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globalization

VIEWS: 10 PAGES: 6

									Today’s class

In exploring contemporary macro forces that shape families, we are gong to begin
by looking at what is occurring globally that might shape our experiences with
family. Next week, we will look at how these themes play out in the United States
specifically.

We live in a world that is increasingly globalized. I know that this comes to no
surprise to students in this class, as folks in California are generally aware either
through their own experience or the experiences of friends and family, that many of
our families straddle different, sometimes multiple borders.

So, today, we are going to look at some of the historical processes that have shaped
the realities we all live with today, and then we are going to talk with Angelica and
Rosemary to understand how these processes have affected their family’s lives.
Finally we are going to watch a film, Made in L.A. The goal of the panel discussion
and of the film is to understand how these seemingly complex and abstract process
of globalization plays out in our own lives.

Background information on Economy as an institution:

Economy is the social institution that organizes the distribution of goods and
services. Goods and services are an important part of the way humans organize
themselves collectively and of how we identify ourselves as individuals. The work
we do is an important part of identity, just as the goods and services we consume.

   -   In this class, we will learn to think about the macro elements of economy and
       micro elements of economy, as we talk about how larger economic forces
       shape families and how families are economic units in and of themselves.

Capitalism (or the free market economic system) is an economic system where the
capital (raw materials, goods, and means of production) are privately owned.
Capitalism is driven by three goals:

   1) Individual success in terms of monetary profit. (rather than communal
      success based on varying kinds of profit - health, access to food and water,
      shelter for everyone, etc)

   2) Private property ownership (rather than collective property ownership)

   3) Competition – According to Adam Smith, the father of the free-market
      system, the market does not need to be regulated by laws and regulations, as
      a market based on competition will regulate itself. He called this the
      “invisible hand.” This model relies on the idea of a “laissez-faire” governing
      structure, where the government would not intervene in the market.

When Adam Smith was theorizing capitalism and the free market economy, he did
not factor one very important component in to the equation.
We live in an economy that is dominated by corporations, corporations that are part
of large monopolies. We are living in an economic structure that could more
accurately be described as Monopolistic Capitalism.

What is a monopoly?

A shared monopoly is when 4 or fewer firms supply 50% or more of a particular
market.

So when we talk about the “Free Market” and when we hear economists, etc say that
the free market will help to keep prices low, will help reduce the unemployment
rate, etc. we have to remember that all of this is occurring in an economy that is
dominated by some big corporations, and not by several smaller enterprises.

In order to understand how we have gotten to the place we
Globalization Exercise

Lecture Notes for Work in the US - Global Connections

Colonialism

      The current inequalities between countries are a result of historical
       circumstances.
      Colonization plays a huge role in the current socioeconomic arrangements in
       the world.
      70% of the world's population lived in colonies in 1914.
      Colonialism leaves legacies – legal and political institutions, cultural
       devastation, psychological dimensions (internalized racism), destruction of
       localized economy.
      Colonies extracted raw resources from the countries – which were sent to
       colonizing countries for consumption.

NeoColonialism

   -   All former colonies have gained independence.
   -   Since independence, new countries have been under pressure to improve the
       living conditions that were created under colonialism.
   -   This results in decolonized countries borrowing capital to finance
       “development”.
   -   There are still connections between the colonizing countries and colonized
       countries. These connections replicate and reproduce ongoing inequalities
       between countries.
       - firms that were established and in operation since colonial times
       - transnational corporations
       - loans from governments and banks of the global North.
       - Many business and political elites were educated at prestigious
           institutions in colonizers countries
External Debt and Loan Repayment
   - External debt is created when countries pay more for imports than exports.
      They have to make up this debt. One way countries try to balance their debt
      is by selling goods and services that richer countries want. For example:
          o Selling raw materials, cash crops, illegal drugs and drug producing
              crops, and weapons.
          o Countries might also earn foreign exchange by encouraging their
              citizens to work abroad in exchange programs – contstruction,
              nursing, or mail-order brides. We see how this plays out in the lives of
              Filipina families in the reading “The Care Crisis in the Philippines.”
          o Leasing land for military bases, trash dumps
          o Tourist activities such beaches and sex trade.

   -   SAPS – In addition to making changes in the production of goods and
       services, debtor countries are often forced to agree to structural adjustment
       programs (SAPS) as conditions by which they can accept a loan.

   -   These SAPS are conditions set by the IMF and the World Bank, and they are
       structured by ideas about what makes an economy profitable. Leaders of
       these institutions tend to think that Free Market Capitalism is the most
       advantageous economic system, and thus if countries want loans from these
       organizations they are required to structurally adjust their economies to rely
       more on the free market.

   -   What are some examples of the kinds of changes that occur under Structural
       Adjustment programs?

How do these policies (SAPs and repayment of external debt) affect families?

