Globalization – historical process Essay
Globalization is said to be a historical process across international periphery as a result of human being’s continuous innovation and technological development. It usually involves the concept of free trade and free market wherein economic integration is evident for the easy if not efficient access to countries’ economic activities.As such, to continuously cope up with the increasing demand for trade and financial flows, countries which adhere to this kind of system give high regard to competition, division of labor or to specialization which allows people, countries or economies to focus on what they do best. As a consequent of globalization, concepts or policies such as trade liberalization or privatization is also promoted.
Together with the thrust to globalize the world is to recognize and observe trade liberalization and privatization. It can be deduced then the globalization and capitalism goes hand in hand – the former being considered as the economic system most appropriate to peddle globalization. Ong (2003) stated that flexible transnational economies have depended on globalizing process of production and labour markets as well as on their localization in particular sites of capital accumulation and growth. In this regard, state’s adherence to a liberal economy shapes the objective economic and social reality that is divergent from the state apparatus with its multiple regulatory bodies. It creates an ethos that would allow no obstruction to market forces which has spread erratically across the world. It has then directly affected the meaning and practice of citizenship as market standards come to shape these multiple regulatory processes. In this regard, there are various corporations which continuously promote globalization which also possesses auxiliary role as voices of capital markets in relation to stock and bond markets. An example of such is the Wall Street investment bank in America wherein they serve as the financial expert in the corporate America and world’s stock market which earned them the title as the oil that greases the wheels of capitalism.
According to Ho (2005), in the past two decades, Wall Street investment bank has amplified its influence and spread the practice of shareholder value to the corporations and markets of many countries around the world, occupying multiple roles and sites.All these then lead to the acquisition of accumulated capital for countries which dominate the world trade. Along with this contention are the many issues associated with globalization which eventually concern the people. One of the most prevalent concerns associated with globalization is the supposition that it increases poverty and inequality. As such, it further widens the gap between the rich and poor. Also, it paves way to the exploitation of natural resources of the developing countries by the developed countries wherein the latter which have the means to explore, utilize and develop these natural resources take advantage of those which does not have – in this case the developing countries.Paradoxically, together with the thrust to globalize the world market is the continuous movement to extend global concepts which seemingly do not complement globalization per se such as the conception of human rights and cultural homogeneity. Evidently, human rights promote equality which is contended to be lacking if not suppress by globalization.
In this paper, we would analyze how the concept of human rights and cultural homogeneity is pushed together with the concept of globalization per se in an attempt to make this world globally homogeneous notwithstanding economic differences and cultural diversity.The conception of human rights dates back from the emergence of contractarian philosophy. It is Locke who first introduced the concept of rights which are inherent in man, in his work, The Second Treatise of Civil Government.
These are the rights to life, liberty and private property. As such, in order to protect these rights, a state must be erected. The state would be the body of authority which would secure that these rights are exercised, maintained and not violated. This would only materialize if human beings would enter to social contract Upon entry in the social contract, the people who consented into the agreement take courses of actions which are not against to the fundamental basis of the social contract’s creation. Essentially, they should refrain to make actions which would interfere with the rights of others for if the reverse is committed, this would not only defeat the purpose of the social contract and of the establishment of society, in general, but would also trounce if not insult human’s rationality. It is because it is assumed that by virtue of man’s reason, it is inevitable that he would enter in to a social contract. This is not only because he intents to protect his rights but also intents to continuously preserve his life.
It can be deduced then that the conception of human rights materialized simultaneous with the emergence of a political society – that is of state. As such, in the aim of man to continuously preserve his life with dignity, he must uphold the rights inherent to him so long as his acts would not interfere with the rights of others. Evidently, these serve as groundings for the universalizability of human rights rather the conception of human rights.
It is then with utmost importance first to clarify the definition of the term human rights in its contemporary usage. As such, how it progressed and how it has acquired its status nowadays in relation to the institutionalization and adaptation of society.Human rights are defined as those rights which the humankind deserves as human beings and are indispensable for life as a human being. The term right can be viewed in two ways. One, it can refer to things which are non-existence. As such, it refers to things an individual lacks and hence, should have. Second, it can refer to things which are already existent in nature.
