The concept of globalisation began to dominate the world since nineties and it has added new dimensions to pre-requisite of success of democracy in any country. It challenges the importance of the authority and welfare function of the state, the complex implications of which are far reaching to the developing countries. It is a multidimensional phenomenon comprising numerous complex and inter -related processes that have a dynamism of their own. It involves a deepening and broadening of rapid trans-boundary exchanges due to developments in technology, communications, and media. Such exchanges and interactions occur at all levels of governance and among non-state actors, creating a more interdependent world.
Globalisation has also affected domestic politics and thereby the capacity of governments to manage the new forces. Economic liberalisation and integration has led to greater income inequality within countries without strong welfare states as the incomes in increasingly demanded skilled workers rise while those of unskilled labour drop. The change in the nature and role of the state evoked concerns among the people at large. The relative autonomy of the state weakened and the dominant class acquired supremacy over it. The popular perception of the State as an instrument of modernisation and empowerment has also witnessed changes. In the 1990s when the market reforms shrunk the role of the State, the expectations from it did not materialise. Whenever the state found it difficult to accommodate all their demands, the discontended social groups used their identities to larger share from the State resources. The basic philosophy underlying the economic reform was that the state was no longer an active agent for development, but a facilitator for corporate business.
Coming of globalisation
At the close of the eighties the intensive phase of globalisation started mainly due to the pressing needs of developed countries to outlet the growing volume of surplus capital in less developed or underdeveloped countries in spheres of manufacturing, real estates, raw material extraction, financial sector, advertising, media etc. Between 1980 and 1990, the amount of capital directly invested in foreign lands nearly tripled. Prior to this unexpected and contingent events the global capitalism had produced a whole new technology of communication which made possible a virtual leap in the level of communication and exchange. Information could now be transferred still faster in enormous quantities, and global flows of information, money and people intensified at unprecedented speed. Recent scientific revolutions, particularly in the field of information technology and economic liberalisation have contributed in accelerating the onward process of globalisation. As regards economic liberation the formation of World Trade Organisation (WTO) and MIGA are the landmark achievements towards integration of world economy which is supposed to boost productivity and elevate the living standards in all parts of the world. In addition, the electronic information technologies are part and parcel of the new financial instruments many of which have technical powers which are clearly ahead of the protocols for their regulation .
Effects at large
As a result of technological development, especially in the electronic, transport and communication sectors, there has been a proliferation of economic, scientific, technological and cultural innovations, which have greatly affected all areas of human life and particularly the development process in the third world. In this region the process of globalisation has increased the vulnerability of the countries of the Third World which are in the process of being integrated into the world economy. As the recent financial crisis has illustrated, financial liberalisation including speculative and volatile financial flows over which the developing countries have little controls, in the absence of adequate institutional arrangements to manage the process has generated significant instability in the international economics with especially disasterous results for developing countries. It has become a new source of instability in both product and financial markets. This has already been observed by the economic crises in East Asian economies, few years ago. This new factor has intensified the issue and now it has become more complex insofar as the interconnectedness of the global economy is widening day by day. This competition has crossed the national boundaries. The 350 corporations whose combined sales come to a third of the aggregate Gross National Product (GNP) of the industrial world are giant beams in the structure of world capitalism, and by that very fact, entered a new source of national economic instability within individual national economies. Even today there exist no effective means to protect production within a nation if the transnationals should begin to shake’. As a result 80 countries containing a third of the world’s population are being increasingly marginalised, and over the past 20 years developing countries’ share of global trade fell from 0.8 to 0.4 per cent . The fact is that 3 billion people live on less than $2 a day, and 1.2 billion live on less than $ 1 a day. This horrific level of poverty persists despite unprecedented increases in global wealth in the past century.
Large socio-political effects
The new capital flow that comes in has totally changed the class character of the people. Now the market products only the goods that cater the needs of those who have high purchasing power because the profits are likely to be higher in such spheres. For the time being it created the impression of growth and prosperity. But the needs of the bulk of the population are normally neglected or overlooked. As a result, globalisation usually benefits people who can play the game, but the chances are very less for those who are resourceless, uneducated and those who make livelihood through traditional production activities. So, on the one hand it has brought the marvelous technological innovations such as email and flights that convert this earth and its people into a’global village’ but at the same time capital practices and ideological polarisation of the world has largely been removed. In nutshell, negative aspects of globalisation include the unnecessary interference of developed countries pressure to follow particular policies and programmes which are not very suitable to the people and society leading to imbalanced development and growth.
As a result of the globalisation and its all pervasive adverse effects society has resulted in a growing discontent and disenchantment among the people and thereby their isolation from power centres. The new middle class emerged in the era of neo-liberal policies of the government has adopted an exclusive and parochial approach that affected negatively the living conditions of the other classes and groups. It generated anomie trends in society. On the other the exclusion can be seen with the emergence of identity politics based on caste, especially among the lower strata of the society who are demanding wider power sharing in the political system.
In the circumstances good governance is viewed as the exercise of economic, political, and administrative authority to manage a country’s affairs at all levels and as the means by which states promote social cohesion and integration, and ensure the well-being of their population. The new turmoil among masses and the new forms of protest and struggle waged by a new set of actors as part of the continuing commitment to democracy, demand its deepening and broadening. They need to be located in the larger context of a world in transformaion. In this context, democracy witnessed two changes; First, the resurgence of the people themselves, both in consciousness and in behaviour. They are asserting their democratic rights and challenging the established order, at local levels to begin with, but affecting the entire social and political order. Secondly, there emerged a new social class of mediators in the political process and the activists. They are upper and middle class in their origin, but identify themselves with the lower orders of society – the poor, the oppressed and the segregated; social strata ranging from the untouchable and the destitude among the tribes and ethnic minorities, to the victims of sexual, ecological and generational descriminations, atrocities and violence. Globalisation needs to be countered not just with decentralised and regional alternatives, or new initiatives with regard to natural resources and ecology, but also with political and ideological initiatives at the national, regional and global levels
Dr. Rajkumar Singh
Professor and Head
P.G. .Dept. of Political Science
BNMU, West Campus