Globalization for Whom? (July-August 2002)
Thanks to Katie Daily for posting the above article to the new Wikinomics page “AP Econ in the News”. Several very interesting articles were linked to this page over the weekend, but this one just jumped out at me as particularly interesting.
This piece looks at the question of whether globalization reduces poverty. Many critics of globalization (you know, those union members and see turtle costumed folks who protest at WTO and IMF meetings, and millions like them in the develop and developing worlds), claim that the record of the 1990s shows that a more integrated global economy does not necessarily mean less poverty in poor countries. The author here claims that while global poverty may not have been eliminated during this decade of global integration, this is only because some of the poorest countries have not yet become “globalizers”, rather have remained “non-globalizers”
“…countries that have the best shot at lifting themselves out of poverty are those that open themselves up to the world economy.”
The author points to several figures supporting the positive impact globalization has had on countries that have chosen to participate in the integration of global markets, such as China and India.
“By selling its products on world markets, China has been able to purchase the capital equipment and inputs needed for its modernization. And the surge in foreign investment has brought much-needed managerial and technical expertise. The regions of China that have grown fastest are those that took the greatest advantage of foreign trade and investment.”
Read: SHANGHAI folks. This article points perfectly to the phenomenal growth we’ve observed here in our own home. China’s decision in 1978 with Deng’s “Reform and Opening” to participate in, rather than isolate itself from the global marketplace has resulted in a doubling of life expectancy, a near doubling in literacy rates, rapid development of the country’s infrastructure and the emergence of China as a dominant and undeniable force in the economic and political landscape.
The author explores the idea that China’s (as well as its East Asian neighbors’) economic emergence may have been achieved by shunning free market principles and turning instead to protectionist methods such as quotas, tariffs on imports, subsidies to domestic producers, etc…
Perhaps China has unlocked a secret of successful integration in the global economy. Despite the West’s desire to liberalize and open the economies of all poor nations and their claim that this is the best means to eradicate poverty rapidly, China’s experience shows that a healthy dose of government control and protectionist policy may actually result in the greatest economic gains for the world’s poorest countries. I’m interested to know what students think about China in the world today. Does the high level of government control over the economy stifle further growth and prevent the total eradication of poverty? Or should the government continue to meddle in the market, protecting domestic industries and hope that its interference does not limit the country’s growth, thus halting continued improvements in standard of living experienced by the majority of Chinese over the last 40 years? This may be a good topic to bring up over dinner with your families this week! Share your thoughts here!
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