Globalization and China Globalization and the Pervasive Thesis

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Globalization and China

Globalization and the pervasive influence of the international economy have increasingly affected countries throughout the world since the 1970s. A central aspect that has facilitated this influence has been the development and sophistication of communication technologies and the Internet, which has to a large extent broken down the barriers between nations and cultures.

A common view of globalization is that it refers to the "…spread and connectedness of production, communication and technologies across the world. That spread has involved the interlacing of economic and cultural activity." (Globalization) While there are many interpretations and definitions of this phenomenon what is clear is that it has implications for social and cultural development as well as for economic development and communications.

China was previously a country that was relatively isolated and often culturally inaccessible as a result of political and ideological differences with countries in the West. However the advent of globalization has in many ways radically changed the face of China, as well as changed the way that it is perceived and understood by the outside world. It is however debatable as to what extent and in what ways China has changed from a cultural and social and political point-of-view. This paper will attempt to outline and discuss some of the most relevant and penetrating of these changes in relation to social, cultural and economic facets of the country's development.

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The central thesis that will be explored in This paper is that globalization has initiated and created a trajectory of influences and consequences which have brought about real as well as potential changes in countries like China. However this implies a central argument that has to be addressed. This refers to the debate that globalization creates new social and economic realities that do not always translate into expected social and political reform.

Thesis on Globalization and China Globalization and the Pervasive Assignment

Furthermore, these reforms are not always in line with what many Western countries consider to be social and democratic reform. The stance that will be taken in this paper is that while there is little doubt that globalization has created change in China, this change can only be viewed as potential reform and that true reform in terms of democratic change has not yet been achieved.

2. The changing face of China

2.1. overview and background

A brief overview of some of the historical facts that have led to changes in Chinese society is necessary in order to understand the impact of the process of globalization. One has to begin with the economic aspects of his change. This follows the argument that globalization has certainly created economic reforms in the country on a number of levels and fronts. This refers to the view that the process of globalization on countries like China are of a "…fundamentally different order to what has gone before." (Globalization)

The argument that China has been radically influenced by globalization is underscored by the fact that the rate at which interaction between countries and cultures in the world has increased dramatically in recent years as a result of the way in which communications and technology has facilitated effective and extensive forms of networking. As one study notes, "The speed of communication and exchange, the complexity and size of the networks involved, and the sheer volume of trade, interaction and risk give what we now label as 'globalization' a peculiar force." (Globalization)

In reality the impact of globalization on China has been a process in which there has been both resistance as well as acceptance of new economic and political realities in the world. There is a general consensus in the literature that China "…initially accepted greater interdependence largely out of economic necessity"….but that in recent years"… Beijing has since come to embrace interdependence and globalization with increasing enthusiasm." (Yong Deng and Moore ) This refers to advent of the World accession to the Word Trade Organization or WTO, which is a major change in economic policy and which will be further discussed below.

The following points illustrate the effects on the country of this process of globalization. In the 1970s as the pressure towards expansionism and globalization began to increase there were various reforms instituted in China. These reforms were responsible for an increase China's foreign trade from $21 billion in 1978, to more than $1.1 trillion in 2004, when China became the world's third largest trading economy. (Branstetter and Lardy)

On the basis of prior reforms in the countries economy, in 1982 the reform programs in Chain was accelerated and broadened. The reform policy under Deng Xiaoping became one of "reform and opening," which meant the China become open to foreign trade and the increased influences of globalization. (Reform of the Economic System, Beginning in 1979)

This resulted in the increased importance of foreign trade and investments and imports. Exports were 21% of the national income in 1984, compared to 15% in 1980. (Reform of the Economic System, Beginning in 1979) Restrictions on foreign trade were loosened considerably with the legalization of foreign investments.

One of the central aspects of the economic impact of globalization on the county has been China's accession to the Word Trade Organization or WTO. This was seen as a radial move that would result in far-reaching changes in Chin's economic policy. (Branstetter and Lardy) This can be linked to globalization in that China's decision to open up its economy led to bilateral negotiations with the United States in 1999 in which '…China chose to unilaterally liberalize." (Branstetter and Lardy) This was in turn to lead to further trade concessions that were included in China's final WTO accession package.

2.2. Cultural and social changes

However, the central question that arises is to what extent these economic changes influences have led to concomitant social and political changes. As a study by Xuewu Gu notes, the accession of China to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in November 2001 "…marked one of the most important steps of the Chinese government towards deepening the integration of the Chinese economy into the world economy and therewith going more deeply into the globalization." (China and its Reactions to Globalization)

The process of the opening up of the country to international trade has had obvious cultural and social consequences. One of these has been a liberalization and reform of health services. A recent report from the World Health Organizations states that "… China's planned health sector reforms are in line with principles of the World Health Organization (WHO) to provide equal access to universal health-care…" (WHO chief says China's health care reform in line with WHO principles) This is a development that has been commended by the WHO and other bodies.

There are also other encouraging signs of a movement within the country towards more freedom of expression and the acceptance of democratic ideals. A good example of this is the 2007 protest by thousands of people in Xiamen against the environmental and health danger of a planned chemical plant. This protest was organized at a grassroots level by the people. As a result the government agreed that the plant should be relocated. As one commentator notes" This result was a striking and widely discussed success for popular organization and expression in China. " (Gilboy and Read)

However, it is difficult to gauge the exact extent of the internal reform in the county that can be liked to the impact of globalization. Possibly one of the best conduits of knowledge about reform comes from reports from the Chinese people about how they perceive the effects of globalization. The changes that globalization brings in its wake are seen by many Chinese as a natural consequence of international progress. As Xuewu Gu notes, "…, the majority of the Chinese elite seems to believe that the trends of globalization are inevitable. They believe strongly there is no alternative to globalization." (China and its Reactions to Globalization) This has led to the view that the process of globalization has innate and unavoidable social and political consequences. This is related to the fact that most Chinese academics and scholars believe that "…globalization is not only an economic, but also a political and social process." (China and its Reactions to Globalization)

Many Chinese commentators are of the view that the process of globalization and the "pressure of the free flows of international capital" are in fact forcing change in the structure of the Chinese society and ," creating new strata relations, and waking new individual consciousness." (China and its Reactions to Globalization)

From this perspective globalization and economic change also results in a change in political structure. This is because the political tasks and endeavors of the country and party are being influenced and shaped not only by internal pressure that recognize the impact of globalization but also by global interaction and networking that is part of this process. This applies not only to China but many other modern states as well. As many Chinese experts realize,

The states are all facing the same problem: to identify chances and challenges caused… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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