A Multidimensional Perspective of the Antiglobalization and Alterglobalization Trend of Thought

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Журнал: Journal of Globalization Studies. Volume 1, Number 1 / May 2010 - подписаться на статьи журнала

The antiglobalization and alterglobalization trends of thought is a new form of politics and ideology and needs to be examined from multidimensional perspectives. Philosophically, anti- and alterglobalization demonstrates the profound contradictions and conflicts of globalization; politically, it is a radical political movement to oppose capitalism; economically, it reveals the negative effects of the global expansion of multinational corporations (MNCs); technologically, it is the queer result of modern science and technology; culturally, it is a manifestation of deconstructing the mainstream discourse of the West; socially, it is a substitute way of trying to solve global issues; and internationally, antiglobalization is a way of opposing the American hegemony. It seems that globalization may very well be a positive thing for the world community basically, but not without some change in the way it is being carried out now.

Keywords: antiglobalization, alterglobalization, globalization.

The antiglobalization trend of thought, which is far from taking complete shape, is a trend of thought that has emerged in recent years. It is a new form of politics and ideology. Antiglobalization and globalization are diametrically opposed to each other, which reflects a clearer ideological distinction in the post-Cold War age. If globalization is the mainstream ideology, antiglobalization is the non-principal one; if globalization is the thesis, antiglobalization is the antithesis; if globalization has become a global high tide, antiglobalization is still a neap tide. However, the rise of the antiglobalization trend of thought itself possesses a significant symbolic meaning. Against this background, the antiglobalization trend of thought should be examined from multidimensional perspectives, and the traditional single-dimensional way of thinking must be discarded.

The philosophical dimension: reflection of the profound contradictions and conflicts of globalization

The antiglobalization trend of thought is the result of the globalization process developing in depth. As a realistic movement, globalization is an accidental and dialectical process, a contradictory, complicated, dynamic process, a multidimensional process with the interaction of time and space, a process of unbalanced development of politics, economy and culture, a process with the co-existence of integration and diversity, cooperation and conflicts, a process of concept updating and style changing. As globalization does not generalize series of changes to act in the same direction, but is composed of independent trends. Anthony Giddens has pointed out that ‘we should not regard globalization as a process of unity with a single unitary tendency, but a complicated changing trend. The outcome of globalization is mixed, and often contradictory’ (Giddens 2000: 29). Globalization brings about unity as well as division, cultural diffusion as well as the request for diversity, seeking to resume the local tradition and cultural identity; it strengthens mutual influences but intensifies radical isolation as well. So globalization will make things complicated instead of globally unified, and all kinds of contradictions and conflicts will characterize globalization.

The Chinese scholar Yue Changling has categorized five groups of contradicting trends basically involved in the discussion of globalization, namely, universalization versus particularization, homogenization versus differentiation, integration versus fragmentation, centralization versus decentralization, juxtaposition versus syncretization (Yue 1995). Professor He Fang has also listed ten questions connected with the economic globalization, which are globalization and integration, globalization and regionalization, globalization and nationalization, globalization and marketization, globalization and informatization, globalization and equilibrium, globalization and impoverishment, globalization and developing countries, globalization and the international economic order, globalization and the characteristics of the times (He 1998). These ten questions provide a comparative complete framework for understanding globalization, proving further the profound contradictions in the process of globalization. It reveals that globalization is not only a structural process, but also a hierarchical process. It not only reflects the existing imbalance and system of the international division of labor, but also produces new imbalance and new systematic arrangements, with new winners and losers. In a sense, because of the existing imbalance and its grave consequences, globalization has already been in dilemma or crisis. Of course, this crisis does not come from its failure, but from its structural contradictions when moving fast forward. At present, the emergence of crises and problems only proves that the process of globalization is accelerating and social transformation is taking place.