As such, it refers to things an individual can obtain freely without the interference of anyone.Historically, its progress has taken up three generations, namely, the first generation which pertains to civil-political rights, the second generation which refers to social, economic and cultural rights and the third generation which is communal and refers to the concept of development, environment, peace and access to resources. It was held that the sources of human rights are philosophy, religion and revolutions.In this regard, human rights can be viewed using the sociological and philosophical perspective. The former employing an interpretative approach; the latter, on the other hand, enquiring on the nature of the human rights itself. As such, it deals with the question of human rights’ ontology – enquiring the isness of human and of right.
Human rights, then, is held to be inalienable and indivisible. It is something inherent in a person which cannot be taken away from him. As such, it is deemed to be something necessary and essential to the life of humanity. This claim is supported by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to wit: Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. (United Nations, 1948)However, it should be noted that human rights is still inalienable even without the existence of law. This one of the reason why human rights still at present is held and recognized. Another reason is that human rights give people a chance to challenge or change the political processes of the state. Lastly, human rights try to build some legitimacy.
Human rights can be divided into two lists: rights to be considered as person (as a human being) such as right to nationality, right of protection from slavery and discrimination and common protection from laws; and rights referring to personal autonomy and/or personal freedom which includes but not limited to the political and social dimension of a human being such as freedom of religion, assembly, speech and right to education.As a corollary, it obtains a universal status wherein every person is entitled to exercise his rights with the corresponding responsibility of not violating the rights of others. This was strengthen by the creations of declarations, covenants and laws to promote and protect the inalienable human rights of every human being, mainly, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil Political Rights and the International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights.The nature of human rights being universal led to the creation of the above-mentioned statutes. It is because the promotion and protection of such rights were seen as a necessity together with the inevitability to educate the people in their rights. Thus, as a first measure to gain widespread acceptance for the mutual respect of the rights of everyone, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was instituted by United Nations.
To wit: Now, therefore, The General Assembly Proclaims this Universal Declaration of Human Rights as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction. (United Nations, 1948)The end of Cold War has bred many changes in international relations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as one of the clear manifestations of such. It is a post-war attempt to unite nations in conflicts if not an attempt to provide the world security and peace. As such, the international community started to see the redefinition of key concepts such as security at least in countries at the center of competition and the reintroduction of human rights and democracy as a means to settle the issues which arose during the two world wars and of the cold war.However, the immediate recognition and observance of Universal Declaration of Human Rights would seemingly only take effect on its signatories. By that I mean, on countries which are members of the United Nations – which by their free will decided to partake in the general assembly and signed in the declaration.Technically, the provisions in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights only seemingly apply to its signatories.
As such, any country even if it is a member of the United Nations but did not give its consent to be under the Universal Declaration Human Rights is not responsible to any observance of that declaration. And this case applies greater to countries who are not members of the United Nations during that time.Yet, it can be inferred that Universal Declaration of Human Rights aims to affect all the countries in the world even if they are not all members of the United Nations in its thrust to make the concept of human rights universalizable.
This is where the contention to the applicability of the human rights begins. It is because some believed that human rights cannot be universal since every country has different cultures. For these people, human rights are shaped by each society’s set of experience wherein specific tradition, religion and morality shape every society’s social values. It is against the view of the West which posits that every person has the right to life, liberty and property, the natural law as the grounding for such conception.Advocates of the human rights, they argue, seem to neglect that every nation has its norms and conducts in dealing in certain things especially in the case of human affairs. They seemed to neglect the cultural relativism evident in every society and in general, in the world.
As such, in its attempt to achieve homogeneity, the reverse happens – it has achieved heterogeneity.This belief is especially dominant in the East. This is strongly due to the fact that such declaration were seen an imposition of the West to the East and to the developing countries.The second point of divergence lies on the conception that human rights takes an international character not only because it is rooted in mankind’s humanity but also because of the international treatises and customary laws enacted for its recognition. The East, on the other hand is concerned with the international accountability they might experience in affairs which they think properly falls on the domestic sphere.Thirdly, the East contends that human rights overly emphasize individual rights overlooking the duties an individual should do for the state.
