Globalization and Future of Poor Countries
By M. Monwarul Islam
July 6, 2002
Words have power and some words, such as freedom and democracies, evoke in our mind emotional images that far outweigh their practical meanings. To many of us globalization sounds like a great idea. One may be forgiven for thinking that globalization would bring about the end of narrow nationalism, selfish isolationism and the reckless pursuit of commercial and economic interests. A whole array of multilateral institutions, think tanks and the prevailing media have been fostering the notion that globalization is the way of the future and the there can be no return to the old order. In fact, even though we may not have realized it, we are already part of the globalization process. It is thus natural to ask what the future holds for us. Like poor relations it is also natural for us to wonder if what our rich relations of the so called global village tell us about sharing and caring for each other is the whole truth. Close linkages and relationships are fine, but by themselves they mean nothing. One must ask what these relationships are, who drives the process and to what extent the sharing of the benefit is fair and equitable to all, large and small, rich and poor.
Global trade, exchange and networking are not new phenomena. However, in the last three decades, several developments have provided powerful impetus to the acceleration of the process and all of these have their origin in the rich countries of the industrialized world. First the spurt in technological progress raised productivity in the west at a time when their markets had become saturated. The population had. aged and the working population started to decline. The economy stagnated. It was clear that markets had to be found abroad. Naturally, the urge was felt most immediately by large corporations who started by trading abroad, but soon followed up with local manufacturing. Second, the developed...