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Wednesday, 25 July, 2001, 09:38 GMT 10:38 UK
Globalisation: Good or bad?
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The leaders of the world's most industrialised countries are meeting in Genoa to debate global economic, political and social issues.

The G8 leaders are discussing global poverty and new efforts to liberalise world trade, which they say is the best way to overcome poverty.

But the tens of thousands of protesters who are in Genoa disagree. They argue that globalisation just serves the interests of multinational corporations and the wealthy to the detriment of poorer nations.

What do you understand by globalisation? Is it a good or a bad thing? Or is it simply inevitable?

Robin Lustig was joined by David Henderson, formerly chief economist at the OECD and Barry Coates, director of the World Development Movement, for our Talking Point phone-in programme broadcast on BBC World Service Radio and BBC News Online.

  • Your comments since the programme
  • Your comments during the programme
  • Your comments before the programme

    Your comments since the programme

    This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.



    The fruits of globalisation will only be eaten by no more than 50,000 people

    Ajay Jain, Norfolk, USA
    Globalisation is really an evil for countries like India and so many other developing countries. Globalisation among the developed countries is fine because competition is equal, or among the developing countries it is fair for the same reason. But globalisation among developed countries and developing countries is an evil and a sin. It can only lead to more violence, prostitution, etc and finally WAR. I think mankind is preparing for the destruction of the world.

    Tell me, how much it is possible and fair for a small country or poor country like India or Pakistan to compete with a rich and resourceful country like USA? The fruits of globalisation will only be eaten by no more than 50,000 people in the world (who are multinational companies and of course politicians).
    Ajay Jain, Norfolk, USA

    Globalisation is a modern method of slaveholding and colonisation of third world countries.
    Mojtaba Ziaee, Tabriz, Iran


    A globalisation that does not include the entire world is "Westernisation"

    Abdoul A. Konare, USA
    Globalisation is indeed a great and inevitable event if is done on a fair and equal basis only. Right now it is far from that and only exists between rich countries. While the Western World is dictating to us to open our markets and reduce spending on social causes such as education and health, the western world - notably the US - is subsidising its farmers, companies that do business overseas and its education. What kind of globalisation is this? A globalisation that does not include the entire world is not globalisation but "Westernisation".

    The number of poor countries in Africa increased from 27 to 34 in just five years. Also, what happened to the industrialised countries' promise in 1996 to reduce hunger and poverty in Africa in 2015 by half?
    Abdoul A. Konare, East Lansing, MI(USA)

    Globalisation is bad? OK. But there is one thing much worse than multinationals coming and exploiting the local labour force - multinationals NOT coming and NOT exploiting that force, which has to join the swelling ranks of the unemployed.
    Mirek Kondracki, US


    Globalisation is the cheapest domination found

    Suzann Dodd, Kingston, Jamaica
    Globalisation is an update on the old invade, conquer, subjugate, colonise paradigm. The 'mercantile system' - in which colonies were to provide cheap raw materials for the mother country in return for expensive manufactured goods - is alive and well. Globalisation is the cheapest domination found. The subjugated country will never be able to create goods as cheaply as the coloniser, never be able to be more than a source of cheap labour. In Jamaica, 22 garment manufacturers went out of business in 1988 due to the 'free zone', which once employed 27,000 people. Finding our minimum wage too high, they've gone to enslave, (pardon me, exploit) other nations where they can pay a worker 10c a day; and it's take it or leave it.
    Suzann Dodd, Kingston, Jamaica

    The Earth is an amazing place because of its diversity - culture, history, arts etc etc. These will all be lost when we have a Global Empire in place. Surely this is what we are working towards. Totalitarianism on a global scale!
    Tom, London


    I would like to apologise to all the Americans that have contributed to this debate

    Gavin, London, UK
    I would like to apologise to all the Americans that have contributed to this debate for the British right-on attitude. Yes, it seems that now the UK is close to left-wing Europe, we have lost leave of our senses. Get real, everybody; globalisation has been going on since the industrial revolution. If third world countries sorted themselves out, then they would be able to compete but the fact is that their corrupt politicians prefer to spend cash on arms and warfare than developing their countries. Why should this be our problem? Our own economies thrive on investment which is exactly what the multinationals are doing for these countries. Did anybody overlook that?
    Gavin, London, UK

    Globalisation is bringing changes we see around the world in economics, politics and government. It has an impact everywhere. If the superpower's economy is good, the weaker country might be affected for good. For example, a stock market that goes up in a strong country makes others fluctuate, too. Governments are different; if they don't change there may be more wars. What is happening? Most countries are affected for the worse. Products are expensive but those of us living in less developed countries are encouraged to buy them. It's not all good for us.
    Apichai Suwannajak, Lampang, Thailand

    Capitalism is the best means of improving aggregate quality of life. It may be likened to a game, the only problem being that many developing countries didn't have a very firm grasp of the rules before they starting playing and were taken advantage of. Whilst this may seem a little unfair, you should recognise that these countries are substantially better off than they would have been had they not traded with the west. Without globalisation the world could not support its vast population. India would be more like Ethiopia if the west had never traded with it. The logical conclusion of globalisation will see the whole world having a western quality of life and shame on you for trying to block it. The main downside of globalisation is that Bangkok will look like Delhi, will look like London, etc.
    Dave, London