In view of this, no matter how far globalization goes, antiglobalization will go with it, and antiglobalization is the result of globalization developing at its particular stage. Only when globalization reaches its particular stage of development, can contradictions and conflicts in the process emerge, thus ‘giving birth’ to antiglobalization. So we can see that it was after the 1990s that the antiglobalization movement began to emerge and gather its momentum, which was closely related to the new phase of globalization after the Cold War. Capitalism loses its rivals because of the Cold War, and the expansion of capitalist globalization seems all-conquering, with neoliberalism prevailing as a token. The introduction of policies advocated by neoliberalism infringes some people's interests and is in conflict with their values and life style. It is the disappearance of the polarization after the Cold War that makes more obvious the contradictions and drawbacks induced by the globalization process. Environmental issues, immigration, unemployment, social welfare have all become focus of attention, and people believe that these problems are all caused by globalization or irrational globalization, so it is understandable that they are sharply opposed to the idea of globalization. In a sense, antiglobalization and globalization are phenomena of symbiosis that promote each other and accompany one another, and the intense antiglobalization movement and the fast development of globalization are the two sides of a coin. The logic of antiglobalization is already contained in the mainstream discourse of globalization. After all, the process of globalization is not predestination, it is a historical process created by people from different countries in different social systems.

The political dimension: radical political movements against capitalism

The prefix ‘anti-’ in ‘antiglobalization’ contains varying degrees of dissatisfaction with and rebellion against globalization, expressing the meanings of ‘objection’, ‘rebellion’, ‘criticism’, ‘dissatisfaction’, ‘resentment’, ‘protest’, ‘resistance’ etc. As a matter of fact, antiglobalization does not oppose globalization itself. Because in the opinion of many antiglobalists, the negative effects of globalization have not been caused by globalization itself, but by the system arrangement of globalization, namely, capitalism. Therefore, some scholars consider ‘antiglobalization’ to be a radical political movement against capitalism.

In the opinion of some antiglobalists, what globalization leads to is not only the formation of a unified world market, but a complete acceptance of the capitalist economic system of the West and its rules of operation. Therefore, globalization means ‘capitalization’, a new form or new development phase of capitalism. Alif Dirlik holds the point of view that globalization at present means that capitalism has entered ‘a new stage of global capitalism’, and at this stage ‘the capitalist mode of production will appear as a real glo- bal separation style for the first time in history’ (Wang and Xue 1998: 14–16); ‘globalization as a model could be a contemporary substitute for modernization, because globali-zation itself is another expression of global changes according to the European and American modes’ (Dirlik 2004: 1); ‘as far as the present situation is concerned, the clearest interpretation of globalization is that it wears a coat in disguise of globalization, but it expands the space for the future of the capitalist modernity’ (Ibid.: 192). So, globalization is the necessary outcome of capitalist development. ‘The process of globalization is embodied in every aspect of social life, but seen from the motive mechanism and realistic basis, its historical inevitability should be found in the capitalist mode of production and from the secret of the market economy’ (Yang and Han 1998). According to this logic, globalization in essence is the universalization of the capitalist mode of production, or, to be more straightforward, it is the contemporary form of capitalism, or just another name for it. Capitalist globalization steals the developing path of globalization and distorts the necessity of globalization into capitalist globalization. This globalization ‘merely resumes the original destiny of capitalism which is both international and transnational, trampling underfoot territory and state, tradition and nationality, subjecting all to the sole law of value’ (Ake 2000: 74). ‘To discuss globalization is to look back on the domination of global space by the capitalist economic system’, ‘The expansion of capitalism in space has reached every corner of the world, and globalization does not only represent this expansion in space, but, first and foremost, represents a process to change or even eliminate the natural and artificial boundary lines among countries’ (Ibid.: 3). In Imperialism and Globalization by Samir Amin, we are taken through a journey that explores imperialism in three phases. The first revolves around the conquest of the Americas and the trade system of Atlantic Europe at the time. The second phase has to do with the industrial revolution and the beginning of the overwhelming and growing disparity between the rich and poor. The beginning of the third phase of imperialism, which is taking place today, is depicted by the author as the ‘devastation of the world by imperialist expansion’ (Amin 2001). Fidel Castro argues that the current globalization is dominated by the neo-liberalist ideology and is the most shameful re-colonization of the third world countries. Globalization is shackled in the incantation of neoliberalism, with a trend of poverty instead of development (Zhang 2008).

