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Peter Willetts, Professor of Global Politics


 

 

Can Globalisation be Tamed?
 
Transcript of a City Insights Lecture, delivered before an invited audience at City University on 13 February 2002.

 

The Language of Social Science

Social Scientists have the advantage over Natural Scientists in that everyday language can be used to describe society. As a result, the work of Social Scientists can be understood by the non-expert, lay-person. The corresponding disadvantage is that we can easily assume that we are all speaking the same language   –   meaning the same thing by the same words   –   when we do not. In reality, the very words we use have contested meanings. Let me illustrate the problem.

In Physics there is a precise definition of "power". In everyday language, we live with ambiguity. Saying   –   "That is a powerful car"   –   may mean the car can drive at high speeds, or it has no problem with steep hills, or that it has an impressive appearance. For the Physicist there is a different precise meaning, the power of a car is measured by its rate of consuming energy when it moves.

In Politics it is often said "The President of the United States is the most powerful man in the world." I would disagree with this statement, not because I dispute the fact that the President is commander of a terrifying array of military forces, but because I disagree with defining power in military terms. That might sound as if I am making a moral statement, and I am, but I am also making an analytical statement. United States armed forces cannot be used to defend the exchange rate of the dollar, and their use has at times been counter-productive for US prestige and US goals.

I have laboured this point about language, because two of the central concepts I am discussing this evening are contested concepts. There is no general agreement on what is meant by globalisation nor on what is meant by an NGO, a non-governmental organisation.

 

What is globalisation?

The first ambiguity about globalisation is whether it encompasses a condition, which already exists or a process of change towards some new condition in the future. I will concentrate on the idea of change.

It is far more important that there is ambiguity about the content of the change.

Globalisation usually means economic change, the process of global economic integration

  • global liberalisation, reduction of barriers to trade and investment
  • increased trade, integration of global markets
  • increased flows of capital
  • the rise of transnational corporations

To most people this is the global spread of capitalism, a new phase in the history of capitalism. Especially when linked to

  • the decline in Keynesianism and the rise of the neo-liberal approach to economics
  • privatisation and the decline in the role of governments

It would generally be acknowledged that underlying the economic change has been a technological revolution in communications

  • radio in the 1940s
  • air travel and telephones in the 1960s
  • satellites for commercial computing and television from the 1970s
  • massive improvements in shipping and air freight from the 1970s
  • the globalisation of the Internet in the 1990s

Sociologists would point out that the economic and technological change have created a third dimension of cultural globalisation.

  • Direct effects on many people from radio, TV, the press, films books and music
  • Indirect effects of cultural norms embodied in consumer products from Coca Cola and McDonalds hamburgers to designer clothes and wasteful life-styles

I have been arguing in my own work for the last two decades that there is also political globalisation. To me, political globalisation encompasses

  • the increased networking by government ministries.
    Not just ministers, but also officials in ministries, now in contact with colleagues worldwide
  • the increased responsibilities of both regional and global intergovernmental organisations (IGOs)
  • the increased networking of NGOs
  • the increased integration of NGOs in policy-making by IGOs

Combined, these can be seen as creating a global political system.

The impact of these five processes of political change is encompassed in another new term   –   global governance. This has not yet entered general public debate, but I would predict you will hear much more of global governance in the near future, because of the debate now occurring in preparation for the next Earth Summit, to be held in August 2002 in South Africa.

I would argue that each of the four dimensions of globalisation is dependent upon the other three. The technology made possible economic, cultural and political globalisation, but the technology would not necessarily have been used. We have had the possibility of global trade for 500 years, but the economics of shipping and the politics of trade liberalisation determine the volume of trade as well. Even with electronic communications a crucial part of the revolution is how little it costs. How often would you send an e-mail, if it cost 10 per message?

The political revolution is that individual people can now communicate cheaply, from wherever they are located on the earth to anybody anywhere – it is technically possible. The costs may be too high for individual poor people, particularly in developing countries, but they are not too high for NGOs representing poor people, even if only indirectly.

The third problem about the term, globalisation, is that those who are benefiting from the processes of change generally assert globalisation is beneficial for everybody. On the other hand, the anti-globalisation movement of both intellectuals and street protesters assert it is universally evil. There are a few maverick individuals. George Soroos, who has been such a successful speculator, argues the global financial system is dangerously unstable and must be regulated. Clare Short, our minister for development, argues that globalisation is neither intrinsically good nor intrinsically evil. The outcome depends upon the political choices we make now. Her White Paper in December 2000 is subtitled Making Globalisation Work for the Poor. She asserts the poor can benefit, if and only if we make the right political choices. Many were vituperative about the White Paper and critics quickly turned round the title to "Making the poor work for globalisation".