    The United States and other developed nations should be ashamed of themselves

    Leery, NY, USA
    If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is. The United States and other developed nations should be ashamed of themselves to present such a notion as "globalisation". It is only a hoax and a farce that may sound appealing. Could Third World countries ever be equal? When India unveiled their nuclear missiles in 1998 could they classify themselves as a superpower? Not by Security Council standards. The U.S. is a land of over-consumption - we use up most of the world's natural resources and now we expect the rest of the world to follow in our trail of greed and destruction. The first world didn't care when they were looting and pillaging the poor yet wealthy countries (in minerals, diamonds, spices, oil, gold, etc). Why do they care now? A wolf in sheep's clothing.
    Leery, NY, USA

    Globalisation can be very good. Peaceful global protests against globalised injustice are the best globalisation one can imagine.
    Andy, Athens/Greece


    Globalisation is not happening fast enough in government

    Jo, Leatherhead, UK
    Globalisation is not happening fast enough in government - it has happened much faster in business. The only place where business is never subject to the checks and balances imposed by democratically elected government is at the global level - at every other level it faces controls (at least in theory). Protests happen because there's no vote at the global level - there's no world government. But the next best thing is governments working together. They can, for example, protect vulnerable third world economies, in areas where no one else will.
    Jo, Leatherhead, UK

    Free Trade is as deeply flawed an ideal as communism. It is dependent on the idea that our governments will not be corrupted. The problem is that they are easily corrupted by money and lobbying.
    Thomas Crane, Missoula, USA


    I think the democratic mandate of violent protestors may be a bit shaky

    BS McIntosh, Sweden
    So around 800,000 people went to dance at the Berlin Love Parade whilst 150,000 went to protest at Genoa. I think the democratic mandate of violent protestors may be a bit shaky, showing them to be little more than bullies and wanna-be terrorists. I would urge the people who live in cities where large globalisation-related meetings take place to organise protests against anti-globalisation protests. If the silent majority sit in front of shops and buildings to protect their environment and property the violent protestors will either have to combat the citizenry (and where will democracy be then?) or simply stop their mindless destruction. Bravo.
    BS McIntosh, Sweden (ex-UK)

    How happy many of you who advocate globalisation will be, if someone comes into your house or into your family and dictates to you what you should and shouldn't do for the well being of your family? How happy many of you people who advocate for globalisation will be if you will be treated as homogeneous? How happy many of these countries behind globalisation will be if the price of their products will be governed by the countries which have no idea how difficult it is to produce that product? This is why I strongly disagree with globalisation. If the game of globalisation will be a fair game to both producers and consumers, then globalisation is good. If not then it is an evil game done in order to eliminate poor people.
    Kaaya, URT/ USA

    Amazing how intense people can get about 'globalisation'. I've never seen the word defined but it seems to be a creation of the media and people on a guilt trip. Capitalists buy labour at the price people are prepared to sell it at. Shareholders risk their hard earned cash and expect good returns. Governments oil the wheels. Sounds OK to me.
    Graham Thwaite, Wirral, UK

    I can see people are not well informed about this issue. Europeans are now against Americans. Too bad to hate a country for such reason. I am not American, I am European and I think each country has to inform its own people about the winners or losers. I don't think European countries will just follow USA because they have to. They know there will be winners and losers but the fact is people don't have to hate each other. I know Americans and Europeans very well and I they have to be very well informed. Europeans always think that Americans get the decisions. Wrong, they all agreed on something which can profit all. Please, to all who don't understand what globalisation means, please read about.
    Elaina Phillips, Frankfurt am Main, Germany


    Globalisation doesn't have to be bad

    Franz Bleeker, Emden, Germany
    Globalisation doesn't have to be bad. It gets additional bad press when politicians who actually advocate globalisation or call it inevitable blame their own political mistakes on globalisation, saying that it leaves them little chances for own decisions. From education to welfare, there is still a lot a government - at least of an industrial country can do to add to quality of life, and to their country's ability to compete economically. And in many developing countries, it is also just too easy for corrupt governments to blame poverty on an "unjust" world economic order. True, globalisation is not "fair". But with the WTO, it is certainly better than before, and it offers opportunities. Several Asian and Latin American countries show that a lot can be done.
    Franz Bleeker, Emden, Germany

    Globalisation per se cannot be good or bad - it all depends on how it is implemented in a particular country. Unfortunately, in developing countries, some wealthy industrialists will always exploit their poorer countrymen as well as the resources of their country, purely to satisfy the demand for cheap trainers and other necessities of western life. The truly awful thing is that people in developing countries actually come to believe that the western way of life (which seems to centre around advertising and consumption) is actually better than their old way of life. Developing countries need to take charge of globalisation so that consumers in developed nations can no longer passively exploit them (it is just so easy to blame the large multinationals for this, when, in fact, it is consumer demand for these products that drives such exploitation).
    R Roy, London, England

    You cannot have a debate on globalisation because the people who control the media, especially in the US, stand to gain most from globalisation. How many news reports have presented the views of the G8 protestors? How much airtime has been devoted to presenting the case against globalisation? NONE! It's not just about fast food outlets everywhere, which would be bad enough, it's about an end to democracy - CEOs, CFOs and VPs of marketing instead of Prime Ministers and Presidents.
    Leigh, USA (UK orig)