It seems then that individual rights override the state’s welfare. The indicator of such assertions can be seen as what the East claims as the decay of Western societies. This is in the form of increasing crime rates, moral degeneration, use of prohibited substances and the likes.The fourth point pertains to the view of the West that human rights are indivisible and comprehensive. As such they should not and cannot be treated nor enforced sequentially. The East while agreeing on such notion believes that as developing countries, they should focus more in attaining economic stability rather on human rights.
These contentions has led the international community, particularly, the United Nations to conduct measures for the “enlightenment” of the East. It works on the principle of proving the universalizability of human rights and answering the contentions of the East against the applicability of the human rights. As a prerequisite to make the conception of human rights universalizable, the United Nations in partnership with the Western countries reintroduced the concept of democracy. The reintroduction of these two concepts serves as the foundation for the introduction of globalization as the only phenomena in reference to the world economy which would coincides with democracy and human rights. Thus, with the simultaneous observance of these concepts, peace, development and security will be achieved by every nation. As such, we would also discuss and analyze how this concept has been pursued by the developed countries to be recognized and observed by the developing countries.
Furthermore, how these concepts has affected the lives and condition of the latter. We would probe then the applicability of these universal precepts in particular conditions or to particular countries.The institution of United Nations Transitional Authority (UNTAC) in Cambodia to introduce the universalizability of human rights is a clear manifestation of the aim of the international community to prove the universalizability of the human rights. The UNTAC has moved to Cambodia after the Paris Peace Agreement in 1991 with the recognition that the country has a unique history. By that, I mean that through out their history the concept of human rights was never part of their social and political affairs. As such, it was neither adopted by the people nor the state.United Nations Transitional Authority is held to be the human rights component established in Cambodia to secure that the country would recognize and observe human rights. This is an auxiliary program initiated by the United Nations to secure that the country would in actuality protect and promote the human rights of its citizen as its compliance to the Paris Peace Agreement of 1991.
As such, the United Nations Transitional Authority (UNTAC) was given the function to educate the citizens of Cambodia about human rights through the use of various educational programs and investigate the alleged abuses of human rights. In this regard, the United Nations Transitional Authority (UNTAC) has arrived at various programs to achieve this end.Evidently, the attempt of the United Nations to obliged Cambodia to recognize and observe human rights is one indicator of the attempt of the advocates of globalization to apply the universal concept of human rights to a particular country with respect to the specific method it can employ to localize such concept. As Ledgerwood (2003) in his work Global Concepts and Local Meaning: Human Rights and Buddhism in Cambodia puts it: These concepts have spread around the world through a variety of processes. They have been disseminated through the process of globalization in which ideas have moved from place to place through various kinds of human movement and interaction, and modern mass communication including print materials, television, radio and the Internet. In addition, ideoscapes can also reach a certain locality through international imposition, as in the case of Cambodia through the United Nations peacekeeping mandate.Ideoscpaes as defined by Appadurai in his work Disjuncture and Difference in the Cultural Economy are the concatenations of images, but they are directly political and frequently have to do with the ideologies of states and the counter-ideologies of movements explicitly oriented to capturing state power or a piece of it. These ideologies are composed of elements of the Enlightenment world-view, which consists of a concatenation of ideas, terms, and images, including “freedom”, “welfare”, “rights”, “sovereignty”, “representation” and the master-term “democracy”.
He further contends that these ideoscapes were constructed with a definite internal logic and assumed a certain relationship between reading, representation and the public sphere.However, with the act of globalizing these ideoscapes, their internal coherence loosens resulting to the existence of different set of keywords in order to localize them [the ideoscapes]. With the glocalization as I borrowed the term from Roland Robertson of these concepts, the people of a particular country can quite with no difficulty comprehend the nature of the ideoscapes.