I agree with Jan Aart Scholte of the University of Warwick, arguing in his book, Globalization. A Critical Introduction, that globalisation must mean something distinct and something new. He denies the value of seeing globalisation in terms of internationalisation or liberalisation or universalisation or westernisation. We do not add anything to these words by using the new word, globalisation.

With respect to internationalisation, there is nothing new about the existence of global connections.

With respect to liberalisation, there is nothing distinct about global liberalisation.

With respect to universalisation, universal religions and universalisation of consumption patterns are centuries old.

The impact of Westernisation, imperialism or modernisation   –   whatever one calls such changes   –   has been under debate for the last hundred years.

What is new, he argues, and I would argue as well, is the compression of time and space. The technology is fundamentally new and use of the technology is having unprecedented economic, social and political effects. For many groups of people, territorial boundaries have broken down. We live in a global village, in which social relations are not necessarily constrained by geographical distance.

With respect to political globalisation, the most important aspect of the shift from an international system – or, more accurately, from an intergovernmental system – to global governance is the rise of non-governmental organisations as participants in global politics.

 

What is a non-governmental organisation?

Let us now consider, what is an non-governmental organisation?

The term non-governmental organisation is 56 years old. We can be that precise. It comes from the UN Charter and was not in general use before 1945. When 132 international NGOs decided to co-operate with each other in 1910, they did so under the label, the Union of International Associations. The League of Nations officially referred to its "liaison with private organisations", while many of these bodies at that time called themselves international institutes, international unions or simply international organisations.

The first draft of the UN Charter tabled by the governments of the USA, the Soviet Union, Britain and China, concentrated on the diplomacy of peace and war. At the San Francisco conference, a combination of small countries and NGOs widened the agenda of the UN, giving much greater importance to economic, social and cultural questions and to human rights. The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the UN was upgraded to the status of a principal organ on a par with the Security Council. Then the NGOs lobbied successfully to have the right of access to ECOSOC. The lawyers wanted to make sure the international NGOs would not have the same status as the new UN specialised agencies, such as UNESCO and the FAO.

Article 70 of the UN Charter
The Economic and Social Council may make arrangements for representatives of the specialized agencies to participate, without vote, in its deliberations and in those of the commissions established by it, and for its representatives to participate in the deliberations of the specialized agencies.
 
Article 71 of the UN Charter
The Economic and Social Council may make suitable arrangements for consultation with non-governmental organizations which are concerned with matters within its competence. Such arrangements may be made with international organizations and, where appropriate, with national organizations after consultation with the Member of the United Nations concerned.

Thus, the term NGOs was coined to distinguish private organisations from specialised agencies established by governments. It remained as diplomatic jargon for some three decades.

The UN had to decide what groups would be granted consultative status. The practice of the NGO Committee shows that the following criteria have to be met. An NGO must

  1. Support the aims and the work of the UN,
     
  2. Have a representative body, with an identifiable headquarters, and officers,
    responsible to a democratic policy-making conference,
     
  3. Not be a profit-making body,
     
  4. Not use or advocate violence,
     
  5. Respect the norm of "non-interference in the internal affairs of states",
    which means they
    • cannot be a political party and
    • any human rights activities must not be restricted
      to a particular group, nationality, or country,
       
  6. Not be established by intergovernmental agreement.

Notice that the exclusion of companies, political parties, some human rights groups, guerrilla groups and   –   of course   –   criminal gangs means that the term NGO does not have its literal meaning. It does not include all groups that are non-governmental. The exclusions are not as extensive as might appear at first sight. International federations of political parties and international associations of companies are accepted as NGOs.

Thus, in my work, I have always defined an NGO as any organisation that actually has   –   or is eligible to have   –   consultative status with the UN. Most people follow this approach, but they often wear blinkers and fail to acknowledge the diversity of the NGO world. Those interested in development or the environment or human rights think of the organisations from their own field and are surprised to find churches, trades unions or commercial associations are NGOs at the UN.

Many environmentalists are angry that transnational corporations have access to the system and deny that commercial associations can be called NGOs. Many trade unionists also hate trade unions being called NGOs.

