A. THE GOOD NEWS: Globalization has many positive, innovative and dynamic aspects, all related to the
increased market access, increased access to capital, and increased access to technology and
information which have led to greater income and employment opportunities. There is no dearth of
examples: The world as a whole is definitely more prosperous and more healthy, with average per
capitaincomes tripling in the last fifty years, child mortality rates halving and life expectancy increasing
by ten years since 1965.
Trade flows also increased 12-fold in the past fifty years as a result of the removal of natural and
artificial barriers. Exports are now US$7 trillion a year, with more than a fifth of the world’s goods and
services being traded.
Capital flows expanded even faster,with Foreign Direct Investment amounting to US$400 billion in
1997, seven times its real level in the 1970’s and portfolio and other short-term capital flows amounted
to US$2 trillion in gross terms, three times what they were in the ‘80’s. These in turn pale in
comparison with what has happened in the foreign exchange markets, where volumes increased over a
hundred times between the mid-70’sand the mid-90’s, with a US$1.5 trillion daily turnover in 1998. At
the same time, international bank lending grew more than sixteen times, from US$265 million in 1973 to
US$4.2 trillion in 1994.
The Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which has given
globalization greater impetus in the last decade, is expected to increase global income by an estimatedUS$212-US$510 billion (from trade and efficiency gains and higher rates of return on capital) by 2001.
Movements of people have also increased. Tourism more than doubled between 1980 and 1996, from
260 million to 590 million travellers a year. Despite tight restrictions, international migration continues
to grow, and workers’ remittances amounted to US$58 billion in 1996.
In the information andcommunications area, time spent on international telephone calls more than
doubled between the first and second half of the last decade – from 33 billion minutes in 1990 to 70
billion minutes in 1996. At the same time, travel, the internet and the media have stimulated an
exponential growth in the exchange of ideas and information: 28,000 international NGO’s in 1993
where there were less than 600in 1964, As of mid-1998, there were an estimated 139 million internet
users, with the number of new subscribers doubling every year. The revolution in information and
communication technology, for example, have allowed people in the remotest villages access to the
most modern medical advice, while the potential for education is tremendous.
THE DISTURBING NEWS: While the world as awhole has benefited from globalization, there are
negative and marginalizing aspects of globalization. These are what have led to a backlash, as
reflected to a certain extent in the demonstrations by civil society accompanying recent international
conferences, and by increasing expressions of dissatisfaction at the governmental level.
1. Unbalanced Distribution of Benefits: Between Countries.The first negative aspect of
globalization is that its gains are not equally distributed, both between and within countries. Examples
of the badly skewed distribution among countries of the benefits of globalization can be gleaned from
the following data from the period1980 to 1997: While world per capita income increased, per capita
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income contracted in fifty nine countries,widening income disparities. Exports of goods and services
grew at less than 5% annually in 46 countries, and at less than 1% a year in 9 countries.
Insofar as financial flows are concerned, the majority (58%) of flows of foreign direct investment in
the ‘90’s went to developed countries. 85% of the FDI that went to developing and transition
economies went to only 20 countries, with the bottom...
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