No wonder that antiglobalists hold the opinion that globalization amounts to ‘neoimperialism’: presently, the Internet is ‘information imperialism’, the WTO is ‘market imperialism’, the IMF is ‘financial imperialism’, the UN is ‘political and diplomatic imperialism’, and the combination of ‘McDonald's + Hollywood + Disney’ is ‘cultural imperialism’. Some Chinese scholars even point out that globalization means ‘imperialism coming back with a briefcase under arm’ (Fang and Wang 2006).

The Economic dimension: reflection of the negative overflow effects of the MNCs' global expansion

The antiglobalists believe that the so called globalization is nothing but ‘globalization of the MNCs’ and the MNCs are the first target of antiglobalization. They believe that globalization results in ‘capital flowing to the world, but profit flowing to the West’. Some Chinese scholars make a point:

So far the economic globalization is merely the globalization of capital movement instead of globalization of the economic gospel. The large-scale transnational movement of Western capital links the production and exchange worldwide, but economic returns from international production and exchange do not show normal distribution. With capital flowing to the world and profit flowing to the West, Western countries become the biggest winners of globalization, while the third world countries become miserable losers (Fang, Wang, and Song 1999: 269).

According to statistics, there are more than 60,000 MNCs in the world, who control 40 % of international production, 50–60 % of international trade, and more than 90 % of international direct investment (Xinhuawang 2010). These MNCs organize production and circulation activities worldwide, thus becoming the motivator and main part of globalization.

In the eyes of antiglobalists, the MNCs' ever-increasing and unlimited pursuit for profit is all that they care. MNCs have become so large that they have superceded governments and have become the ruling political bodies of our era. Unlike governments, multinational corporations are accountable only to their shareholders and there are no mechanisms in place to make them put ‘people before profits’ (Derber 2003: 59–79). They accuse globalization of the MNCs of violating the principles of democracy, destroying the environment, violating human rights, promoting the law of the jungle, putting profit first, exploiting labors, destroying cultural diversity and so on (Chomsky 1999: 131–158). They argue that globalization of the MNCs is the root of pauperization, marginalization and centralization. Consequently, when the MNCs are playing an increasingly more important role, people begin to worry about the trend which they think are dangerous: effective sovereign space is gradually deprived of, basic national elements such as border, nationality, national identity, national culture will be eroded. Such globalization is the force of social disintegration rather than a helping hand of social integration. According to Naomi Klein, a radical left-wing journalist and author, ‘over the last decade [the 1990s], there has been a massive redistribution of the world's resources, with everyone except those in the very highest tier of the corporate elite… getting less’ (Klein 2000: 122).

The antiglobalists insist that globalization of the MNCs further erodes the nation-state concept and weakens the traditional function of a state, thus embarrassing the states and governments in the face of the fast expansion of the MNCs. The MNCs do not passively operate in accordance with the laws of different countries, but try their best to take advantages of national laws, even threaten to withdraw their investment with the intent to press related countries into amending laws unfavorable for foreign investment, thus forcing the governments to reduce tax rates, provide favorable conditions, yield to pressures from the MNCs. Either developed countries or developing countries are manipulated by the MNCs, so that they compete to provide the best and cheapest labor force as well as improved infrastructure, formulate satisfactory investment policy, and become the service center for the subcontractors of the MNCs. Yet they levy as little taxes as possible and cut social welfare as much as possible.

The rapid expansion of the MNCs does upset antiglobalists: ‘a huge power group independent of parliament and government’ has emerged, and such unrestrained power itself ‘means great danger’. Thus antiglobalists are opposed to the MNCs ‘taking over’ the world. In China, there is also a satirical saying: ‘A foreign business rises, a large number of state-owned enterprises fall; a white-collar employed, a group of women workers laid off’.

