Globalization and social movements: a revolt for globalization.

by Wataru Yukita

Globalization gives us many interests in many aspects, financial system, investment, free trade, communicate with people around the world and so on. Therefore, we can get news in the world and culture in our house. Products of TOYOTA or SONY influence wasting life in the world. However, globalization has negative aspects and they raise some social movements.

For instance, in 1980’s, IMF(International Monetary Fund) support developing countries in order to introduce open markets, easing of regulation and cutting government spending. They promoted globalization. By these political measures of IMF, investments for these counties had increased, not only traditional direct investments but also investments to stock and bond certificate for free and international financial markets. They had firm effect on economy in developing countries.

However, after economic crisis in Asia in 1997, IMF forced East Asia counties to pursue fiscal austerity. By this tight budget, these counties must take measure of cutting social welfare, unemployment, inflation of basic goods. What is worse, downturn of economy causes social disorder and political confusion. In Indonesia, Rebellions popped out by reason of cutting subvention for food and fuel. In Thailand, jobless workers in urban area pour to rural area. By these unsteadiness and confusion, the measures of IMF to East Asia introduce social movements for anti-globalization to oppose globalization.

In 1999, NGO of development and environment and labor association worked large social movements for anti-globalization in a conference by WTO at Seattle. The crowd became about 50 thousand people. These movements argued that liberalization by WTO result in much damage in many aspect, people health, environmental pollution and labor condition in many societies. Thanks to these social movements, WTO could not set up new round and create new agenda to support developing countries. In 2001, through these amendments for some policies, WTO was able to establish new round. Today, WTO is biggest regime by join 153 countries and region. WTO address to equity of trade rule and deal in development by reflecting developing countries opinion. It shows that recognition that developing countries should get benefit by free trade is shared around the world in spreading globalization rapidly.

I think that globalization give people many opportunities to progress civilization. In addition, it needs governance that control negative aspects of globalization. So, globalization requires making rule and policies that take care of wealth gap and environmental pollution in international, region and nation level. Social movements take a important role to frame these rules.


Koji Murata, “Catch International Politics”(Japanese), YUHIKAKU,2009.

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