Negative Perspectives on the Challenges and Results of Globalization Term Paper

Pages: 10 (3360 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Government

Globalization (Negative viewpoint)

Globalization/Negative Viewpoint

In the issue of globalization, since the start of the modern round of political moves geared toward increasing it, France has seemingly been the 'mine canary,' reacting first and somewhat explosively against the progress of globalization. It has been followed by Canada (particularly French Canada) and feminists; in short, there is a certain Gallic cultural 'softness' encapsulated in the drive against the 'challenges' of globalization; there is arguably also a logic predicated on the female principle, which is to say, one thing leading to another, rather than a masculine principle, one characterized by might making right.

This may seem like an extreme view, linking globalization with the gods -- arguably of war, although in politicians' clothing -- and anti-globalization with the goddess principle. But it is borne out in even a short assessment of salient facts and events beginning as long ago as the Disney implantation in France (Krishnan 1996, 1)

The beginnings of revolution: France

It seems many of the world's politicians have forgotten the French Revolution, taking place shortly after the American one, with peasants on battlements and a hue and cry for the nobles to get out of the way and allow some goods to trickle down to the poor. Feminism came to the fore as well. In 1791, a Frenchwoman named Olympe de Gouge wrote a Declaration of the Rights of Women. The butcher's daughter is regarded as "one of the most outspoken and articulate women revolutionaires" although the result of her efforts was, in 1973, execution by guillotine for treason.

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De Gouges wrote, "Oh, women, women! When will you cease to be blind? What advantage have you received from the Revolution? A more pronounced scorn, a more marked disdain" (Halsall 1997). Further, she exhorted women to "...unite yourselves beneath the standards of philosophy; deploy all the energy of your character, and you will soon see these haughty men, not groveling at your feet as servile adorers, but proud to share with you the treasures of the Supreme Being. Regardless of what barriers confront you, it is in your power to free yourselves; you have only to want to...." (Halsall 1997).

Term Paper on Negative Perspectives on the Challenges and Results of Globalization Assignment

For all her fervor, de Gouge was naive, not unlike modern women who had arguably thought Feminism would finally see them included as equal partners in the commerce of the world, sharing equally in the benefits of that commerce. Globalization has, however, pointed out the fallacy of that belief in distressing ways.

In the late 1700s, as for most of its history (Charlemagne, the Louis dynasty), France has been ruled by authoritarian men. Krishnan (1996) contends that was no less true in 1995, when globalization and French dissent ran headfirst into each other, with intellectuals -- who might and usually are linked with the feminine principle -- supporting the peasants in their protest against a complex of changes designed to make their lives 'better' and more global, which they saw as shorthand for robbing the poor to pay the rich. Krishnan writes, of the standoff between French railway workers and the state, "An explosive French political and social life in turn is linked to the authoritarian nature of the political system. The president is all-powerful for seven years, and with the current huge majority held by the president's allies in parliament there is little space or motivation for compromise." Compromise is often seen as a feminine principle.

Krishnan believed the events clearly had "global implications" at a time when nations were "experiencing a social and economic crisis and a breakneck transition from one form of social organization to another," that other being the global economy (1996). Krishnan compared the events of December 1995 to those of May 1968 when thousands of students manned the ramparts in Paris and protested government excesses in a movement that paralyzed the country for a month and left a deep imprint on the political, cultural, and social life of an entire generation, both inside and outside of France" (1996).

Reagonomics and its fellow travelers

The student strike, arguably liberal in its underpinnings as are most student uprisings, students being the educated version of the penniless peasant, did not have a lasting effect. By December of 1995, the true peasants, the railway workers, carried out a strike that "opened up some breathing space in the suffocating right-wing ideological climate that has characterized France and most of the world since the early 1980s" when globalization, although possibly not noted in the press, was well underway. It was linked to President Nixon's rapprochement with China; it was linked with Reaganomics; it was linked with Bush I's armed excursions in the Caribbean. In France, "The overriding message of the strike and social movement is that the right-wing offensive of cutbacks and layoffs is not the 'only possible economic policy' as the French and most everyone else have been told ad nauseam in recent times" (Krishnan 1996, 1).

Over the next several years, however, nothing changed. As globalization expanded, cutbacks and layoffs did also, at least in the developed countries, where the jobs of the peasants, and even some of the educated peasants such as it workers, were 'offshored' to the nations that had been opened up by Nixon-style junketing, Reaganomics and Bush's military thuggery. It is unfortunate that the French strike (following vociferous French dissent several years earlier at the implantation of a sterile Disney theme park where luscious French onions once grew) did not, in fact, operate as more than a "stiff rebuke" -- unheeded -- to the "richest, most productive, and developed countries in the world" that were subjecting their citizens to "mass unemployment, growing homelessness, declining quality of and access to basic utilities, inequality between regions, environmental degradation, and xenophobia" (Krishnan 1996, 1). At the moment, with the American invasion of Iraq and assorted other sorties, it is not necessary even to support Krishnan's claim about xenophobia further.

In any case, Krishnan compared the revolt to the Zapatista uprising in Mexico in January 1994, coinciding with the North American Free Trade Agreement. "In both cases, it wasn't so much a revolt against the idea of globalization as against the steamroller character of the 'globalization' currently underway: a 'globalization' characterized primarily by the thirst for markets and profit of a small number of multinational corporations and financial institutions based overwhelmingly in the rich Western countries and Japan" (Krishnan 1996, 1). In short, it was a completely masculine, completely bellicose maneuver of the same sort de Gouge lamented more than 200 years earlier.

Imperialism revisited and reinvented

In a long article directed toward teachers, McLaren and Farahmandpur (2001, 136) wanted to "bear witness to the unabated mercilessness of global capitalism and the impassable fissure between capital and labor."

Their contention was similar to that of de Gouge and Krishnan, although expressed in even more strident tones than either of those authors managed. "Today," they wrote:

millions of workers are being exploited by a relatively small yet cunningly powerful global ruling class driven by an unslakable desire for accumulation of profit. Little opposition exists as capitalism runs amok, unhampered and undisturbed by the tectonic upheaval that is occurring in the geopolitical landscape -- one that has recently witnessed the collapse of the Soviet Union and the regimes of the Eastern Bloc.

It would be hard to find anyone on the planet who would pair the term "cunningly powerful global ruling class" with women or peasants, even with the measly eight percent of French male laborers who were unionized as of 1995 (Krishnan 1996, 1).

136 and Farahmandpur (2001) are implacable in their charges against globalization, calling the authors of globalization "a growing cabal of techno-crazed global robber barons" from which they find no respite. "As we attempt to flee a culture of endless acquisition, we find ourselves at the mercy of an even more terrifying corporate culture shaping our subjectivities. According to Hayat Imam (1997), 'Today... 'creation of wealth' has become the fundamental value at the center of global society" (quoted by McLaren and Farahmandpur 2001, 136). They lament that there is not found, in any of this, so much as a hint of discussion of issues of morality, humanity, social conscience...and their contention is difficult to dispute, especially when the cite "severance packages for corporate bosses that exceed the combined salaries of an army of factory workers" (McLaren and Farahmandpur 2001, 136). For one very facile demonstration of their contention, one need only look at Martha Stewart. She has transformed the lares and penates -- the old Roman household gods -- into symbols of corporate greed, prevarication, self-aggrandizement. She became her company and her company became her; she is arguably the ultimate expression of the 'company man.' Her raid on the halls of financial power would have been excused; it was her lying to the 'other guys' -- in short, not being a 'stand up guy' -- that got her into trouble. But what trouble: her wealth is apparently undiminished and it would be surprising if her company… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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