The scientific and technological dimension: a queer product of modern scientific and technological development

In recent years, the reason why antiglobalization movements are developing rapidly is closely related to the extensive application of modern science and technology. With the help of the internet, large-scale antiglobalization protests and movements are efficiently and effectively organized. The network business has become the most convenient and important tool used by antiglobalists to propagate, communicate and organize protesting activities. No wonder that people from different lands and of different colors can gather, in the twinkling of an eye, in Seattle, Sydney, Davos, Prague or Nice for ‘street dance’, though they do not have common cognition either in nationality or in religion. These ‘vulnerable groups’ in globalization who have come from ‘all corners of the world’ stand in orderly lines, holding high red flags and portraits of Marx, Lenin, Mao Tze-tung and Castro, chanting slogans of protest and antiglobalization in different languages. They make the originally scattered antiglobalization movements a ‘collective protest transcending national borders’, it can ‘simultaneously occupy the local, national, transnational and global space’ (Mittelman 2002: 202), even the huge global stage.

Antiglobalization movements by means of the internet make the biggest difference from the past movements of resistance. Under the situation of the rapid development of antiglobalization, antiglobalization websites are increasing rapidly, which integrate propaganda, mobilization, training, planning and organization, such as ‘destroying the IMF’, ‘opposing surveillance by the MNCs’, just to name a few. Another form of network movement is to attack frequently, using the hacker's identity, the official websites of the main Western developed countries and that of the huge MNCs and of the various global economic organizations, so as to give vent to their discontent over globalization dominated by the West. In January 2002, for example, the website of the World Economic Forum was attacked by hackers supported by antiglobalization organizations, causing paralysis of the website.

It is obvious that antiglobalization websites have added fuel to the antiglobalization movements. By studying the Internet, probing into the issues of globalization and coordinating antiglobalization activities, they have become a decisive ‘super power’. On the one hand, they are the carrier of various kinds of public interests; on the other hand, they also express their own particular interests and requests with the help of the global influence of antiglobalization movements, some even offer training for antiglobalists. In order to extend influences, they also set up their own press centers, with spokespersons to release news and information. Professionals who take supportive and sympathetic attitudes towards antiglobalization movements become their legal advisers, offering consultations regarding how to evade legal responsibilities.

The cultural dimension: manifestation of deconstructing the mainstream Western discourse

Antiglobalists believe that globalization, an ‘ideological trap’, is a process full of dangers. ‘Hegemony and tyranny are rooted in a discourse rather than the powerful military or evil political system’ (Shen 1999). This discourse is the ideological infiltration. Today, globalism, which is prevalent in the West, is no more than the mainstream discourse of ‘European centralism’. ‘Globalism does not only have potential repellency with the risk of depriving the various participants who are in the weak position in the process of globalization, of their rights to be heard, but also seems to become a new kind of ideology which covers up the power relationships, hierarchical differences and contradictory conflicts’ (Yang 2002: 241). Therefore, in the eyes of antiglobalists, globalization advocated in the West is a term with strong ideological characteristics, whose underlying meanings are as follows:

First, it means advocating freely the capitalist free market economy model of the West in the name of globalization, and maintaining the unfair and unjust international economic order. Western capitalist countries do not only provide most of the high-tech products in the world, but dominate most of the means and contents of modern information. Not only do technologies and designs come from developed capitalist countries, but the rules of the internet trade, e-commerce and electronic currency are formulated by them, as well as the rules of the game of globalization. These countries wish to occupy a dominant position for ever, share most of the ‘cake’, and gain most of the interests. This shows that globalization advocated by the Western countries is only a subjective concept, which expresses the subjective will of them. Nowadays, what Malaysian prime minister Mahathir once sharply condemned the West for its ‘new economic colonialism’ has been widely quoted: ‘… If threat from the new economic colonialism is felt in reality, it is only a matter of time for people to walk to the streets to protest. If foreign control over local industries is considered to be excessive, people will strive to be in control. Large-scale demonstrations may escalate, or be turned into violence and destruction’ (Pang 2001).

