leading to political cooperation was at the end of the Cold War whereby many former communist states saw economic integration as a way to support their transition into the market economy.
For this to happen they had to follow the basic democratic principles of the west in order to be accepted.The major example of this being Marshall aid which was introduced in 1947 by the USA, this saw many countries at risk of falling under the communist regime aided by the USA so that they were able to resist communist advances. They could only accept the aid on the condition that they would buy US exports and equally provide the USA with any economic information which they might happen to have. This ultimately led them to cooperate with the USA’s ideology of democracy.
There have been various peace treaties throughout the course of history which have in their own way reshaped international politics. For example the Peace of Augsburg in 1555 brought about as one of it conditions the independence of German principalities from the Roman holy empire and thus allowed them to choose their own religion. The Holy Roman Empire was the dominant empire at this time so this treaty was a major changing point for international politics.
Realists believe however that the role of globalization has been exaggerated. They believe that the state continues to be the dominant unit in world politics. Following on from this they believe that the state isn’t threatened by globalization but in fact has the opportunity to increase its capacity for regulation and surveillance.
Realists do however acknowledge the system of globalization but the difference between the liberal view and the realist view is that realists don’t believe that globalization was inevitable like the liberals. Instead realists believe that globalization was a conscious effort by in particular the dominant states ‘globalization has been made by states, for states’. Their justification for this is that they believe the dominant states sensed an opportunity to advanced their interests by putting into place systems such as the open trading systems and the global financial markets. They equally dispute the liberal view that globalization brings with it peace and cooperation and instead believe that instead it is liable to breed ‘mutual vulnerability’ which in turn will lead to conflict.
The realist view to the economy is synonymous with mercantilism. This is the belief that the state is the dominant economic actor regardless of globalization. They believe that instead of global trade consistently crossing boundaries states regularly compete against each other due to the state system being anarchical. They believe that the global economy has been moulded to the needs of the most powerful states. Some realists take the view that this was almost a necessity to for the success of globalization as for a stable world economy you need a single world dominant power the’ hegemon’.
For a long timerealistshave been big supporters of nationalism. This has led them to believe that the fall of the nation state has been exaggerated. They believe that although they accept the idea of a borderless world thorugh which decisions are made globally individuals states still retain the right to make their own decisions. Through organisations such as the UN individual states have the right to vote against decisions and equally the decisions that are made affect the global scene. Therefore this still leaves the governments of the respective states to rule over their own domestic policies, which can be argued as retaining sovereignty.
Liberals argue that national self assertion has become a major factor in the aftermath to the cold war due to the fluid nature of the world. Such a reviviali=of nationalism in some countries has been linked with economic
gain, this has been evident in China. They have achieved this thorugh events such as the Beijing Olympics of 2008 which have not only instilled national pride but have equally showcased to the rest of the world that China is a economically advanced country. There has been a similar rise in India where the rise of nationalism and especially Hindu nationalism led to the establishment of the BharatiyaJanata Party in 1998. The BJP ultimately exterted enough pressure to develop nuclear weapons which have in turn seen India become respected as a rising power. There have been examples of more aggressive forms of Nationalism in Russia with the resurgence of the Chechnyan war and equally Russia becoming more hardened over its stance on Petrol and Gas distribution to the Western powers.
In conclusion I believe that globalization has reshaped =international politics however managed to maintain orginal structures and systems which have been in place for years such as the role of the state. Although these roles have been maintained however they have been reshaped with the role of the state in some senses being more restricted however also opening new opportunities to the state through organisations such as NATO.