Since the late 20th century, globalization has been the principal topic both in pubic and academic spectrums. For decades, different quarters attribute their socio-economic and political challenges to globalization. For example, economists associate the unpredictable booms and depressions to the unrestrained globalization, the risk of losing minority cultures have been linked to globalization, and global warming has been justified to be a result of uncontrolled globalization (Deere Birkbeck, 2011). Due to the varying and disparate application of globalization, its meaning has become controversial. Regardless of how this concept might be applied, globalization continues to attract critical worldwide changes that have influenced the development of individual nations. However, this section will use the case of Mexico to discuss and expound the course of globalization as well as its effect on democratization.
Within the last three decades, most countries have experienced a wave of democratization due to economic globalization. This economic globalization has caused political decentralization and has led to rapid growth in cultural autonomy and civil activist movements. The growth and escalation of Mexico’s democratic environment are highly attributed to the globalization of the economy and socio-cultural integration. Like most of the developing countries, Mexico would finally democratize due to the pressure from the global shareholders invested in the country.
Following increased bilateral ties, Mexico is obliged to show concerns regarding its political stability through free and fair elections. This paper will focus on analyzing Mexico’s place in the international wave of democratization. In this light, this paper will show that, despite the efforts employed by the earlier social movements to attain democracy, restructure the class system and the electoral law, the resurgence of the global wave facilitated the realization of democratization in Mexico.
According to Green and Luehrmann (2003), by the end of the 20th Century, the world was experiencing major economic progress in different areas. The quest for economic prosperity led to the increased movement of investors and labor force around the world. Democracy was shaping in almost all regions around the globe. Besides, technology was gradually making the world a global village where individuals could interact with ease without considering time and space. Nevertheless, this time destabilized some of the country’s economy due to the increased protests aiming at the toppling of undemocratic regimes.
Consequently, the world is becoming interdependent and interlinked by a common international economy. Globalization is increasingly alleviating impediments to international trade. Moreover, globalization is facilitating movement, or overseas flow of trade goods, labor, information, and technology. The rapid evolution of technology has promoted interdependence and mobility of multinational corporations that form the cornerstone of the globalization process.
Advantages of Globalization
The proponents of globalization view this process as the modest means to growth and development of all regions since it is the bearer of democracy. Following globalization, most countries underdeveloped countries have been able to catch up or are in the process of achieving development. Globalization has facilitated the proliferation of better values that question traditional systems such as dictatorship, class system, and stoicism. When international trade is encouraged, more jobs are generated, and poverty is eradicated.
Through bilateral engagements, the channels of communication are widened and individuals from diverse cultures, religions, and races begin to understand and appreciate each other. Essentially, globalization assists diverse people to realize common goals, values, and mutual dependence (Cunnigham, 2008). For instance, globalization has brought people together in handling the issue of climate change, has facilitated scientific cooperation towards AIDS/HIV control and promoted respect for human rights as a global concern.
In Mexico, globalization has led to cultural and racial integration thus enabling interdependence. This sense of interrelationship has nurtured the sharing of ideologies and political values that at one time threatened an ethnic, racial, and religious division. Unlike in the past when movement across borders was limited, today, globalization has encouraged mobility across borders thus encouraging the realization of the world’s diversity.
Globalization has brought many countries together and has encouraged democracy as a desirable form of government. Due to the proliferation of information and increased bilateral ties, citizens can now acquire information not only from their governments but also from different quarters of the world (Deere Birkbeck, 2011). Through multinationals, democracies can spread their values and ideologies to dictatorial governments because non-democrats have restricted access to information.
In most developing countries, disease outbreak is taking a toll on the poor population. The income gap evident between developing and developed countries leads to another gap in health. Increased mortality rates and short life expectancy describes health conditions in less developed countries. The prevalence of diseases such as HIV is due to a lack of awareness. However, encouraging free trade in Mexico has increased the rate of access to medical information.
Disadvantages of Globalization
Contrary, being rooted in a free movement of people across borders has threatened global security. Weapons of mass destruction are being transported to various destinations without detection. The unrestricted flow of information technology is propagating fear and hostility among nations. Besides, shared information might facilitate stereotyping and anchor differences between societies. According to Lechner and Boli (2000), the world is transitioning to a state of westernization leading to a more homogeneous lifestyle. Due to homogeneity, less affluent cultures such as Mexican’s risk extinction. For instance, English has been viewed as the de facto international language. Similarly, for decades, the US dollar stands out as a global currency. Even though such uniformity is unification is favorable for mutual interdependence, most developing countries see it as renewed colonization.
Globalization is not solely focused on cooperation because it is increasing dependence. Dependence entails an extreme imbalance in power and development. The rich and developed countries are better placed to benefit from globalization (Green & Luehrmann, 2003). Therefore, developing countries such as Mexico will continue to experience poverty due to exploitation by the developed nations under the umbrella of globalization. In this sense, globalization is creating winners and losers because its influence is more felt in the developed countries than the developed.
