Globalization: Another word for colonization

Globalization, pertaining to the branching inter-connectivity of the world through the abolition of borders (cultural, political, etc.), has become synonymous with Colonization following the rise of neoliberalist practices in the past century.

The rise of neoliberalist practices, which led to the inclusion of mass privatization of companies and the expansion of an unchecked free market global economy, has wreaked havoc on the global economy. Economic practices, such as the exploitation of third world spheres and Private Corporation’s use of oppressive economic and political tactics, have become the norm of international relations. These practices include the use of oppressive political or economic constraints on third world countries or lower class populations in the pursuit of resources or cheap labor pools without regard for aspects like the environment, or the health/safety of those involved. This profit driven mindset that has spread throughout the privatized corporations of our now dominantly neoliberal world economy has caused economic and political turmoil while also leading toward a steadily increasing loss of health and livelihoods in most countries in the world economy today.

A prime example of the detrimental practices utilized by these privatized corporations would be the Asian Financial crisis of the 1990’s and early 2000’s. This crisis was brought about by the backhanded and undermining dealings of the IMF, and various banking systems that overextended the amount of credit within those nations. These corporate lenders, mainly if not only the IMF, held such strong influence in the political and economic practices of the third world, developing, and periphery countries that they supported that they could alter major sections of the individual nations’ laws so that they could aid privatized corporate leaders instead of helping these countries. As sited in an article by Mark Weisbrot, some of these practices included the “removal of a number of restrictions on foreign ownership of domestic stocks and bonds, residents’ ownership of foreign assets, and overseas borrowing by domestic financial and non-financial institutions” (Weisbrot, pg.2). These practices used in nations like South Korea during this troublesome time, led to an extensive increase in foreign debt in most of the Asiatic nations, and this in turn led to vulnerabilities in these nations that were exploited by over-empowered privatized corporations. It was made evident that not only did the IMF not aid those nations that were near financial-crisis, but that the IMF actually worked to pass new laws and regulations in the individual countries that would encourage a crisis to occur. Weisbrot went so far as to state that “ The IMF went so far as to seriously consider changing its charter to make “capital account liberalization’’ — encouraging countries to remove restrictions on international borrowing and investing — a permanent part of its responsibility”(Weisbrot, pg.3). These underhanded dealings of the IMF were intentional in that the IMF’s investments in these nations were not out of the interest of aiding the progression of these nations, but out of the desire to progress the profit hungry mechanisms of the neoliberal privatized corporations at the expense of these developing nations. Weisbrot cited this crisis as a “direct result of this financial liberalization” (Weisbrot, pg.3) used by the IMF, in the sense that “the IMF and its supervisor, the U.S. Treasury Department, were not interested” (Weisbrot. pg.3) in solving the economic problems of these nations, but rather that they wished to increase them. The US Treasury was a driving investor in the funding’s and operations of the IMF, and Weisbrot cited the IMF as a “the most important avenue of influence for the United States in developing countries” (Weisbrot, pg. 2). This link between the IMF, and the United States reflects the direct correlation between the actions of privatized corporations with the interests of more developed core nations through the ties of neoliberalism by way of globalization. Through Globalization the IMF made broke the borders of the struggling Asian countries through economic and political upheaval that allowed for oppressive privatized corporations and core nations to intervene on behalf of their own personal interests concerning the use of cheap labor or access to key industrial sectors. These terrible practices caused the Asian nations to become dependent of the aid of foreign nations in order to be sustainable to a degree, while the people of these nations suffered through unemployment, economic collapse, and poverty. These globalization methods are akin to those used in colonization in that both methods integrate multiple areas of the world through the breaching of established borders and nations, as well as the use of tactics that cause desired nations to be dependent on core countries through oppression and exploitation for the benefit of the core nations at the expense of those nations that they are exploiting. As Weisbrot explains in the case of the Asian financial crisis the “economic and human cost of these mistakes was very large” (Weisbrot, pg.5), including a recovery period of up to ten or so years following the origin of the crisis. This kind of exploitation committed by the IMF led to extreme backlash against the institution, which Weisbrot cites in his article: “ The IMF’s failures, and the conditions that it required for the loans that were eventually made, caused the governments of the region to want to avoid ever having to borrow from the Fund again”(Weisbrot, pg.5). This kind of resentment in the face of the IMF is what separates the acts of the colonial era from the age of globalization, in that the third world nations are starting to rise against these practices with a rate of success that was not previously thought possible.