On the one hand, many people claim NGOs hold the moral high ground in global politics. I am embarrassed that, when I produced a book on NGOs at the UN, my publishers forced on me the sanctimonious title, The Conscience of the World. On the other hand, both governments who are criticised by NGOs and the radicals in the anti-globalisation movement attack the legitimacy of NGOs. In particular, NGOs that engage in global governance are seen by the radicals as having been corrupted and co-opted by the system.

My position is firstly that it is useful to have a broad general term, but we must remember the extraordinary diversity of the social, economic, cultural, religious and political groups covered by the term. Secondly, nobody can support all NGOs or be opposed to all NGOs, because there is substantial contention between different NGOs.

 

How do non-governmental organisations work in the UN system?

The wording of Article 71 of the UN Charter is very vague, in referring to "arrangements for consultation" with NGOs, and easily could have meant nothing as consultation does not really mean political influence. Indeed there is a similar wording in the Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organisation: Article V provides that

The General Council may make appropriate arrangements for consultation and co-operation with non-governmental organisations concerned with matters related to those of the WTO

In practice this only means access to the secretariat and not to the meetings. The NGOs are furious that they do not even have access to the documents of the WTO. To come back to the UN – NGOs worked hard and gained participation rights through a series of haphazard decisions at the first sessions of ECOSOC. In 1950, the situation was reviewed and the rights were codified in a statute for NGOs. With a few amendments, this statute remains in force today.

 

The three levels of consultative status for NGOs

1946-50

1950-68

1968-96

1996 - ...

Type of NGO

Category A

Category A

Category I

General Status

Global, large membership
and work on many issues.

Category B

Category B

Category II

Special Status

Regional and general or
specialist and high status

Category C

Register

Roster

Roster

Small, highly specialist or
work with UN agencies

 

The participation rights for NGOs

 

General Status

Special Status

Roster

Receive documents

Yes

Yes

Yes

Attend meetings

Yes

Yes

For their field

Propose agenda items

Yes

No

No

Make written statements

Up to 2,000 words

Up to 500 words

If invited, up to 500 words

Make spoken statements

Yes

Normally in a subsidiary body

No

 

Many people have referred to the Rio Earth Summit in 1992 as being "unprecedented" in the way NGOs increased the intensity and scope of their involvement in the United Nations. In reality, the UN Conference on the Human Environment of 1972 in Stockholm was far more important. Since Stockholm, NGO have steadily expanded in numbers, in status and in their global coverage. They have also in practice, but not in theory, gained the right to participate in intergovernmental negotiations. The Rio conference in 1992 did make one significant difference to the UN's arrangements for NGOs. It led to ECOSOC engaging in a full review of the NGO Statute, which took three and a half years from February 1993 to July 1996. Virtually all aspects of the consultative arrangements were unchanged, except for a decision to admit "national" NGOs alongside the international NGOs.

The Rio conference of 1992 led to the creation of a new policy-making body in the UN system. A Commission for Sustainable Development was placed under ECOSOC. Its task is to review the implementation of the environmental policy endorsed at Rio in the document called, Agenda 21. At Rio everybody realised the sustainable development could not be achieved solely by the actions of governments. Nine chapters of Agenda 21 were devoted to the role of different sectors of society in promoting sustainable development.

 

Earth Summit, Agenda 21, Section III
Strengthening the role of Major Groups

Chapter 24    Women

Chapter 25    Children and youth

Chapter 26    Indigenous people and their communities

Chapter 27    Non-governmental organisations

Chapter 28    Local authorities

Chapter 29    Workers and their trade unions

Chapter 30    Business and industry

Chapter 31    Scientific and technological community

Chapter 32    Farmers

 

The term "Major Groups" became another piece of UN jargon. It is only used to refer to the nine specific groups in this list and it is only used in the context of global environmental politics. No more than a moment's thought is required to notice the arbitrary nature of the list. It includes women, but not men; the young, but not the elderly; indigenous peoples, but not other minority groups; trades unions, but not professional associations; industry, but not services; natural scientists, but not social scientists; and farmers, but not fishing communities. It is illogical in including one level of government, local authorities, among the sectors of civil society. It is also illogical in including NGOs as one of the nine categories of groups of NGOs. What people had in mind at Rio was that there should be a separate category for environmental and development NGOs. This category is useful, because it acts as a residual category, allowing any groups not covered by the rest of the list to be included.

