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Posts Tagged ‘globalisation’

The Youth Guide to Globalisation

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

jeansFor Michael from Ghana, globalisation means the unfair global trade in his country’s agricultural products. For Norma from Honduras, globalisation represents the consumer culture she believes is destrying her country’s national identity. While Akinsami from Nigeria considers the globalisation of human rights as beneficial in halting human rights abuses.

This guide introduces  us to globalisation, it’s definitions, history and some key players. It provides us with alternative answers and explains why young people are SO important in this debate.

It takes us on a journey around the world from Africa to the Pacific Islands and also looks at 7 global topics such as education, trade and newly emerging issues.

Once all the research done the  guide lays out 10 major ways in which we can influence the way the world is headed!

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another world is possible

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Published by - attac.org

This is a CD with 15 tracks from bands such as  Massive Attack, Moby, Manu Chao and the Asian Dub Foundation & Zebda. It also has introductions in 6 European languages, from people at the forefront of the discussion on Globalisation.

mall_photoIn English Noam Chomsky talks about the so-called boom of the 90’s, and Naomi Klein points out how uniform we can become when we buy into brands.

The introductions are not repeated in all languages so good luck with the ones you don’t know!

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An Inconvenient Truth - the Crisis of Global Warming

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

By Al Gore

globecrackingWhat do you think about Global Warming Do you care enough about the planet to get involved? What can we do to deal with the crisis? This book shows what is happening on our planet and how it affects us. From wildfires to disappearing icecaps we learn what the scientists have been discovering. We also learn how to become part of the solution, in the decisions we make both now and in the future.

The DVD is also available.

You can join our library and get books and DVDs out for Free!

Take it Personally

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

take_photo1Anita Roddick of The Body Shop fame has created a work of art with this book, putting images and phrases together, such as, fashion and victim which show us how we have lost perspective of the real world.

Roddick has always tried to conduct business in a personal way, but has found that the business world is dominated by the faceless, and relentless advance of globalisation. This is a world of secret, impersonal committees, who do not take their social responsibilities seriously. The focus is on profit. Without more openness and democracy, she says, the world will be unable to deal with the serious crisis brought on us by globalisation.

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Globalisation — what are the negative impacts?

Tuesday, August 9th, 2005

Andrew Colgan

What is Globalisation?
Globalisation is the buzz word on everybody’s lips in the 21st century. But what does it mean? It basically means the world is getting smaller in just about every sense, except for geographically. Exchange is becoming more rapid, travel more feasible, communication faster and more accessible, advertising and media more widespread and movement of money more free-flowing.

Globalisation’s winners and losers
But globalisation is causing huge problems. Those who appear to be in control of the process (transnational corporations (TNCs), multilateral institutions and governments of wealthy industrialised nations) don’t seem to have the interests of everybody in mind. Consequently, economic and financial globalisation is happening at a rate disproportionate to all other developments. Economists and world leaders speak in terms of revenue, exchange, capital movement, structural adjustment and interest. Such concepts as emotion, cultural identity equality, environmental protection and social benefit seem to be foreign and are left out of the equation.

Some problems caused by Globalisation

The resulting problems are huge, and hit women, children and those on the periphery (especially in poorer countries) the hardest. These problems include:

  • Exploitation in employment — as well as appalling wages and working conditions, in many cases women and children are abducted and forced to work in oppressive factories or as sex workers.
  • The rise of the HIV / AIDS pandemic, displacement and longer working hours resulting in the orphaning and abandonment of children.
  • Neglect of the sick, illiterate, disabled and elderly as governments’ priorities shift towards economic growth and servicing of public debt.

The role of International institutions
The fate of many poorer or “developing” nations lies in the hands of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Claims that Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) are in the best interest of those poorer nations, and not simply for the benefit of the wealthy creditors of these International Financial Institutions (IFIs), are dubious at best. The liberalisation of trade by the WTO has meant a removal of tariffs. Now only governments which can afford to pay subsidies can protect their producers. The complexity of international trade often makes it difficult to understand how huge disparities come about. Some excellent examples are given in a Christian Aid video called “Nuts”.

The problems with Transnational Corporations
Transnational corporations (TNCs) are quietly gaining dangerously unaccountable political power in both rich and poor countries. For example:

  • Finland is home of the mobile phone company Nokia. This company is so big that it accounts for 2/3 of the stock exchange, 1/5 of all exports, a significant proportion of the country’s tax revenue and employs over 22,00 Finns. By threatening to remove production to another country, Nokia effectively holds the Finnish government to ransom and so has a great influence in its political decision making.
  • Wal-mart is a huge American department store. Its clothing range is produced in factories in Bangladesh, taking advantage of the fact that there are no minimum wage laws there. Wal-mart is 55 times the size of the entire Bangladesh economy. By threatening to remove production to another impoverished (and therefore cheap) country, it has negotiated a deal with the government so it no longer pays a single cent of taxes.

The widening gap between the rich and poor
Despite extensive plundering of the world’s natural resources, this wealth has been shared less and less equally and extreme poverty remains. The gap between rich and poor is growing on a local and an international level:

  • The richest 20% of the world’s population enjoy 86% of its resources while the poorest 20% must survive with a little over 1%.
  • The 225 richest people in the world have the equivalent income to the poorest 2.25 billion.
  • The world’s 3 richest people have fortunes equivalent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the world’s poorest 36 countries.
  • 200 million children never start school (3/4 of these are girls). The amount needed to send these children to school each year is less than the amount spent on cosmetics in the USA and less than half the amount spent on ice-cream in Europe.


