Posts Tagged ‘WTO’

Urbanization in Asia

Image by United Nations Photo via Flickr

Globalisation:  Dominance and Resistance

The conventional objection to globalisation has been that global trading rules favour rich countries and disadvantage poor ones.  Sure the WTO provided a framework of global trading rules, but these rules block African countries from developing domestic industries.  For example, African agriculture is blocked from Western markets by rules designed to preserve the livelihoods of Western farmers.  Another example is the lack of an African manufacturing sector owing to the massive importation of second-hand clothes from developed countries.  The belief that global trade regimes favoured developed countries led to a North-South divide in WTO negotiations.  How could the ‘South’ ever dislodge northern dominance?

But conventional wisdom has changed.  Cracks have appeared in the dominance of global trade by ‘Northern’ countries.  The challenge has come from a bloc known as BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China).  BRIC represents the future of global trade, with economies of scale that cannot be matched by the shrinking populations of North America and Europe.

Globalisation has led to changes in the way the humans live.  One change has been the urbanisation of the world’s population.  Rural populations have gradually been moving into cities.  Cities have been expanding into what was once good farmland.  Growing urban populations have put pressure on the supply of adequate housing, employment, education and sanitation.  In the Afar I am moving to a town of 20 000 called Asaita (alternately spelled Asayita).  Asaita is in an area that has traditionally been inhabited by the pastoralist Afar people.  It will be interesting to see how the people are dealing with the pressures of urbanisation.

A potential downside of urbanisation is the spread of disease.  Running a city requires good organisational capacity.  How will clean water be supplied to the people?  How will rubbish be removed?  Alongside these sanitation issues there is the spread of HIV/AIDS.  The movement of people and urbanisation have produced good conditions for the spread of disease.   Movement of people has also led countries like Canada and Australia to restrict the movement of people from less-developed countries.

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