Essay Writing Assignment help on : Globalization, International NGOs and Their Role in International Development
Globalization has become a world phenomenon for almost one and a half decade now (World Bank 1996). It has established a connection between various nations across the world in terms of their culture, political policies and more importantly, their economics (David Lewis & Paul Opoku-Mensah 2006). Globalization has been a talking point of our world for years now and has grabbed the attention of more social scientists and theorists than any other relevant topic. The globalization found its true meaning in the late 90s when the countries like China and India developed a more liberal approached towards their economy and open it to the rest of the world. These countries now fall in the category of emerging world power and they owe a lot of credit to globalization because sans this event, terms like FDI and FIIs would have been unheard of in these countries.
Not only the countries but various corporate stalwarts too have been benefitted by this mega cultural event. Companies like McDonald, IBM, GM, 3M, Microsoft, Google, Pepsi, and Coca-Cola are on rampage throughout the world. According to the needs and deeds of their world consumers, they are customizing their services and products and in turn, raking in billions of dollar from their sales. Every continent and every country you’ll go and it is impossible for you not to find their footsteps of these companies craved in their soils. And what is consumer perception regarding this phenomenon? Well they are happy because they are now able to lay their hands on some of the world’s most renowned and costliest brands (The Globalization Website 2001).
There is another angle to globalization – employment. Because of MNC culture growing throughout the world, the employment is coming from every part of the world and demand of local labor has surged to an all-time high. In this way, the disposable income of the labor world as a whole has increased and as a result, world poverty level is getting depleted with each passing year. Outsourcing too is a bi-product of Globalization who has influenced the employment world in a big way, particularly for Asian countries where the labor is very skilled and quite cheap as compared to the western world. Countries like India, Taiwan, Singapore, Philippines, and Indonesia etc. are key beneficiaries of this outsourcing-revolution. The acceptance of ‘English’ as the universal language of the world has also served as the catalyst for the sharp growth of globalization. Coming to the cultural aspect of globalization, we can safely say that our world has become a sort of global village now where people of every caste, color and creed reside. There are seemingly no disparities between the income and status level of its citizens. Each one is complimentary to the other as they take care of their responsibilities and various needs. Even a company like McDonald changed the color of its restaurants from red to yellow in China to show a sign of respect for China’s love for Red color. McDonald was the same company who completely restructured its menu in India over the issue of using ‘beef ‘ as one of the ingredients for its dishes, as in India Cow is considered very holy and pious and eating its meat is strictly prohibited by law. Since then, McDonald has completely removed the list of items from its menu-card in India which include beef. Geo-political affairs are a part and parcel of globalization. The United Nations is one of the foremost authorities on world-affairs and supervises every matter which is concerned to the world-peace. There was a time when our world witnessed two-poles of power, viz., The United States of America (USA) & Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) in action at every possible competitive field-be it space-craft technology, nuclear technology, missile technology or any other innovative technological field. But after the break-up of Soviet Republic in 14 other countries, Russia’s power as a world leader reduced significantly and America emerged as the only unprecedented superpower of our world. Till this date, there is no country in this world who can challenge the American spirit, however many experts argue that China could be a possible threat to USA in upcoming future but deep down inside, they too know that if such an event do take place, we are still 2-3 decades away for such a conclusion (Michael D. Intriligator 2003).
America or for that matter, American Corporate Houses like IBM, Microsoft, GM, Facebook, Google etc. rule the proceedings in the world market. This has become possible only because of their global expansion. But one thing we can definitely say that other developing countries too are growing from strength to strength and the power shift is taking place from the western world to eastern world. Japan has already established itself as a world power ages ago through its brilliant and magnificent innovative technologies and exceptional manufacturing capacity and India & China too are emulating the same steps. Both these countries have become manufacturing giants in their own regard and every expert has started calling them ‘the next economic superpowers of the world’. Every major corporate house wants to do business with the indigenous companies of these countries and have their offices/headquarters in these regions (Diego Sanchez-Anchochea 2003).
