European Responses to Globalization: Volume 88

Cover of European Responses to Globalization

Table of contents

(12 chapters)

In the past decade, globalization has moved from the agendas of international trade negotiations and specialized academic conferences to mass-based politics and the campaigns of activists and politicians across the ideological spectrum, in both advanced industrialized and developing countries. The most highly publicized responses to globalization articulated recently by European actors have assumed negative overtones, ranging from wary to hostile, with the French rejection of the constitutional treaty of the European Union (EU) in May 2005 marking the nadir of this sentiment. French political elites now jostle to carve out political space – and electoral opportunities – on the terrain of globalization, with many describing direct threats posed by global capital to the French social model and employment practices. Indeed, the perceived threat of globalization is reframing the traditional cleavages of French politics, generating new forms of intellectual cohabitation: former Socialist Prime Minister Lionel Jospin has decried a “new caste” of media, finance and capital that embraces globalization to the detriment of French workers; Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin of the center-right UMP has similarly called for an “economic patriotism” that can reinvigorate the French economy and protect against the capriciousness of multinational capital (Dombey & Thornhill, 2005).

Given the often-heated rhetoric of politicians and the street protest sometimes organized against symbols of American capitalism and culture, a casual observer could be forgiven for concluding that Europeans are deeply opposed to globalization. That impression, however, would be wrong. Many Europeans do worry about the effects of globalization on jobs, economic equality, and culture, but the European anti-globalization movement is actually a small if vocal minority. Most Europeans, in fact, recognize that increasing global economic, political, and cultural exchange is good for them. What they want is not to stop globalization but to manage it, and for this they turn mostly to the European Union (EU). Most Europeans believe that the EU can help to protect them from the downsides of globalization, and this paper argues that they are correct.

This chapter argues that the European Union has been highly effective in creating an economic environment that buffers necessary macroeconomic change while at the same time protecting different domestic economic systems and institutions. Moreover, the EU, through its size and decision-making mechanisms, has prevented “race to the bottom” or “beggar thy neighbor” policies, forcing global companies to compete on the EU's terms. Finally, the chapter argues that the EU has succeeded in shaping aspects of globalization by, for example, making its product standards the international standards and resisting the US's policies on genetically modified organisms or data protection.

This chapter examines whether the European Union or the United States set the parameters in the field of consumer protection and environmental regulations. The analysis points out that there is no straightforward answer because leadership rotates or fluctuates depending on the extent to which societies and decision makers feel strongly about a particular issue. Examples are tobacco control and regulations with regards to genetically modified crops and food. The US identified the risks related to the wide availability of cigarettes before the EU, while the EU highlighted the risks related to the introduction of GM crops/products in the absence of similar American concerns. Both cultural and institutional developments account for this divergence. A unique combination of factors heightened the salience of anti-smoking measures in the US, while an equally distinctive matrix of developments highlighted the social, economic, health, and safety challenges of genetically modified organism (GMO). However, in spite of different constellations of institutional and cultural factors, the EU has embraced tobacco control and the American private sector is slightly more cautious about pushing GM crops onto the market.

EU competition policy may be explained as a system: an organized set of objectives, rules, functions, procedures and authorities, acting in unity. A system is a complex reality, immersed in a complex context and permanently changing to overcome its dysfunctionalities and to adapt itself to environmental challenges. Globalization is its major challenge today. This paper proposes to understand globalization from four viewpoints. EU competition policy should respond to an evolutionary, contradictory, relative and systemic globalization. The aim of this paper is to identify the responses adopted in order to react to all these different dimensions of globalization.

The process of Europeanization like the process of globalization requires a political, social, cultural alignment among nations, a source of an identity anxiety. Europe as a political project unquestionably challenges the nation state: supranational institutions impose norms and values on nation-states, and transnational organizations create a space for political participation that goes beyond national territories. Together they re-map a European “political community.” This chapter asks: What are the roles of supranational institutions in shaping such a political community? What are the implications of the emergence of a European public space on the understanding of the European citizenship? What political model for the European Union?

The international women's movement has always focused on discrimination against women, but only in the past few decades have activists paid special attention to domestic violence. In post-communist Europe, it took even longer but the Polish, Czech, Slovak, Hungarian, and Slovene governments eventually reacted to domestic and global pressure and established new definitions and norms dealing with domestic violence. Analyzing the process of norm development on domestic violence in Central Europe can direct us toward determining to what extent political and economic processes and decisions in Europe are driving globalization, or are being driven by globalization.

Many scholars have characterized political and economic globalization as entailing deterritorialization, a radical decentering of place and the erasing of various kinds of borders. This paper argues instead for an alternative view of globalization as reterritorialization, a process in which meanings of place remain salient (and in some cases become even more pronounced) but are reconfigured. The analysis focuses on transformations of understandings of territory and ownership in coastal Croatia, examining diverse Croatian responses to the privatization of the tourist industry and the speculative boom in vacation properties. In particular, the paper considers how the politics of European integration and Croatia's aspirations for EU membership – together with the heritage of Croatia's recent past of nationalist warfare – shape Croatia's economic transition from a regime of “social property” under socialist Yugoslavia to a neoliberal regime of private property. The chapter also examines the metaphors of fluidity in vogue for describing globalization, using understandings of actual property in (and on) water to reflect critically on conceptual models of globalization.

This paper explores how European leadership in post-war international trade negotiations has both produced and attempted to respond to systemic conditions of uncertainty. Ostry argues that the initial pre-eminence of Europe, along with the U.S., in these negotiations stimulated unforeseen responses that now challenge the ability of Europe to retain its dominant position. European leadership inadvertently contributed to mobilizing interest groups focusing on the “new issues” of trade in services, intellectual property and investment; coalitions of developing world countries; and new advocacy NGOs (non-governmental organizations), all of which seek to recast global trade policy along lines initially neither envisioned nor necessarily desired by European negotiators.

This chapter expresses views prompted by my experience as Specialist Adviser to the UK's House of Lords in their enquiry on globalisation. The un-stated issue was: are the critics of globalisation correct? This paper argues that the critics should be seeking ways of bringing the benefits of globalisation to the poorest countries, not attacking globalisation, which is a necessary, and largely desirable, consequence of the wish for economic development and growth. The key to growth is education (i.e. human not physical capital) and good governance. Inward finance promotes development but tends to go to developing countries that can make best use of it through having an educated labour force and good governance. The critics emphasise trade barriers imposed by developed countries, but the main barriers come from developing countries themselves. Extreme poverty is the greatest immediate concern As this and would be relatively inexpensive to eliminate by aid alone, economic development is necessity. Significantly, countries with the most poverty are also those with the highest inequalities of income.

Cover of European Responses to Globalization
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Contemporary Studies in Economic and Financial Analysis
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Emerald Publishing Limited
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