Term Paper: IR Econ Todaro Notes That Borders

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IR Econ

Todaro notes that borders have become more porous, while "national politics (have become) inexorably more restrictive" (2002, p. 575). Despite this internal disjuncture, the fact is that globalization has become more prevalent in recent years, and it has done so across a wide array of global endeavors, from agriculture to business to education and even unionism. The following glimpses of developments in those areas of world events and more will bring into focus the extent to which globalization has arguably gone beyond a measurable phenomenon and into the status of 'fact of life.' The question is, however: does globalization imply interdependence, or some other structure for the world economy?

A measurable increase: Biotechnology

Bartholomew doesn't attempt to convince anyone that globalization is on the rise; rather, she, like Todaro, posits that as fact. She also posits as fact that technology and innovation is, in the current climate, driving global economic competition. What she does find worthy of discussion is a "heightened interest in the technological advantage of nations" (1997, p. 241). Oddly enough, in a study that seems to suggest a return on one level to the importance of nation over cooperation, she notes that "technological development is considered a location-specific phenomenon, rooted in the skills, capabilities and knowledge that accumulate over time in the national innovation system" (Bartholomew 1997, p. 241) of whatever nation. However, she cites other research, by Ohmae (1990) that suggests that "the whole concept that national economic performance is determined by domestic technological capabilities has been challenged by the view that national technological and economic frontiers are 'melting away' into what Ohmae (1990) calls the 'ILE" (inter-linked economy)" (Bartholomew 1997,p. 241).

All this is simply preface, however, to Bartholomew's main contention: that in the area of Biotechnology, at least, "National innovation systems are...connected to each other through simultaneous pressures of reinforcement and dislocation" (Bartholomew 1997, p. 241), but that, in the end, globalization will not be more important than each nation-state's work in biotechnology. Global interdependence is not the way Bartholomew sees world economics; rather, she sees globalization as a reinforcer of highly individual and even isolationist economies.

Bartholomew defines biotechnology as "the manipulation of living organisms, or parts thereof, for the production of goods and services" and notes that, according to that definition, "humans have been engaged in biotechnology throughout history in efforts to modify the characteristics of animals and plants through selective breeding and cross-fertilization, in the productive use of micro-organisms in the making of bread, wine and beer" (Bartholomew 1997, p. 241). The real revolution arguably began, however, at about the same time globalization began to become not a "Star Trek" theory, but a reality. In the 1970s and 1980s, Bartholomew notes, a "biotechnology revolution" began "when developments in molecular biology made it possible to precisely alter the genetic structure of living organisms. Critical new technologies such as genetic engineering (recombinant DNA) and cell fusion (hybridoma technology) have laid the foundation for 'the new biotechnology' (hereafter referred to simply as biotechnology) and a new era of industrial advance" (Bartholomew 1997, p. 241).

Bartholomew notes that in the new biotechnology environment, common wisdom would suggest that the success of nations will depend upon their capacity to support the development of technological advantages, as well as to manage their own sociocultural systems, being altered by the innovations in science and the impact of those on daily and business life.

It is also thought, she notes, that "This capability is particularly important in biotechnology as new advances begin to challenge deeper concepts that have bound societies together since the beginning of time. Advances in genetic and tissue engineering, for example, threaten our traditional understanding of something as fundamental to our identity as kinship" (Bartholomew 1997, p. 241). It would seem logical to conclude, therefore, that there would be some resistance to globalization because of these potential pitfalls. In fact, that is what Bartholomew observes: Despite the suggestion that the interlinked economy is "becoming so powerful that it is pushing the nation-state towards the status of a declining industry (Ohmae 1990), the opposite is true.

Bartholomew concludes that "when technology challenges our very notions of social identity, the nation-state becomes even more important -- both for its institutional mechanisms to integrate technological progress with public interest, and for its symbolic significance as a community that helps strengthen our sense of identity itself" (Bartholomew 1997, p. 241). Bartholomew, in her lengthy discussion, provides ample evidence that "the organization of work and patterns of communication within and between firms, or between firms and universities, reflect broader societal characteristics that have been imprinted on firms and institutionalized over time" -- in short, globalization has demanded and continues to demand inter-relationships which reinforce globalization itself, but which reinforce independence rather than interdependence.

