4. Why are so many people opposed to globalization?
Once popular among business and corporate leaders, the term has been
appropriated more recently by many groups on the political left. They
are opposed to globalization for several reasons:
- it is used as an ideology by the powerful to deceive the people about
illusory benefits of a dehumanizing system; in other words, globalization
is really a myth that needs to be exposed, a form of false consciousness
that prevents people from seeing their true interests.
- insofar as it stands for a real process, it perpetuates the inequity
and exploitation inherent in capitalism; globalization polarizes the
globe and therefore creates an even more unjust world.
- it is not subject to democratic control and therefore cannot serve
the interests of the people at large; new forms of democratic governance
and economic regulation will be needed to overcome this problem.
- due to the scale of change, it intensifies long-standing problems,
such as the deterioration of the environment.
Globalization has thus become a tool in the symbolic politics of oppositional
movements, a rallying cry in their assault on diverse global ills. In
part, this represents the revival of an old-left agenda after the end
of the Cold War and the demise of communism as a viable ideological option.
In part, it demonstrates the opportunities for mobilizing around new issues
(e.g., human rights) presented by the concepts and networks created in
globalization. Among "progressive" forces, it is fair to say, an anti-globalization
consensus has been crystallizing that is also reflected in ties among
Apart from this progressive opposition, there is also a more conservative
kind. Various religious groups, notably Islamic activists, oppose globalization
because to them it represents a civilizational threat: the imposition
of alien values, homogenization of the globe on secular terms. Their opposition,
supported by some nonreligious groups, often takes the form of a particularist
defense of communal tradition. Both "right" and "left" opponents of globalization
tend to regard the United States as a hegemonic power that influences
globalization to its own advantage, harming the economic, cultural, and
environmental interests of the rest of the world.
This Oxfam (UK) policy paper argues that rather than creating rapid,
universal human development, globalization has widened the gap between
rich and poor; to close it, new global institutions will be needed.
Transcript of a roundtable discussion among Emory faculty focusing on
aspects of and reasons behind the backlash.
Dark Side of Globalization
In this brief article from The Nation, Jerry Mander argues that globalization
on the basis of old ideological principles now being applied globally
has many negative consequences the media often ignore.
Editorials in Le Monde Diplomatique argue that a second capitalist revolution
is underway, but that many are determined to oppose it, as demonstrated
by the 1999 protests against the WTO in Seattle that herald a new dawn
of opposition and fundamental reform.
Turning Point Project
Content of full-page advertisements in the New York Times critical of
globalization (funded by a coalition of organizations opposed to globalization).
This "citizen's guide" criticizes one of the prime targets of anti-globalization
activism, the World Trade Organization, as a dangerous, neoliberal institution
that serves corporate interests but threatens democracy and the environment.
(back to the top)
- What is globalization?
- How does globalization affect women?
- Does globalization cause poverty?
- Why are so many people opposed to globalization?
- Does globalization diminish cultural diversity?
- Can globalization be controlled?