Thursday, 16 April 2009

Is globalisation a dirty word ?

Whenever there is any event of importance anywhere in the world, you are sure to find some form of "anti globalisation protest". "Globalisation" seems to a be a dirty word. Also dirty are 'multinational", "capitalism", etc etc.

If you ignore the loonies and listen to the arguments of the sane protesters, their logic for anti globalisation usually converges on the following

  • It exploits poor people in developing countries and sometimes deprives them of their traditional livelihood (farming)
  • It is harmful to the environment and contributes to adverse climate change
  • It deprives people in richer countries of their jobs
  • It does not promote human rights and democracy in the countries they operate

Underlying this is the assumption that multi national companies , in their single minded pursuit of profit, will not care about any of these.

Consider this for a moment. The protesters argue against multinational companies. Is it then OK for home grown companies to do exactly the same thing ? Is there any evidence that multinational companies are worse in their behaviour than domestic companies - surely the opposite is true.

The problem is that companies can freely move across borders ; ordinary people cannot. Economic globalisation has happened far ahead of social and political globalisation. Hence the inevitable conflict.

As I mused before on the bad connotation that companies in general ignite, companies have to think global, but act local. They must not make a big virtue of their globalisation. They should keep that very low key. They must be seen to be local.

Only when the social and political fabric of society becomes global (if ever), should companies come out their closet and declare themselves global.


Adesh Sidhu said...

Your posts on globalization have inspired me to study more about it. So far I am novice in this topic but now will gather more knowledge about it.

I have heard lot of marketeers saying 'Go global act local' but never explored this angle.

Thanks for initiating my interest in Globalisation.

Ramesh said...

Thanks Adesh for your comment.

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