    It's obvious just by looking at which countries are more "western": quality of life, liberty, globalisation, and good government amplify one another. Corruption, lack of rule-of-law, and coercive socialism keep people poor in "the Third World" - not free trade, which always seems to get the blame.
    Julian Morrison, England

    Globalisation has done nothing but widen the differences between the haves and have nots. The US used to be first in manufacturing in the free world. Now we are first in fast food and discount stores with products that are made in other countries. How can we say that workers in Third World countries are better off working for US/European companies when they still live in shanty towns and have no running water and electricity? Look at the packaging of some products that you buy. Assembled in Mexico from products made in goodness knows where! How does this save money? Bring back the unions.
    Sheila, USA

    Doug Stevenson says "Who says the protesters are a minority? Nobody has asked my views". Sorry Doug, but you, along with everyone else in the UK, were asked your views only a few weeks ago. It's a shame so few bothered to reply.
    D, UK

    Globalisation will only work when the biggest economies in the developed world, the USA and EU, allow inward free trade of everything, including agricultural products, and stop the subsidies.
    John Atkins, Bridgwater, England


    Globalisation has been going on for years

    Oliver, Saigon
    I left University in England in 1983; I went to South Africa to work on the gold mines because that country lacked metallurgical graduates. In 1989 I went to work for a company in Tokyo because they could not find software developers skilled in spreadsheet design. In 1998 I went to set up my own business in Vietnam, to provide Japan with lower cost, outsourced software development, and because of the renowned technical expertise of the people here. I now live in Saigon and am using my project management skills in working with Vietnamese programmers to build a software solution for an international furniture manufacturers. My client uses highly skilled Vietnamese labour to build the furniture which they sell all over the world. Globalisation has been going on for years.
    Oliver, Saigon

    The gap between rich and poor has existed since the dawn of time. Globalisation will not be the beginning or end for that hard truth.
    Cale, Fort Worth, TX, USA

    We must remember that although 'globalisation' is a current buzzword, it is not in fact a recent phenomenon. Capital has been globalising since the beginning of capitalist society. One can find a very good description of this in the first part of The Communist Manifesto, written in the 1840's. What is a recent phenomenon is the 'victory' of the US-led neo-liberal agenda which seeks to justify the unchecked exploitation of developing countries and the destruction of those social gains that workers in the developed world have fought so hard for.
    Owen, Seoul, Korea

    I think globalisation is not good for developing countries like India. This is mainly because foreign companies exploit the people and also local industries and local people suffer a lot. For example in Bangalore, the local people (Kannadigas) are not getting jobs due to the influx of foreign companies. It is really disheartening.
    Jagdish, Singapore

    A good example of the good effects of globalisation that you never hear about (since it's such an evil thing, apparently) is how, for example, K-Mart checks where all the clothing and shoes they sell are made at personally before selling them, to avoid slander on the news when it turns out slave labour was involved. K-Mart has set guidelines and makes sure these people live relatively well. It is policies like these that help the globalisation cause, not devastating the 1st and 3rd World economies by stopping or overregulating it.
    Adam Ruddermann, Connecticut, USA


    There will be winners and losers

    Earl Engelhardt, kingman az USA
    Globalisation is like many things, good, neutral and bad - it depends on the intentions of those in control. People will be helped and people will be hindered. There will be winners and losers. Ultimately it will be implemented because it cannot be stopped. It is now only a matter of how well we manage it and the ethical integrity with which it is administered.
    Earl Engelhardt, kingman az USA

    Globalisation will only benefit the capitalist, the ex- imperialist and ex-colonizers of the world. It will only aid the few against the many; it will only solidify the power of the global white supremacist against the world's people of colour.
    Lee Han Guk, Iksan, Korea


    Globalisation is good and thank God it is also inevitable

    Amoroso, Kenya
    Globalisation is good and thank god it is also inevitable.
    Amoroso, Kenya

    Globalisation has both positive and negative ramifications. Japan is one of many countries to have benefited from globalisation in economic terms. But even in Japan, the negative side of globalisation is being felt. We may not be able to stop the orientation toward globalisation, and if such is the case, we need to create a sort of global safety net to minimize the negative effects of globalisation on countries, businesses and individuals. To this end, the rich countries, the rich corporations and the rich individuals must be ready to sacrtifice a portion of their affluence. Otherwise, we are destined to see a further expansion of inequity in the distribution of wealth on a global scale.
    Keisuke Okada, Japan


    Inevitable? Of course not, we chose to run our economies like this


    Andy Cook, Paris, France
    Inevitable? Of course not, we chose to run our economies like this. Or rather, those in power chose it for us. It is no more 'natural' than to see elephants and penguins roaming the streets of Genoa.
    Andy Cook, Paris, France

    Your comments during the programme


    What concerns me about globalization is Western culture being forced on the rest of the world

    Mark McHarry, San Francisco
    What concerns me about globalization is Western culture - especially criminal law - being forced on the rest of the world. Here in the United States, the police in the Florida city of Tampa have installed video cameras to monitor public areas - perhaps reducing crime but certainly reducing privacy. We may agree that it's good to call dictators like Milosevic to account, but what about prohibiting cultural practices that many Western democracies do not find acceptable, such as drug use and prostitution?
    Mark McHarry San Francisco U.S.A.