The nine Major Groups have become the basis for organising NGOs into constituencies in the CSD. The role of the NGOs has been greatly extended in the work of this Commission. In particular, each session of the CSD opens with a "stakeholder dialogue". For a couple of days, the Major Groups that are considered to be most relevant to the agenda topics for that session are given the floor to present their views. For example, in 2001 there were dialogues on energy and on transport, led by five Major Groups, before the diplomats took up their formal debate on these topics.

As part of my current research, I interviewed 68 government delegates to the Commission on Sustainable Development at its ninth session in April 2001. With a quota sample, I achieved a good balance between the different regions of the world. I was also able to obtain a good mix of ordinary delegates, heads of delegations and Bureau members who lead the political process. There is not enough time to present a detailed analysis of this survey, but I would like to highlight some of the results.

The delegates were asked to say whether they agreed with, or disagreed with, a set of attitude statements. The following results were obtained.

I was astonished by the extent to which NGO participation in the Commission was seen as being fully legitimate, as is shown by Table 1. Only one delegate suggested that NGOs did not belong in an intergovernmental forum.

 

Table 1
Attitudes of Government Delegates to NGO Participation
in the Commission on Sustainable Development

  Agree Neutral Disagree  
  Major Groups add expertise to debate about sustainable development in the CSD 96 2 3  
  Overall the Major Groups system in the CSD works well 74 16 10  
  Major Groups genuinely represent a significant section of the public 69 28 3  
  Stakeholder dialogues with Major Groups at the CSD are a waste of time 10 6 84  

 

Delegates were also willing to agree that NGOs made a political difference, as may be seen in Table 2. The agreement with the idea that NGOs influence the North is greater than the figure for influence upon the South, because delegates from the South were rather less willing to acknowledge they were influenced.

 

Table 2
Attitudes of Government Delegates about
the Effects of NGO Participation in the CSD

    Agree Neutral Disagree  
  Major Groups force the North to pay more attention to development questions 81 13 6  
  Major Groups force the South to pay more attention to environmental questions 65 21 15  
  Major Groups add issues that governments would ignore during debate in the CSD 62 9 29  

 

Although the involvement of business in global environmental politics is controversial among NGOs, there was overwhelming support among government delegates for business and industry having access as a Major Group.

 

Table 3
Attitudes of Government Delegates to Participation in the CSD of
NGOs Representing Business and Industry

    Agree Neutral Disagree  
  Business and industry should never have been included among ECOSOC NGOs nor should they be one of the Major Groups 8 7 85  

 

Several criticisms of NGOs are quite common in public debate and these criticisms were put to the delegates. The majority showed respect for NGO leaders and disagreed with the idea that they are arrogant and unrepresentative. However, there was a feeling that NGOs from developing countries are under-represented in the work of the Commission. This led to divisions among the delegates over the question whether global NGOs really only represent Northern interests.

 

Table 4
Attitudes of Government Delegates to
Criticisms of NGO Participation in the CSD

    Agree Neutral Disagree  
  The large global NGOs really only represent Northern interests 35 19 46  
  Most NGO leaders are arrogant and only represent themselves 7 18 75  
  Developing country NGOs are under-represented now in the CSD Major Groups 68 21 12  

 

Government delegates to the Commission on Sustainable Development were happy to recommend their system should be adopted by the Bretton Woods institutions and by the World Trade Organisation. However, they were divided on the question of Major Groups having formal membership of bodies coming under the UN Economic and Social Council.

 

Table 5
Attitudes of Government Delegates to
Extension of the CSD System for NGO Participation

    Agree Neutral Disagree  
  The CSD Major Groups system should be adopted at the IMF / World Bank Annual Meetings 68 25 7  
  The CSD Major Groups system should be adopted at WTO Ministerial Meetings 78 16 6  
  Major Groups should not expect to gain seats on ECOSOC bodies 29 27 44  

 

The influence of NGOs in global environment politics is well recognised. They have put environment issues on the global agenda; they have helped negotiate environmental regimes; and they have monitored the implementation of global agreements. NGOs have also been crucial to the global politics of human rights. It is less well recognised how NGOs have been central to women's rights, development issues and arms control negotiations. There have been spectacular successes in recent years

  • The impact of Jubilee 2000 on the reduction of debt
  • The World Court Project
  • The campaign on landmines
  • The creation of an International Criminal Court

All these campaigns are particularly impressive because they have succeeded in the face of intense opposition from the United States government. Although NGOs have no military capabilities and most of them have very limited economic resources, it cannot be said that NGOs have no power. There is real power in the ability to communicate, to draw attention to issues and to mobilise support for their values.

