How do protests reflect globalization in Toronto?
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Globalization has been hailed by many as a way forward towards a new world order where regional economies, cultures and societies would integrate resulting to a global village (Veltmeyer, 2004). This would be fostered due to advancements in technology and the need to develop stronger societies. However as much as the benefits may be there are its negative effects. Anti globalization crusaders have been on the run to fight what they claim is a step in the wrong direction (Held, & McGrew, 2007). Numerous protests have been organized that have aimed to paralyze the concepts of globalization.
Globalization supporters aim at integrating the industrial, financial, economic, health policies, and political aspect of the world which are vital in the development of a united globe. Anti globalization activists on the other hand see this as inequity and will lead to exploitation of the lesser economies (Veltmeyer, 2004). This paper tries to answer the question “How do protests reflect globalization in Toronto?” It addresses the issue of anti globalization where the movements that advance the protest and their concerns are addressed. It paints a clear picture of the negative effects of globalization and gives the reasons that make people turn out in large numbers to protest in different summits that advance the agenda of globalization.
According to Forrer, et al., 2002 in the article “Why are People Protesting Globalization?” there have been protests from anarchists and anti globalist movements which have grown from numerous awareness campaigns since the protests held at Seattle 1999. This has spread all over the US and to Europe where individuals have protested against the ills of globalization.
The protestors advocate for numerous changes in the systems and as Forrer, et al., 2002 states “They advocate a range of actions and reforms: from the modest (altering development policies) to the radical (disband the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization)”.
Toronto hit the headlines when protests began in protest of the meeting of the G 20; the protests began a week to the summit of the great economies countries that was held in Toronto on 26 and 27 June 2010 (Swainson, 2010). Marches, violent riot, rallies and demonstrations were held that reflected the relentless fight on globalization. Black clad demonstrators turned out in large numbers to protest the meeting of global economies and caused a lot of damage and destruction (Gillies, 2010). The same case had happened due to the G 8 summit that was to discuss regional economies and their integration (Swainson, 2010).
Protests in other cities have been held so as to protest meeting of the world economic forum; free trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), international monetary fund (IMF), Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI); Great nation’s summits; the World Trade Organization (WTO), and the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) (Aelst, & Walgrave, 2002). All these demonstrations have been linked to anti globalization movements that aim for a more comprehensive global pact that does not bring about inequity and over exploitation.
The battle of Seattle in 1999 set the pace for other protests globally where wanton destruction of property was seen and the running battles with police, and targeting on globalised institutions to protest globalization (Aelst, & Walgrave, 2002). Other countries and cities including Italy and Toronto have followed suite in this case protesting the G20 summit.
There are complex forces that are involved in the economic social and political integration and the forces don’t work equally at all times (Forrer, et al., 2002). To eliminate this inequality the measures taken must be well thought out to make sure all the checks and balances are addressed before implementation.
Opposition on free trade
Free trade has been opposed by anti globalization movements in view of the fact that storm capitalism will be harming other economies. Organizations such as the International Forum on Globalization and Our World Is Not For Sale see this as unfair since there is competition which makes other economies have a competitive advantage over others (Held, & McGrew, 2007). Anti globalization organization view free trade and liberalization of trade as the foundation of marginalization of the poor and brittle economies since they have weak position to trade and compete with the others.
Free trade agreements such as the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), and Multilateral Agreement on Investments (MAI) have been opposed on the grounds that they deny small economies the right to control their economic, cultural and social directions (Held, & McGrew, 2007).
In their protests they call for abolition of the trade agreements that do not reflect fair practices. All exploitative trade unions held to exploit the developing nations should be abolished to avoid the protest as they indicate the negative side of globalization (Forrer, et al., 2002). Anti globalist movement also suggest the exclusion of sensitive and important goods and services are in sectors such as health, energy e.g. oil and education since they are vital to economies.
Protests on manipulated markets
Global trade have been on the spot due to the principles, rules and regulations governing it; anti globalists see the WTO as a manipulated body that works for big economies to exploit the developing nations (Veltmeyer, 2004). This leads to their colonization given that the wants and demands of the developing nations are either ignored or marginalized to suit the developed economies. The above facts lead to inequality and unbalanced globalization effects. The impact is more felt in developed than in developing a case which should be the other way round. In their view this is neo-colonialism. Anti globalists suggest that to end this stalemate the developing nations must first be assisted in the trade through democratic decisions by the WTO and the sharing of wealth equitably to allow a level playing field. Better representation of the developed nations in the decision making process would also make it more democratic and allow them to participate in the trade without manipulation (Veltmeyer, 2004).
