By MARK ROBERT A. DY
DOOMED TO BE FREE
ON paper and as an ideal, globalization promises a new economic world order that will uplift humanity to heights difficult to imagine. The free exchange of goods and services promises to create a single global market where the only restriction is the law of supply and demand.
Grand plans… grand promises… but at what cost?
To get to that ideal, many people have to give up their livelihood. Small-scale farmers and fishermen will have to abandon their trades when faced by the uncontrollable influx of cheaper imported goods. Small-scale businesses and neighborhood shops will be crushed under the heels of large foreign-owned shopping centers.
Cheaper goods and services might look like a strong selling point for consumers, but you have to remember that every consumer is also a producer and a service provider. What use are cheaper goods when people’s incomes are obliterated by unfair competition? What’s the point of having retail prices of your favorite grocery store cut in half when you have to close your own shop permanently?
To make this great economic omelette, we have to break a whole lot of eggs. Millions will plunge into hopeless destitution, while the few truly big businesses continue to balloon into grotesque proportions. The poor stay poor, the middle class joins them and the rich become gods.
To look at the end-goal without seeing the painful steps leading to that goal is Social Darwinism at its very worst. It attacks the life, liberty and property of the most marginalized sectors of society, widening the already vast chasm that separates the rich from the poor. Social ills are exponentially amplified, turning pride of labor into systematic worldwide greed.
Powerful first-world countries welcome globalization with arms wide open, but for a tiny nation like ours, nationalist economics is our final line of defense against the tidal waves of mass production just waiting to erase entire industries and cultures.
I do not dare to question the bigger-picture wisdom of economics experts, but to my mind, the evils needed to reach their goals are simply unacceptable.
Is there a way around it? Is there a better way to do this?
There is. But for now, richer countries are not willing to give us a truly meaningful and effective quid pro quo situation. Their industries are allowed to flourish in our land, while they prevent our greatest and most abundant resource from being fully utilized. If they are allowed to sell their goods here without restriction, our people should be allowed to travel to and work in their countries similarly without restriction.
This is how we create a formidable middle class. This is how economic balance is achieved. This is how globalization becomes a cultural revolution, rather than just a concept of economics. Instead, they use security reasons and terrorism scares to keep global trade consistently skewed in their favor.
I used to be a believer in big-picture economics and full globalization. But as we draw deeper into this socio-economic experiment, the picture becomes uglier and uglier. Maybe it’s time to take a few paces back, cut our losses and try to figure all this out.Higher productivity is no excuse for the perpetuation of human suffering. In its present form, globalization is a lethal pill to the most vulnerable nations in the world.
Unless we come up with a better strategy and an honest will to bring economic fairness in the world, all this is simply unacceptable.
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