 

Why is there hostility towards the global economic institutions?

In as much as economic globalisation is driven by technological change, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation cannot be blamed for the impact of economic change. To the extent that these three intergovernmental organisations steer the change or promote the change, they are responsible.

What economic changes are occurring? What harm are they causing? The way we answer these questions depends upon our political priorities. My own perspective is to ask what is the impact on global poverty.

1) The liberalisation of trade and the impact on economic growth

Firstly, it must be said that it is a myth of the anti-globalisation protesters that the number of people in poverty is increasing. It is not. There has been economic growth in most developing countries and some of that growth has reached the poor. In most countries where there is no growth, the reasons are local. Civil wars, oppressive governments and corruption prevent growth, as we can see so dramatically in Somalia, the Congo or Zimbabwe.

However, trade liberalisation and the growth of trade is undoubtedly a combination of technological change, economic change and political change. The political change has been led primarily by the IMF and the WTO. Developing countries governments have been forced to open their markets, while the rich countries engage in protectionism. Most developing countries are trapped into exporting primary commodities at low prices. Indeed, this problem virtually defines what is a developing country.

The problems they face are

  • Massive resources devoted by the USA, the EU and Japan to agricultural protection.
    • Why should the USA produce cotton?
    • Is it not an evil stupidity that the EU's Common Agricultural Policy promotes
      the production of sugar in East Anglia at the expense of tropical farmers?
    • And why should Japan produce rice rather than import it from South East Asia?
  • Such practices prevent developing countries having markets for their exports.
  • And result in dumping of surplus production by food aid.
  • Under the Multi-Fibre Arrangement, quotas are imposed, as soon as a developing country makes a success of exporting textiles.
  • Tariff escalation is designed to provide increasingly higher import duties in the markets of industrialised countries, so that developing countries cannot process their own raw materials. (Tony Blair in his speech to the Ghanaian parliament last week illustrated this with Ghanaian cocoa that would face tariffs of 300% if it was exported as chocolate.)

But notice that all these problems are due to the denial of free-trade. The only conceivable way we can destroy the evils of the CAP or the MFA or tariff escalation is through pressure from the WTO. What is more the WTO is already moving, albeit slowly, in this direction.

There is another problem about trade in primary commodities. It is inherently unstable. It is physically impossible for a free market to exist. I would argue that it is better to regulate commodity trade through global institutions than through natural disasters. At the moment the main determinants of commodity prices are systemic pressures towards over-production, moderated by hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, frosts, plant diseases and mining accidents. The answer must be for the WTO Development Round of trade negotiations to allow global commodity organisations to create exemptions from so-called free trade.

2) The volatility of the global financial system

The crisis in SE Asia in 1997, in Russia and Brazil in 1998 and the crisis in Argentina now have been deeply damaging to those countries and cause real suffering among the poor. The wider effects of these crises are to inhibit investment flows to all developing countries. The scale of such crises have at times threatened a collapse in the whole global financial system. These are massive problems. Again, in virtually all cases, the individual governments have made a major contribution to the crises. Nobody knows how to solve them, but nobody thinks they can be solved without global political regulation of global financial markets. This process has started in the IMF and in the Basle Committee. Due to the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, the UN Security Council has also taken extensive powers to promote monitoring of financial flows. In total these responses are not adequate, but we need a stronger and not a weaker IMF. Political globalisation must control unstable financial globalisation.

3) The damage caused by structural adjustment programmes

Orthodox economists blame the debt crisis in developing countries on poor economic policy-making by developing country governments. The answer according to the Washington Consensus was deregulation, liberalisation, devaluation and reduction in government expenditure. These policies were enforced   –   and enforced is not too strong a word   –   by the IMF in the 1980s. Undoubtedly the immense suffering caused to the poor was a result of globalisation. Firstly, there was the impact of economic globalisation, with Reagan and Thatcher's deflationary policies, along with the oil price rises of 1979 to 1986, translating normal development debts into unpayable debts. Secondly, there was the political globalisation of policies being enforced on most developing countries, although in most cases they could not possibly succeed.