Second, it means advocating freely the Western political system and values with the help of the economic globalization.

American fast-food and pop music become fashionable in the world; Microsoft products have monopolized the global software market; and English has almost become language of the world. All these are cited to indicate the ‘global Americanization’. However, when Chinese costumes and restaurants turn up in every corner of the world, nobody calls it the ‘global signification’. This is natural because there is no comparison of the two in terms of effects and impacts (Wang 2000).

It turns out that globalization is a process in which developed capitalist countries promote their modes of free economic development as well as a process in which the Western bourgeoisie popularize their values and ideology. Especially with the rapid development of the economic globalization and the increasing quantity of information, western values and ideology will bring more intense impact on people, which will result in the loss of national cultural tradition, the disintegration of values, and the complete collapse of the spiritual foundation that a nation should cling to.

The social dimension: an alternative way of trying to solve global issues

Antiglobalists question social poverty, the most serious global issue arising in the process of globalization. They believe such poverty is ‘poverty in prosperity’ – on the one hand, globalization has created more and more wealth; on the other hand, social poverty has become more and more conspicuous. A former president from Latin America once said that the West got the cake, with only crumbs for us. We see wealth, power, leisure and comfort in the center of globalization, but on the fringe of it we see poverty, hunger and crisis-ridden upheaval. In the new century, when developed countries have stepped into the information and digital society, the places on the fringe of globalization seem to be in a completely different world. The ‘digital gap’ between the north and the south is even wider than the gap between their economies. The one-fifth rich people with the world's highest income own 86 % of the world's GDP, and internet users among them are 7 % higher than the figure, accounting for 93 % of the world total. In developed countries, every 1000 households have an average of 300 computers, while in developing countries, the figure is 16 (Qian and Xiao 2002). The one-fifth poorest seem to have nothing to do with globalization in rapid development. Therefore, antiglobalists worry that developing countries will remain weak and relatively passive in the process of the economic globalization for quite a long time. Some small and weak countries will even be squeezed out of the banquet of the economic globalization.

Antiglobalists also question global issues such as the ecological crisis. They believe that the Earth's environment can hardly bear the burden of globalization, or it may suffer a last fatal blow. Though environmental deterioration should not simply be attributed to globalization, it does grow in pace with the process of globalization. It is in the age of globalization that the ‘issue of homeland’ is becoming increasingly serious. In the eyes of antiglobalists, marketization (especially market expansion of the developing countries based on excessive consumption of resources), urbanization, unreasonable distribution of wealth, over-consumption by the rich people and the contagious effects of their mode of consumption are the primary causes of environmental degradation and deterioration. The ‘pollution transfer’ effect of globalization has seriously affected the sustainable development of the developing countries. The economic globalization means a great transfer of worldwide division of labor. The First World has focused on the knowledge industry with no pollution and high additional value while the Third World has become the main workshops of manufactured products and resource-intensive products, suffering the most environmental loss. Among the estimated 2,700,000 people who die from air pollution each year in the world, about 90 % are from the Third World (Wei 1997: 302–303). According to the UN's 1998 Human Development Report, a child born in Britain, France or the US will consume more resources and create more pollution in his or her lifetime than 50 children born in a developing country. But it is the one billion people outside the ‘consumer society’ who will suffer most from the unequal distribution of resources and wastes.

For the antiglobalists, international terrorism is a new global issue. The 9/11 terrorist attacks, in an extremist way of ending up in common ruin, reflect in depth the hatred and despair of the world abandoned by globalization. After the 9/11, Western countries with the UK and USA as their representatives, have deployed troops worldwide for the purpose of realizing political and military globalization in the name of combating terrorism. From the perspective of globalization, terrorism is a reaction against the political and military globalization which the Western developed countries are pursuing. John Gray, a well-known British global critic, wrote, in the damned day when the World Trade Centre was attacked, that ‘the era of globalization has come to an end. The control of the world outlook that market relies on globalization has been deconstructed’. Stephen Roach, the chief economist of Morgan Stanley, believes that the attack and its aftermath ‘would lead to the bankruptcy of globalization’ (Li Hui 2002).

