Globalization: challenges and opportunities
by Ms. Solita Collas-Monsod
Professor, School of Economics, University of the Philippines
This is an edited version of the paper.
The complete version can be downloaded either as a Microsoft Word file or an Adobe Acrobat (PDF) file.
Globalization can be defined as:
- Widening and deepening of international flows of trade, finance and information in a single, integrated local market.
- Increasing linkages between the world's people as natural and artificial barriers fall.
- Transformation of the world into a global village, as borders disappear, distances shrink and time shortens.
GLOBALIZATION IS NOT A NEW PHENOMENA BUT ITS CHARACTER HAS CHANGED.
- New markets: globally linked financial markets working around the clock with new instruments, global consumer markets with global brands, e-commerce
- New actors: multinational corporations, the World Trade Organization, proliferation of international NGOs, regional blocs, policy coordination groups
- New rules: multilateral agreements in trade, conventions on human rights, on global environment
- New tools of communication: cellular phones, fax machines, e-mail
Impact of Globalization
The Good News
- Increased market access e.g. trade flows increased 12-fold in the past 50 years as a result of the removal of natural and artificial barriers.
- Increased access to capital e.g. in 1997, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) amounted to US $ 400 billion or 7 times its real level in the 1970s.
- Uruguay Round of the General Agreements on Tariff and Trade (GATT) is expected to increase global income by an estimated US $ 212 - US $ 510 billion - from trade and efficiency gains and higher rates of return on capital, by 2001.
- Increased movement of people due to tourism and migration.
- Greater access to information and increased long distance communication
The Disturbing News
- Gains are not equally distributed between countries. For example,
- Widening disparities in income - although the world per capita income increased, the per capita income in 59 countries contracted.
- Export of goods and services grew less than 5% annually in 56 countries and less than 1% in 9 countries.
- FDI - 58% went to developed countries; of the remaining 42% that went to developing and transition economies, majority of this (80%) went only to 20 countries.
- Only 25 developing countries with access to private markets, bonds, commercial bank loans and portfolio equity.
- Only 30% of the benefits from the Uruguay Round go to developing countries and China gets a 27% share of this.
- Gains are not equally distributed within countries. For example,
- Rising income inequality particularly in OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries.
- Job-income insecurity for unskilled labor and professionals.
- Urban poor to suffer increasing food prices but gain employment from new export industries.
- Young women hired by multinationals gain increased income and a concomitant increase in household status.
- Consumers gain from the reduction of local prices due to increased competition from abroad.
- Financial volatility because of a globally integrated market. The frequency of financial crises increases with the growth in international capital flows - such crises have high human costs e.g. bankruptcies, increase in poverty, rising unemployment, reduced schooling, reduced public services, increased social stress and fragmentation.
- Contagion and threat of worldwide recession.
- More human insecurity such as crime (trafficking in drugs, weapons, women, international syndicates), spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and loss of cultural identity.
The Mixed Impact on Women
- Trade openness increases share of women's paid employment but they are also the first to lose their jobs when economic crunches occur.
- Women predominate informal subcontracting, which is on the rise, but this is associated with low wages and poor working conditions.
- Women also predominate home-, part- and tele-work that accommodates family care obligations but these jobs are precarious and poorly paid.
TO MAKE THE MOST OUT OF GLOBALIZATION, WE MUST MANAGE GLOBALIZATION BETTER SO THAT ITS DOWNSIDE IS MINIMIZED AND ITS BENEFITS MAXIMIZED.
Governance is the key -- because Governance is not just mere government, but includes the framework of rules, institutions and established practices that sets limits and give incentives for the behavior of individuals, organizations and firms.
The challenge we face is how to
- Reform global governance to harmonize global competition and free market approaches with human development and human rights.
- Ensure good local governance particularly for developing countries.
