Thursday, December 10, 2009

Neoliberal Globalization - Uh oh?

As more and more nations are becoming democracies and our world is becoming increasingly more globalized, how are the two going to affect, help, or hinder eachother? It's a serious question. Will our or others' democracies be at risk due to globalization? Can we look forward to democratic world if eventually all nations become democracies? Theoretically, this would be a world in which internationally made decisions will be for the good of the whole and the majority will rule. What would really happen, though (if this were the case) when so many so-called "democracies" are actually ruled by ruthless and selfish dictators?

Patomaki and Teivainen use the Mercosur region in Latin America as a case study for analyzing neoliberal globalization and to speculate its potential trajectory toward a cosmopolitan democracy. The countries in the regions have found the most pressing problems have to do with the financial end of globalization and from this Patomaki and Teivainen argue that we should define cosmopolitan democracy in moreso in politco-economic terms if we are to more fully understand and function in a neoliberal, globalized world and retain democratic governments.

Neoliberal globalization, they argue, has actually made the positions of economic elites more powerful than they previously were. Such elites are not generally concerned with welfare, so those policies have declined along with the middle class while the living standards of the majority have gotten worse. Poor people cannot boost the economy by buying goods, so economy declines. Neoliberals attempt to boost it, but usually at the expense of the environment. The treaty that strengthened the bond between nations of Mercosur was mainly economic though it includes statements for social justice. The scholars also see the social effects of globalization in the of transnational, interregional communication and action involving individuals and groups seeking political action beyond the boundaries of the state, especially in the form of human rights groups. Other groups are pressing for more decision making above the national level with a more institutionalized group. While the economic bent would suggest anti-democratization, Mercusor was found to reinforce and even rescue democracy in Paraguay.

Nonetheless, one has to be concerned that in the case of Mercusor--and as I believe would be the case for future regional communities in an increasingly corporatized--the decision-makers are dominated by business bosses. In a world where the bottom line is what matters and profits are the main motivating factors for decision-making, democracy is at risk because democracy involves the decision-making power the general people out of concern for the basic-rights of all. If globalization is mainly driven by economy, than I am skeptical of it and lean towards the opinion that it is ultimately bad.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with your last comments about democracy being at risk when the decision makers will be dominated by corporate bosses. It is a concern that globalization will continue to be driven strictly by the economy and thus could lead to destructive paths in the future.