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How should Australia and other regional countries respond to globalisation?

(PDF) Globalization and the Asia Pacific and South Asia | Ehito Kimura -

Polices will be increasingly needed to address economic insecurity and to provide adequate social safety nets and other methods of assistance for those hurt by globalising processes. If governments underestimate economic insecurity, the problems do not disappear but simply return in the politics of extremism. There is also a need to sell more widely and effectively the benefits that come from globalisation and from the roles of international institutions which help manage them, such as the WTO.

Australia can also assist regional states to frame measures to cope with economic volatility. Globalisation, more than anything else, means Westernisation and the acceptance of Western business standards and political systems around the world. Economic globalisation is the natural outcome of world economic development as well as the external environment for the economic development of all countries in the future. Few national or international commentators seem able to avoid the term globalisation today. Yet, not all of them have in mind the same thing when they talk about it or even a clear idea of what they themselves mean.

In part, this is because it is an abstract, constructed concept that different people define and interpret differently, puzzle about and argue about.

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Consequently, it is often a basket into which goes a wide range of social, economic, political, security and other changes and problems, not all of which are necessarily globalising or consequences of globalising processes. It is often equated with liberalisation, interdependence, modernisation, westernisation, or Americanisation.

To some it is simply the greater supremacy of liberal capitalism as an economic framework and as a basis for democracy, as in the American political philosopher, Francis Fukuyama's 'end of history'. To others it is the end of bordersthe 'borderless world' of McKinsey's Kenichi Ohmae and the 'end of geography' of the British financial specialist, Richard O'Brienor at least a world where national territories and borders have diminished meanings.

Given the ambiguity about the meaning of globalisation, and its different dimensions, it is difficult to deal with it as a single phenomenon. Consequently, this paper offers answers to a number of commonly asked questions about globalisation. Since, however, the issues are still being extensively debated and disputed, these 'answers' are mostly not aimed at resolving those disputes. Although the paper sees globalisation as broadly positive overall for Australia, it seeks to indicate the range of issues and the nature of the debate involved, and where the debate will be important for public policy in the future.

What aspects of globalisation are considered to be important commonly relate to where one sits geographically, economically, socially, culturally or ideologically. To governments in the Asia-Pacific, a particular focus of this paper, some of the issues high on the agendas in the westlabour standards, human rights and, often, the environmentdo not have the same importance as in the West. Global warming and nuclear residues in particular, however, are critical concerns for the Pacific Islands.

Gender and Globalization in Asia and the Pacific: Method, Practice, Theory

The region's special interest comes from two factorsthe first arising from the economic crisis that emphasised the importance of international financial flows. This, as the Asian economic crisis showed, involves risks and raises the question of what should be the response. Second, there is concern about globalisation's political and social impacts. In the Asia-Pacific, as well as distributional equity issues and concerns about the role of international financial institutions, cultural impacts are also important, although cultural concerns are not limited to regional states, as French activism on the issue illustrates.

And many workers, in developing countries as well as developed, see its impacts as actually or potentially marginalising.

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While giving special attention to the Asia-Pacific perspective, by definition we need to put those impacts into a global context. After asking what is globalisation, we ask whether it is new, can it be reversed, what are its distributional impacts who gains and who loses and what are its security consequences. We discuss the anti-globalisation pressures reflected at Seattle and elsewhere, and the concerns about the 'democratic deficit' see Glossary of international institutions?

We ask how globalisation affects the Asia-Pacific region, specifically addressing the argument about a reduced role for the state, and what policy challenges it poses for regional governments. How do they manage the risks of economic globalisation? Does globalisation threaten distinctive national systems and jeopardise economic stability and social cohesion? And what does that mean for Australia? While fashionable, the term 'globalisation' is imprecise and contested. For those emphasising economic globalisation, the main part of the package is increasing integration of the global economy through product and factor markets see Glossary by way of trade, direct investment and financial flows, greatly aided by deregulation of markets and the liberalisation of trade and capital movements.