    From an earlier posting, A. Mason of Manchester is curious to know if there are any Americans with an alternative view of globalization...indeed there are but to take a position such as this or pro-environment, etc. is to invite social disapproval, potential job dismissal, and a number of other recriminations including violence (See D. Helvarg's The War Against the Greens). I don't see much hope for the US unless it is made a total pariah in the World.
    Christopher Ryan, Concord, MA

    It is a well known phenomenon since time immemorial that the haves thrive on the exploitation of the have-nots. What I find very distressing is its indirect forced legalisation by the world's richest "individuals". Multinational conglomerates are involved in everything. Even menial jobs that unskilled people used to perform are being taken over by them. You name it they are involved. You will them in garbage collection, fruit picking, farming, butchery and even the washing of clothes. As far as I am concerned, economic globalisation is just another form of the haves perpetuating the enslavement of the have-nots.
    Pamodou Gassama, Banjul, The Gambia.

    A very important aspect of globalization is free trade. As long as the developed countries do not allow free trade in, for instance, the agricultural products of developing countries, free trade does not really exist. Getting rid of the American and EU agricultural subsidies will result in a substantial improvement in developing countries economic development. It will also bring the EU and American farmers out on the streets in such protests as to make Genoa look tame. Let's hope for great success for the current Zanzibar meeting. They are not out to stop liberalization - they want liberalization for their own products.
    John Berge, Lindesberg, Sweden,


    Globalisation has also been responsible for the rise of corporate social responsibility

    Luis Amorim, Brussels, Belgium
    Globalisation has also been responsible for the rise of corporate social responsibility, i.e. multinational corporations, due to international pressure by NGOs, are spending money to promote people's living conditions and are concerned about the results of their operations, beyond economic success. Some may say that this move is only related to improving their image, but it is also true that it forces them, in practice, to do good and some are slowly starting to be intrinsically convinced of the relevance of their social inclinations.
    Luis Amorim, Brussels, Belgium

    Globalization is not something we can avoid, but I think globalization can work if local industries are given 'protection', and joint ventures (of MNCs) with local industries are made compulsary. For example, in India, MNCs are required to have a local partner in order to participate in certain industries.
    Sharad Nagappa Bangalore

    The "success" stories from globalization as stated by your panelist does not include any country in Africa. Are the richer nations selective in their focus, which countries they choose to help and at what level they choose to help them? Any feedbacks from Africa on globalization?
    Fadiran Oladipo O, South Africa.

    There should be Fair Trade, not Free Trade. Fair trade means protecting local developing economies, local standards of living, environment, health, etc; Free trade usually means allowing big corporations from the "first world" to exploit cheap labour, the environment, and weak government to make even bigger profits.
    Paul Cheney San Francisco,USA

    The great advantage of globalisation is that countries that have a deficiency in a specific resource or skill can make use of foreign skills or resources to resolve their needs. Conversely the practice of commercial dumping of consumer goods and the poaching of intellect kills local industries that are uncompetitive or which are not able to pay global market based salaries. In a globalised market, 1st world countries only trade with poorer countries because of their raw minerals or agricultural produce being impractical or unavailable for production in 1st world countries.
    Clinton Jones,Saudi Arabia

    One has to be particularly naive and ignorant of what the poorer of the worlds citizens have to tolerate and live with. Those 'for' the concept have no idea. Let the supporters themselves live the life of unfair competition and loss of family businesses. Oh, and tell that chap with you it IS a one way street, with very few going the wrong way.
    S B Clark "Leigh"


    The biggest problem with globalisation is that most people now are not in control of their own lives

    Stuart Mitchell, Brisbane Australia

    It is well to say that globalisation creates jobs, however it was globalisation that has changed the landscape to where so many people need jobs. At the turn of the century approximately 95% of people ran their own cottage industry of one kind or another. I see the biggest problem with globalisation is that most people now are not in control of their own lives. They are dependent on decisions made in ivory towers to determine how many jobs are available where and when. I see this as the root cause of many of the world's social ills which are being illucidated by the trouble wherever the G7/8 or World Ecomomic Forum meet.
    Stuart Mitchell, Brisbane Australia

    Many posts here seem to miss the point of what globalisation actually means. It's not about world travel or intercontinental communication becoming easier or anything like that, as some people have suggested. It simply means that poor countries run by already corrupt goverments are being bribed and blackmailed into giving their resources away to the USA for free, or next to nothing.
    Lawrence Bowen, London, UK

    In Australia, we like to buy cheap sandshoes, but if the people who made them try to come here, we lock them up in detention camps. I believe we must give up passports as we give up tariffs.
    David William Thornton, Australia

    As an American, I am very concerned about the globalization of the world economies. The one aspect of the globalization that our politicians either don't realize or don't want to talk about; is that truly the standard of living for the majority of the population is going down. As major corporations seek lower labor costs, our middle class jobs are being lost. The American economy is slowly becoming an economy of elistists.
    David Scott, U.S.A.