Globalization has worked as a positive catalyst for industrialization. Service sector’s contribution to the GDPs has increased manifold in the last 2-3 decades for almost every country who has toyed with the idea of industrialization. But industrialization has one severe disadvantage and that’s of harnessing the natural resources to an alarming level. All this while, our natural environment has been pushed to take a back seat and endure all the calamities. Global warming, reduced agricultural produce, depleted minerals, increased natural disasters are some of the aftereffects of industrialization. Many a countries like Greenland, Iceland, South Africa; that were once famous for their natural scenic beauty are now facing the brunt of industrial civilization. These countries have made rapid strides in terms of industrial development but paid too big a price on the environmental front. This list doesn’t end only on these three countries but can take into account almost all the major developing countries in the world (Justin Rosenberg 2005).
Preventive actions must be taken in order to combat the ill-effects of industrialization. But are there any organizations out there that are doing anything about it? Luckily, we have got a lot of visionaries who with the help of their NGOs (Non-governmental organizations) are doing their bits for the society. NGOs are very instrumental in pushing the sustainable development at the international level. Whether it’s an issue of child labor or elimination of slavery or bans of landmines or hazardous waste, their lobby groups are the first ones to campaign and negotiate with intergovernmental panels (International Institute for Sustainable Development, 2012).
What globalization has done to world economics is producing winners and losers within the world periphery. This has led to the creation of a wealth gap between rich and poor, both within a country and between the countries. A reformed pattern of globalization which advocates inclusive growth and reduced inequality is the need of the hour now because if this trend continues in near future, the rich will keep getting richer and poor poorer which ultimately will lead to an event comparable only in size to the world war 1 and world war 2’s destruction levels (Trinity College Dublin n.d.). As it has been mentioned earlier in this report that America plays a pivotal role in policy formulation irrespective of their types- be it political, economical or social. Many anti-globalization theorists believe that economic globalization which supposedly favors rich is being propagated as a concept by three global economic authorities, viz. the World Bank, IMF and S Treasury Department (Joseph Stiglitz 2003). They are the bodies which are responsible for growing insecurity in the economic world. Their brand of economics advocates for economic liberalization and consider it the only path for achieving sustainable growth. For example, the concept behind the formation of IMF to have a regulating body which will work for the stabilization of world economy. But IMF hasn’t done anything to achieve this objective. Instead, IMF is giving conditional loans to less developed countries for development (Joseph Stiglitz 2006).
These contradictory practices are often very controversial. Another example could be given of Russia which opted for economical liberalization and opened its economics for foreign investors on the advice of IMF post the collapse of USSR. But events got bizarre with the passage of time and Russia, which at one time was being considered an established world-power and a very able competitor of USA, is trying to find its way out of a depressed and hopeless economic scenario (Trinity College Dublin n.d.). However pro-globalization theorists argue that globalization is the only mean to eradicate poverty from the underdeveloped countries and bring gender & income equality among the masses. These theorists strongly advocate for free market economy and believe that this is the only possible arrangement which could ensure sustainable economic development and bring prosperity over a span of time. According to these theorists, globalization is an irresistible desire which knows no frontiers, no national boundaries, embraces liberalization and improves the lives of those persons who get affected by it (Diego Sanchez-Anchochea 2003). For them, China and India serve as superb examples as these countries opened up their economies for foreign investors and formulated such fiscal and monetary policies which were very flexible and liberal. As a result, a lot of population living under the poverty line in these countries got uplifted. An ample amount of employment opportunities came in these countries resulting in the increased disposable income of their citizens. Their trades got a major boost through FIIs and FDIs and showed remarkable growth in following years. Subsequently, in the later decades, they emerged as the next superpowers of the world (Trinity College n.d.).
There are innumerable NGOs all over the world. Some are of gigantic proportions having resources enough to fund a country, some quite small, more grass-rooted and devoted to their cause, at the same time, keeping a check on their nerve for the survival. We are familiar with the names like WWF (World Wildlife Fund), Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) who have become household names due to their social and developmental causes for the society. All these NGOs have gained a lot of popularity in recent years and basic reason behind it is the evolution of social media and information technology (NGO 2012).
