Hyper-globalists (sometimes referred to as global optimists) believe that globalization is happening and that local cultures are being eroded primarily because of the expansion of international capitalism and the emergence of a homogeneous global culture; they (as the ‘optimist’ part of the label implies) believe that globalization is a positive process characterised by economic growth, increasing prosperity and the spread of democracy.
Thomas Friedman (2000) argues that globalization has occurred because of the global adoption of neoliberal economic policies. Neoliberalism insists that governments in developing countries need to remove obstacles to free trade and free market capitalism in order to generate development. Governments should limit their role to providing a business-friendly environment that enables businesses (both inside and outside the country) to make a profit.
The theory is that if governments allow businesses the freedom to ‘do business’, wealth will be generated which will trickle down to everyone.
Friedman identifies a neoliberal economic set of principles that he calls the ‘golden straight jacket’ that countries need to fit into if they are to achieve success in the global economy: deregulation, fewer protections for workers and the environment, privatisation and cutting taxes.
Friedman argues that the golden straitjacket is “pretty much one size fits all… it is not always pretty or gentle or comfortable. But it’s here and it’s the only model on the rack this historical season’.
Friedman attributes economic globalization to the fact that most developing countries have adopted neoliberal policies since the 1980s. Neoliberalism has effectively restricted the power of nation states, making trade between nations easier. It has resulted in the freer movement of goods, resources and enterprises, and ultimately more jobs, cheaper products and increasing economic growth, prosperity and wealth for the majority of people on the planet.
These countries were often shepherded onto the ‘right’ economic path by the ‘good Samaritans’ of Western governments, especially the ‘three sisters’ of free trade: the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO, global institutions which have played a central role in shaping globalization according to hyper globalists.
Supporting Evidence for the Optimist View of Globalization
1. More international trade, = Increasing wealth, health, education for most countries.
- This Hans Rosling Video illustrates the relationship between increasing wealth (brought about by trade) and health
- The case of China’s economic growth – Use this‘trading economics’ web site to check out how China’s GDP growth over the last ten years (from 2001) appears to be directly correlated with its growth in exports (use the links to the right to change between graphs – you might need to change the years selection around too).
- China is not the only country benefiting from increasing trade (imports and exports) – China is just one of four nations known as the BRIC Nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) – 4 up and coming economies that are predicted to be wealthier than Britain by 2050.
Optimists argue that Transnational Corporations are a force for good. Companies such as Apple, Sony, etc bring investment and jobs to developing countries.
2 There are many benefits of cultural globalisation
More people around the world are consumers rather than living subsistence lifestyles. Also people increasingly consume similar foods and brands (and shop for them in similar ways). Increasing global tourism is another feature of this. Evidence below…
- These photos of ‘what the world eats’ – Suggest similar consumption patterns.
- Coke’s advertising supports the optimist view of cultural globalisation – Advert 1 (I’d like t teach the world to sing…) and advert 2 – The Happiness Bus
Also, sporting events such as the world cup and the Olympics have become more popular.
Globalisation has lead to more democracy and freedom
The spread of Democracy and respect for human rights since the end of WW2 – E.G. The end of colonial rule in Africa, the collapse of communism and the Arab Spring. This is also evidenced in the establishment of the United Nations and the growth of global social movements such as green peace.
The growth of social media (Facebook and Twitter) have lead more freedom around the world.
Finally, Globalisation increasingly means global cities
Urban centres which have highly educated, politically engaged middle classes.
Revision notes on globalisation…
If you like this sort of thing and want some more context on globalisation, then you might like these revision notes on globalisation, specifically designed for A-level sociology.
Nine pages of summary notes covering the following aspects of globalisation:
– Basic definitions and an overview of cultural, economic and political globalisation
– Three theories of globalisation – hyper-globalism, pessimism and transformationalism.
– Arguments for and against the view that globalisation is resulting in the decline of the nation state.
– A-Z glossary covering key concepts and key thinkers.
Five mind-maps covering the following:
– Cultural, economic, and political globalisation: a summary
– The hyper-globalist view of globalisation
– The pessimist view of globalisation
– The transformationalist/ postmodernist view of globalisation.
– The relationship between globalisation and education.
These revision resources have been designed to cover the globalisation part of the global development module for A-level sociology (AQA) but they should be useful for all students given that you need to know about globalistion for education, the family and crime, so these should serve as good context.
They might also be useful to students studying other A-level or first year degree subjects such as politics, history, economics or business, where globalisation is on the syllabus.