The international relations dimension: a way of opposing American hegemony

The trend of antiglobalization is inseparably related to the indignation of a number of people to resist the US hegemony worldwide. Thomas Friedman, foreign affairs columnist for the New York Times, put forward a ‘five gas stations’ theory in his The Lexus and the Olive Tree – Understanding Globalization. The ‘five gas stations’ are respectively in Japan, in the United States, in Western Europe, in the developing countries, and in the communist countries. The United States has the best ‘gas stations’, they offer self-services and the oil prices are low so that they attract vehicles all over the world to come to the United States to refuel. Therefore, globalization means that gas stations of the United States scatter all over the world (Friedman 1999: 306–326). In the eyes of the author, globalization is the extension of Americanization and is the equivalent of US global leadership. Many antiglobalists have simply identified globalization with Americanization. Two noted German correspondents really hit the nail on the head when they commented that ‘so far, at least in the financial market, what really counts is Americanization rather than globalization’ (Martin and Schumann 1998: 104). Hertz claims that ‘democracy’ has in recent times meant not ‘a democratically elected government’ but a system which is ‘sympathetic to the American capitalist system’ (Hertz 2001: 76–79).

Globalization and antiglobalization have become the latest round of trials of strength against American hegemony in the world. In this respect, both Europe and Japan have found their common ground with the antiglobalists – opposing the US seeking economic hegemony in the name of globalization. Among the developed countries, France has shown distinctive tendency of opposing globalization, and there is comment that France is replacing Gaullism with antiglobalization. France is attempting to play a leading role in the international antiglobalization movement, and its antiglobalization shows a tendency of opposing American hegemony and ‘imposed globalization’ by other countries. The French antiglobalization seeks to maintain its cultural traditions, thus it bears the characteristics of state nationalism and left-wing socialism. This tendency has been displayed by the French government and its leaders. For example, the French agricultural minister says that he never eats hamburgers while former President Chirac says ‘France intends to maintain France as it is’. Chirac believes that France should pursue ‘a humanistic globalization that will benefit all people’ (Zheng 2001). Therefore, Chirac proposes that measures should be taken to cancel the debts of the Third World countries, to eliminate poverty and to resist low wages and sweatshops, that firms or companies should abide by the UN human rights conventions and international labor treaty in their economic activities (Ibid.). In contrast, the British antiglobalization has more to do with the issues of freedom and democracy, market and society, government intervention and social welfare, which are exactly what ‘the third way’ attempts to deal with. The antiglobalization movements in the European countries somehow show a tendency of exclusionism and racism, and some are opponents of European integration.

As far as the current situation is concerned, advocates of globalization will not change their inevitable and logical way of thinking, while antiglobalization advocates will not alter their inverse thinking either. Disputes and confrontations between the two sides will continue and antiglobalization trends will not stop growing. Ways of struggling may diversify and conflicts may escalate, but in general, there will not appear a force which is subversive and beyond control. At present, it remains unclear to what extent antiglobalization movements will change the course of globalization. But one thing is certain: only when antiglobalization trends go side by side with globalization, can globalization continue. Therefore, it is necessary to listen to what antiglobalization has to say. Weak as it is, antiglobalization will become the important contents of new politics in the 21st century.

Alterglobalism: another kind of globalism and antiglobalism

Alterglobalization (also known as alternative globalization, Alter-mundialization – from the French ‘altermondialisme’ – or the global justice movement) is derived from the term antiglobalization. It is supposed to distinguish proponents of alterglobalization from different ‘antiglobalization’ activists who are against any kind of globaliza- tion. A strictly nationalist antiglobalization, whose politics are based on a conservative defense of national sovereignty, may consider that instead of getting involved in a global movement and international forums, the path to social change lies through giving life to horizontal, participatory, convivial and sustainable values in local spaces (Pleyers 2009).

