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Alternative to Economic Globalization

The book “Alternatives to Economic Globalization: A Better World is Possible – A Report of The International Forum on Globalization” by Cavanagh and Mander is innovative and controversial book revealing misconceptions of Friedman’s “The World is Flat” and describing multinational imperialism as inevitable consequence of cultural and carnage obliteration.

Firstly, it may seem that the authors are likely to advocate for globalization, in particular, for neoliberalism – corporate globalization – stating that globalization can de defined as inevitable result of technological forces and evolutionary process.

In other words, no matter how the world is developing, it will inevitably result in globalization process.

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Therefore, the book is successful attempt to make corporate globalization more natural and effective. The authors define corporate globalization as privatization of goods and services and as the cult of international capitalism. Cavanagh and Mander discuss pros and cons of globalization, implications and fallouts of globalized economies. However, with book progression it becomes apparent that the authors stand against globalization.

(Brown & Renner 2006) The authors start from describing the consequences of World Trade Organization protest taken place in Seattle in 1999 and they try to find answer whether it is possible to exist without globalization and what community would think of you if you were against globalization. Answering these questions, the author offer four-hundred pages direction how to make our world better and how to move toward more sustainable democratic world. The authors provide key components of globalization model:

• Hypergrowth resulting in inevitable search for new alternative resources, cheaper labour force and new unexplored markets; • Commoditisation and privatization of medicines; access to freshwater; intellectual property rights; radio waves; fertilizers and seeds; • Economic and cultural homogenization meaning that there is a need to create such global culture where “every place is becoming more and more like every other place”; (Cavanagh & Mander, 38) • Export-oriented investment and trade applying the merits of comparative advantage.

It is known that the book is a result of discussions taken place during the period 1999-2002 by the International Forum on Globalization. The forum involved many activists of global justice movement, the International Forum on Globalization (IFG) is considered important as such famous figures as Maude Barlow, Walden Bello, Lori Wallach, Tony Clarke, Vandana Shiva and David Korte were its members. When anti-globalization protest occupied the streets of Seattle, many of its activists realized the necessity to go further and to work out alternative economic ideas how to prevent development of corporate globalization.

Thus, they created the World Social Forum and the book “Alternative to Economic Globalization” appeared to be a direct reflection of discussions during the protests. The book is a struggle against globalization reveals the ills of radical economic actions, participatory democracy, and social justice. However, the book isn’t official ideology, but serious reflection. (Brown & Renner 2006) The book provides two theoretical lines – the first criticizing corporate globalization and power, and the second discussing alternative ideas and principle for better society.

However, the term “capitalism” is rarely used as a category of analysis. The author, instead, try to discuss the global corporate power. Cavanagh and Mander claim that the basis for global social and economic crisis is “rooted in – corporate globalization itself” (Cavanagh & Mander, 32) and that “globe-girdling firms (are) the driving forces behind the new architecture for global governance and the trade, finance, and investments regimes that now rule people and life on earth”. (p. 122)

The book also offers thorough analysis of the institutional form of capitalism, but “without an analysis of capitalism they are reduced to surface descriptions without recognizing the class relations at the core of global corporate structure”. To prove their position, the authors state that the “absolute imperative to make a profit” and the “imperative to continuously grow and expand” (p. 130) are likely to be “rooted in the institutional forms and structures” of corporate behaviour.

Nevertheless, these imperatives are more likely to be rooted in the structural logic of capitalism which is exhibited in the form of global corporations. If too look deeper, it becomes apparent that the mentioned imperatives are to promote class societies relations with the purpose to distort current principles and beliefs of culture and civil society. Profit making and expansion are the key goals of global corporate structure in the current world.