Globalization and World Order




This briefing attempts to provide a concise overview of the problems inherent within the process of globalization, and the root of these problems in the actual structure of the global economic order. Globalization has been promoted by neo-liberal theorists as the key to prosperity, equality and even peace. In fact, two decades of neo-liberal policies under the banner of globalization have led to massive political and economic catastrophes around the world, widening the gap between the rich North and the poor South. This paper provides a basic outline of the key elements of the global economic system and its role in increasing poverty, suffering and the marginalization of hundreds of millions of people, challenging the conventional view that the process of globalization under the tutelage of Western financial institutions is largely beneficial for the world.

I. The Global Structure of Economic Relations

“Those without one or both to sell or trade such as the poor and already marginalised in both industrialized and developing countries are clearly being further disempowered and peripheralised by such globalisation processes. This is true between countries (eg. traditional North and South), within countries (eg. the North and South within East and Southeast Asian countries) and among certain population, gender, age and skill groups globally (eg. non-indigenous versus indigenous peoples, men versus women, professional versus unskilled labour in both the traditional North and South, rich versus poor children).

“Financial liberalisation, for example, has already resulted in a significant shift of resources and power in favour of those who have capital globally, thereby leading to a further concentration of capital in fewer and fewer hands. Full capital account liberalisation as demanded by the IMF, and even more starkly in Fukiyama’s vision of the ‘end of history’ will, if implemented, therefore, represent the biggest single shift in the balance of power in favour of those who have already accumulated capital at the expense of labour globally”.

II. International Institutions and Organisations