Democratic Globalization

Essay by sheikchiliUniversity, Bachelor'sA, June 2012

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Democratic Globalization


Democratic globalization is the idea that all humans share a common interest and should have a common say in the future development of humanity. Its supporters counterpose democratic globalization to existing globalization, which they claim reflects the interests of state, corporate, and financial elites. These groups control policy in existing global institutions and the world's 200 or so states. Instead, supporters of democratic globalization insist on globalization "from below" rather than "from above."

Few human communities in history have ever grown up in isolation from one another. In this sense globalization is not new. But the paradox of capitalism's political economy is that as it has developed in the last five centuries the world has been brought closer together in some ways but become more divided in others. The end of the Cold War in 198991 seemed to suggest that this had changed. Market capitalism had triumphed.

The next years saw a huge wave of globalization talk and claims of a qualitative shift in global relations. Critics saw the euphoria of this "globo-babble" as the equivalent in ideas of the "irrational exuberance" that seemed to characterize markets at this time. It served to allow corporate and financial interests to try to remold the economy more in their favor.

"Free Market Fundamentalism"

Free market and neoliberal economists argue that markets are welfare enhancing and work best when they are free. They deny that there are serious tradeoffs or choices and argue that if some gain more this is of little consequence. Everyone can hope to gain something through the trickle-down effects of the integration of global markets. These ideas were embodied in the politics of the Washington Consensus and the policies of the U.S. government abroad, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and, from 1995, the...