- some sociologists argue it no longer makes sense to look at issues of the distribution of power in any ne society without looking at issues within a global context.
- major changes have taken place which have made the world one huge interlinked economy, joining developed and developing countries - has profound effects on the power structure.
- some argue, despite the trend towards the internationalisation of capital, an individual nation-state still exerts a major influence on the distribution of power within it's own society.
- has several key effects:
shifted borders of economic transactions; expanded communications into global networks; fostered a new, widespread global culture; developed new forms of international governance; created growing awareness of common world problems; created a growing sense of risk; led to transnational global actors - network-group make the global their local e.g. GreenPeace.
THE CHANGING ROLE AND POWER OF THE STATE
- the world increasingly consists of one huge economic system, linking developed and developing countries.
- stresses the declining influence of the nation-state as a result and points to certain key characteristics of global economy:
1. TNCs dominate the global landscape and operate in many countries simultaneously.
2. movement of trade - can easily move services to cheaper countries, making them powerful.
3. purchasing power - people able to buy from wherever they want because of improved communication.
4. corporate and consumer power - ability to go beyond nation-state can reduce power of g'ment.
overstates the way in which states have lost power - g'ments still have power over imports from immediate economic neighbours.
- contrasts Ohmae.
- doesn't see the nation-state as totally weakened by globalisation.
- identifies a range of changes and consequences:
1. power is no longer held within nation-state e.g. EU
2. the extension of power across nation-states has weakened the power of the state within specific countries.
3. weakening of power has led to independence movements gaining momentum.
4. states under pressure from internationalism and nationalism.
IS GLOBALISATION LEADING TO MAJOR CHANGES?
HIRST AND THOMPSON 1999
- most companies still based in a home location with large domestic market.
- states may have lost power, but still have key control over territory and people.
- most individuals subscribe to a national identity, giving the nation-state some power over them.
- although globalisation might have led to some changes in nature and distribution of power in society, not all state power has been lost.
ARGUMENTS FOR THE LOSS OF STATE POWER
1. GLOBAL AND LOCAL - there are global social relationships between countries which shape local events.
2. TIME-SPACE DISTANCIATION - as people no longer need to be physically with other people in order to interact, this opens up a global arena.
3. COMPETITION - the better the communication with companies, the more competitors there are. Competition creates a global market.
4. NATION-STATE POWER REDUCED - g'ments forced to compete to gain inward investment, reducing their power in contexts.
ARGUMENTS FOR CONTINUED EXISTENCE OF STATE POWER:
1. NATIONALISM - g'ments can encourage people to keep and develop a cultural identity, helping retain some economic power.
2. UNITY - g'ments can work together to starve off power of TNCs.
THE POWER OF TNCs
The TNC is the single most important force in creation of a global economic system. He sees the era of nationally competing and separate economies as past history.
HIRST AND THOMPSON 1999
- TNCs aren't major threats to nation-states.
- studied data of 500 TNCs from 5 countries in 1987, compared with 5,000 TNCs in 6 countries fro 1991-92.
- interested in extent to which these TNCs operated at a international and global level, while moving away from their home g'ment.
- also identified constraining factors in the operation of TNCs:
a preference for locations they had good rapport; plant, equipment and infastructure not always easily transportable; employees face disruption in permanent relocations and skills may be lost if they're unwilling to relocate.
- The largest TNCs in 1989 produced a third of their output outside home countries.
- He sees this as evidence of a global system.
LASH AND URRY 1994
A distinction needs to be made between more knowledge-based industries and these with more of a manufacturing.
There are many advantages for individual countries either to be the major base or involved in TNCs, but there are also many implications for national power structures.
1. COMPETITION - local companies may have difficulty competing as TNCs only require labour and may pay well.
2. MARKETING POWER - TNCs able to sustain losses to establish a brand in a locality which may wipe out local products.
3. BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION - local politicians may be bribed to cooperate with company plans, which may lead to limited tax revenue being collected.
4. COMPETITION PATTERNS - TNCs have power to change consumption patterns to generate profits, often with negative consequences for individual consumers.
While the state has a measure of accountability, there are no similar constraints on the activities of TNCs, which have power without responsibility.
RESISTANCE TO TNCs
- despite the power of TNCs, there are many instances where the activities of such companies have been successfully challenged.
- e.g. Shell's dismantling of an oil-rig at sea was prevented by activities of GreenPeace.
- McDonalds and Coca Cola also have been the focus of many campaigns to improve business practie and ethical awareness.
- a global economy, where finance products and services now flow across the globe daily and TNCs play a dominant role, is a feature of society today.
- still some debate as to the extent to which globalisation has had an impact on power structures of nation-states.
- there are obvious ways in which political structures and decision-making are now far more interconnected: the EU comprises of 27 states; ASEAN draws Malaysia, Singapore + Thailand together for economic and political matters; UN has provided a global g'ment.
- TNCs frequently have more economic power than countries/states.
- the Information Revolution means individual nation-states no longer able to control activities of TNCs and political events.
- NSMs draw together individuals and groups on a global scale to react to political situations.
- the study of politics and exercise of power has shifted from within national boundaries to include global issues and the exercise of power in a much wider context.