Alterglobalization is the name of a social movement that supports global cooperation and interaction, but which opposes the negative effects of economic globalization, indicating an anti-capitalist and universalist perspective on globalization. Most members of this movement shun the label ‘antiglobalization’ as incorrect because they actively support human activity on a global scale and do not oppose economic globalization per se. ‘The alterglobalization movement is a cooperative movement designed to protest the direction and perceived negative economic, political, social, cultural and ecological consequences of neoliberal globalization’ (Krishna-Hensel 2005: 202). The name may have been derived from a popular slogan of the movement: ‘Another world is possible’, which came out of the World Social Forum, the largest forum for alterglobalization activity.

The alternatives proposed at the World Social Forum stand in opposition to a process of globalization commanded by the large multinational corporations and by the governments and international institutions at the service of those corporations interests, with the complicity of national governments. They are designed to ensure that globalization in solidarity will prevail as a new stage in world history. This will respect universal human rights, and those of all citizens – men and women – of all nations and the environment and will rest on democratic international systems and institutions at the service of social justice, equality and the sovereignty of peoples (WSF 2001).

ATTAC (Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions for the Aid of Citizens), an international trade reform network headquartered in France in favor of alterglobalization, supports globalization policies that they characterize as sustainable and socially just, and claims that ‘another world’ is an alternative globalization where people and not profit is in focus (Gu 2008).

Some Marxists embrace alterglobalism. However, proponents of alterglobalization do not necessarily oppose the free market, which makes them not to be confused with proletarian internationalism. They believe that neo-liberalism has met with all kinds of resistance globally, thus giving birth to a force of coalition. The alterglobalism movement has developed a logic of world union, and this logic has entrusted to internationalism a new meaning (Wang and Zhao 2008). Li Shenming argues that socialism is so far the most profound change in human history, and alterglobalization cannot accomplish the whole task at one stroke. The socialist globalization will finally become the alternation of the capitalist globalization, and this is based on reliable facts rather than simple reasoning and wishful thinking (Li Shenming 2006). Yu Wenlie also points out that globalization and antiglobalization bring us closer to socialism and communism, yet the way ahead for the Leftists is more perilous. Nevertheless, so long as the communists make persistent efforts and pay attention to strategy in their struggle, the rejuvenation of socialism can be expected soon (Yu 2003). Zyuganov, chairman of the central committee of the Russian communist party holds the view that the force of alterglobalism is resisting the transnational, cosmopolitan new world order. Our task is to combine our own force with all the progressive forces in the world so as to fight against the expansion of the ‘new world order’. Only socialism and communism as the core of antiglobalization movement can provide the practical other than the reactionary and unrealistic option to take the place of globalism and the ‘new world order’. Our point of departure is to unite the class struggle by the working people to strive for social liberation and the struggle for national liberation by different nationalities to strive for independence and liberty as well as a democratic and unique development (Zyuganov 2004: 182–183).

Globalism: positive sides of globalization

The antiglobalization movement has been criticized by pro-globalization proponents, including politicians and many mainstream economists. They believe that globalization is the most powerful institution for raising living standards ever invented (Wolf 2005: xvii). The following are common claims made by globalization advocates to support their view.

A conspicuous and much-extolled achievement of globalization was rapid economic growth during the last quarter of the last century in twenty-plus developing economies that came to be better integrated with the global economy (Das 2005). According to proponents of globalization, the global economic integration creates the best conditions for the world economic development, which enable the economic entities to produce in the most favorable conditions and sell in the most favorable market. What the concept of globalization describes is an ideal development which means that the world economy can theoretically approach a complete market. The desired results of this development are improved efficiency as well as commodities which are in better accord with the consumers' needs. Globalization is a revolution, which enables the entrepreneurs to make use of the funds, technology, information, management, and labor force anywhere in the world, and manufacture wherever they wish to, and they can sell goods wherever there is demand (Liu 1998).

