27 Nov

Social Movements:
An important aspect of globalisation is state-led centralised and planned economic development being replaced with market led liberalised and globalised economic development. There seems to be disillusionment with the state and it is seen as source of all the evils and market is projected as panacea of all the economic evils.
Dreze and Sen are of the view that expansion of market is among the instruments that can help to promote human capabilities and given the need of eliminating endemic deprivation in India it would be irresponsible to ignore the opportunity. State seems to be on the retreat.
Even in India the state-centric developmental approach has come in for sharp criticism. The central role assigned to state and its bureaucracy in developmental projects has precluded participation of masses and local people in solving their problems. The movement of international capital along with expansion of information technology have resulted in the erosion of the boundaries and sovereignty nation-states. This void caused by the retreating state necessitates a dialogue between globalisation and social movements.
Social movements have succeeded in conveying a message clearly that any developmental paradigm not providing for their participation will not be acceptable to them. In India initial doubts and apprehensions about globalisation seem to have waned. There seems to be greater consensus in favour of globalisation today.
According to Pranab Bardhan this consensus is inexorable and irreversible. An insulated, inward directed economy does not seem to be an option in today’s time. In this situation a more plausible option seems to be shaping globalisation. Powerful social movements with coordination and networking among them at local, national and global levels can go a long way towards this objective.
Globalization has failed to equitably distribute the market benefits; need for stringent labour laws to protect labour situation is evidence of this; Many Sociologists hold the view that Globalization has increased the need for welfarist approach and equitable governance approach for state.
Thus it is felt that there is need of vigorous social movements to reorient and remind the social commitment of the state in the post-globalisation phase.
For the vast number of developing countries high growth economic activities propelled by globalisation pose serious threat to their environment and these activities may also lead to faster depletion of their resources. Globalisation has started a competition among the governments of the developing countries to create better investment climate.
Many times this also means relaxing environmental safety guidelines for attracting foreign investment. It is obvious that environment safety norms are compromised in the name of higher economic growth.
This kind of growth has led to exploitation of Chile’s native old-growth forest, the massive expansion of shrimp aquaculture in Honduras with the destruction of mangrove ecosystem. It also led to extraction of minerals on the scale of Brazil’s Cajaras scheme.
All this exploitation of renewable and non- renewable resources has a common aim generating export earnings. In parts of India environmental pollution has reached disastrous proportion.
Both the major rivers the Ganga and Yamuna have become polluted and the major cause of pollution is disposal of untreated industrial waste into these rivers. In places like Vapi, Ankleswar, Nandesari and Baroda in Gujarat the victims of pollution from factories and industries complain about holes in their clothes, death of buffaloes or elephants by drinking polluted water released in rivers, ponds or open complain about crop destruction due to the pollution.
The polluting industries refused to accept any responsibility. Latin America become pollution haven for corporations and production units driven out of the USA, Canada and Western Europe because of stringent environment norms. Latin America’s environmental crisis clearly demonstrates the logic of globalisation under the dominance of transnational capital with benefits ultimately reaped in the rich industrialised countries.
There is greater need for social movements to direct their energy to counter trends towards global inequality, increasing vulnerability of the environment and livelihood in the South. At the global level the shape and nature of resistance is difficult to visualise.
On the international level it is more difficult to communicate the need of environmental security. Most international NGOs are mainly concerned with issues of poverty and human rights at national and sub-national levels.


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