However, the developing countries are the unfortunate losers and this aspect increases socio-economic inequality hence sabotaging the progress democracy has realized. These undemocratic endeavors are also prevalent in the international community (Green & Luehrmann, 2003). During international forums such as the United Nations, the developed nations dominate the proceedings and often influence the final decisions regarding issues discussed. This elite influence ends up compromising with the democracy of the developing countries because they have to agree with decisions that favor the top wealthy nations (García-Acevedo, 2008).
Globalization undermines the fundamental principles of independence such as patriotism, national identity, and sovereignty. In Mexico, globalization is leading to the deterioration of the nation-state since the government does not enjoy full control of their economy, trade, and jurisdiction. Before the spread of globalization, Mexico enjoyed total control of its markets, borders, and exchange rate. Due to trans-national trade and increased movement, the dominant companies are becoming more powerful hence minimizing the power of democracy (Suh, 2014).
Despite its ability to increase the opportunity for development in Mexico, globalization has enhanced the socio-economic gap between individuals making the country highly dominated by rich multinationals. This disparity translates that most developing countries will begin competing for foreign investors and restructures their policies to lure international investors. Unfortunately, most investors do not respond according to the expectations of the hosting country. Most local companies in Mexico cannot compete with multinationals thus end up being disadvantaged. This market imbalance leads to a deterioration of the country’s democracy (Wolfensohn & Kircher, 2005).
According to Lechner and Boli (2000), to ensure a sustainable and operational democracy, the population must manifest the concept of citizenship and involvement in nation-building. Contrary, globalization has influenced the common citizen to act on individual grounds. Such individualistic perception has led to self-interest as opposed to the national interest. Such factors are attributed to personal development, but there are global trade policies that ensure that part of the trade benefits is channeled to the development of public facilities.
The Effect of Free Trade in Mexico
Recently, Mexico has realized the power of free trade as the projector to growth and development opportunities. Free trade and investment have been the impetus to the spread of democratic values and catering to the needs of the poor in the developing nations. Mexico continues to overcome its economic challenges through increased trade with developed countries particularly the United States (Segura-Ubiergo, 2007). Trade with other states has promoted labor conditions in Mexico.
The working conditions and benefits for employees in developing countries are lower as opposed to those in developed countries. Thus, it is only through the involvement in global trade that labor rights can be improved through increased employment opportunities for workers in developing countries. Consequently, due to economic liberalization, Mexicans are now experiencing increased democracy since most bilateral ties encourage policies that empower public participation in political and development agendas.
Engagement in global trade has reduced polluting activities in Mexico. Economic integration has highly contributed to environmental preservation by Mexico. Global trade facilitates economic expansion and uses most of its resources to preserve the ecosystems (Segura-Ubiergo, 2007). Additionally, because of increased job opportunities arising from global trade, most Mexicans have abandoned highly polluting activities. The open economic system has led to the introduction of stricter environmental policies. In return, this aspect has increased democratic values.
According to Green and Luehrmann (2003), most people view capitalism as a way of dictatorship since everyone is increasingly fighting to enhance him/herself. Contrary, controlled capitalism might not necessarily result in excessive accumulation because global trade has incentives and legislations to stop inefficient organizations. The challenge does not entail open trade and increased integration because these are some of the signs for democracy. The freedom to take part in global trade contributes to the promotion of political freedom (Rudra, 2005).
For about two decades now, Mexico has shown the potential to compete in the open market system, and this has led to successful transitioning from an authoritarian one-party state to an inclusive democratic system. Even though Mexico’s slow economic expansion can be attributed to its insignificance influence in the global market, globalization is one of the main propellers of that has improved its global standing. Democratic subgroups have developed all over Mexico because of its continued interaction with democratic regimes in the global arena (García-Acevedo, 2008).
The issue of globalization and the advancement of democracy remains a controversial one. On one perspective, globalization may be seen as a risk to democracy since it is believed to underestimate the fundamental principles of national identity, patriotism, and sovereignty. Besides, multinationals who are the main actors of globalization may not necessarily meet the expectations of the locals. Consequently, most locals cannot experience the benefits of globalization.
Regardless, individuals are not sidelined from growth due to globalization, but due to lack of sufficient skills, poor health, nutrition, and other basic requirements. Because of such inadequacies, people are not ready to take part in opportunities that are presented by a flexible and open market. Such an unfair situation can only be corrected through the opening to global opportunities to support government institutions.
On the other hand, globalization has posed meaningful advantages to the prosperity of democracy as authoritarians face increased exposure to democratic values. Globalization encourages non-democrats to disseminate power as they seek to open to market opportunities in the international community. Ultimately, a careful analysis of Mexico’s democratic values suggests that despite the view that globalization has compromised the authority of the nation-state, the benefits of globalization regarding the spread of democracy outweighs the risks.
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