The overall gains for the world economy are generated by the more efficient allocation of world resources, while the ‘loss of jobs’ in advanced industrial countries, on which much of the economic argument made against globalization concentrates, is attributed to the extension of the worldwide trading nexus. According to proponents of globalization, the basic gains-from-trade logic seems to be denied by the antiglobalists when exchanges are among traders across political boundaries. If trade is harmful to particular groups, why does not the selfsame argument apply within and without the political boundaries (Buchanan 2004).

Globalization aids in development of economy as well as democracy and civil rights. Globalization advocates are encouraged by Amartya Sen who argues that democracy and civil rights should be a primary unit of measurement of development, rather than being described as in some way distinct from development (Sen 2000: 148–149).

Globalization is essentially a benevolent force that creates opportunities for faster poverty alleviation in the economies that are ready for it and those who contend that globalization has exacerbated poverty around the world are wrong. A large proportion of the world's poor live in the rural areas of China and India. After globalization began in these two economies, the poor people in these two economies discernibly benefited (Das 2005). There has been an absolute decrease in the percentage of people in developing countries living below $1 per day in East Asia. Sub-Saharan Africa, as an area that felt the consequences of poor governance and was less responsive to globalization, has seen an increase in poverty while all other areas of the world have seen no change in rates.

One of the favorite arguments of the opponents of globalization is that globalization is a ‘destroyer of cultures’ and that it is bringing about a global cultural homogenization. Klein posits that logos and corporate trademarks have become a kind of international language, and that their omnipresence in the third world has robbed many peoples of the chance to develop a distinctive culture (Balko 2003). However, some proponents of globalization insist that a culture really consists of deeper moral norms and social mores and that superficial uniformity in consumer culture will not lead to cultural homogenization (Das 2005). They even welcome the building of ‘global culture’:

Today, the cultural environment on which man's growth depends has gone beyond the boundaries of nation and state. From the day a man was born, he has been surrounded by the global culture, enjoying as well as accepting the entire material and spiritual civilization. And this exerts a subtle influence on him, making him an Earthman first, then a Chinese, an American, a French, a Brazilian, and so on (Tan 1998).

Another argument in favor of globalization states that globalization has brought about personal empowerment. Globalization has not reduced the freedom of individual citizens, on the contrary, it provides more free space for individual activities. Communication experts have suggested that emerging media, including the internet, have given even the smallest, most remote groups a vehicle to communicate more effectively and promote their respective interests (Balko 2003).

Conclusion: how will another world be possible?

Martin Wolf is convinced that globalization works, and the problem today is not that there is too much globalization, but that there is far too little (Wolf 2005: xvii). Globalization has both good and bad effects, a dark and a bright face. The economic, political, and cultural interconnectedness signified by globalization is irreversible and possibly a good thing. This interconnection could potentially serve the interests of people, not just the elites (Brecher, Costello, and Smith 2000). It seems to be that globalization may very well be a positive thing for the world community, but not without some change in the way it is being carried out. The key choices we face are to formulate policies that increase the beneficial effects and reduce the negative effects of globalization.

Most of the problems presented by antiglobalization movement do not involve the fundamentals of globalization per se, but rather involve the failure of government and other public institutions to distance themselves adequately from the markets. Without some form of government to protect the rights of its citizens, and to prevent excesses of the market, the antiglobalists will be proven right (Barber 2003). From the perspective of national development, the state should take adequate considerations of the welfare of the vulnerable social groups, and in terms of development of the international community, the unfair international economic order should be corrected. A democratic, just and rational global governance is badly needed for the sake of the common future of human beings. The behavioral subjects of the international community should explore the way of ‘global governance’ as soon as possible.

In a word, the realization of another ideal world conceived of by alterglobalization neither relies completely on globalization nor on antiglobalization but on the interaction of the two, or the further progress of globalization and its reflection and response to problems raised by antiglobalization. This may entail a new concept of globalization. The concept of a ‘harmonious world’ put forward by the Chinese statesmen may be a wise choice. This concept reflects the Chinese attitude towards globalization, which means that building a harmonious world is the way out in the face of the contradictions of globalization and antiglobalization.


* Supported by Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University (‘NCET’).


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