Globalisation: Theories


I. The Hyperglobalist thesis

  • The Hyperglobalist thesis (associated with figures such as Kenichi Ohmae) advocates that the world is now becoming borderless due to the heightened flow of goods, capital, labour and information technology (IT) that flow effortlessly across borders.
  • Developments in areas such as IT have shrunk the world - making it easier to transfer things like money v quickly.
  • Movement of goods and capital etc undermine the role of national governments.
  • Companies will move to lower-cost locations to maximise profits - This forces governments to keep taxes low etc so firms don't move elsewhere.
  • As a result, this has social and political implications as govts can spend less on public goods - (foreign direct investment runs the stage - competition state?)
  • The market is the most important and govts have a reduced role.
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II. The sceptical thesis

  • Argues the opposite to the Hyperglobalist theory - globalisation is not the take-all end-all process. The supposed 'borderless' flow of trade, capital etc is in fact concentrated in three main regions - Europe, North America and Japan/East Asia.
  • There is also no 'effortless' movement of capital. There is a significant cost associated with moving companies from established locations - companies prefer to 'work from home'. (moving = loss of profit.)
  • Thus the system remains a open international economy with exchange between national economies and decisions made at a national level.
  • There is also little evidence to support state retrenchment - the state consumes more of the global GDP than any previous point.
  • Also a positive correlation between state expenditure and volume of inbound foreign direct investment.
  • Therefore this theory argues the nation-state is not in decline.
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III. The Marxist Theories

  • For Lenin - the capitalist stage has been reached - he links globalisation with imperialism - a stage on the way to imperialism.
  • Neo-gramscian view links globalisation to the rise of a trans-national ruling class - separate from an association with a particular state.
  • World Systems - globalisation is something that furthers the interest of the core countries at the expense of the periphery and increases their ability to exploit the periphery countries.
  • Globalisation generally viewed negatively as it's seen to undermine democratic control and further exploitation. However, it can also be seen as the last stage to capitalism and the necessity for socialism to take hold.
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IV. Complex globalisation thesis

  • Main point? They see globalisation as a process.
  • The rise of specific regional blocs are part of a wider globalisation process.
  • The narrative of integration is different - there is still an uneven economic and developmental map.
  • The state role has changed with more emphasis on competion between nations and more power in the hands of market actors.
  • Therefore the govt end up prioritising economic competitiveness - this is evidenced by the increasing use of neoliberal policies and increasing welfare entrenchment.
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V. New institutionalist thesis

  • Argues that globalisation may actually serve nation-states - social democratic countries have thrived (?) due to globalisation rewarding coherent strategies and punishing incoherent ones.
  • There is scope for government intervention in economic and social affairs.
  • Globalisation is thus associated with continuing divergance between market liberal and social democratic regimes and forces - one for change.
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VI. Ideational globalisation thesis

  • Globalisation is looked at here in ideational terms - in a discursive context.
  • It may be a self-fulfilling prophecy; if policy-makers believe in globalisation it will shape their approach - neoliberal ideas may be shaping neoliberal policies.
  • Therefore undermining the nation-state itself.
  • Globalisation being understood as a consequence - opens scope for change and resistance - it is isn't just considered inevitable.
  • Important as others may disregard the independent effects of the globalisation discourse.
  • Policy-makers may also be using the discourse to enable implementation of neoliberal policies citing the no alternative reason e,g.
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