Globalization in What Ways Might Globalization Render Research Paper

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In What Ways Might Globalization Render the Nation-State Relatively Weak (and Is This Necessarily a Bad Thing)?

In What Ways Might Globalization Render the Nation-State

Relatively Weak (and Is This Necessarily a Bad Thing)?

There is hardly any nation, state, government, people, or society anywhere in the world that has not been affected by globalization, whose basic definition of which is the integration of economies and societies the world over where several barriers of which have been eliminated to facilitate communication, interaction and commerce. Although some may think that globalization has only been a recent phenomenon occurring during the last several decades, this is hardly the case. The reason being is that globalization has always been part of humankind's history especially whence early humans have learnt how to travel vast distances and interact with other groups, cultures, and societies. These travels and interactions allowed several things and events to occur from peaceful migration and coexistence, to exchange of knowledge and ideas, and even inter-racial or group marriages or informal unions.

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On the downside of this historical globalization, conquests and subjugations of lands, peoples, societies and nations have occurred especially when the nation-states that were readily controlled were weak. Past forward to the globalization occurring at present and there may be parallels to what has been before and what is happening at present whereby some nation-states might have been rendered relatively weak. But stating a situation of weakness such as this need to be defined clearly first especially since showing weakness may be a bad thing for any nation-state. Thus, it is pertinent first to know what are the drivers of today's globalization that may or may influence the power structure or influence-base of a nation-state.

Research Paper on Globalization in What Ways Might Globalization Render Assignment

Globalization is characterized by an increasing volume of cross-border financial capital flows, the internationalization of production by transnational corporations, and information and knowledge exchanges (Haslam, 1999, p. 41) In looking at these, it is apparent that several changes occur in nations due to globalization. In studying how or what changes occur in nation-states as they become integral part of the globalize world, an interesting area to begin with is by "reviewing of studies on the processes of globalization revealing that we are facing a multifaceted phenomenon containing economic, social, political, cultural, religious and legal dimensions, all interlinked in complex fashion (De Sousa Santos, 2002)."

True indeed, globalization having several aspects and factors that tend to change the way any nation-state act or do things so as to be aligned with the requisites of globalization. For instance, an economically sound and independent nation may have a hard time maintaining its independence especially with globalization that requires such nation to engage in international trade, commerce and foreign exchange thereby competing in the international monetary market. If this particular nation does not have sound economic and monetary policies that are in tuned with international monetary policies, the nation might see itself having problems with the economy because it cannot compete globally. Indeed, once a nation chooses to be part of globalization, "any specific degree of international integration imposes constraints on the ability of governments to tax, redistribute income, and influence macroeconomic conditions. But those constraints must not be exaggerated, and their effects are often beneficial. (Wolf, 2001, p. 190)" Consequently, the nation-state did not really weaken but occurred as a result of its inability to improve its policies to keep up with the policies in being part of the economic aspect of globalization. "Moreover the ever increasing power of multinational companies (MNCs) means that nation states increasingly need to take their influence into account. In other words, international actors increasingly influence the policies of the nation state, and in this sense contemporary capitalism is experiencing an important structural change. (Subasat, 2004)"

In the example above, a nation-state has become sort of weak not because of the economic and monetary policies of globalization but the nation's inability to reconfigured its own policies to enabled itself to meet the dictates of these aspects of globalization. In another factor, the existence of multinational and transnational corporations and the globalize businesses done by these all powerful entities may have weakened the nation-state. As what Bonanno writes in Globalization, Transnational Corporations, the State and Democracy (2004): "globalization has weakened the nation-state and transformed it into an agent of transnational capital (TNC). TNCs' ability to bypass the state is a factor which only partially works in their favor. It is limiting because it diminishes the state capacity to control social and economic contradictions and ultimately intervenes in favor of TNCs." This insight has been quite true not only in the globalization of today but in yesteryears also. It is not all difficult to see how nations support these TNCs that have global presence especially if these TNCs are provided huge revenues for the government of theta nation. For instance, some of the policies of the United States during its engagement in the Afghan and Iraqi Wars were changed to favor the private security agencies and consultants. Globalization has gone the way of providing private security and consulting instead of the United States military providing these core competencies themselves.

What occurred in the scenario above is that the United States as a nation-state appeared to have weakened particularly with regards to foreign military and security policies. Instead of letting the organic military and police personnel of the nation provide these, the nation has kowtowed to these private firms and even went far as becoming these private firms very own marketing arm. Military and security private "contractors develop a dependency on government contracts which leads them to search for, and gain access to, insider information and intelligence in order to pursue corporate objectives, influence the procurement process and to participate in government policy making. (Whitfield, 2001, p. 157)" Having these kinds of knowledge and access have undermined the United States as a strong nation-state because instead of its globalize policy on military and security coming from the ranks of the government, the private sector and TNCs have been having their say for the longest time now. Hence, the policies formulated then after "hearing the opinions of the private sector and TNCs" are more than likely geared towards the benefit of these private lobbyist rather than the benefit of the American nation.

If the weakening of a nation-state is being blamed on globalization, the weakening can be attributed to the power that the government of that weakened nation-states has. In the case of how the TNCs are controlling the American government in its policies on global security and military, the case therein is that the government allowed itself to be dictated by these private entities. In Saskia Sassen's The State and Globalization: Denationalized Work and Internal Power Shifts, the author postulates (2006): "There is today a growing alignment between the interests of the executive (or Prime minister's office) and the global corporate and political agenda, and a growing disalignment with the larger public agenda enacted through legislatures and democratic representation. This is well illustrated by the fact that when a country becomes an IMF 'program country,' the IMF will only deal with the executive branch; it will not deal with legislatures." As a result of globalization putting an imbalance in the power of the various branches of a democratic government, the governing function weakened because the power and influenced-based has been accorded to the branch supporting global initiatives. As in the case presented, an IMF program country suddenly becomes under the control of the IMF instead of the government. Although there supposed to have been a check and balance between the executive branch and the legislative branch of that nation, the globalization policies initiated by the IMF on the nation has lessen the power of the legislature and made the executive branch the puppet of the IMF.

In the case of the IMF example above, this global banking institution has become a powerhouse and a power broker that dictates to nations how to formulate their policies. An example provided by Whitfield in Public Services or Corporate Welfare: Rethinking the Nation State in the Global Economy (2001, p. 241): "The IMF has merged its structural adjustment programme into the PRFG which requires recipient countries to prepare a Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper outlining poverty reduction priorities and economic policies as the basis for all financial support. The IMF now has control of poverty reduction strategies!" It is indeed surprising how because of an institution that drives globalization is providing wherewithal to some nation-states, this institution (i.e. IMF or World Bank) can tell the nation-state what policies to implement on how to govern the nation. It is truly sad that this is but one of the negative effects of globalization that weakens the nation state. The long and short of it all is that despite this effect on the nation by globalization, a nation-state can always exercise its autonomy and independence by not letting itself become weak due to some of the weakening policies of globalization.

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