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This article outlines three distinct processes of globalization. First, capitalism, which aims at reaping maximum profits from each and every venture, is depicted as the core initiator of globalization. In the article, Kovac (2011) outlines that protesters carried Naomi Klein’s No Logo which is a book that describes the ruthless, profit-driven acts of global corporations, more so in their exploitation of children in developing nations. In addition, the mindless acts of the ‘Wall Street cowboys (who) rode the wild bull of risk to oblivion’ resulted in the recent global recession which culminated in an intense economic lockdown in 2008.
Secondly, Kovac (2011) has focused on ‘terrorism and war.’ She feels that the ‘neo-liberals and neo-conservatives,’ who represent the larger capitalist society, took advantage of the 9/11 attacks to further their profit-centered agendas and quell all dissenting voices such as the growing global justice movement. In addition, anti-terrorism laws have been effectively put in place by capitalist forces in order to serve as a camouflage for globalization strategies thus slowing down all forces in opposition such as the growing disenchantment from the Left.
Thirdly, the police form part of the massive globalization campaign. They serve the interests of global profit-centered corporations. Kovac (2011) states that the police applied ‘excessive force’ in their quest to quell the peaceful mass protests against the World Economic Forum (WEF) outside the World Trade Center. The agitated crowd is characterized by ‘broken noses, limbs, head injuries, and emotional fallouts,’ which depict the fact that the police force applied violence in ‘defending undemocratic financial institutions’ without any regard for human life. This shows the WEF delegates’ disregard for the people. Kovac (2011) states that the people ‘became globalization fodder’ as their power was usurped and their rights no longer represented.
4. How can aspects of globalization create inequality between rich and poor?
Globalization presents various avenues via which great differences may exist between the rich and the poor. First, disparities in income result in an ever widening rift between the rich and the poor. Once global corporations, which are owned by the rich or financially capable, amass wealth, the poor are forced to work for them for poor wages. Capitalism promotes a free and unregulated economy whereby there are no checks and balances to ensure that a master-slave situation does not arise. Kovac (2011) feels that corporations have no boundaries and are willing to go to any lengths in order to make profits. She states that ‘the profits of well-known brands depend on the exploitation of people,’ more so children in developing nations.
Secondly, globalization leads to an uneducated and unskilled workforce which eventually leads to a vicious cycle of poverty especially in developing nations. Globalization is mainly fueled by capitalism. In order to reap maximum profits, global corporations ensure that their expenditure, such as wages, cost of raw materials and marketing expenses, is kept at a minimum. Hence, as Kovac (2011) states, these corporations choose to ‘rely on cheap, poorly educated labor in third world countries.’ When these populations remain uneducated and have little or no skills through which they can earn a decent living in order to alleviate their living conditions, the gap between the rich and the poor is bound to increase.
Finally, the greed and desire to reap maximum profits has led to several catastrophes. The recent global recession illustrates the extent to which multinational firms are willing to go in order to reap profits with an utter disregard for the consequences. Greece is currently a ‘basket case’ that requires European Union intervention if its economy is to bounce back and sustain its population. Hence, while these multinationals continue to make profits, the world’s majority have been left poor and devastated by the global recession.
6. Should humans be considered as part of nature?
Man’s denial of his interaction with nature is not only self-destructive but also irrational. Although man’s intelligence and control over natural resources is in no doubt, more so given the fact that significant advancements in technology made in recent years have granted humans near-absolute control over natural resources, the fact that we are subject to biological processes regulated by nature such as reproduction highlights the need for man to bond with nature. The sheer magnificence and utter grace derived from recent accomplishments have led us to believe that we are independent and superior and we no longer need to affiliate ourselves with nature. However, in the recent past, man has been presented with constraints that limit his over-ambitious plans to exploit the earth’s resources in an endeavor to reap profits without getting concerned over the possible consequences of his detrimental actions. We are presented with a dilemma: if we are so superior to nature, why then must we succumb to its limitations?
Article Two quotes four different articles as it seeks to illustrate man’s self-destructive behavior. The phone, sofa, flat-screen television and the laptop illustrate that man’s profit-driven motives have led him into not only destroying his precious environment, but also into enslaving his fellow human beings. Whereas we are attracted by electronic gadgets such as hand-held phones, flat-screen television and advanced laptops, and other materialistic possessions such as the sofa that glorify as in the eyes of friends and foes alike, we tend to forget the individual effort put in by fellow human beings, who get little or no benefits in return.
Therefore, I am left in no doubt that man is part of nature. However, he has neglected his pivotal role as the earth’s chief custodian. Article Two urges us to join forces in order to restore the earth to its former glory. Hence, by tackling environmental problems, we shall have played our role as part of nature.
10. Describe two ways through which environmental issues are linked to issues of social justice
Article Two links environmental issues to social justice in several ways. First, man’s endeavors to invent small, fast, techno-savvy, hand-held mobile devices has led to greed and the over-exploitation of the earth’s minerals. Consequently, human labor, more so children, have been deployed in mines for very low wages. Instead of 16-year-old Chance attending school, he is forced to work in a Congolese mine in order to earn a living. In addition, the clamor for these rare minerals has led to the emergence of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo which has lasted for more than 15 years. More than 5 million people have lost their lives yet there have been no concrete interventions from the international community or global corporations in order to put an end to this conflict. Siegle (2011) feels that global mobile-phone corporations have neglected this war yet they claim to be ‘market leaders in corporate social responsibility.’
Secondly, China’s massive production of flat-screen televisions has ensured rapid economic growth in the last few years. However, this has been carried out with a total disregard for the environment. In 2008, China hurriedly and unscrupulously obtained licenses to carry out ‘exploratory’ studies in the international waters off several island countries such as Fiji, Solomon Islands and Tonga. Proper impact studies were not carried out in order to determine whether there were any detrimental effects to these Pacific inhabitants or the effect on nature and sea creatures. Whereas rare earth minerals are important if major technological advancements are to be made, we cannot afford to neglect human life in order to continue reaping supernormal profits.
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