This is something I have been working on the past week or two. I hope you enjoy it.
Globalism is a economic phenomenon. Markets are merging and borders are blurring. Corporations and multinationals are the driving force behind it. States take a back seat as Multinational Corporations (MNC) push for the integration of markets and circumvent government restrictions and regulations. While states take a implementation role for polices regarding economics, the corporations are in the drivers seat. Doing what they can to favor them and their position. Currently, the result is the spread Orthodox Liberal policies, at the state or international level. What I will call “corporate realism” sets all of this in motion.
Just like traditional realism, corporate realism is entirely about security. In this case security is about securing and expanding market position, not military or government might. Multinationals will use whatever means possible to do this. This includes, but is not limited to influencing and lobbying NGO or state officials and creating a media bias. MNCs can influence states in a few ways such as through a corporation owned lobby or outright payoffs. MNCs also can create a media bias through spin, advertising or simply owning the new company. A good example of this is how tobacco companies are changing their image with advertising campaigns. Additionally, there are hegemonic powers in corporate realism. The largest multinationals, the Wal-Mart's and Nike's, play the largest most active role in actively making changes to policies effecting them. As the largest they take the reigns as the hegemonic powers and use that power to implement polices favorable to them. As a result they control the direction the rest of multinationals take. The “open” policies they initiate are used by secondary corporation's thus they are dependent on the hegemon for opening the door to foreign markets and reduced state interaction. The secondary corporations then in return use these policies to increase their power and further diminish the power of states. In a way their lobbying power becomes a “corporate good” serving all multinationals that desire openness but without the power to do something about it.
Orthodox Liberalism through Corporate Realism
Corporations are here to make money, their only responsibility is to the shareholders. Having an open economy increases their power. The free flow of money, labor, goods and limited government interaction, regulations and etc lends itself to corporations. Thus, multinationals desire liberal policies. Doing business is easier and cheaper in a liberal world. As a result, in attempts to secure and expand position in the world market, an Orthodox Liberal world is ideal. The corporate hegemon will lead the way in creating this world for itself, its shareholders and inadvertently secondary corporations.
Winners, Losers and the Forgotten
The winners are quite obvious, multinationals, the wealthy and shareholders. Multinationals are winners simply because they get what they want. They get the open, free markets they desire. The wealthy are also in line to benefit from this. The wealthy are the shareholders and can also be running these corporations. They win because they are educated, have money to invest and can run these corporations receiving large salaries.
The losers are the states and citizens in states. States engaging in liberal policies lose autonomy and power. Once these Orthodox Liberal policies are in place corporations gain power that the governments once had. The government loses power to regulate business and markets. Additionally, the more power the corporations have the easier it is for them to change policies. It is a “snowball” effect of governments relinquishing power to corporations. The second loser is the citizens in these states. The governments they trust in are run by corporations that have no interest but their own and their shareholders. Those who do not own a piece of the company have no say in what happens. As a result, the wealthy have control of both the corporations and the direction of the government. Additionally, globalization could eventually be beyond the control of the states. Possibly to the extent where the actions of corporations is irreconcilable and uncontrollable by states.
Forgotten are the laborers, domestically and abroad. Domestically, the workers are left in to the cold for cheap labor in lesser developed countries (LDC). Laborers in LDCs are forgotten by their governments. Officials in LDCs swoon for the promise of progress that corporations bring to their countries. While these corporations bring jobs, they do not bring worker rights or equality.
Costs, Benefits and Balance
While there are some benefits to globalization, the cost inherently outweigh the benefits. Many of the costs of liberalism are at the states expense. State autonomy suffers because borders are blurred and become porous. State power in general wanes to the power of markets. When corporate hegemons flex their political muscle, the state listens. When this happens, the vote of each citizen is worth less and the owners of corporate shares are heard instead. A wealthy bias is immediately seen in the policies enacted.
There are benefits to the liberal system too. The largest of which is job availability in LDCs. Through increased world trade and use of foreign labor more jobs are exported to LDCs. These jobs are not nearly as good as the ones they replaced and in many cases these jobs are borderline exploitation and only the most struggling people will take them. But they are indeed jobs for those in impoverished parts of the world, and may improve life for some.
Globalism also tilts the global balance into the MNCs favor. The checks and balances once had under closed markets or even embedded liberalism are now gone. The power of states to implement policies for and protect the rights of their citizens is conceding to corporate influence and brute force. Additionally, cultural balance is going awry. Indeginous cultures and traditions are being replaced and disseminated into a global corporate culture. Home cooked meals are now BigMac's, leather moccasins now have a “swoosh” and movies are played only in English regardless of their country of origin. National identity and cultures are being sacrificed for openness. An equilibrium of economic and political openness and national culture and identity has not been reached.