GLOBALISATION

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GLOBALISATION

- 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. 

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THE CHANGING ROLE AND POWER OF THE STATE

OHMAE 1994

- 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. 

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continued...

BONNET 1994

- 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.

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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.

GIDDENS 1990

- although globalisation might have led to some changes in nature and distribution of power in society, not all state power has been lost. 

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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.

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THE POWER OF TNCs

DICKEN 1992

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. 

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DUNNING 1993

- 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. 

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continued...

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. 

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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.

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TRANSNATIONAL POLITICS

- 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. 

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