Agenda for Action:
- Manage trade and capital flows more carefully
- Invest in human capital
- Foster small enterprises
- Manage new technologies
- Reduce poverty and provide safety nets
- Improve governance
Group Solutions and Concerted Action
- Build and strengthen 3rd world and regional collective organizations
- Use regional economic arrangements to develop and coordinate common positions in negotiations on economic issues
- Develop regional initiatives on financial and monetary matters
- Put human concerns and rights at the center of international policy and action
- Protect human security and reduce vulnerability on a world wide scale
- Narrow the extremes of inequality between and within countries
- Increase equity in negotiation and structures of international governance
- Build a more coherent and democratic architecture for global governance in the 21st century
Role of Parliamentarians
- INFORMATION: understanding globalization and its effects to help civil society and government groups in participating and managing it in order to minimize risk and maximize benefits.
- IDENTIFICATION: determining key concerns and priorities that must be addressed.
- ALLIANCE BUILDING: mobilizing partnerships within and between countries.
Technology, Women and Globalization
by Dr. Swasti Mitter
Professor, Institute for New Technologies, United Nations University
The relationship between technology and globalization is 2-pronged i.e.,
- Technology-led globalization - information and communication technology (ICT) speeds up the flow of finance capital and direct investments between the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries and those in the Asia-Pacific.
- Globalization of technology - the interlinking of investment and capital alters the nature of technology in Asia-Pacific countries, e.g., bio-technology; computer aided designing and manufacturing; internet dependent services sector.
TECHNOLOGY-LED GLOBALIZATION AND THE GLOBALIZATION OF TECHNOLOGY AFFECT WOMEN'S LIVES IN THE ASIA-PACIFIC COUNTRIES AND NEED ATTENTION OF THE POLICY MAKERS.
The policy perspective in governance should be able to:
- Identify ways in which the national state could highlight the interests and concerns of women in our increasingly global governance system;
- Without, jeopardizing or slowing down foreign direct investment and imported technologies in the region.
OPPORTUNITIES: Relocated service sector jobs from high-wage countries
A combination of personal computers, cheap software, and cost-effective connectivity has given rise to networking technologies. The Internet is the prime example, whereby it is possible to transfer digitalized information across local boundaries with ease.
These networking technologies are bringing new job opportunities for women in vast numbers in the region particularly in English speaking countries, such as India and the Philippines.
A wide range of service sector jobs (e.g., medical transcription, data entry, geographical information systems, back office clerical jobs, airlines ticketing, customer care services) can be and are being located from high-wage OECD to low-wage Asian countries that have a steady pool of high quality women workers. These relocated jobs are called Remote Processing.
Women are getting a substantial proportion (nearly 20%) of relocated software services in the region-- in India, the figure is 20%; the figure is comparable in the Philippines.
As it takes up a smaller amount of capital to start up businesses in remote processing work, women find new opportunities in self-employment as sub-contractors of global corporations.
Opportunities Arising out of the Globalization of Technologies:
Imports of technology affect the local modes of production and employment. Internet technologies facilitate the way companies can locate and manage production away from the main site to geographically distributed centers. This expands employment possibilities of women who live away from metropolises, in suburbia, in rural areas-- both in the manufacturing and services sector.
Such technologies allow women to have possibilities of flexible location and flexible hours, through tele-working or with the use of neighborhood centers. It also allows women to have new forms of business: such as selling telephone services and Internet services through Internet and telephone kiosks or cellular phones. There are examples of such initiatives in India and Bangladesh.
These potentials become reality only when the policy makers can create an enabling environment of
- Access to infrastructure such as adequate connectivity and low-cost telephones.
- Institutional innovations, such as tele-centres, or Internet kiosks that facilitate commercial and affordable use of new technologies.
- An adequate pool of skilled women workers with literacy in English and computing: in order to be employed in the new economy or be self-employed e.g., as an entrepreneur of telephone shops or Internet kiosks.
- Access to business information and the skill to identify market niche.
Concerns over export-oriented jobs in the services and manufacturing sectors:
- Regulatory practices related to employment protection and health hazards may not be adequate.
- Run-away jobs may be short term and flexible.
- Private sector may not be able or willing to provide training and education for a sustainable career.
- Export-orientation may detract resources for the needs of the domestic sector and of a sustained capacity building.
Concerns over the domestic use of globalized or imported technology:
- Will increase the income gap between those who have access and those who have no access to new technologies and/or ICT-related jobs.
- Will likely replace a vast number of women from traditional industries and occupations (e.g., CAD/CAM in garments and textiles); and the private sector is unlikely to provide retraining for such redundant workers.