Today every major organization has to keep a constant check on its labor, product and environmental policies due to the hyper-activeness of the lobbyists and campaign groups of the NGOs. We have seen many such demonstrations against some of the corporate stalwarts all these years in the past, for example, the pesticides issue with Coca-cola, the compensation and disaster management issue with Dow Chemical’s after Bhopal gas Tragedy and the issue of land acquisition with Pasco in Odisha for a steel plant, to name a few in Asian context. It’s not like that only the corporate biggies feel the heat from NGOs but also the emerging companies trying to make a name for themselves in the market have the same feeling toward NGOs as the latest technologies have enabled these NGOs to target their shareholder’s and consumer’s policies. But the results are very effective from the society’s point of view and we can say that finally the efforts of NGOs are bearing fruits. Many companies know the externalities of their business activities and from an ethical point of view, want to compensate for what damage they have done to the environment. Not only they are complying themselves with the government stipulated environmental law and regulations but some of them have completely restructured their management structure for ensuring sustained development with a zero-harm approach towards environment. Companies have integrated these management structures with the decision making process and tied this combination with their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) program to introduce business ethics in the organization culture (Gbenga Lawal 2006).
NGOs differ in their objectives and policies a lot. Some NGOs like to pursue a single policy objective like providing access to AIDS drugs to developing world citizens or the freedom of press while some other adopt sterner approach and go for dynamic policy changes like poverty eradication and human rights protection. But there is one characteristic which is common to all the NGOs regardless of their size and scale and that is their ‘non-profit’ statuses. Well the popular consensus is always in the favor of NGOs as they are considered trustworthy. Their non-profit status signifies that their progress, generally, is not hindered by short-term financial objectives. So they vie for long-term social objectives like Malaria prevention, global ban on landmines, global climate change etc (IISD, 2012).
But mishaps happen everywhere with everyone. International NGOs too are no exception for this theory. While their existence is primarily meant for the goodness of the society and most of the times, they remain true towards their objectives; sometimes they do fall short with some mission in hand. They, by no means, do these things deliberately but nonetheless unfortunate events occur. Since these organizations serve the society out of their goodwill and no-profit intention, it is imperative that society will be the first place which will endure the impact of their faulty actions. These organizations must be accountable towards society but unfortunately, there are few legal and regulatory frameworks which can compel them to do so. Also fewer are the number of people who take interest in these NGs activities. All these insufficient measures on the behalf of the authorities as well as citizens sort of give free-handedness to NGOs who operate without any fear of accountability (Michael Jennings 2012).
In such a scenario, a natural question arises: who are the people or the authorities NGOs should be responsible to? They are accountable to the donors and the national government of the countries where they operate. This makes a perfect sense from legal and financial perspectives. And of course, they should operate within the stipulated parameters laid out by a government but the surprising fact here is that NGOs themselves sit on the panels which craft the legal and regulatory framework for NGOs’ operations (Michael Jennings 2012).
Well NGOs argue that working in some of the world’s most backward states for poverty alleviation and other objectives is very risky. It indeed is the fact but the risk is even greater for the people who are at the receiving end, in this case, the citizens of these impoverished states. No authority will ever be questioning an NGO’s humanitarian practices but the good intentions are not enough to compensate for the damages done to the people’s lives in case of wrong decisions taken on behalf of the NGO (Michael Jennings 2012).
In the absence of a legal framework, the policy framework of these organizations must be very transparent. They should make all the details available regarding the projects they have undertaken and grants they accumulated for the causes so that an independent scrutiny must be carried out. This could make their reputation a little blotted as they will have to reveal their shortcomings too but in turn, will certainly make them more reliable and trustworthy for the future (Michael Jennings, 2012).
