SOURCE: International Herald Tribune
AUTHOR: Anand Giridharadas
DATE: 11 September
MUMBAI: A decade ago, the world hurtled toward a calendrical crisis, and India seized an opportunity.
An affliction called the Y2K bug impended. Thousands of Indian techies were marshaled to repair the software glitch. The rest is outsourcing history.
The outsourcing boom craved English speakers. Hole-in-the-wall “academies” from Kerala to Punjab began to sell English classes for a few dollars a week. A colonizer’s language was recast in the minds of many young lower-income Indians as a language of liberation, independence and mobility.
A decade hence, Indians who have achieved that mobility may struggle to understand the newspaper headlines in Mumbai in recent days. They tell of brigades of young men shattering the windows of shops and restaurants whose signs declare their names only in English, not in the regional language Marathi.
The men are cadres of a political party, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, that has electrified a section of lower middle-class youth in this city. Many of them view English as a language of exclusion: a secret code that, having become success’s prerequisite, traps millions of non-English speakers in failure. Continue reading
From Dani Rodrik’s blog
Whatever became of the anti-globalization movement? I learn from Robin Broad and John Cavanagh’s latest book, Development Redefined, that it is alive and well and now called the alter-globalization movement (for “alternatives to globalization”).
John Cavanagh directs the Institute for Policy Studies and has long been a thorn in the side of globalization’s cheerleaders…
As one might expect, the book takes swipes at the usual suspects: the Washington Consensus, the IFIs, the MNCs, Tom Friedman, and Jeff Sachs. Against the growth-focused and globalization-centered views of these institutions and commentators, Robin and John argue for a localized, community-based, self-sufficient model of development. What many others would celebrate as real development (for example the spread of commercial farming for export in the Philippines) they see as the destruction of local communities. They write: “We stand at a moment marking the end of what may well be the most destructive development era of modern history.”
Can we be talking about the same era during which, according to World Bank calculations, the number of people in extreme poverty fell (in absolute terms!) by 400 million people? Broad and Cavanagh don’t pay much attention to such figures because they seem to have a somewhat romantic view of the lives of rural poor, who apparently have a relatively decent quality of life until market forces in the form of international trade and MNCs encroach upon them.
Stiglitz is Right, Friedman is Wrong (source)
Among the throng of distinguished international guests participating in the first democratic transition of government in Paraguay’s 190-year history, former chief World Bank economist and current Columbia Professor of economics Joseph Stiglitz (who also was an advisor to the Clinton White House) was undoubtedly the most influential. Two days before left-leaning president-elect Fernando Lugo’s inauguration, Stiglitz’s lecture on globalization and equitable growth drew a full house to the “Grand Theater” of Paraguay’s central bank. Elites of various stripes filled the auditorium’s plush seats, as the country’s largest soy estate farmers, ranchers, industrialists, business leaders, and civil-society leaders showed up for a glimpse of what the new government’s economic and social policy might look like.
Notwithstanding the persistence of international media prophecies that Hugo Chavez’s economic game plan for Venezuela would be duplicated in Asuncion, President Lugo has given plenty of indication that he aims to provide pragmatic leadership. One tip-off to this is his naming of U.S.-educated macro-economist Dionisio Borda as Minister of Finance. Broadly respected and considered highly competent, Borda occupied the same post for two years in the outgoing government, where he headed a successful effort to balance public finances and achieve macroeconomic stability before resigning in protest over the failure of the prior Duarte administration to introduce more structural reforms of the public bureaucracy. Borda has emerged once again as the central figure of the team named by newly inaugurated President Fernando Lugo to execute his expressed goals of public-sector reform, equitable growth, and environmental sustainability. However, despite all attempts to distance himself from South America’s more muscular left, Lugo—like Brazilian president Lula on the eve of his inauguration—must weather the local elite’s deep apprehension over a government that counts among its mandates a directive to reduce the country’s grave social and economic inequalities. Continue reading
Sameer Dossani | June 28, 2008 on the Foreign Policy in Focus
In the final analysis, the food crisis is actually a convergence of two crises. The first is the crisis of speculation, characterized by a chronic “bubble economy.” Increased regulation and taxation of speculation of all kinds is the only long-term solution to this crisis.
The second is a crisis that has been a long time coming – the crisis of global agriculture which has been in many ways been a planned and calculated crisis. When agricultural policy is not made by citizens and their elected representatives but rather by international financial institutions and their market fundamentalist policies and by big agribusiness whose primary concern is their own bottom line, it is a recipe for disaster.
Food Is Different
Globalization has made more food available worldwide to more people at lower prices. But the current crisis demonstrates the limits of globalization and that the market for food may not be the same as for other products.
by Bruce Stokes
Globalization’s Pluses and Minuses
The world has become more dependent on imported grain in the past 40 years, but failing global grain stocks make it harder to ease shortages and high prices.
Robert Zoellick, head of the World Bank, warns that the unfolding food crisis could force 100 million people deeper into destitution and set back efforts to reduce world poverty by seven years.
In the midst of this crisis, the immediate humanitarian challenge is to feed the hungry. But the suddenness and breadth of the emergency has raised fundamental questions about the future of agricultural policy that will drive debates in Washington and other world capitals for years to come. The questions being posed about agricultural policies are complex and hard to answer.
Was it a mistake over the past generation to increasingly trust market forces to feed the world? Or are the problems that bedevil farmers today the residue of continued government interference in agricultural markets? Are current food prices a problem or the ultimate solution to future food needs? Does the world food system suffer from too much globalization or not enough?
In the search for answers to these questions, Washington is a Tower of Babel. Partisans of all stripes have seized on the crisis to justify their long-standing ideological positions on agriculture. Free-market proponents support a swift completion of the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations, which would cut American and European farm subsidies and allow developing countries to increase their food exports to rich countries. “The solution is to break the Doha Development Agenda impasse in 2008,” Zoellick said in April. Continue reading
by Muzaffer Vatansever & Mustafa Kutlay (courtesy Turkish Weekly opinion)
“Periods of high international capital mobility have repeatedly produced international banking crises, not only famously as they did in the 1990s, but historically.” Reinhart and Rogoff
Globalization has turned out to be one of the most controversial topics of our time. It is almost impossible to conclude a debate without touching upon at least one aspect of globalization. Moreover, it is not an easy job to make a comprehensive and adequate definition of it that leads to overselling of this term. Notwithstanding the definitional ambiguity, there is more or less consensus on what economic globalization is: It briefly refers to the abolishment of customs and trade barriers, the surge in technological developments and knowledge, the widespread liberalization and integration of financial markets, and the movements in labour markets (Figure-1)
Arguably, the most dynamic and unstable part of economic globalization is the financial side of the story. The recent financial crises have clearly demonstrated this fact, and proved that the deterioration in the financial system has the potential to plunge the overall economy into a crisis, per se. For instance, the perversion of the financial globalization had caused huge economic meltdown in Mexico and South Korea even these countries have solid macroeconomic fundamentals at the very beginning of the crises. For example, before the crisis in Mexico, the inflation fell from 130% in 1987 to 7% by 1994; economy was growing at an annual rate of 4.4%; while the government budget was -0.7%. The only problem was the current account deficit with 7.2% of GDP. The uncontrolled and very fast liberalization of the Mexican financial system has paved the way to full-fledged financial crisis. These and the similar other crises brought up one important point into the agenda of world economy: What are the risks associated with capital market liberalization, and in which ways: Continue reading