       -   when we cut healthcare and social services, the people that end up taking
           up the responsibility for childcare, health, and family well-being are
           women.
       -   Cuts in food subsidies and the devaluation of local currencies have
           decreased women’s wages and increased prices(which are already lower
           than men’s)
       -   Women around the world are generally responsible for “substinece
           agriculture” or growing to feed your family. The emphasis on cash crops
           has devastated the smaller scale agriculture that is so important.

Transnational Corporations

In addition to colonialism, neocolonialism, and the free market ideology on families,
we have to look at the role transnational corporation play in impacting families
globally. Corporations are caught up in and helped create the current global
economy. Primarily they are shaped by and have shaped the practice of free market
capitalism.
Why do we see more companies going global?

   -   Export Processing Zones (EPZs) are established in many countries, where
       products are manufactured for consumption in the wealthier countries in the
       world.
   -   EPZs are generally created by countries, under structural adjustment, and
       they have relaxed labor and environmental regulations within those zones.
       This is all under the guise of attracting corporations to encourage
       “development.”
   -   These locations offer mobility to corporations.
   -   Profits are higher – production costs are lower.
   -   As semi-skilled or un-skilled work is being located internationally, working-
       class and middle-class in the US is deteriorating.

Because corporations are profit seeking, and because they enter Export
Processing Zones and/or countries where regulations are minimized, what
are some of the costs that are going to be cut?

   -   Workers Wages
   -   Safety Measures
   -   Environmental Standards

What is the relationship between corporations and the political elite in the
developed and developing world?

   -   Corporations heavily influence the world’s economy.
   -   Corporations will interfere with the internal affairs of other countries in
       order to protect their business interests – i.e, investments and profit margins.

The large economic institutions that regulate the worlds loan and debt are driven by
a capitalist ideology. So they are going to enforce capitalist economic policies on
countries that need to borrow money.

The policies established by the IMF and the World Bank are the reasons that many
low income countries have had to open up their borders to transnational
corporations.

A note on these Global financing and governing institutions:

World Bank – headquarters are in Washington DC. Funds infrastructure and
agricultural development. The banks investors are wealthy countries, they earn
money off of the interest. Voting power in the WB is assigned depending on how much
money your country invests. Wealthy countries have disproportionate voting power.

IMF – Formed at the same time as the WB. Funds loans for “development projects” and
sever times of budget crisis. To receive a loan – must accept a range of conditions –
SAPS – and they must emphasize export earnings.
GATT – read more…in 1994, corporations made a power grab, and passed rules
concerning the lowering of tarriffs. WTO is the governing body of GATT. WTO board is
unelected; member nations have no input into the selection process. WTO takes into
allows other countries to challenge countries laws that might be in violation of GATT.
Cases are decided by a panel of 3 trade experts. WTO decisions are binding and
unappealable.

How do transnational corporations impact families?
  - It is particularly easy for smaller scale manufacturers to pick up and leave
     than for steel or automobile manufacturers. The former of which are jobs
     primarily held by women, and the latter of which by men. This leaves
     women workers around the world in a vulnerable position. As women are
     leading families as single parents in higher numbers than ever before, this
     leaves families in vulnerable positions.
  - If a manufacturing job picks up and leaves, what other type of work will be
     available to a woman who has moved to the city (from a rural setting)
     without familial or social support?

A Note on China-

- Independent trade unions are banned in China.

What is a sweatshop?

   -   Non-payment of minimum or overtime wages, violation of health and safety
       regulations, multiple violations of law.
   -   Employers that fail to pay a living wage, that affords a decent living for the
       people that work for the factory – where they can afford housing and
       healthcare (or are provided healthcare).

Garment Work in the United States

   -   This is a very risky enterprise, as fashion tastes change so quickly.
   -   The US consumes way more clothing than the rest of the world, with tastes
       changing rapidly.
   -   clothing manufacturers need to be able to get a fast turn around on their
       product, so manufacturing in the US or near the US is ideal.
   -   Because of the volatility of the market, jobs in clothing manufacturing are
       very unstable.

Garment work in the LA

   -   LA has more manufacturing jobs than any other city in the US.
   -   1/5 manufacturing jobs in LA are in apparel
   -   In all other sectors of manufacturing in the US, we have seen a decline in jobs,
       but in LA, manufacturing jobs have increased.
   -   Why LA?
o The city, with Hollywood right here, is a center for fashion and design.
  So Cal represents a way of life that is idealized in TV, Movies, and
  music and people want to be able to buy that “way of life”.
o Most apparel manufacturing in LA is in women’s wear.
o What is the labor pool in LA – we have a lot of immigrants, from
  Mexico and Asia. Immigrants have historically offered a cheap labor
  pool in this country
o Immigrants both run the shops and are the workers in the shops.

								
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