The Homogenisation of a Global Youth Culture

The growth of advertising and the entertainment media is contributing to the rising of a homogenous global youth culture. In New Zealand it is now estimated that we see on average over 3000 advertisements every day. Young people are made to feel insecure through “image advertising” and then told consumption is the answer to their insecurities. The result is a rise in individualism and a lack of compassion and care for others. People are encouraged to care more about money and image than family and community. Perhaps this plays a part in the high youth suicide rate in New Zealand. The other adverse effect of this global youth culture is that we are seeing people all around lose their unique cultural identities in pursuit of a branded western culture. In many ways, diversity is fighting a losing battle against globalisation.

LEARN MORE

Try googling any of these subjects and you’ll find heaps of articles and discussion — but here’s a selection to start you off…

Sweatshops
Corporation Watch — exposing sweatshops
Article in A World Connected
The feminist perspective

Child labour
Human Rights Watch
UNICEF

Trafficking
Human Rights Watch
United Nations

HIV and AIDS — stats, info, aid agencies etc
Young People and AIDS
UN Report (June 2005) on the impact on young people

International Financial Institutions (IFIs)

Watching the IFIs
US Network for Economic Justice

Debt
Jubilee Debt Campaign
Article in Global Issues on Debt

Corporations
Corporation Watch — holding corporations accountable
Corporate Watch

TAKE ACTION!

  • Read an article on this by the same author, Andrew Colgan : Youth Response to Globalisation

Don’t Sweat It

Wednesday, February 9th, 2005

Cameron Walker

Sweat WorkersSo it turns out the new hoodie that was going to make you feel good and like you fit in (finally) for just the small price of $149.95 was actually made by an under-paid, over-worked young woman in Asia. Yeah. Still feeling good?

In the 1980’s and 1990’s U.S. and European clothing corporations closed down factories at home so they could focus on building their brand names. Companies like Dickies, Adidas, Gap, Nike and Converse (now owned by Nike) searched the world for the cheapest contractors to produce their gear.

Unfortunately for the workers, the cheapest contractors were often so well-priced because their workers were paid terrible wages and had to put up with appalling working conditions.
Meanwhile, the governments of some developing nations, such as Mexico, Indonesia, El Salvador, the Philippines, Thailand and China, set up large factory areas — as big as whole suburbs — known as Export Processing Zones (EPZs) to attract investment from corporations like Nike and Dickies.

EPZs are dedicated to making goods for the Western market. The corporations who use EPZs are not required to pay tax, so public services normally funded by taxes are often unavailable. So no public transport or street lights, for example.

NO smiling
Unions — the organisations which make sure workers are getting what they’re entitled to — have fewer rights and almost no bargaining power, shifts are long and wages are usually not enough to buy basic necessities.

Workers at a factory in the Philippines, which made GAP, Old Navy and Guess gear, told journalist Naomi Klein that sometimes they had to resort to urinating in plastic bags under their desks because they were not given toilet breaks.

In one Filipino factory there is a rule against smiling. In a certain factory in an Indonesian EPZ, which produces GAP and Nike clothing, workers have to do long shifts — 36 hours without going home!

In the Maquiladoras of El Salvador workers are paid $151 US a month, but the price of basic food (rice, beans, corn) for two to three people costs $250 a month. If you add the price of power bills, water and education for the workers’ children it costs at least $550 a month to live. It’s not hard to see that some are going without. Meanwhile, at a local shop I found Dickies Double Knee Workpants, made in Maquiladoras, for $115.

No Sweat ShoesGo on, be ethical
No Sweat Apparel and other fair trade producers are getting more popular as people become aware of the exploitation used to make some of their favourite clothes.

Fair Trade and No Sweat
Under fair trade, workers are paid a decent wage, the environment is not exploitative and conditions are checked by the International Fair Trade Association (IFAT).
No Sweat Apparel, the ones who have just released those awesome new shoes (pictured), use an Indonesian factory where workers are unionised, paid 25 percent more than the regional minimum wage, and receive a rice allowance and health insurance that covers them and their family members.

You can get No Sweat sneakers from Trade Aid stores around New Zealand, and you can hunt around on the net for other fair trade producers.

nosweatapparel
ethicalconsumer

Buy NZ Made
Because New Zealand’s got pretty tough worker safety and rights laws, you’re almost guaranteed New Zealand-made clothing is made ethically.
Be careful though, because more and more NZ-owned companies are outsourcing their work to Asia and the Pacific. So even if they’re a New Zealand label, they might still be using the same sweatshop labour as everyone else.

Do your own research
We’d like to give you a list of your favourite labels and rate them according to how ethically or unethically their stuff’s made. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Big labels are usually part of a greater clothing and apparel group named something completely unrelated. They contract out their work to people in far-flung nations who then contract equally anonymous sweatshops. They don’t want to make it easy for you to find out. The best you can do is research. There are reports scattered around the net on particular clothing labels, so have a hunt around.

Tell the companies
Let the labels know there is a demand out there for ethically made clothing — write a letter or email to the company asking about their practices, or ask a shop assistant if it’s made ethically. This kind of pressure can do more than you think. Nike, for instance, as a direct result of public pressure to clean up their practices in Vietnam, made an effort to improve conditions in their Vietnam factories.

This article was written as part of the Global Focus a collaborative project of Tearaway Magazine and the Global Education Centre. It was first published in Tearaway magazine and is reprinted here with their permission

Illustrator: Rebecca Ter Borg