    Globalisation - it's "best", but only for the "few" running it. How do we achieve a modest "good" - but for the "many" across the world ?
    Mark Gendala, Australia

    Your comments before we went ON AIR

    I'm just curious to know if there are any Americans with an alternative view? Almost every posted message reads the same, ie pro globalisation. It is unsurprising then to note that America will be one of the main beneficiaries of globalisation, will it not?
    A Mason, Manchster, Great Britain


    If globalisation is inevitable at least let us make it ethical

    Simon, London, UK
    I know this much - that the natural tendency of capitalism is to minimise costs and maximise profits. In global terms this means that large companies will tend to seek out countries where labour is cheapest and environmental laws are least restrictive. There is an international obligation to enforce legally binding minimum standards on corporations. If globalisation is inevitable at least let us make it ethical. It might then even become a force for good.
    Simon, London, UK

    The question is not whether globalisation is good, bad or inevitable, since it is all three. The question is what kind of globalisation we want, one motivated by competition, greed and the further enrichment and empowerment of a minority of the rich, powerful and greedy, or one based on human cooperation and solidarity, empowering working people and peoples, women, discriminated ethnic, religious and sexual minorities (or even majorities). If one checks out not the dominant radio and tv coverage of Genoa but the programme and participants in the alternative forum and non-violent demonstrations, one can see the meaning of the slogan from the Porto Alegre Forum, earlier this year, that 'Another World is Possible'.
    peter waterman, the hague, netherlands

    Who says the protesters are a minority? Nobody has asked my views and I imagine not one person in Europe or the rest of the G8 countries has been asked their views. There is a violent minority. But I would guess that asking the right question would find a majority broadly supporting the views of the protestors in Genoa. I'm getting more and more unhappy about the undemocratic views of business overiding my views as a democratic voter. Has any government gone through the process of finding out what the majority want ?
    Doug Stevenson, Nottingham, UK

    True globalisation would mean that people working for multinational companies would receive the same level of wages whether working in Indonesia or America. Instead what we see is free trade leading to corporations making products wherever the workers are the cheapest and most compliant, and where health and safety standards are the weakest. This is merely a new economic imperialism to replace the military imperialism of old.
    Tess Lowe, London, UK

    Globalization is a mere reflection of the developed countries trying to unjustly embezzle the natural resources of the underdeveloped countries.
    ridwaan kulmiye


    Globalisation is a good thing

    Maria Adelia Endres, Porto Alegre Brazil
    Globalisation is a good thing. I was born in Brazil and I always lived here. If there wasn't the globalisation we couldn't have learnt like we are learning now. In the developing countries it's possible understand anti-globalisation because people with power are afraid to lose that power, but why so many people in rich countries are against? Are they afraid of the developed world being better them they are? If they had had the opportunity to grow up seeing the parents working hard to give us better education, quality of life, and so on like I had, perhaps they could think twice before making too many protests and saying this rubbish. I'm sick and tired of protestors firing cars, shops, etc. Why do not spend more time finding real solutions that can help?
    Maria Adelia Endres, Porto Alegre Brazil

    I was lucky to grow up in two countries Zambia and Jamaica, I watched the effect of globalization where a country which had a currency value of 1 kwacha to a pound devalue to 20 Kwach in a span of 7 years because of the IMF stepping into the economy. I am yet to see one country where IMF, the key instrument of globalization, has had a positive impact. They are nothing but loan sharks. They have no vested interest in developing a country.
    Rajesh Krishnaswami, Windsor, Ontario,Canada

    Globalisation per se is not the issue. The problem is that we have not yet developed the political infrastructure to rein in the worst excesses of exploitation by corporations.
    Ken Ibbs, Mountain View, USA


    Although globalization is a good ideal, I don't trust the corporations to carry it out

    Sasha Hayes-Rusnov Maine, US
    In principle, globalization is a good idea; the promotion of free trade allows each country to contribute its assets to the global market, encouraging competition and providing developing countries with sources of certain products that they can't produce. In practice, however, these benefits run into one major problem: Corporations are generally unscrupulous. Business will get away with whatever it is allowed to get away with, and that includes ignoring or circumventing environmental standards, labor rights, and other interests of the people which get in their way. Although globalization is a good ideal, I don't trust the corporations to carry it out.
    Sasha Hayes-Rusnov Maine, U.S.

    Personal politics aside, I think the stereotyping of protesters as unemployable thugs is deplorable. They are merely expressing loudly many of the doubts some of are quietly thinking. No reason to be shot to death.
    Marc, Vienna Austria

    The European countries plundered lands and destroyed cultures centuries ago. Globalisation is just the modern way of carrying this on, sponsored by US and its allies. I have seen the effects in Hungary. All its local customs and goods are bought up cheap by the west, stripped and closed. It's an evil system. Unfortunately it benefits the rich corporations and they have power and they just don't care.
    Steven Chalmers, Aberdeen, UK

    Globalisation is not an entity in itself which can be cured by demonstrations. It is automatic spinoff. When I first went to sea in 1950 it was a major production calling my mother from Liverpool.I can now take a small device out of my back pocket, whilst walking down the street and call my aunt Aggie in Australia without missing a stride. Cargo is transported in a container made in Japan, lifted out of the ship in Rotterdam, by a device manufactured in South Africa, on to a truck manufactured in Brazil, and transported to the end user in Lapland. I can watch it on television as it happens, an earthquake in Peru, floods in Orissa, or the current president parting his beard on the White House lawn. The demonstraters are as misguided as the 'ban the bombers' of 40 years ago. They are advocating uninventing something, and nothing can be uninvented.
    Captain P.A.Holmes Chittagong

    It can be proven mathematically that unfettered free trade raises world output more so than "managed trade" between "trading blocks", such as of the kind sponsored by the G7. Thus, in a perverse way, the "anti-capitalists" are correct in their ends. Of course, the ends do NOT justify their means. And it goes without saying that 99% of them would not understand or appreciate the above point.
    Jay James, San Francisco, CA USA

    Globalisation itself is neither good or bad.

