Assessment of the Essay of “the Fourth World War Has Begun
Globalization is a process that integrates all the nations around the world, by the unification of global economy with the worldwide exchange of products and services (David, 2002). With that unification, the other matters, such as politics, technology, capital, labor force and culture, all have to undergo a international interaction and fusion. The rapid developments of information and telecommunication technology in recent years, as well as the construction of infrastructure like transportation, have promoted and accelerated the globalization process by connecting people more closely and compressing the time and space for communication.
As a result, the nations are becoming more closely interdependent in today’s world. The four basic aspects of globalization identified by the IMF (International Monetary Fund) in 2000 includes: the trade and transactions cross borders, capital flow and investment, international migration of people and spread of knowledge. Globalization is a rather controvertial topic and the supporters and opponents are both numerous. The essay of “The Fourth World War Has Begun” by Marcos focuses on the negative sides of globalization on a global perspective.
First, the greedy and warlike logic of contemporary capitalism and markets, which has prospered since the end of the Cold War, is described. A comprehension of globalization as “world war” has been provided, and this war is fought between the candidates of ruling power of world economy, and the victims are the poor and the humanity, as well as the independence of states and national culture. What the war seeks is a redistribution of the world, and in the process more serious inequality has been caused.
The national states have been subordinated to the logic of transnational financial power and commercial free trade, and are reduced to play the sole role of securing markets. Then a fragmented world caused by globalization, which intends on the unification, is descried. And the tattered picture contains seven pieces that could not be combined together. The seven pieces are: inequality and poverty, globalization of exploitation, migration of people, the globalization of crime and state power, legitimate violence, the emergence of mega-politics, and the various forms of resistance. In the end of the essay, a fable is presented.
The perspectives of Marcos will be assessed in the following respects. 1. Is globalization essentially evil? The interactions between people and states are necessary and inevitable with the progress of human society. It is recognized that the trade benefits all participants in the respect of absolute advantage and comparative advantage of goods production by different entities. The globalization has achieved this goal as the worldwide trade is realized in a single major market joined by the whole world. In that unified economic world produced by neoliberalism, the commodities not the people circulate freely.
But the problem is the problem of justice for the current pattern of unification. Marcos has declared in the essay that the globalization has caused a fragmented world rather than a wholesome one, as certain groups of people who are no use to the new economy, like the indigenous, have been excluded, and it is the purpose of the ZNLA (Zapatista National Liberation Army) to maintain the unification of the Mexico country rather than split. It is declared that the threatening factors to the indigenous include the exploitation of the natural resources, environment pollution and so on.
The fragmentation and inequality problem caused by the globalization are the results of the neo-liberal logic. The principles of free competition and maximization of individual profits classify people in the categories of “winner” and “loser” (Angelis, 2005). Those who are not adapted to the system are rejected as “losers”. As the economy framework is fundamentally designed based on the western ideas and criteria, the extension of it to other parts of the world would surely encounter resists and inadaptations.
Under the claim of globalization, the transnational enterprises pursue the maximization of profits by the organization of primary materials, labor force, capital, technology, production process and consuming market on a worldwide scale. All the nations and regions that are serviceable to the process are reshaped and included in the major market. In the reorganization process, the resistant factors of people, culture, internal industry and market, as well as political system, have to be wiped out.
The unification of the world may be the trend for the future, but it could not be done in a mode which is dominated by a sole culture, that of the western world. The diversification of the nations and regions have to be respected, considered and integrated in the system harmoniously. 2. Is globalization bad for the poor? In the essay, Marcos argues that globalization has exacerbated the problem of inequality and poverty. It is stated that the wealth have been accumulated for the few and the poverty for the majority of people. And more poverty is produced by with the progress of the major transnational companies.
Whether the globalization has worsened the inequality problem is rather controversial. Lindert & Williamson (2003) argued that the globalization of products and factor markets probably has alleviated the rapid rise of income inequality between countries that are integrated into the global economy. It is found that the income distributions are converged in countries which are integrated more fully in the global economy, and the distributions are diverged between the active participants and the countries that remain isolated from the global economy.
