Over the world and has become one of

Over the last three decades, globalization has
dominated the world and has  become one
of today’s greatest issues of contention. Steger has recognised globalization
as a force that has transpired political, cultural and economic landscapes at
both national and international levels, into one of globality and has arguably
impacted the world we live in today (Steger 9). As a result of globalization, the twentieth century
has witnessed significant changes in the number of international actors, as
well as in the scope of international connectivity (Weiss et al. 4). The
emergence of technology, increasing worldwide trade and greater political
interdependence all serve to strengthen globalization’s position in today’s
economy. Globalization has been widely acknowledged as a powerful and dynamic
force that has moved states to police their borders due to a shift towards a
more global society (Tremblay 352). Nevertheless, the rise in global
communication has managed to increase economic, political and cultural integration
amongst nation-states on all levels. Thus, globalization empowers a state’s
economic and political influence at both a national and international level,
while at times, forces a state to react to protect its national interests on a
social level, therefore, globalization does not render the state irrelevant.


factors need to be taken into consideration when analysing the relationship
between globalization and the state, the first of which is the impact globalization
has had on states’ economies. Globalization can be viewed as a united global
world culture which has managed to integrate and generate increasingly interlinked relationships between borders, commercial activity and a connected communicational system (Tremblay
349). It has called for a rise in economic integration, and a free market
ideology that benefits and provides prosperity to many states, while
simultaneously enabling profound mobility. Positively impacting world trade,
globalization has managed to bridge the gap between states worldwide, pushing
forth a wave of economic integration on a global scale (Lechner and Boli
218). The driving force of interdependence
between nations can be linked to trade and investment liberalisation and the
integration of financial markets which has resulted in an ever-expanding global
marketplace (Lechner and Boli 3). With
the advancement of globalization, trade greatly expanded allowing for the
movement of goods, services, and finance across borders (Lechner and
Boli 3).  Countries that have managed to
take advantage of the benefits from this new global economy have succeeded in
“substantially controlling the terms on which they engaged with the global
economy”, thus implying that states have the capacity of managing and governing
the extent and outcome of globalization has on their economy (Lechner
and Boli 218).

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In terms of controlling engagement with the global economy, some
countries have utilised economic globalization
to reduce poverty and increase their exports in the global market (Lechner
and Boli 219). For example, Lechner argues that
East Asian countries have been the fastest growing economies due to their
government’s ability in taking an active role in managing the economy. This has
come in the form of either opening themselves up to new enterprises, or by
creating their own establishments, which in turn would enter global markets.

Essentially, “each of the most successful globalizing countries determined its
own pace of change; each made sure as it grew that the benefits were shared
equitably”, rejecting “the basic tenets of the “Washington Consensus” that
argued for a minimalist role for government and rapid privatization and
liberalization” (Lechner and Boli 219). In these cases, the successful
development of countries has stemmed from the regulations that nation states
have formed to maintain and benefit from globalization in order to improve their nation’s’ standard of living.

Accordingly, global capital needs the ‘state’ to be effective, where some countries have consequently utilised economic
globalization to reduce poverty and increase their exports in the global market
(Lechner and Boli 219). James Fallows
uses China as an example of how a country has managed to benefit from
globalised markets through the expansion of trade policies, labor laws, and
capability in governing and regulating globalization (Lechner and Boli
219). Through this power, Fallows claims that
China’s economy has witnessed a 10% annual growth rate, throughout the past
three decades, mainly driven by their ability to influence global production
(Lechner and Boli 166).  By opening its
borders to foreign industries seeking to do business, the Chinese government
has been able to create ‘rules’ to allow for the access to their comparatively
‘cheaper’ labour. As a result, the Chinese state managed to cultivate
considerable influence on the global economy in a relatively short amount of
time, despite the development of anti-competitive laws. Thus, Fallows argues
that “the great progress” China has made has been to boost its GDP, global
production power and as a result, ultimately lifting its population out of
poverty (Lechner and Boli 167).


In addition to the use of globalization as a
political tool to implement regulation, nation states have used globalization
to manipulate the commercial dimension of the economy. Given that all multinational
corporations must be headquartered in a single nation, they are subsequently
subjected to the domestic policy of the state they are located (Lechner and Boli 64). This can be seen in the case of foreign companies
wishing to open businesses in China who must do so in the form of a joint
venture and are required to have a Chinese partner in the organisation. In
addition, one may argue that globalization has led to the rise of
transnational corporations (TNCs). TNCs hold
major global power and are leading today’s international economy as they
control the majority of foreign investment capital, financial transfers, and
technological innovation. TNCs have arguably managed to positively structure
and move production from national markets into a global marketplace, even
though they still depend on state structures to guarantee their rights. The
importance of state structures has been another contested dimension in the
political globalization debate. According to many critics, supranational
institutions such as the United Nations, European Union, and World Trade
Organisation, amongst others, have essentially extended state functions (Lechner and Boli 64). This debate has
culminated into two viewpoints which are those of hyper globalizers and sceptics.


