Tag Archives: Globalization

Change, Through the Arts

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The Notion of Sovereignty and its Implications for the World Today

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Sovereignty is a much discussed topic today, in lieu of globalization and increased transnationalism. It is a notion that has been highly misunderstood, misconstrued and abused by individuals and nation states. Sovereignty is often described as a state in which a nation has complete and utmost authority over its territory and the government of the nation is independent in making decisions. The biggest problem with this perception of sovereignty is that it is heavily focused on states and territorial independence. I will be arguing throughout this essay that sovereignty cannot be tied down to these issues.

Sovereignty in the state-centric view is outdated and inapplicable to the highly transnational world we live in. Indeed, many groups and individuals who believe that being sovereign is inexplicably tied to not being affected or linked with any global processes on a transnational level are highly mistaken and naïve: “The glittering bribe the globalists are extending to us is this: Enhanced access to global markets –in exchange for your national sovereignty!” (Buchanan 1994). An anti-globalist, primarily due to fears about this supposed threat to sovereignty, people like Mr. Patrick Buchanan try to rile up hatred against anything “un-American”, arguing that this will lead to the betterment of the USA. There are scores of publications that are promote xenophobia, isolationism, symbolism and national pride as a backlash against the adverse effects of globalization and transnationalism on this cherished idea of sovereignty. Indeed, as Mary Tsai puts it, sovereignty “remains a jealously guarded right of every state.” (Tsai 2000). I will firstly be studying the concept of sovereignty, how it came about and how this history is interpreted and understood today. Following this, I will be examining the importance of sovereignty in our world today, how it is affected by capitalism, the role that international institutions and agreement play in the supposed eradication of sovereignty, and the possible future of sovereignty in the world.

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Business Malpractice: Child Labor

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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become an important factor in a corporation’s management thinking ever since it has gained significance in the minds of customers, shareholders, non-governmental organizations, governmental bodies and several other stakeholders. There are plenty of contesting views on this issue, the most important ones being the benefits and drawbacks for businesses taking CSR seriously, the difficulty of administering CSR for multinationals, the plight of companies originating in developing nations, and a basic perceived conflict of interest between business and societal issues, which is believed by some to be the responsibility of governments. CSR is the most pertinent today in the area of child labor due to the sheer injustice it causes ethically, economically, and often legally. I hope to highlight that it is crucial to address Corporate Social Responsibility, in a general sense and specifically in the realm of child labor in our rapidly globalizing world of today. And while it will require some adjustments to how most businesses work currently, it will eventually be beneficial to all stakeholders in companies.

There are some companies that shudder when they hear the term Corporate Social Responsibility; it is often seen as an inconvenience to business and a waste of time and resources that leads to a depreciation of the bottom line. This is a narrow-minded outlook; it does not take into account how business practices have changed over the past five decades or so. Various businesses have become far more interconnected as a result of the sheer increase in the volume of business transactions on a global scale. This, along with the fact that news and happenings around the world are accessible to many at unprecedented levels today has led to this uproar by people, shareholders and customers in particular, demanding corporations to behave ethically and in morally acceptable ways: “which stakeholders are internal and which are external to the organization is becoming an increasingly difficult question to answer” (Phillips and Caldwell). It is therefore the case that the large clothing manufacturer gets heavily criticized and boycotted for child labor malpractice when it is one of the suppliers of cotton in Uzbekistan, one of the many contracted by the company, who has forced children to quit school to handpick cotton all day at a miserable pay rate (International Labor Rights Forum). There is no way around it anymore – large multinationals can no longer say that it is the fault of one of their thousand suppliers.

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