Wednesday, May 28, 2008

2008 UP Third World Studies Center Training-Workshop on Globalization

Globalization: Emerging Trends and Alternatives, 19 to 23 May 2008

Supporters of globalization will acknowledge that there is dynamism inherent in any competitive market order but, in line with the principles of classical economics, they will also argue that markets tend towards long-term equilibrium, with supply eventually coming into line with demand. However, one of the many criticisms leveled against globalization is that it has a tendency towards risk, uncertainty and instability. One manifestation of this tendency is that economic decision-making is increasingly influenced by global financial markets that are inherently unstable. This is because much of their activity is speculative and driven by short-term economic considerations. This has implications for companies, industries, national economies and even regions.

The financial crisis in Mexico in 1994 and the Asian financial crisis of 1997-99 were seen as early indications of a crisis-prone and more unpredictable world economy. In January 2008, global stock markets went wild and the United States (U.S.) is on the road to recession. Commentators predict a worldwide slowdown, once again highlighting the risks, uncertainty and instability associated with globalization. Will we see the U.S. economic slowdown turn into a worldwide slump? Or has the global economy experienced change since the 1990s? Are people, countries, companies, regions and international institutions better prepared to cushion the impacts of this new economic slump or for that matter any future slump? What lessons can be drawn from the crisies in the 1990s?

Given the backdrop of the looming U.S. recession and its possible consequences for the rest of the world, particularly the Philippines and the Asian region, it is timely to take stock of the emerging trends in globalization as well as the various alternatives presented by the financial and economic sector, states, civil society, and regional organizations. What are the trends happening in the global financial and trading system? What are their impacts on cultures, states, people and regions? How are people, states and regions responding to globalization and these changes? Have they presented viable alternatives to globalization or measures to cushion the impact of risks, uncertainties and instability on their people and national economies?

Module 1: Globalization (A Critical Introduction)

From Thomas Friedman’s pop analysis in The Lexus and the Olive Tree to James Petras’ and Henry Veltmeyer’s treatise on imperialism in the twenty-first century in Globalization Unmasked, globalization remains to be the most important debate of the times. Yet, despite a burgeoning literature, no cogent theory of globalization or a systematic analysis of its primary features has been formulated. Globalization is heavily contested in terms of its meaning, form, and implication; but,as such, it has become a catchphrase that encompasses everything and thus rendering the term meaningless. It is the objective of this module to clarify this concept and its fundamental theses on the economy, politics, and culture.

As an introductory part of the course, this module will tackle basic issues in understanding globalization. It will survey and sketch the development of the concept as well as various approaches used by social scientists to explain the complexity of globalization as a concept, which include but not limited to world-system theory and neorealism/neoliberal institutionalism. It will also examine the debates about globalization concerning temporal relations. It is expected that at the end of this module, students will have a better grasp of the current discourse on globalization, particularly on the core areas that dominate public and academic debate—the nature of the world economy, the role of the state, and the fate of national culturecontestation of culture.

* Political Economic Perspectives
* Sociocultural Perspectives

Module 2: Markets

Building on the discussions in Module 1, this module gives an overview of the global financial system, economic crises and recession, the global trading system, and non-economic variables affecting economic goals. The impacts of developments in the global financial and trading system on states and societies will be discussed. These will be contextualized in the Philippines and in the Asian region where possible responses and viable alternatives can be discussed and evaluated.

* Global Financial System
* The 1997 Asian Financial Crisis and the Looming U.S. Recession
* The Global Trading System After Doha
* Cultures, Institutions and Market

Module 3: Peoples and States

The objective of this module is to investigate the impacts of globalization on peoples and states and how states, civil society and regional organizations are responding to the process based on concrete experiences and empirical studies. What viable responses and alternatives are being pursued? The objectives of this module are to investigate and assess the forms of action utilized by states, civil society and regional groupings in Asia in performing their purported role in the processes of globalization, and to reflect on the promises and pitfalls of such tactics.

* States
* Regionalism
* Democratization Process