Hyper globalizers vehemently argue the
existence of a “borderless” world, as nation-states have “lost their dominant
role in the global economy” (Steger 61). They believe that with the increasing
impact of globalization, the role of the state has essentially been eroded and
that states’ authorities have been challenged (Steger
61).  Arguably, global markets are increasingly imposing dominance
over state power, as they are obliged to respect the economic decisions made
elsewhere in the world, making them ‘unable to control their own exchange rates
or protect their currencies’ (Steger 62). In
this way, Susan Strange argues that the market has become the master of the
government, and that globalization has been the root cause for the alternation
of state-market balance of power (Strange cited in Lechner and Boli 233). On
the other hand, sceptics believe that governments still have the power to
introduce policy into their respective territories (Steger 62). Martin Wolf furthers this perspective by claiming
that ‘the bedrock of international order is the territorial state with its
monopoly on coercive power within its jurisdiction… and its ability
to provide and guarantee stability” (Wolf, 2001).

Although the establishment of supranational institutions has instigated
the debate over the declining power of the nation-state to make decisions, most
of these non-state actors have emerged and are working because of the accepted
utility by nation-states. This is exemplified by the United Nations (UN), where
its establishment was based on a joint decision by sovereign nations to
encourage international cooperation and peace. While
many argue that the existence of the UN in itself is an indicator that the
‘state’ is no longer relevant, the organisation is ultimately governed by
states. Regardless of the increased interconnectedness derived from globalization,
supranational institutions’ decisions are ultimately based on the member
states’ agenda. This is evident with the advent of the United Nations
Development Programme, which sets certain social development objectives which
the states will implement.


Furthermore, in the case of global capital markets
and technology, sceptics put forward the claim that national political
decisions have taken place in the form of the lifting of international trade
restrictions on capital for instance. This has respectively led to the strong
emergence of global markets and technological innovation, and thus, “make their
economies more or less attractive to global investors” (Steger 63).

Effectively, individual nations are free to control the
permeability of their borders… allowing states to set their own political and
economic agendas” (Steger 38).


States determine national agenda which is then reflected on a global
level. For example, this can be seen by the national security measures applied
worldwide in the wake of the terrorist attacks of
September 11th 2001. These attacks were essentially undertaken by
anti-globalist protectionists, namely, particularist protectionists and thus,
reflect political and cultural dynamics which counter the hyper globalizers’
assessment of a borderless world (Steger 63).

These groups of individuals who see themselves as ‘globalization losers’ and “blame
globalization for most of the economic, political, and cultural ills afflicting
their home countries or regions…they ‘challenge globalism in word and
action’…fearing the loss of national self-determination and the destruction of
their cultures” (Steger 114). At times, they use extremist and violent means to
achieve political ends such as in the case of Osama Bin Laden and September 11,
which initiated debate over the significance of globalization. According to
Steger, this ‘widening global war on terror’ could ‘put the brakes on globalization.’
(Steger 133). In this respect, particularist
protectionists pose a very strong threat to the dispersal of globalization in
order to safeguard the relevance and authority of their nation states. This
perspective is further articulated by Benjamin Barber who claims that the
“colonizing tendencies of globalization, or McWorld, provoke cultural and
political resistance in the form of ‘Jihad’ – the parochial impulse to reject
and repel the homogenizing forces of the West wherever they can be found” (Steger
73). This argument is an extreme one showing that nation states do still hold
power to a certain extent in the way that particularist protectionists still
hold the emblem of cultural identity as essential over their opposition to
globalization. Following this, it is clear that identity is an integral aspect
of the globalization versus state debate; the principle of cultural
identity is one that cannot be left unsaid.


Overall, many people view globalization as a smooth
and a natural process that has brought about immense economic, political and
social changes, such as increased global connectivity, interdependence of
worldwide markets and an expansion of world trade. Countries that have reacted
positively to this phenomenon have managed to successfully benefit from
international (free) trade agreements, a rise in international political
opportunities and a substantial increase in their economic output-GDP,
(ultimately leading to higher economic efficiency and productivity). On the
other hand, globalization has also had a paradoxical effect,
in which critics argue that national patriotism has moved states to protect
their interests from the forces brought about by globalization such as in the
case of particularist protectionists. States
still strive to defend and govern their national interests and will fight to maintain
their sovereignty. A state ultimately defines national identity, this is used
as a basis for why states continue to be relevant in this age of globalization.

 A national sense of belonging and patriotism is an aspect most citizens
hold dearly, even as globalization takes place (Wolf 2001). This perspective is
exemplified by the increasing importance of cultural diversity in today’s
world. Wolf further claims that ‘the most successfully integrated economies are
small, homogeneous countries with a strong sense of collective identity (Wolf
2001). Therefore, in essence, in today’s increasingly globalised world,
“territory still matters” (Steger 62). That is, even though there has
been mass controversy with regards to the economic, social and political
dimensions of the welfare state, all states have equally recognised the
potential benefits they may reap if they take advantage of the New World Order.