    Some things need to be globalised like labour rights/conditions. We need to globalise healthcare and education. Ultimately it is WEALTH that must be globalised - and that means it must be redistributed from the rich to the poor.

    Globalising wealth cannot be done through globalising Free Trade - as that merely globalises poverty, exploitation, financial dependence and debt.
    Simo Zulian, Wollongong, Australia


    It's good for the rich and the rich countries

    Craig, Adelaide, Australia
    Globalisation wants to turn us all into consumers, mindlessly chewing up the Earth's resources at any cost. For this it is bad, we have only so much on this planet, it is finite, we should stop and think whose good is globalisation for? It's good for the rich and the rich countries.
    Craig, Adelaide, Australia

    Although I'm not able to bring figures it is a fact that life expectancy has improved over the world for the last 20 years. Even though there is only profit in the mind of the pharmacutical company as for any multinational companies. The number of illiterate people has been shrinking as well.

    Let us not only take into account this ludicrous and over inflated litany of "clichés" listed on this issue. On a personal level the summit in Genoa bothers me, yes! It keeps me from delivering an order there this weekend because everything is closed.

    There is both good and bad in globalisation. Free trade is a good thing, but it needs to be monitored and its abuses must be denounced.
    Andre Peillex, Nantes, France

    Even a cursory glance at contemporary history teaches us that free trade and the profit motive of corporations are not a threat to democracy, the rights of of the comman man or the ecology. Only intrusive, evil or incompetent governments can do these things.

    The people of Vietnam aren't suffering because Nike built some factories. They are afflicted with bad government. Free trade can fix that, if given time. Capitalism played a part in bringing down the Soviet Union, unless I am mistaken. You should see, as I have, how good the ecology of Russia is thanks to years without capitalism and free trade. It isn't pretty.

    Pol Pot wasn't a regional director for Coca Cola. Idi Amin wasn't a spokesman for the beef industry. Joseph Stalin didn't sell Amway.

    The anger of the G8 protesters is misdirected, either by mistake... or for some other motivation.
    A Carrier, US


    A philosophy that honestly puts human beings first will benefit all of us

    Duncan, US
    Globalisation is all about putting a system above the realities of human life and the environment. Many destructive things are rewarded by globalisation (deforestation, strip mining, pollution spewing plants), therefore the one thing we can be sure of as globalisation spreads across the globe is that it will cause more destruction that will profit the rich.

    A philosophy that honestly puts human beings first will benefit all of us, not just those who value numbers or profits over us all.
    Duncan, US

    Stop globalisation, now!! Before it destroys all natural resources and local communities by standardised Western/American pseudo-culture of mad consumption. The sooner we stop the beast the bigger chance for survival we have in an impoverished and polluted world. Make your choice now!! Think globally, act locally!!
    Tom Kraus, Kibbutz Lotan, Israel

    Globalisation is good - it gives the chance to the poorer nations to prosper through trade. I can't help but think that the hidden agenda of those protesters is to keep their jobs from leaving for the developing countries. Hence you see all these labour unions participating in the protests.
    Tom Lau, Halifax, Canada

    I have a theory that most local cultures are based in part on a belief that the rest of the world is evil. As we now come to see that the whole world is just like us, cultural paranoia is making its last stand.
    Chris Rushlau, Portland, Maine US


    How do you think the 100,000+ protesters got to Genoa?

    Jesse, US
    The push for a more united and connected global community is a good thing. Having access to products, education, medicines, information, etc will only help to further humanity as a whole. Yes, keep certain cultures and traditions within your area and yes, set rules for multinationals to follow. But quit blindly whining about how awful globalisation is. It¿s the best tool we have, when used correctly, for the advancement of all people.

    How do you think the 100,000+ protesters got to Genoa? They flew in planes owned by multinational corporations and drove cars that were manufactured by multinationals and those black sneakers they wear, while hurling rocks at the Genoa police, were manufactured by a multinational. Imagine a world where we did not have access to products and competition. We the citizens and customers would lose.
    Jesse, US

    I find it interesting how so many people from Europe and especially the UK see the US as the root of all evil in globalisation.

    How many European firms own and operate companies in the US? Do the names BP, Shell, DaimlerChrysler mean anything to you? We'll stop selling you burgers if you stop selling us oil and automobiles. Oh, that's right, only the US is responsible for global warming, right.
    Dave Stokes, Detroit, MI

    In my opinion globalisation is the latest fantasy for rich countries and will be a nightmare for underworld countries. The only purpose which should be fetched from globalisation is to secure business interests of developed nations, as all the capital pipelines will have only route to source. On the contrary all the mess will be for the receiver end of commodities. So this in my opinion yet another net of conspiracies.
    Wasim Jilani, Rawalpindi and Pakistan

    I served for two years in the Peace Corps. I lived with and worked with the poorest of the poor in the the country of Moldova. Those who say that the big companies are exploting the poor have very little knowledge of the situation. Most of these poor nations are led by leaders who care nothing for thier own people. Where I was, McDonalds was paying taxes - it was the locals who were skipping out. After reading all these e-mails from Europeans fearful of globalisation, I feel better about the American education system.

