Globalization and its Impact on the Common Man


I have not categorised my blogs till now, but I intend to do that soon. Musings are getting more random by the week.

I thought I should share some thoughts on world’s favourite topic – “Globalization”. I am no economist, or politician, and my thoughts are purely based on what I perceive from various inputs and my own thinking on the subject.

Globalization means different things to different folks – for the developing world, this surely means access to developed countries’ markets, and free movement of labour and capital. While these emerging economies have to open up their own largely closed economies to the world, they do so at a controlled pace negotiated at WTO Meetings which go on for ever. The primary motive on all sides is, ofcourse, increased trade and investment opportunities.

Developed countries want quicker access to the large consumer and industrial markets in the developing economies, especially the BRIC Countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China. There are other countries they are interested in, ofcourse, such as Vietnam, Malaysia, Chile, Saudi Arabia, etc., There is however, an inherent conflict in their market-opening tactics, which can only be termed as arm-twisting in most cases. The conflict arises in respect of agriculture – while advanced countries wish to safeguard their powerful farm lobbies, they want developing countries to completely open up their agriculture sector. Not only that, some countries wish to impose their advanced technologies in the name of improving crop yields – without much talk or amplification on the impact of genetically modified/engineered seeds.

Given the fact that I am neither an economist nor a trade official, nor an agriculturist, it is difficult to be accurate in some of these assertions apart from the strong influence caused by reading newspapers and magazines with differing perspectives on these issues. I think many of the emerging economies do need advanced techniques of farming, and can learn a lot from Israel in that aspect of agriculture. Improving crop yields would lead to much more efficient utilisation of arable land, while reducing the demand for scarce resources such as water. However, a more collaborative effort between the farmers of United States, for instance, and India, in a concerted effort on educating the Indian farmers to the advantages to be gained by using technology in farming, as a showcase example, will go a long way towards reducing suspicions. At the same time, gradual reduction of farm subsidies by the European Union and the U.S. will help in a faster integration of global economies with respect to agricultural trade.

Common Man on the streets of India hardly ever understands WTO and trade talks. He feels the impact of globalisation in several direct ways in today’s world – increased petrol prices at the pump, global brand names in shopping malls, mobile phone connectivity, broadband-induced knowledge of what’s going on around the world, secondary demand created on high-quality farm produce and fruits seen at super markets all around in cosmopolitan cities, et al. The most common man do not even view all these as threats – the farmer in the hinterlands of India welcomes the advantages and benefits of the internet which he has seen via the ITC eChoupal Project (http://www.echoupal.com/). More than 3.5 million farmers have benefited by this project.

I would therefore, argue, that globalization is no threat to the common man around the world. The impact has mostly been positive, and it should encourage the developed nations invest in developing countries for joint education efforts for mutual advancement and trade benefits. I have not seen a lot of work in this area, and if such work is going on, it is normally not seen or felt by the common man. Governments have to be more pro-active in collaboration, and not highlight any threat due to the impending fear of job losses in the farming sector, whether it is a developed or developing economy.

Globalization should be delivered as a supplementary subject by 5th Standard (Primary 5) to primary school pupils, to derive a strong advantage from developing a global perspective and a collaborative viewpoint in our youngsters. The economic and social impact of globalization will then be better understood as these youngsters progress towards becoming global citizens.

That’s all for today, Folks !

Best Regards

VIJAY SRINIVASAN
Camp : Bangalore

1 April, 2006

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14 thoughts on “Globalization and its Impact on the Common Man

  1. Education for a broader global perspective really needs to begin in the developed world, Mister Vijay, and how our increasing connectedness means we have no choice but to cooperate. As for agriculture, this cooperation might come in the form of sustainable farming practices which preferably serve to provide subsistence for the common man in the first instance, and not cash crops for fat westerners. I would argue that the farmer suicides in India are a tragic consequence of globalisation and the unsustainable farming practices it encourages.

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