- Will enhance polarization in society between information haves and have-nots in the areas of health, employment, education and entertainment.
- Imported technologies and information may erode the visibility of indigenous knowledge of women that are relevant to local needs.
ICT and Bio-technology: Impact on Employment and Intellectual Property Rights:
- Makes some of the traditional farming role of women redundant leading to unemployment particularly among older and rural women.
- Imported bio-technologies are not always relevant to the needs and traditions of the communities.
- Makes it possible to codify and transfer some of the uncodified knowledge of local women to the global market. However if uncompensated, the move deprives women the economic gains and royalty they should be entitled to.
In summary, Globalization brings both challenges and opportunities. The task of the policy makers will be to create an environment where strength and opportunities will be maximized while weaknesses and threats will be minimized.
Mechanism for Democratic Governance at the National Level:
The policy package and mechanism for ethical governance will depend much on the history and tradition of the countries. The Asia-Pacific region contains a variety of countries with different links to national and global market. A common framework should include:
- Initiating a consensual dialogue with the private sector to identify where public policies are needed to empower women.
- Supporting policy dialogues between NGOs, on the one hand, and the private sector, on the other, to identify the requirements of skills by the private sector and barriers that women face in acquiring them;
- Supporting policies for making venture capital and micro-finance available to women.
- Lobbying with telecommunications companies for greater orientation towards women's needs in the planning of infrastructure.
- Shifting the urban bias in infrastructure and training center to rural areas.
- Formulating and supporting ICT-trainings that are women-friendly and culturally sensitive.
Regional and International Policies in the Knowledge-based Economy:
- To link with key global initiatives to give access and governance to women. For example, Global Knowledge Partnership brings together different stakeholders from the private and public sectors, NGOs and donor bodies to liaise with key UN organizations such as the International Telecommunications Union, UNDP and UNIFEM.
- To establish research corporations with committed researchers and activists providing inputs to NGOs that are working and lobbying to improve the prospect of women in the new economy.
- To support exchanges of information, case studies and experiences among countries through regional forums.
WOMEN IN BUSINESS AND GLOBALIZATION
by Ms. Isabelita Palanca
Deputy Chair, Confederation of Women's Business Councils in the Asia-Pacific Economic Council (APEC)
This is an edited version of the paper.
The complete version can be downloaded either as a Microsoft Word file or an Adobe Acrobat (PDF) file.
If women are to successfully meet the challenges of globalization and liberalization they must deal with the following realizations:
- We need to accept that "No woman is an island." If we women in business are to succeed, we need to network and form linkages.
- As members of a particular nationality, we need to accept that Competition is Global not Local. We need to ride on the duality of Competition and Cooperation -- accepting that our similar products have common markets therefore, we should adopt a common industry stand.
- We need to consider seriously the dictum that "100% of Zero is Zero and 30% of 100 is 30." We need size. We need to form partnerships and to link up. If we cannot grow organically, we can grow by partnering with others and not necessarily with somebody local.
- We need to advocate-- looking beyond ourselves and our businesses. We need to be pro-active, lobby for the passage and implementation of women-friendly business laws. We should support Government and Non-Government initiatives that work for economic empowerment of women and encourage the establishment of linkages.
- We have to support moves for conscientization, for transparency and accountability in public governance. Good governance translates to a good environment for business enterprises to flourish.
- We need to practice what we preach: Our businesses have to be women-friendly. Likewise, we have to be in the forefront of espousing fair trade practices as well as transparency and accountability among private businesses.
- We need to be proud of who we are. We are Women!
- We should never forget that women are holding up half of the world's sky. If we look around, power is not being shared equally by men and women. We should be women working for women.
Four needs of women in business:
- Access to Market.
- Access to Data.
- Access to Technology and Continuing Education.
- Access to Finance.
Best deals for women in business:
- Protection for the welfare of consumers and suppliers.
- High standards of production and service for both local and foreign markets.
- Development of transformative ethical guidelines that include such areas as gender responsiveness of management, workers' pay, environmental protection, and workers' health and safety.
- Development of an accreditation system that would certify a "Good Housekeeping Stamp" on business enterprises.