Such is the case in Cambodia which will be further explicated in the succeeding sections of this paper.The institutionalization of human rights and other ideoscapes in Cambodia resulted into a relatively successful outcome. It might not able to impose ceasefire, disarmament and demobilization of the opposing factions, especially the Khmer Rouge, or the demising of the Cambodian countryside which are intuitively long processes. However, it has been able to give birth to various non-government organizations which is said to be the building block of Civil Society. These organizations have continued the goals set by the United Nations Transitional Authority (UNTAC) to educate people and spread the concept of human rights and democracy.These organizations employed two approaches to convey their point. The first is the militant approach which uses altercation with authority, demanding equal political partaking and governmental institutional reform.
The second one is the mystic approach which employs spiritual, diplomatic methods aimed at improving individual morality and conduct, which is believed to be the foundation upon which one can foster democracy and respect for human rights.In the former approach, the civil society or the non-governmental organizations established linkages in the international community specifically with transnational organizations and foreign investments. In this regard, they obtain help from above (from the international community) in pressuring the Cambodian government to allow them to have a national public sphere for public action. This has been quite successful for a public space in Phnom Penh was given to them wherein they can publicly advocate their ideas regarding the structural and institutional changes they want to achieve in their country.The latter approach, on the other hand, uses the process of merging the global concepts of human rights with Theravada Buddhism or essentially, with Khmer cultural concepts. As such, the precepts of Buddhism which give emphasis to compassion, non-violence and tolerance are linked to human rights. They were able to provide a parallelism between the two and as such, able to arrived at a conclusion of respecting the rights and freedoms of others.
The merging the global concepts of human rights with Theravada Buddhism proves that as a global concepts spread in the world in whatever medium one wants to employ, its internal coherence would inevitably loosens into different set of keywords in order to for these concepts to be more locally understandable, commutable and adaptable depending on the historical background, culture and belief of a particular place. This has further proven the assertion of Malkki (1996) when he stated that historicizing (and politicizing) humanism would requires us, politically and analytically, to examined our cherished notions of mankind and the human community, humanitarianism and humanitarian crises, human rights and international justice.The effort of glocalization can also be found in Moscow, Russia nowadays in their effort to domesticate McDonalds and its product. The effort to domesticate a global product like McDonalds can be seen as an attempt to break the barrier between familiarity and estrangement of products wherein the former refers to locally produced product while the latter refers to non-locally produced products. As such, as social processes of localization may be culturally specific, its [the local culture] content is continually invented – the case of domesticating the McDonalds and its product as proof.
A study conducted in Russia stated that process of domestication is twofold and reflects the cooperative efforts of McDonald’s and Russian consumers. The first section presents a familiar narrative of how McDonald’s construes local interests and carefully responds to them. The second section, however, presents an alternative idea of the domestication of McDonald’s in Russia by illustrating how Russian customers actively modify McDonald’s to correspond to their own needs and values. This particular section accentuates the action taken and autonomy of Russian social actors as they engage with global processes. (Caldwell, 2004). Caldwell (2004) concludes: by extending values of trust and intimacy to McDonald’s, not only are Russian consumers reworking local understandings of such fundamental concepts as the private and the public, the domestic and the foreign, the personal and the popular, but they are also setting the standards that McDonald’s must meet in order to flourish. McDonald’s is more than a localized or a glocalized entity in Russia. By undergoing a specifically Russian process of localization – Nashification – it has become a locally meaningful, and hence domesticated, entity.
The country of Thailand, on the other hand, relatively has quite different story to tell in an era where globalization is prevalent. With the crash of Thai baht in 1997, they have quite differently to respond to the crisis of their currency and of their economy in general. They are adhering to Buddhist mass rituals of money and passion to address the quandaries of globalization with technologies of society that has refigure the world. As Klima (2004), puts it: Buddhist donation ceremonies, intended to shore up the national currency reserves, as well as mass rites staged to aid the spirit of the nation’s leader, represent emerging practices of money, love, and identity in Thailand. This might suggest that the study of emotion should shift emphasis from the interpretation of numerous cultural systems toward addressing a shared global situation of subjection to international financial integration and uncertainty. These of the people of Thailand has not only demonstrated that money and emotion in actuality could create ardent engagement within the society under conditions of global threats but also reveals the ways in which emotion is a crucial dimension of the battles under globalization, and so the constructive power of culture must continue to be watched and formed mindfully, as it contains both the play of domination and of freedom, which ultimately may not be under the control of any central power.
