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Globalisation, social change and struggles for global justice

Opening lecture on globalization, social struggles and the global justice movements - setting the frame for the MS ActionAid Global Change spring 2010 course in Copenhagen, Denmark

Rune Baastrup

on 3 November 2015

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Transcript of Globalisation, social change and struggles for global justice

10 dates of Global Change...
Setting the frame for the Global Change course, spring 2010
"I think of globalisation as the increasing extent, intensity, velocity and impact of world-wide interconnectedness. ...an ongoing transformation, from economics, politics and migration to culture and law, which is creating a new kind of world order."
An influential definition
David Held
Some key dimensions:
- politics, the state and global institutions
- economy - production, trade and financial markets
- culture
- international law and human rights
- migration
- civil society and social movements
- media and transnational public spheres
- war, terrorism and security
- climate change and environmental degredation
Some key insights
- Globalization is no force of nature - but a result of man-made, political decisions
- Globalization is not a single, unified proces - and looks extremely different in Zambia,
Denmark or the US.
- It's implications of increased market exposure, financial instabilities, new migratory patterns,
and downward pressure on social protection is felt globally
- No convincing all-encompassing theory of globalization exists - and Africa is most often left out
- Globalization is linked to the notion of a global, overaching destiny of fate
- Globalization is not only the craft of big business and states - but of social struggles for justice,
independence, democracy and liberation
7 systemic crises
- finance
- climate
- food
- ressources
- migration
- health
- poverty & inequality

The realisation of the world market in corn
The British Imperial Order, Free Market Liberalism & "The Golden Age"
The Great Drought, 1876-1878

Extreme weather patterns: El Nino

Mike Davis: The making of the Third World
Globalization 1.0
Climate instability
Bretton Woods: The design of a new world system
July 22nd
International Monetary Fund, IMF
The World Bank
International Trade Organization
General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs, GATT
The end of the Bretton Woods
December 31st
Extreme shocks to human
livelihoods throughout the Global South
Core features: relatively firm if not complete political control of
trade, finance and currency in an international framework
- with gradual trade liberalizations
August 15
August 15
Indias independence from Great Brittain
Decolonialization after World War II in Asia and Africa
A new hope for development, freedom and national selfdetermination
Colonialism destroyed by people power: the old colonial ways didn't work
De-coupling the $ from the gold-standard
The system collapses
political control of market forces weakened
The First Global Year...
Student and labor uprisings and protests around the world: From Paris to Bangkok, Mexico City to Prague
New Social Movements, grassroots movements and solidarity networks spawned
A global cycle of subjective outbursts of protest - enabled by mass media
Global civil society in the making -- paired with transnational public sphere
How does Globalization relate to social struggles?
- or how does social struggles produce social change?
Social change, social movements and globalization
It was a political decission to liberalize and internationalize the economy
This was the financial setup to support national policies of full employment and social redistribution (and Keynesianism)
May 3rd
August 21st
October 3rd
'Financialisation' of the economy starts to kick off
-> capital flowing from job-creating investments to speculation on financial markets
June 25
Global debt-crisis by design
US central bank (FED) more that doubles the interest rate
Welcome to the decade of neoliberal dominance
Through the imposition of crisis and debt,
the developing countries effectively loses their souverignty
At the hands of international institutions (IMF, World Bank) - controlled by the US
Reagan, Thatcher, Pinochet
November 9
June 4
Tiananmen Square protests
The fall of the Berlin Wall
People powered politics: the collapse of an empire through social unrest
After the collapse:
The world market becomes one whole
The US the worlds sole remaining super-power
November 30
The Battle of Seattle
activists and protesters manage to shut down the World Trade Organization ministerial in Seattle
What was building up since the '80s in the Global South finally achieves a victory and profoundly changes the public discourse on globalization
and the legitimacy of global institutions
The Global Justice Movement was born!
9 stories from the past + 1 you will co-write!
Global restructuring /
"Globalization from above"
Global resistance and struggles - "Globalization from below"
May 22
Abolishing the Slave Trade
The world's first global human rights campaign
March 25, 1807: British Parliament abolishes Slave Trade
Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade
Thomas Clarkson
Granville Sharp
Olaudah Equiano
- and even becomes a hollywood movie!
May X
What dates spring to mind
when talking globalization?
- very little benefit from structural adjustment (IMF, World Bank)
- very low rate of foreign investment
- primarily in extracting industries (oil, mining)
- often not benefitting local communities nor national economies (low or no taxation)
- while creating special zones or spatial enclaves linked to the global economy - while the surrounding society is left out
- from socially 'thick' presence of mining companies - to socially 'thin' (Ferguson): no considerable positive effects in growth, welfare, infrastructure etc.
Africa in the Global Economy:
Ferguson: the hype about globalization as 'world-wide'
interconnectedness and 'capital flows' as covering the globe
is not matched with reality on the African continent
Full transcript