The Power of Global Financial Bodies
Anti globalists argue that the global economy has been governed by financial bodies such as IMF and World Bank which are too powerful and negatively affect the sovereignty of individual states (Forrer, et al., 2002). The bodies have in different occasions imposed sanctions e.g. trade sanctions on countries which affect the development of these states. This brings inequity and discrimination to the global concepts furthered by globalization in view of the fact that it contributes to poverty, unemployment and increased debts to developing nations (Held, & McGrew, 2007). In addition they compel adoption of policies and structural adjustment programs that greatly harm the economies of these states. They lead to poor services in health education and other vital sectors (Aelst, & Walgrave, 2002). They also directly control the nations due to accumulated debts and give numerous demands and directly affect on their sovereignty.
The anti globalists on the other hand calls for an end to such practices of the financial bodies through democratization and monitoring of the institutions performance especially on their conduct regarding developing nations (Forrer, et al., 2002). The waving of debts that have continued to weigh third world countries down are campaigned for by the anti globalists with the numerous protests such as the Toronto protests. Better economic policies that seek to change developing nations and clear reform programs that aim at sustainability and equity are fought for including non-manipulation of the Breton wood institution.
Protests on Environment
The environment has continued to be destroyed and this can be seen in the global climatic changes i.e. global warming. Anti globalists institutions have linked globalization to environmental degradation in that the amplified humans’ movement has resulted to over exploitation of environmental resources (Veltmeyer, 2004). They believe that there is increased pollution and environmental encroachment due to globalization and thus has led to resources being faced with extinction. In addition developed nations have been accused of being the leading polluters of the environment.
The suggestions by the anti globalists include comprehensive global environmental policies that would protect the environment and contribute to its conservation (Forrer, et al., 2002). The signing of deals to protect the environment and contribute to conservation through reduced pollution and deforestation should be ratified by all nations particularly the developed nations that produce excessive pollutants.
Protests against Multinational Corporations
Trade is a very sensitive area of globalization and with multinational corporations viewed as stronger in the markets has been blamed on unfair controls of the market (Forrer, et al., 2002). The multinational corporations are also blamed of dominating the markets leaving no space for upcoming companies (Veltmeyer, 2004). They have been viewed as the cause of poor structure of infrastructure and living conditions in the third world countries since they have exploited the producers by buying their products at very poor prices yet they enjoy the benefits of value addition.
Scandals have also emerged of their low wage and poor working to workers particularly in developing nations while they provide better conditions in developing worlds. In their protests some of these multinational corporations have been targeted and their business destroyed due to their unfair business practices. An overhaul of the economic policies to govern such businesses is advocated for by the protestors in that they give a chance to small businesses especially from third world countries a chance to grow (Aelst, & Walgrave, 2002). Subsidies to small businesses and rules to control monopolistic behavior is highly campaigned for which are blocked by the globalization concept of liberalization.
With the protests in Toronto it is clear that anti globalists can go to greater problems to counter the revolution of globalization. Their complaints and arguments on the new wake of globalization have been based majorly on the unfair treatment of the third world countries (Held, & McGrew, 2007). According to the points given above one can infer that the concept of globalization is a strategy that perpetuates neo colonialism. The globalists on the other hand visualize globalization as a new dawn where countries are able to share common economies, cultures, and politics in an integrated platform.
The Toronto protests reflect globalization as a social evil due to the unfair practices to the developing nations and if the notion is spread to other minds greater and bitterer protests might be experienced. Global institutions such as World Bank, IMF and developed countries such as the United States should take these protests as a wake up call to address the inequality raised in order to save the dream of the world becoming a global village (Veltmeyer, 2004).
Every protest to the summits and globalization meetings have led to use of numerous resources to enforce security and keep the protestors at bay but they never relent leading to numerous arrests (Held, & McGrew, 2007). This negative notion on globalization needs to be comprehensively addressed by the stakeholders in that all protesting anti globalists should be included in a bid to forge a better and effective globalization plan that seeks to reduce the gap between the haves and have not which is the major bone of contention. The positive impacts of globalization should be campaigned for by those who believe in it and reverse the impacts of protests like those in Toronto.