ISLAMABAD: Far too many economists in the world today are contesting globalization because they are increasingly seeing it as a process of vast, systematic, institutionalized, and legitimized plunder of the Third World countries.
Eminent economist Professor Dr Shahida Wizarat divulged these views, while lecturing at Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) at the School of Economics, Quaid-i-Azam University here.
The lecture titled “Challenges Faced by the Developing Countries and Our Response” was part of a lecture series on the theme of “Pakistan Economy in a Transforming Global Economic Order” arranged by IPS at various universities of the federal capital this week.
Quoting various economists such as Ukpere, Slabbert, Haines, and Trainer, she said there was overwhelming evidence for a positive correlation between globalization, internationalization and unemployment.
“Their studies show the global unemployment has increased the rate of global inequality and the gap between the "global rich" and the "global poor" continues to grow.”
Dr Wizarat lamented that instead of Third World governments, Transnational Corporations (TNCs), were dictating Third World development, with the former unable to direct foreign investment towards the needs of their citizens and prevent actions that hurt their national interests. “An example of this is the tremendous increase in genetically modified (GM) crops acreage in the LDCs which according to the FAO has surpassed their acreage in the DCs,” the professor said.
She told the audience the developed countries exporting GM food to developing nations have very strict laws about the consumption of these food products in their own countries. “In most of these countries their consumption is strictly forbidden,” she disclosed.
Moving forward, she condemned the recent amendment in Pakistan Seed Act, terming it a legislative disaster that will have severe effects on the textile sector and food security of the country.
The second biggest challenge, according to Dr Wizarat, the developing countries were faced with was widespread and endemic conflict and militarization. “Countries across Asia, Africa, Middle East, etc, were engaged in sectarian, ethnic and ideological conflicts resulting in systematic polarization of populations,” said Dr Wizarat.
Quoting her own study of 2014, she claimed one percent increase in world conflict increases the GDP of developed countries by 7.7 per cent, while resulting in decline in developing countries’ GDP by 3.8 per cent.
“The developed countries were thus the major beneficiaries of conflicts that were enveloping the world today on account of increase in the output of the industrial military complex and enabling them to take control of natural resources from Third World countries that do not have the means to protect these,” she added.
The third challenge described by her was on account of limits to growth theory. Quoting Jeffry Sachs, a leading US economist, she said it would not be sustainable if the developed countries continue to grow at their long-term per capita rate of 1.6 per cent, while the countries in Asia and other parts of the world continue to grow at their spectacular rates, resulting in four to six-fold increase in world’s GNP.
She was of the view that limits to the growth model was the biggest challenge to globalization. “The limits to growth analysis has given rise to the policy recommendation that the trade-off between the rates of growth of rich western countries and the emerging Asian countries has to be settled at the cost of sacrificing Asian rates of growth,” she added.
Wrapping up her talk, she urged that we, as a nation, should be aware of these facts and preempt the polarization of our country into sectarian, ethnic, ideological and political groups.
“Each one of us will have to play our role to preempt the polarization, which will be nurtured and fanned by outsiders who benefit from conflict,” Dr Wizarat stressed.