(Klima, 2004).With these attempts to make globalization as a necessary, practicable and beneficial mechanism to adapt to the fast-changing trend of human innovation and technological development comes the inevitable adverse effect it has generated to humankind especially to the indigenous people living in a developing country. It has produced exploitation both to humankind and to natural resources, furthers class inequality and extended the marginalization of poor.There is then an inherent contradiction in globalization it its millennial manifestation. As Jean and John Comoroff (2005) put it: The fact that it appears to include and to marginalize in unanticipated ways – to produce desire and expectation in global scale yet to decrease the certainty of work or the security of persons; to magnify class differences but to undercut class consciousness; above all, to offer vast, almost instantaneous riches to those who master its spectral technologies and simultaneously, to threaten those who not. Clearly, such analysis in the system of globalization proves that contentions about its existence in reference to its adverse effects are not mere speculations for they are grounded empirically.
This assertion would be further elaborated in the succeeding sections of this paper as we provide particular cases wherein humankind has been subjected exploitation and consequently, to alienation. In thrusting globalization, labor and eventually, the laborer becomes a commodity. He is not seen as a human being living for the authentication of being rather only as means to continuously gain profits like all the other materials of production.
Thus, he is being devalued and degraded. Wallerstein (1999) in his work the Rise and Future Demise of Capitalist System stated the pervasiveness of wage labor is the defining characteristic of capitalism, which we have mentioned earlier as the considered most appropriate economic system to continuously thrust and spread globalization. He further argues: an individual is no less a capitalists exploiting labor because the state assists him to pay his laborers low wages (including wages in kind) and denies these laborers the right to change employment. In this regard, the only true beneficiaries of capitalism and globalization are those who owns the mode of production – in every particular country, its ruling class and on a global scale, the so-called superpowers which is usually the developed countries; United States of America, France and Great Britain as the frontiers. In a study conducted by Linda Green (2005) on Mayans working as wage workers in maquila factories in rural Guatemala, she has asserted that globalization has failed to fulfill its promise to make the lives of the people of Guatemala better especially the of the Mayans. Instead, it has only reinforced and intensified existing inequalities, intergenerational tensions, manufactured powerlessness among rural Mayan adolescents and seduced them with modernity’s desire.Despite of their long hours of hard work, they cannot adequately provide themselves with their basic necessities.
As Green puts it: their levels of poverty and immiseration are far worse that than they were a quarter of century ago. Even a partial subsistence of livelihood on milpa land is no longer a viable option as imports of basic grains of corn and beans from the United States flood local markets and undercut domestic crops grown on milpas. Older men and women are unemployed and unemployable, and they must make do with whatever is left of their fields and local markets. Their children and grandchildren, however, are not semi-proletarians in the classical sense, but rather short-term, temporary proletarians in a globalize economy.
However, not only in the economic, political and social dimension does globalization has adverse effects, it can also have adverse effect in culture. As Sylvain (2005) stated: The Omaheke San illustrate the consequences of these instrumentalizing and essentializing trends. When the idea of culture becomes instrumentalized in the struggle for resources, then, in situations of extreme marginalization and class inequality, it easily becomes another instrument for continued exploitation.
And, as the idea of culture becomes essentialized, the San’s own distinctive but class shaped culture—the lived patterns of practices and beliefs that make up their moral identity—goes unnoticed.If one would name a personality amongst the few who did not fall prey to the forces of capitalism and perhaps comes to a judgment that globalization has more demerits than merits, one would more likely say the name of Che Guevarra. As Hernandez-Reguant (2004) puts it: Now more than ever, he stood as a symbol of an aging revolution.
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