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Objective observers cannot but agree that the world has never been a better place than this and now.
Norberg ascribes and attributes the swift adoption of globalization to the freedom of decision-making, whereby it has enabled individuals and economic freedom as the precedence for political freedom (2003). He writes:
In the long run, it is hard for dictatorships, once they have accepted economic freedom, to avoid introducing political liberty as well (p 269)."
He zeroes in on the relationship between freedom of all kinds and globalization as his overall and primary defense of global capitalism and globalization. He views global free markets as the best culture and path for individual freedom of choice that has spurred him since student days as an acknowledged anarchist who shock fellow anarchists with his analytical abilities. The focus, therefore, should be on bringing this freedom to peoples who have not experienced it before and they are those in developing countries and not in Western countries. Norberg expresses delight that global capitalism has removed constraints and that people who experience and use this freedom are no longer subject to the decisions of the national elites, who include local monopolies, local authorities, and politicians. Globalization fosters competition among local powers or bypasses these local powers, in the process, affords people more freedom to make choices, such as what things to import, what cultural influences to adopt, places to travel to, and people to meet.
Norberg also calls attention to the rights that women have gained from globalization (2003). These rights, traditionally enjoyed only by men, include acquiring a business, attaining an education and inheriting money. In a globalized economy such as ours today, women, who constitute half of the world population, are a vast potential resource. They can now develop, contribute and work on their own ideas, create products and get employment. Discrimination means disadvantaging that other half of the world's population and a society or employer loses immense opportunities. There are ongoing discussions in Saudi Arabia on allowing women to drive and the expense in hiring drivers from other countries just to drive women around. Allowing them to drive does not seem a likely or immediate probability, but merely discussing the matter indicates the behavior of basic economics and basic capitalism are in the direction of endowing women more rights.
Norberg sets forth the second reason for defending globalization as a good thing. New goods, new ideas and more people who cross national borders allow them to observe other countries' ways of living and discover more alternatives for themselves (2003). Women and other oppressed people who visit or go to other countries get to observe how their counterparts are treated in the West and develop new aspirations and ideas on how they want to be treated in their home countries. Globalization allows all kinds of new ideas and behaviors to cross and develop because traditional and national boundaries are relaxed. Communist-run Vietnam was one case Norberg used to demonstrate this. In the mid-80s, the people were starving. Its government looked out for a model and saw Taiwan and its success at globalizing. When Vietnam chose to globalize, the Vietnamese began to price land and open their market to investments and trade. Agriculture quickly picked up and went on to progress, until it became one of the world's largest rice exporters. In addition, foreign investments and factors poured in and gave the Vietnamese new opportunities and new resources, raising their standard of living.
Norberg remains optimistic that freedom will prevail through setbacks, such as protectionist trends and trade negotiation failures (2003). He is confident that individuals who have experienced freedom will not easily or finally be stifled by these dissenting developments and reactions, but will come together to improve their existence in this world they live in. They will insist on that freedom and on democracy, which are the aim of politics itself (Norberg p 291).
Jagdish Bhagwati (2004) contributes his own view in support of globalization in his own similarly-entitled book, "In Defense of Globalization." He expressed as much moral outrage as do Norberg and anti-globalization advocates without being complacent about the situation. He considers liberal trade the primary driver of globalization and a most essential factor in increasing incomes and in improving long-term development prospects for the poor people of the world. Bhagwati thinks that even the best-intentioned trade protection eventually leads to ill or disadvantageous consequences that aggravate the conditions of the poor, whom it is intended to help.
Bhagwati (2004) does not think that activist non-governmental organizations or NGOs should campaign for policies, which could directly or indirectly create or induce general trade impediments. He does not see economic integration is not good enough by itself but perceives that many carefully-weighed and carefully-implemented steps must be taken to increase the benefits that can accrue to the poor.
Norberg (2003) asserts that the farther one gets from the West, the more favorable is the reaction to globalization, towards more business and trade links with other countries in the world. This is an agreeable view, knowing that the most vocal opponents of globalization and proponents of anti-globalization in poor countries are individuals and groups receiving funding support from critics in rich countries. The U.S. textile industry, for example, has financed many anti-sweatshop campaigns. Unions trying to education people on the ills of free trade, block NAFTA agreements, WTO negotiations actually have financial and logistics backup from affluent parties or countries.
Globalization has set in like a violent outpour of combined forces and, at the rate, it has been going, it cannot be stopped or changed significantly. Many and more are getting into the pace, good and ill elements of all societies. Suddenly, governments of the world witness one another in a simultaneous and one-stage, which has been un-predicted, unprecedented and un-rehearsed. The big and the small are putting in their own contributions, with no one superior or universal authority orchestrating the events or conducting checks and balances. Traditional world powers, like the U.S., Japan, China and EU countries and global NGOs can establish policies and constraints as they tried to in the wake of 9/11, but given the failures of such policies, constraints and agreements, it is doubtful at this time if globalization trends can be stopped, changed or reversed.
A truly, popular and unified front from all the dominant powers in the world may slow the trends down. But this unified front, which in itself, is difficult to reach, considering the individual vested interests and respective agendas of these world powers and international organizations, requires the mass support of the poor who stand to lose the most in any more conditions of instability and conflict. Norberg believes that he first thing to develop and communicate is moral outrage that should come out of poor people's understanding of the costs at stake. According to him, the public must know that everybody loses when powerful nations refuse to live by the free market code they themselves advocate.
Globalization is for the increase of rights of peoples in their own countries. This sounds good if the overall quality of life is raised. But when it means removing national boundaries, adopting foreign culture and introducing them at home, or imposing domestic culture in a foreign land, as what has been occurring in the global scene, problems have risen and more can be expected with the portent of a single global society evolving and forming. Increase in wealth, easy knowledge and broader communication are all lovely if all the participants have the common good or justice as basis for these expansions. But the accompanying threats to peace, health and life, such as global terrorism, spread of incurable diseases and the destruction of age-old values and national traditions do not justify the "progress" offered or promised by globalization.
Bhagwati, Jagdish. In Defense of Globalization. Oxford University Press, 2004
Fisher, Stanley and Michael…[continue]
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