And among the participants in the global market, the effects are different regarding to the development stage of the country: the highly advanced, the regions of new settlement and the rest. And for the income inequality within nations, the effect globalization has gone both ways. For example, it is indicated that the market-oriented trade liberalization and globalization in Brazil, i. e. , the Mercosur trade reform, has a redistributing and pro-poor effect. It has been shown that the consumption good prices decreased after entering the Mercosur.
Decreased poverty has been found after national trade liberalization but no significant inequality effects have been obtained (Borraz et al, 2012). It is found that both the inequality and poverty decreased with rising export exposure but the poverty increased with import penetration (Castilho, 2012). 3. The unemployment caused by the globalization It is argued in the essay the economic growth of companies has produced unemployment, poverty and precariousness of the workers by the reorganization of the economy process, namely, the production, circulation and consumption of goods.
With that rearrangement is the reorganization of work force and destruction of small and medium companies, which causes an excess of workforce that is disposable and precarious treatments for them. Inevitably, the migration for work becomes a nightmare for those without a job. It is indicated that the jobless growth has been made in the recent decades by the globalization of labor market, as the structure of economy has undergone a great change, which is indicated in the essay, as the workforce for agriculture has shrunk, and the service tertiary industry has greatly expanded.
So the traditional jobs are reduced while new kinds of jobs have been created in the process, but they are not made for the indigenous people due to the cultural and educational factors. The unemployment indicated by Marcos is categorized as the structural unemployment, which is caused by the restructuring of the global economy and the emergence of global labor market due to the technology revolution (Overbeek, 2003).
The globalization is characterized as a stage of intensified commoditization in the global economy, where the globalization of labor markets is manifested. It is argued by Overbeek (2003) that this structural transformation is accompanied by the emergence of global neo-liberalism, as ideological orientation is permeated by the hegemonic concept of control. The competitiveness has become a key imperative and caused a massive shedding for the labor force, especially in the time of recession and economy crisis.
The labor market reforms carried out in the 1990s were seen as one of the spear points of capitalist restructuring, not only by national governments and by international organizations, but also by business pressure groups. And in this process, unemployment has been defined as a trouble of individual employability and personal ability, rather than a result of the economy cycle. The recent global economy slowdown may produce a reduction of employment, and a re-alignment of labor force may be issued, which would produce a redistributive labor. 4. The role of the government in the globalization process
Marcos declares that with down fall the national market, the material base of the state are dissipated by the power of free commercial markets, and the governments have been reduced to the economy managers and are commanded or teleconmmanded by the mega-enterprises, and the rights and interests of the citizens could not be protected. Not only the material bases of the states are destroyed, but also the history and culture of nations. This may be not true for all the countries that participate in global economy, as the national sovereign rights are not devoured in that degree.
However, it is authentic that government policies are influenced by the major transnational commercial powers. There are various evidences for this argument. Rogowsk (2005) has studied the restraining of governmental policy by the capital mobility in the wave of globalization and neo-liberalism. With the progress of globalization, capital flow faster and more easily between nations. In order to attract more investment, countries compete more actively and carry out capital-accommodating policies, while the local preferences or factor endowments are less regarded.
It is controvertial whether the developing countries would benefit from the globaliziaiton when speculating the problem from different perspectives. Lindert & Williamson (2003) indicates that the countries that benefit most from the globalization are the developing countries that have adjusted their polices to make use of it, while those have not done that achieved the least. Besides the difference of effect on participants and non-participants, the impacts of different sources of globalization are also different. The influence of globalization on national economy depends on the position of the state in the global economy chain.
The countries that merely provide natural and human resources are at the least significant end of the economy chain, while the developed countries with advantages in technology, capital and market enjoy most of the gains of the economy globaliziation. Without the development of national industry, the conditions of state could not be improved fundamentally and the growth is unsustainable. However, if the transformation and promotion of the national enterprises could be achieved in the globalization process, the country becomes a real beneficiary. The expeience of China is a good example of benefiting from globalization.
While the Afircan and Ltain American countries undergo a slower progress and the economy mode has not been changed at root. The essential reason is the political independence of the state government. If the government fell to be the managers for the major transnational economy as stated in the essay, the state could not achieve a substantial development and industry transformation. And the independent government could also protect the history and culture of the state in the wave of globalization, ensuring the independence and integrity of the culture and achieving an advancement by the interaction with foreign cultures.