Globalization of education

It is safe to say that education is of prime importance to biotechnology, whether one accepts Ohmae's or Bartholomew's viewpoint. Tye surveyed global education curricula in order to offer "U.S. educators some ideas for connecting themselves and their students with the world" (2003, p. 165).

In some ways, Tye's findings support Bartholomew's contention: His major finding was that "throughout the world, schooling is still seen as a major force in the building of national loyalties" but "This is true despite the inexorable movement toward regional and international cooperation and the growing interconnectedness of the global systems mentioned in the definition above" (Tye 2003, p. 165).

He found, too, that the global issues identified by his survey respondents seemed to be a laundry list of disciplines in which globalization is often discussed even in the consumer media. These issues were "ecology/environment, development/sustainability, intercultural/multicultural relations, peace, technology, human rights, democracy/civic education, international organizations, population, health (including AIDS), racism and gender discrimination, and global citizenship" (Tye 2003, p. 165). Notably lacking in that list is the business, or industry, or commerce. Of course, this might have been a result of the way his study was structured, and his definition of global education as education that "involves learning about those problems and issues which cut across national boundaries and about the interconnectedness of systems -- cultural, ecological, economic, political, and technological" (Tye 2003, p. 165). Tye conducted his study in fourteen nations, including six he profiled extensively: Australia, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the People's Republic of China.

Most importantly, however, his work sheds light on that of Bartholomew; it is possible her conclusions were colored by the fact that in an isolationist move, the United States withdrew from UNESCO in 1984, arguably when the scent of globalization was truly in the wind. It would be easy, if one did not conduct verifiable research, to conclude from a United States ethnocentric posture, that the independent nation-state continues to be the preferred status of nations, rather than some increasingly interdependent version. Also supporting the possibility that Bartholomew was operating from an insular viewpoint characteristic of the United States, Tye points out that the Associated Schools Project of UNESCO (ASP) connects schools from several countries, but also notes that "Unfortunately, far too few U.S. schools are involved in such multinational projects" (Tye 2003, p. 165). On the other hand, "As of 2001, 6,600 schools in 168 countries were members of the (ASP) program. The main purpose of ASP is to encourage educational institutions that have been selected by their national UNESCO commissions to organize programs designed to increase knowledge and understanding of world problems and cultures (www.unesco.org/education/asp)" (Tye 2003, p. 165), almost certainly a signal that globalization is proceeding, even at the level of basic education. It would seem equally unlikely that so great an undertaking would be conducted in a vacuum, that is, unless there truly was enough global interdependence already to support the globalization education of the world's children.

Indeed, this concept is supported by the existence of half a dozen other large, globalization-oriented programs, including:

Comenius: Approximately 1200 schools in more than 30 nations participate and collaborate on a particular globalization issue. This organization was begun as part of the European Union's SOCRATES initiative (Tye 2003, p. 165).

Europe-Wide Global Education Congress: this is more recent and is intended to crate a strategy for increasing global education in Europe to the year 2015 (Tye 2003, p. 165).

Classrooms Across Borders Project: This was also a European initiative, but dedicated to bringing more interdependence in education to the Balkan states (Tye 2003, p. 165).

A iEARN: Tye describe this as "Perhaps the most accessible international network for American teachers and students" (Tye 2003, p. 165). In this, more than 400,000 students in more than 90 nations collaborate; in addition, there are face-to-face meetings for teachers as well (Tye 2003, p. 165).

Tye makes reference, also, to Oscar Arias, former president of Costa Rica and winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1987, that globalization has not "marked a new age of moral progress but instead has signaled the solidification of a world economic order based on cynicism and individual profit" (Tye 2003,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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