Date: Sun, 5 Sep 1999 17:55:10 -0500 (CDT)
From: “Richard K. Moore” <>
Subject: cj#980, rn-> M.V. Naidu: “Globalization: Threat or Promise?” (fwd)
Article: 74901
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Message-ID: <>

From: Erik Haines <> (by way of David Lewit <>)
Subject: from India: “Globalization: Threat or Promise?”

Globalization: Threat or Promise?

By M. V. Naidu, Gandhi Marg (Quarterly Journal of the Gandhi Peace Foundation, New Delhi), April-June 1999

GLOBALIZATION IS BEING presented as the process of enhancing collective measures to stop international violence and wars, to save global environment, and to eliminate Third World poverty and economic inequality through developed communications, investments, trade, and aid. Globalization implies that “bigger is better.”

But the central question is: what caused these problems in the first place? Otherwise we end up with the logic of the tragedies caused by drunk driving. More policing, more fines, more punishment, while selling more liquor to the drivers, cannot end drunk driving. The solution lies in going to the root of drunkenness, that is, alcoholism! The root causes for the current global malaise are twofold: (a) massive and reckless industrialization, and (b) dehumanization of science, technology, and industry.

By “massiveness” I mean mass production leading to mass surpluses necessitating mass distribution and mass consumption through massive technologicalization, capitalization, monopolization, and governmentalization.

By dehumanization I mean total concentration of the industries on commercial profit and economic power to a total exclusion of concerns for human health and happiness in terms of physical, intellectual, and economic well-being.

Massive industrialization necessitates massive supplies of raw materials, energy sources, capital, trade, and markets. The amassing of these ingredients in the initial stage of industrialization creates an exploitative system within the society. I call it domestic colonialism.1 As industrialization becomes more and more massive, it leads to reckless expansion of colonialism abroad.2 Informal and defacto colonialism is neo-colonialism.

The oppression of the peoples in the colonies, the struggle to maintain, defend, or expand colonies, necessitate militarization, inter-colonial wars, and world wars.3

Goods produced have to be sold and consumed. Hence the rise of the revolutions in transportation and communications. While development in transportation helps move goods and travellers, it also helps in the fast moving of war machines and soldiers to every nook and corner of the world. The mass media of communications-from the printing press to computer chips and satellites-have become the instruments of propaganda, thought control, and brainwashing. The Time Magazine imperialism or CNN neo-colorüalism are the examples.4 The globalized messages of racism, ethnicism, sexism, religionism, dogmatism, and jingoism flourished through the media imperialism. These narrow-minded messages, which are used to boost industrialization, have also caused communal antagonisms and blood baths on national and international levels.

Mass production built on the assembly line and automation makes workers redundant. Unemployed workers can create strains and stresses on the economic-political system. The Europe of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries got rid of its surplus unwanted population by shipping them out to new continents. Today millions of descendants of European ancestry are spread around the world. Such emigration not only reduced tensions within Europe, but also created colonies that became the suppliers of raw materials, slave and cheap labour, captured markets, investment, and profit-making opportunities. Worse than that, the colonies provided arms, armies, and battlefields.5 This history cannot be repeated to help the industrialization of the Third-World countries.

Day one of the technological revolution in industry was also the day one of the revolution in arms manufacture. Every technological improvement was quickly translated into more and more destructive weaponry.6 This “techno-industrial~military complex” also became the powerful vehicle of militarization, world wars, and colonialization.

This has been the legacy of globalization of massive industrialization. Now the contemporary advocates of globalization are sloganeering that what is good for the developed West is also good for the poor states. The haunting fact is that the United States, one country out of 185 in the world. uses up nearly 40 per cent of world resources.

The old imperialists now call themselves G7 or G8, the donor nations, the money-lenders to IMF and the World Bank. The old victims are now called the protectorates, the allies,the satellites, the recipients of aid, and so on. The proponents of globalization are pushing free trade treaties and Multilateral Agreement on Investments (MAI). They have formed free trade zones, NAFTA, ECM, WTO, etc. Free trade and investment are undoubtedly profitable for the developed countries, but its usefulness to the Third World is highly dubious.7 The recent sudden economic collapse of Asia's “minor dragons” betrayed the false bottom of the neo-colonial dependent economies. The collapse of these Asian countries is the manifestation of globalization that is being advocated by MNCs, the IMF, and the World Bank.8 In the immortal words of William Kaiser, “free trade is the weapon of the strong, protectionism is the shield of the weak.”

Massive industrialization is impossible without globalized colonialism and colonialism is unavoidable for globalized industries. It is an oxymoron to argue that globalized poverty and economic inequalities can be eliminated by globalized industrialism and neo-colonialism. As long as economic inequalities exist in the world and as long as the rich and the developed states insist on improving and sustaining their own wealth and well-being, globalization of free trade and investment will never bring about equitable economic benefits to all the nations in the world. Some regions and nationalities, within and outside the state, will always end up as the victims of trade inequalities.

Another tragic consequence that is often played down by the advocates of massive industrialization is the fact that the more technological and industrialized an economy becomes, the more unemployment it generates through trade cycles of booms and bursts through redundancy. Mechanization displaces workers and automation makes workers redundant. Advanced industrialization, whether under capitalism, communism, or fascism, becomes dehumanized by focusing on productivity and competitiveness, and on power and profit, through increased automation and rationalization and unemployment.

While proclaiming pious platitudes of humanitarianism, the investors and money-lenders from the rich countries work for their own profitability. It is like my banker who lends me money but seeks high interest and a mortgage on everything I own-from cuff links to cars-and is ever ready to confiscate them. When I fail to make the payments. Should this Shylock banker, who wants his pound of flesh, claim that he is doing me a favour?