Here the criticisms of the global economic institutions by the NGOs and the anti-globalisation movement are at their most powerful.

4) Problems of economic change in Northern countries

In the United States it is clear that some of the opposition to free trade is expressed in terms of concern about the loss of jobs and some in terms of opposition to global institutions having an impact upon the US economy. This produced a strange alliance at Seattle between trade unionists and right-wing isolationists. Whatever their motives, their approach was simply protectionism. Similar forces are at play, in a much weaker form in Europe.

While there are genuine problems in trying to achieve structural adjustment in Northern countries, I have no sympathy for protectionism that prevents growth in developing countries. The loss of jobs in labour intensive industries and low technology industries in richer countries is economic globalisation that should be promoted by global institutions.

The anti-globalisation movement is an incoherent coalition. Development NGOs are making alliances with their opponents, when they join with protectionists.

5) Global environmental crises.

There are tremendous global problems of

  • depletion of resources,
  • pollution of land, air and water
  • destruction of rainforests, marine fisheries
    and other eco-systems
  • threats to endangered species
  • depletion of the ozone layer and
  • excessive use of energy, resulting in global warming

but how many of these problems are due to globalisation, per se. Most of the environment crises are worsened by growth in harmful economic activity. That is not the same as saying they are caused by economic globalisation and even less that they are caused by global economic institutions. Some countries have policies that protect the environment and some do not.

Political globalisation is producing environmental regimes and some of them are successfully reversing environmental destruction. Where this is not occurring one can point to specific governments as being responsible – the United States for global warming, the EU and Japan for marine fisheries, and Indonesia for rainforests..

The World Bank is now one of the forces promoting environment regimes. The WTO is accused of putting free trade above environmental protection, but that is a false accusation.   –   I could come back to that controversial statement in questions, if you wish. [The WTO accepts CITES, Codex Alimentarius and turtle protection in shrimp fishing.] The IMF seems to be accused, in a contradictory manner, both of preventing growth and encouraging damaging growth.

Criticism of the failure to do more about environmental degradation is more appropriately addressed at individual governments than at the global institutions. The answer is stronger global environmental governance not less globalisation.

 

Could NGOs influence global economic policy-making?

I have argued that the global economic and environmental institutions can be used

  • to promote liberalisation of trade by the rich countries and hence
    open new markets for developing countries,
  • to stabilise the global financial system,
  • to strengthen global environmental governance

In these three policy domains, NGOs can   –   and should   –   work with the global institutions. They need to bring their expertise, their commitment and innovatory ideas to the policy-making table.

But what of the fourth policy-domain? How can NGOs deal with structural adjustment? Crude policies promoting economic change – with no consideration of human rights, social welfare, economic equity or environmental damage – such policies cannot be accepted. However, to engage in a political debate with the institutions imposing structural adjustment does not automatically mean you compromise in any way with the arguments of your opponents.

Is there any point, in trying to challenge the World Bank, the IMF and the WTO? Yes, because NGOs have already made a significant difference.

  • The World Bank is already officially committed to sustainable development, popular participation in project planning and eradication of global poverty.
  • The IMF now accepts that the early structural adjustment programmes were damaging, government expenditure on health, education and social welfare must be protected and the developing country debt burden must be reduced.
  • The WTO accepts that global health and environmental agreements can override the commitment to free trade and the next round of trade negotiations will give priority to development.

I believe more has been achieved with the World Bank, precisely because NGOs have engaged more with the World Bank. Mechanisms also need to be found to ensure that NGOs can also bring political questions onto the agenda for economic policy-making at the IMF and the WTO.

We are now at the stage in the global system that the economically advanced countries were in one hundred years ago. Unbridled capitalism was generating many social, economic and political problems. The answer in all advanced countries was to regulate capitalism. Health and safety, social welfare and environmental standards have to be set by government to create a level playing field in the market. All governments regulate all companies domestically to prevent criminality and fraud.

We have deregulated at the country level. We are starting to re-regulate at the global level. Governments and NGOs can interact in intergovernmental organisations to create global governance. Therefore, economic globalisation can be tamed by stronger political globalisation.

Copyright: Peter Willetts, 2002
The text of this lecture and the survey results are subject to copyleft: they may be freely quoted on condition that reference is made to "Can Globalisation be Tamed? a lecture by Peter Willetts on 13 February 2002 at City University, London".

 
Slighly amended version of 12 March 2002.