    Long Live Free-Enterprise and to to those who are against it, go get a real-life education.
    Stephen, USA

    'Globalisation' is perhaps the greatest upsurge of nationalism (American) in human history. Let's make it a genuine international collaboration between equals to eliminate inequality and poverty and democratise the world.
    Robert Verdon, Canberra, Australia

    I believe that globalisation is good. We have a chance to improve our lives by competing with peoples from other countries. It's this competition with peoples from other counties which will encourages us to be the best we can be. We can discover what we can do best and let the production of goods, which we cannot efficiently produce, be carried out by those who can do it better. Thus we can ensure the highest quality at the lower cost.

    But I think that the most important benefits of globalisation are not the financial ones. It's the chance we get to meet people from other countries to learn from other people's experiences, to stop fearing what we did not know and/or understand before.

    I believe that people who oppose globalisation are misinformed by those who realise that in a worldwide economy will lose their monopolistic or oligopolistic privileges which enable them to profit at people's expense. At the same time people who were deprived from such privileges have a chance now to prove themselves and get a "piece of the pie".
    Dimitri Doussis, Athens, Greece


    Here in Africa people are wondering whether these violence-prone protesters are really interested in the plight of the underdeveloped countries

    Tanya, Johannesburg
    Let us not forget that for people in the poorer countries of this world, 'globalisation' is an American-invented, sugar-coated term for re-colonisation.
    T J Won, Seoul, Korea

    Here in Africa people are wondering whether these violence-prone protesters are really interested in the plight of the underdeveloped countries. I think they are people venting their own frustrations. It's NOT the best way to get equity for the so-called 3rd World.
    Tanya, Johannesburg SA

    I work in the marine industry, an industry which has been "globalised" for at least 15 years. Globalisation is only about companies driving down their cost base by picking the cheapest most under regulated source of resources and manpower available.

    This results in falling standards for both consumers and employees. This results in more reputable quality operators, having to cut costs by lowering standards. This affects safety,and results in governments corrupting themselves to "attract" investment, often at the cost of the wellbeing of their people.

    In short globalisation is about benefits for large multinationals who are increasingly running Goverments for their own profit.

    So next time you see a large oil Tanker on a beach with oil leaking everywhere,and it is discovered the ship is owned by a Brass Plate company in one part of the world, registered in another that has no marine infrastructure or expertise and manned by unqualified, untrained cheap labour, you can blame the poor men or the ship or stop and think about whether globalisation played its part.

    After all would you board an aircraft owned by a globalised company which was unaccountable and operated in the cheapest most deregulated country possible?

    That will be the legacy of globalisation as it has been in my industry.
    Dave Pegg, UK

    A controversy about "globalisation" is an obvious waste of time. You might as well argue about whether civilisation should be permitted to proceed or not. Those who indulge in the debate do so as an idle pastime, or perhaps suffer from mental deficiencies - for example, a lack of intelligence. I'm writing this as an idle pastime, how about you?
    Dan, Prairie Home, USA

    Globalisation is a process which has been happening for quite a long time, and there is no end to it. As a process it should have ideology. The ideology of globalisation is to exploit "legally" the natural resources, capital and manpower of the developing countries.
    Samuel Thayapa Sebastian, Castellon, Spain

    There seem to me to be two sorts of protesters:

    (1) Those who want any excuse for a riot. The G8 summit merely provides that excuse. They couldn´t give a tuppeny damn about the poor. If they did, they would be going to the Congo, or Bolivia, or wherever, to help, instead of carrying out actions that they know are futile.

    (2) The hypocrites: those who like to wear their 'holier than thou' hearts on their sleeves, by complaining about globalisation, while living with the comfortable feeling that it will continue to exist and support them. They are easily recognisable, being those who chart special trains, use mobile phones, and eat in McDonalds.

    I believe that most of the world views nearly all of them with considerable despondency, not to say contempt.
    James, Salamanca, Spain

    Globalisation is the handmaid of capitalist, multinational corporations. Thus, by definition, it is antithetical to the interest and needs of "the wretched of the earth."

    The inherent irrationality of capitalism predicated on greed and acquisitiveness, the profit motive, can only sustain gross inequality.

    As Eugene V Debs once remarked: "While there is a lower class, I am in it." Globalisation be damned!

    Aluta continua.
    Dr Alvin Wyman Walker, Harlem, New York, US

    Globalisation means interdependence, but unfortunately developing countries are forced to depend on developed countries and the latter use it as an opportunity to exploit the former.

    If globalisation can help reduce poverty, free people from fatal diseases, give voice to the voiceless, and the less privileged ones have access to vaccination and global wealth then globalisation is good
    Albert P'Rayan, Kigali, Rwanda (Indian)

    The world economy needs more humanism. It's too simplistic to see in each action only cash flow and profits.

    What are we searching for ? Wellbeing! Living a long and good life with our friends and family, in a larger view, with other people.

    Being richer, make more profit, is not ever in accordance with this project. That's why I think that's globalisation should be not only done in the ecomic way, but also in a social way.

    President Chirac says on 07/20/2001. "If 150,000 people are coming to Genova to demonstrate, there is a problem".

    The problem is that people want more humanism in global politics. You can't let thousands of Africans die from Aids because they're poor... That means that someday you could die cause you're not making enough money.
    Stephan, Freyming, France

    This is not about free trade or anything similar, it is about bowing to the demands of a spoilt Texan who has no respect for the habitants of this planet and only wants to strike a few good weapon-selling deals.

