My professor for Wealth & Poverty wrote a book that outlines four theories of globalization. One is the dominant theory and two are resistance theories to that one.
I want to explain these theories to you, as it will help in my understanding of them, too. These are all separate theories that each have their own idea of the best society.
- Neoliberal: the dominant theory in society, economics and market and open trade is seen as the best, profit is seen as the best
- individualism: me-centered
- prosperity: wealth as an indication of success, global market, rich worked hard to get there and poor didn’t work hard, focus on economics and profit
- freedom (individual liberty): narrow sense of freedom, don’t want government regulation
I wonder if we want corporations to be the leading political powers in our time in history. We’re giving them this power, we’re letting them hold onto it. They’re making policies and ways we live and influencing how others live. Do we want them to have such power? As Peters said, these transnational corporations are quickly gaining more power and wealth than some of the world’s smallest countries. I don’t know if this is a good thing.
- Development: two-thirds world nations need to be developed, our ideas are the best so we’ll give them to two-thirds nations, major institutions such as the World Bank or International Monetary Fund come in and enforce policies
- responsibility: those who have a lot have a responsibility to give back
- progress: progress of developing nations, technological progress, cultural progress, industrial innovation, focus on economics
- equity: everyone has enough to get by, not more, want state to get involved to ensure no one falls below a certain line and all the way into poverty, welfare, social safety net
I really like the part of the development theory that feels the obligation to act as a sort of safety net for people, so that they don’t fall too far below a certain line. I think this ideal and the programs it translates into (welfare for example) are necessary. People sometimes fall into poverty, or very close to it, and it’s not always because they are lazy and don’t work — so I think it is our/the state’s/the government’s moral obligation to ensure that people don’t fall below a certain point.
- Earthist: local is good, sustainability, respect for the planet and for others, local production
- mutuality: helping others, decisions based on dialogue with others, local farming, bioregionalism
- justice: for Earth, for humans, interdependence of life
- sustainability: not harming the planet, not just about people, green energy
- Postcolonial: looking at history in a different way, through the eyes of the marginalized people, the colonized people were taken advantage of
- community: a step away from the individual as most important, common good, decisions made in community, what group needs is more important than individual
- respect for culture: rejection of Westernization of cultures and nations, cultural knowledge is respected, respecting own and other cultures
- communal autonomy: local communities, self-governance, getting the community and local level more involved in the political process/in governing themselves
I agree with the communal autonomy idea of this theory. It is important for people to be in charge of their own lives, to lead their own lives, to make decisions of their own lives. And this theory holds that opinion, too. I also really believe in the power and ideology of people’s movements. Communities know what they need and how they want to live their version of the good life, they only need the resources to get there, so these people’s movements are attempting to give these resources.
Peters also framed the book in a Christian ethical perspective, which was interesting for me. I come from a Jewish tradition, but try to become informed about all religions and take objectivity from my journalism ethics in order to objectively look at things. I think it helps to look at things without a bias in order to understand it better and more clearly. She would often use the Christian Bible as a source and phrases such as, “God calls us to action,” which definitely doesn’t speak to everyone, especially atheists and possibly people of other religions because they may think she is referring to only the Christian God.
While I feel that the book and arguments made in it would have been more powerful without using a religious background, because using one religion excludes people, I do also see how injection a moral sense to globalization is interesting and something that isn’t often done. Peters reflected on these four theories of globalization with several moral and Christian ethics qualities, judging each of them on moral regards to see if they offered all people “the good life.” (The good life, however, is also an exclusive concept, as it is sometimes seen as a religious idea. But it is also talked about in philosophy, more secular thinking, the bigger questions of humanity). She came out to say that the neoliberalism and development theories weren’t enough and didn’t offer everyone the good life for some reason or another — they fell short in the moral qualities. In her conclusion, she said that the earthist and postcolonial theories are better and more morally sound than the others. But she didn’t leave it there, she said that dialogue between adherents of these separate theories needs to happen, and a sharing of ideas. I like this. Sharing ideas and having continual dialogue encourages critique and criticism and questioning — questioning leads to finding problems and suggesting solutions, instead of allowing things to stay the same, instead of allowing bad things to occur without question and without anyone speaking out.