NGOs are an integral part of globalization. NGOs’ most fulfilling objective has always remained to be that of ensuring equality between the masses of developed, westernized nations and most economically impoverished nations. Our world is made of cruel inequalities and a large share of these are owned by economical issues. Half of the household wealth of the world is owned by the richest two per cent of world population while the bottom fifty per cent population feed on only one per cent of the global household wealth (United Nations, 2007). That is why NGOs role has become increasingly important in today’s context for basically they function for poverty alleviation in less developed countries. Currently, there are approximately forty thousand international NGOs throughout the world. Here we are leaving aside the number of NGOs at national level. However, for the record, India has around 3.3 million and Russia, 2, 77, 000 NGOs (NGO, 2010). The Economic and Social Council of United Nations (ECOSOC) and United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) work in close cooperation with these NGOs. DPI and NGOs are close allies of each other for a long time. ECOSOC on the other hand designs informational program for the general public which informs them about the activities undertaken by NGOs as well as UN. International NGOs nowadays hold vital positions in a nation’s political, economical and social issues. Their role as a consultant on issues like women rights, child labor, sexual harassment, poverty eradication, healthcare policies have become increasingly important since the end of World War-2. In the underdeveloped countries, their role becomes even more critical as most of the times, they carry out the activities which must be carried out by other government bodies otherwise. Such activities include providing nursery level education to underprivileged children, arranging blood donation camps, organizing educational camps regarding fatal diseases like HIV-AIDS and Cancer etc. Normally these organizations operate in the same line of work as Government’s, in a way assisting them to execute their policies to perfection at grass-root level. In this way, they contribute towards the economic development of the state. They make sure that Government policies do reach to the most marginalized sectors of the population and they can avail the maximum benefits out of these policies. To simply put, these NGOs are the source and centers of social justice for these overlooked people (Trinity College n.d.).
Outside the field of mainstream development, these NGOs have done exceptional humanitarian work for the Tsunami affected regions of Sri Lanka, Indonesia and earthquake-hit regions of Pakistan and Iran; carried out the reconstruction work in countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq and did tremendously well in maintaining peace and order in countries such as Sudan and Congo. So they have continued to expand their activities across all the regions of the globe (Justin Rosenberg 2005).
But there are critics who believe that some of these NGOs have become too big to respect any public mandate. They criticize the MNCs for their unethical corporate practices and ultra-professional and sophisticated approach but do not hesitate to emulate their (MNCs) strategies and outlook to run their own operations. According to a statistics revealed by John Hopkins University, the NGO sector by the end of 2002 has accounted for US$1.6 trillion as their operating expenditure. This is an amount comparable to many countries’ accumulated GDPs. This data reveals an inevitable truth about NGOs that their ‘non-profit’ status is only symbolic and in reality, they have become more organized and profit-chaser than most of the corporate biggies. In totality, we can say that role of the NGOs in recent times have become more complex, ambiguous and controversial. Many governments accept them as reluctant partners (Farrington and Bebbington 1993). In countries like Russia, Ukraine, Belarus etc. they are considered as western nations’ agents as they make attempts for building and resurrecting democracy there. For some time, these NGOs were really ‘in’- supported by development donors and theorists – but now they have been pushed ‘out’ as policy makers. Their notions have started getting rejected by many governments and authorities (Justin Rosenberg 2005).
Despite all the claims, we cannot ignore the work done by these NGOs in developing countries. Every good system needs some belief and trust from its followers so that it can operate in a hassle-free environment. What they need to do now is bringing more transparency in their activities and making information pertaining to their activities available to their donors and independent auditors. Only then, they will become more accountable and trustworthy. All in all, it must be kept in mind that every phenomenon leaves some impacts, whether good or bad, on a generation where it takes place. It’s up to the people of that genre how well they are going to embrace it or avoid it. They need to be judgmental about their needs and atmosphere and take the actions accordingly. Globalization has some serious merits and demerits. Our world now needs a reformed pattern of globalization which can assure reduced wealth gap and sustainable economic development across the globe. Only then, the real objectives of globalization will get fulfilled.
Receive assured help from our talented and expert writers! Did you buy assignment and assignment writing services from our experts in a very affordable price.