    Dear Mr Bush (and other members of the G8 movement), you have to realise that in the "land of the free", people think through their heads and not through their pockets. To us, globalisation means one united and equal world. To you, it's just a chic expression of slavery.
    Doros, UK (originally Greece)


    International corporations are getting that powerful that they are dictating politics

    Indra, Ghent, Belgium
    It's Internationalism that is needed; the acceptance and acknowledgement that all countries are equal and due respect. Globalisation is a completely different thing; it doesn't consider countries and their population, it considers only companies and finance.
    Charlie, Nottigham

    Few emphasise the democratic aspect. International corporations are getting that powerful that they are dictating politics. Politicians get elected. The bosses of those companies don't. Politicians should normally take democracy and common interest at heart. Thoses bosses are not in the least concerned with that.
    Indra, Ghent, Belgium

    The push toward globalisation has been going on for years, yet more and more people worldwide are sinking deeper and deeper into poverty. Globalisation has so far been a bad thing.
    Paul Stack, Ontario, Canada


    It's not about what is good for environment and people - it's all about profit

    Mikko L, Finland
    It's not globalisation, it's Americanisation. If all countries would be equal it could be globalisation. But for example in the IMF, USA is practically the only country able to reject decisions whenever they want to. And in the USA politics are run by huge enterprises like oil companies. It's not about what is good for environment and people - it's all about profit.
    Mikko L, Helsinki, Finland

    If we don't have globalisation, how are third world countries going to ever produce multinationals? The people who fear the role of multinationals have schizophrenia. On one side they think that multinationals are bad for third world countries. On the other side they talk as if producing multinationals is the sole right of western developed countries. However one only needs to look at companies like Samsung, Hyundai, LG (all Korea) and Satyam, Infosys (both India) to see that the effects of globalisation are not one sided. And in any case I hate people from the west who think that they know what's good for the less developed countries. Pray, why should the third world countries not be a beneficiary of the technological changes that are taking place elsewhere?
    Dabbu, Gurgaon, India


    Stop now the globalisation before the poor get poorer and the rich get richer

    Stergios, Greece
    With these leaders we all are in very serious danger. We'll see Bush, Blair and the rest of them bring the poor countries - and not only them - to a very bad future. The only way is to fight against these politicians and the politics that they bring with them. No to G8. Stop now the globalisation before the poor get poorer and the rich get richer.
    Stergios, Athens, Greece

    I think the actions of the G8 are disgusting. The public should be allowed to demonstrate freely whether governments like it or not. The government is a publicly elected body. If the government do not trust the public, why don't they dissolve them and elect a new public? This is the philosophy being followed at the moment! Tony Blair and George W Bush should not be allowed to disrupt the public anti-capitalism demonstration as this is a flagrant disrespect of the public's right to march and demonstrate in a free society. I can only see an end to freedom and democracy if the governmental thuggery is allowed to continue!
    Bruce, Edinburgh

    Of course, globalisation is a 'good thing'. We are a single species sharing a single planet. Our failure is to give the real facts about globalisation so that intelligent people can understand. We must provide a social cushion for change, implement constraints that prevent the worst abuses (Bush, Kyoto, please note), have an open migration policy that allows people to move to where they might benefit, sanction anyone that uses patriotism (real name 'tribalism') to attack those weaker than themselves and recognise that governments are 'service providers' and 'estate managers' - not owners of people.
    Ken Pope, France


    Better to first develop internationalism by supporting poor governments in eradicating poverty

    Aamir Riaz, Pakistan
    We, the people living in Pakistan, are victims of cold war era - still not able to breathe due to Uncle Sam's holy war. How can we feel in these circumstances to be citizens of one state? And by the way your definition of "international" does not involve us except on papers just for formality. Better to first develop internationalism by supporting poor governments in eradicating poverty and also reduce your profits in respective countries, then start this globalisation drive - otherwise it will be a filthy process.
    Aamir Riaz, Lahore, Pakistan

    Mike V, millions of people around the world are fighting globalisation. Just because your pro-globalisation western media doesn't report it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. We in the West were the last to start protesting about it not the first....
    Richard , Halesowen, UK

    The idea that residents of the developing world do not gain from globalisation is wrong. Rather than forcing their citizens to buy 'home-spun' manufactures (through tariff or quota protections) that are more expensive and of inferior quality, countries that have liberalised their trading regimes allow home consumers to reap the benefits of owning the world's best products. By the way, what exactly is an anti-capitalist? Is that somebody who steals their Land Rover rather than paying for it?
    Michael Robbins, Rhode Island USA

  •  WATCH/LISTEN
     ON THIS STORY
    Shane Quinn, Northern Ireland
    "We are seeing the exploitation of global workers"
    Luis Amorim, Brussels
    "I'm generally in favour"
    Lucy Matthew, Genoa
    "G8 leaders say they want to make globalisation work for the poor - we haven't seen that yet"
    Grant Valentine, Reading
    "Globalisation is inevitable"
    Abraham Karamme, Germany
    "Exploitation of the poor and disadvantaged is happening now"
    M Gattan, Melbourne
    "Globalisation is an economic process of osmosis"
    See also:

    18 Jul 01 | Europe
    Genoa set for summit onslaught
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