Globalization of trade, investments, and banking can only mean further dictation and domination of the developed countries and further indebtedness and impoverishment of the undeveloped or developing countries. The globalized Shylocks will undoubtedly demand their pound of flesh!

In short, the answer to globalized militarization and wars, to globalized pollution and ecological disaster, and to globalized exploitation, poverty, and inequality, is not more globalization, but less of it, and its eventual elimination!

Small-scale and indigenized industries that are built upon national self-reliance and self-sufficiency, with minimum surpluses, will lead to devolution and decentralization of economic productivity. Such produdivity will accordingly reduce science-technology to the level suitable to small-scale industries, will reduce the need for raw materials, energy and pollution, and will reduce colonialization, militarization, militarism, and massive wars. Small economies will lead to the sheddingof the big government and the big state. The appeals for globalized racism, ethnicism, religionism, and jingoism will become irrelevant. Conflicts that are natural to human community may not be eliminated in the small-scale political economy, but the variety of conflicts and their internationalized intensities would be enormously reduced. The global crises of our time can be handled at two levels-(a) certain stages and degrees of deindustrialization through indigenization, devolution, and decentralization of industrial capacities in the developed world; and (b) the rehumanization of all science-technology and industry. These steps, of course, imply paradigm shifts. While the Third World must reject Western models of development, the false gods, and should redefine development in terms of basic necessities of life, and higher emphasis on cultural and intellectual growth, the developed world must commit itself to lessened materialism, greed, and selfishness, and to enhanced spiritual and humanitarian dimensions.

Those who argue that such shifts are impractical are indeed fatalists believing in predestination like Augustine's original sin, or Herbert Spencer's Social Darwinism, or Karl Marx's materialist determinism, or the evolution concept of unidirectional linear progression. Though raised in the name of realism, these concepts are unreal, negative, pessimistic, and cynical. The Gandhian formulation of “practical idealism” is the panacea for such fatalism. This formula focuses on struggle without enslavement to success. In contemporary version this means, “think globally, act locally.”

Some argue that science-technology and industrialization are not inherently immoral; it is their misuse that causes problems. My criticism is of their massiveness and dehumanization that transform their very purpose (telos). True, the sword by itself does not kill people; people using it kill people. But in the human context, the very purpose for the creation of the sword is to inflict pain or death on human beings. This destructive purpose of the sword will not change until the sword, in Biblical terms, is beaten into ploughshare. When it becomes a ploughshare, then it is not a sword by definition and purpose. Thus ends and means should be integrated, not dichotomized.

In fin, globalization is not the panacea for the contemporary world crises; globalization is deepening these crises, the remedy lies in the deglobalization of the dehumanized trade, investment, and aid schemes. The answer for the twenty-first century lies in the rehumanization of science-technology and industry.

Notes and References

1. See M.V. Naidu, “Development and Peace: An Attempt at ConceptuaIiLation of ‘Initial Development’,” in his edited volume War, Security, Peace (Oakville, Ontario: M.I.T.A. Press, 1996), p. 415-31.

2. By 1914 Britain captured 33.5 million sq. kms. of territory with a population of 384 million people. By 1917, the US acquired 730,000 sq. kms. of land with 17.6 million people. By 1914 the Tsarist empire had expanded to 17.4 million sq. miles and 33.2 million people. See M.. Naidu, Dimension of Peace (Oakville, Ontario: M.I.T.A. Press, 1996), pp. 222-23. Between the 1850s and the 1910s Western industrialization was helped with huge supplies of raw materials from the colonies. During this period world production of coal went up by 1320%, copper by 1834%, gold by 1218%, iron ore by 1113%, cotton by 127~/~, wheat by 67% and rubber by 44%. See M.V. Naidu, “Western Models of Development,” in Antony Copley and George Paxton, eds, Gandhi and Contemporary World (Chennai, India: Indo-British Historical Society, 1997), p. 84.

3. Between 1750 and 1945 the United States, Britain, Germany, and Russia! Soviet Union were involved in thirty-six colonial wars and two world wars. Derived from Quincy Wright, A Study of War (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965), Second Edition, Tables 36-41.

4. The developed world controls 60% of the world's newspapers, 650/o of the world's radios and 65”/, of the books published in the world. See Sean MacBride e~ _’!., Many Voices, One World (London: UNESCO and Kogan Press, 1980), p. 125.

5. During World War 1 1,800,000 soldiers and 400,000 labourers were recruited in India for the British armies overseas. To help the war efforts, the British Viceroy of India “presented” to the British monarch a “gift” o $100 million. See R. Majumdar and H.S. Raichaudhry, The Advanced History of India (London: MacMillan, 1967).

6. Along with industrialization during the nineteenth century military manufacturers and sales also expanded. The American Remington Rifles and Colt revolvers, the British Dawson rifles, the Maxim machine-guns, and battleships, and the German Cannons were mass produced and sold all over the world. See M.V. Naidu, Dimensions of Peace, p. 227.

7. In 1965, 154 states exported goods worth $49 billion, while four of the industrialized states earned $66 billion. The per capita GDP in North America was $3,450 and in Europe was $1,600 while ~t was only $510 in Utin America and $170 in Africa. See World Statistics in Brief (New York: United Nations, 1979), p. 158 and 224. In 1975 the debt of the underdeveloped countries was $173 billion; the debt grew to $754 billion by 1985. See Ruth Sivard, World Military and Social Expenditures 1993 (Washington, D.C.: World Priorities, 1993), p. 25.

8. Recently the economic troubles of Asia led to a bailout programme by World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Loans were provided as follows: Korea $57 billion; Indonesia $40 billion; and Thailand $17.2 billion. Some of the conditions imposed were the firing of workers, raising of taxes and interest rates, reduction on social expenditures, and so on. See Winnipeg Free Press, 17 January 1998, p. B17.