The IMF was further debilitated following the very public resentment they faced after the Asian crisis when they blundered once again during the Argentine crisis of 1998–2002. The greater influence that the Argentine crisis may have had on the critique of the neoliberal policies of privatized funds such as the IMF, is that the Argentinian government was able to counteract its own debt through the use of practices that were criticized by the IMF, therefore expressing the exploitative nature of the IMF through the blatant rejection of its policies. Weisbrot states in his article that “ Argentina’s success showed that it was possible for a developing country government to stand up to the IMF — and not only live to tell about it, but achieve a rapid and robust economic recovery”(Weisbrot, pg.7). This level of success in favor of the Argentinian government greatly criticized the IMF and pushed its reputation even further into the mud than the Asian crisis already had. In this case though economic and political havoc was wrought by the IMF, the Asian and Argentine governments involved came out with a higher power over their oppressors, while in other cases there were some nations who were not as fortunate.

Though we as a global society are more aware of the disastrous effects that globalization can have on third world developing nations there is still on-going exploitation at the hands of these corporations in the global economy today. A prime example of these ongoing forms of exploitation through globalization can be put into the image of the up and coming European nation of Kosovo, and how core nations like the United States are trying to create a coal industry initiative within the nation. The origination of this initiative, documented in an article by Karl Mathiesen, was made with the possibility of “a proposed US-built, World Bank-sponsored coal power station” (Mathiesen) coming into creation through the influence of the World Bank. This initiative, though it would provide economic benefits in the short-term sense, would lead to long-term environmental and economic chaos that would stem from national dependency on funding from foreign privatized corporations. The use of coal power is documented by Mathiesen as being a “fuel [that] is [becoming] increasingly a pariah in the world of development finance” (Mathiesen). The use of this type of fuel source is dirty and environmentally detrimental, while the creation of a coal power plant could lead to mass issues with water contamination and a mass increase in health concerns for the workers involved in this new working sector of the Kosovo economy. The article stated the opinions of critics of the project have stated their resentment towards the projects report “for failing to properly consider renewable alternatives” (Mathiesen), and that a study done by the University of California said that should Kosovo consider alternative energy measures in place of the coal power plant that “this would not only be better for the environment, it would also be cheaper” (Mathiesen). However, despite this evidence which could benefit a healthier decision to be made for Kosovo it was stated in the article how “these arguments have fallen on deaf ears at the World Bank’s Kosovo branch” (Mathiesen), showing that the influence of the World Bank in the decisions of Kosovo’s economic decisions has led the organization to be able to work towards their own goals while disregarding the safest and most profitable power alternatives. The World Bank is purposefully ignoring the use of alternative energy sources that could benefit Kosovo because they do not want Kosovo to be self-sufficient, rather they want to make sure Kosovo is dependent on them and works in their favor to benefit the privatized corporations based in the core. The World Bank is purposefully advising the Kosovo government to enact practices which will lead to dependency on foreign investment and will make Kosovo’s labor forces and resources the new fuel sources of the neoliberal world economy. Kosovo will be turned into an outlet through which foreign companies can drain profit and resources for their own personal benefit at the expense of the health and well-being of Kosovo’s people.

It is the work of these “non-state actors”, such as the IMF and the WB, who have taken over the expansion of globalization through the implementation of neoliberal practices that create a “free market” economy at the expense of these third world or developing nations. These organizations are infiltrating the borders of target nations and using tactics that will over time erupt in crisis, which will lead to gradual dependency of these nations’ economies on the foreign investments and interests that are drawn in by the influences of these non-state actors. This use of tactics for the blatant oppression and exploitation of nations under the guise of global inter-connectivity is what causes Globalization to become synonymous with Colonization. It is necessary that we as a new generation recognize the consequences of these oppressive tactics that are being used by corporations and funds that we trust in, and that we collectively act against these tactics through what we know of the revolts in Latin American countries like Argentina, and The Asian countries who distanced themselves following the financial crisis. We need to comprehend how our endorsement off these corporations and companies has negatively reshaped the structure of our world economic and political practices, and we need to make a change in the way we view globalization. By recognizing how ignorant we are of the workings of the guise of globalization, we can begin to counteract the reemergence of colonization in our world as we know it to be.