Many in the Asia-Pacific region would like to limit globalisation's effects to economics, as the quote from China's President implies, but while associated impacts can be limited they cannot be totally controlled. These latter influences, in particular, have themselves provided the organisational flexibility that leads to various characteristics of economic globalisation. These transformations include the geographic dispersal of production and other economic activities.

They include the trend to the centralisation of many operations that benefit from scales of operation, as in research and development and in financial markets. They also include, however, transformations through the rapid spread of information and ideas on political, social, cultural, environmental and security processes and practices.

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Discussions of the implications of globalisation are equally imprecise, in part because it combines different processes. That these different processes are incomplete is illustrated by the argument that we should speak of a 'globalising process' rather than 'globalisation'. In a fully integrated global market, the 'law of one price' would apply, meaning that any commodity has the same price throughout the world allowing for transport costs, local taxes, etc. This seems to hold for basic commodities such as wheat but the evidence is less clear for non-standard products such as motor vehicles that, even within the European Union, have different wholesale and retail markups.

Moreover, the market for investment funds seems similarly substantially local. Capital still does not flow completely to the most profitable investment sites; most savings are still invested in the saving country. Nevertheless, globalising changes are occurring and, together with other processes of modernisation, such as the spread of capitalistic productive processes, have been facilitated by technological changes in information, communications and transport technologies. The Internet, global communication networks, such as CNN, and global money, from credit cards to derivatives see Glossary , have been major influences.

In addition, global and regional institutions, such as the United Nations and the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation APEC forum, have helped by bringing much of the international community together, sharing information, understandings and more especially, ideas. Clearly, as already noted, there is much more to globalisation than economic changes.

The international connections include as well as economics and technologies, social, political and cultural links that, as with the economic and technology links, increasingly tend to override territorial, legal and political barriers and change the nature of political and social governance.

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Product and Factor Markets : Product markets are simply the markets for end products; factor markets are the markets for land, labour, capital and technology. For some purposes, it would also include entrepreneurship, reflecting the geographically spreading markets for business leadership. Financial Derivatives : swaps, forwards, futures, calls, options, hedges and the like are financial instruments that derive their values from an underlying asset, reference rate of interest or index.

They are used to hedge or manage risk and at the same time they provide a mechanism for speculation. Peaceful Evolution : a proposition propagated by the US particularly by then Secretary of State John Foster Dulles that social, political and cultural changes, associated with economic development in China, could be further encouraged by the West, to weaken and eventually undermine China's communist leadership.

Not surprisingly, the Chinese do not see it the same wayor perhaps do see it that way and oppose it. Neo-liberal Agenda : a widely held consensual world view on the key parameters of global economic management; specific components include the importance of markets, financial and other deregulation, liberalisation and privatisation. Supporters see globalised market relations as creating, in the long-term, economic health and human betterment.

There are those who disagree with that. Most controversy stems, on the one hand, from those who interpret it as implying close to total removal of market 'fetters' and, on the other, those who see it facilitating the dominance of corporate capitalism with inadequate concern for victims of market pressures. Global Governance : the sum of the many ways that individuals and institutions, public and private, manage, through ordered rule and collective action, their common international affairs.

States are important but so are the many international institutions, large-scale private enterprises or multinational corporations and, increasingly, participation of global non-governmental organisations and global social movements. Democratic Deficits : in this context, the perception or reality of gaps between the global forces that affect the lives of the citizens of nation-states and the transparency and accountability of the elite movements associated with global governance outside of those nation-states where effectiveness rather than accountability is the prime concern.

Is Globalisation New? Unsurprisingly the answer is mostly no but partly yes. Certainly, if regarded as a mainly economic phenomenon, it is a result of a progressive reduction of transaction costsin financial costs, time and convenience. Since these have been diminishing for a very long time, globalisation can hardly be said to be new. Does that matter?

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Perhaps only marginally, but it puts into a better perspective debates about whether globalisation creates additional injustices in class, race and gender contexts or whether it has simply exacerbated existing injustices. Historical experience also tells us something about how the role of government was affected in the pasta subject to which we return later.