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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds What is globalisation, and why people are kind of afraid of it. People always associate globalisation with the race of racism. The race of religion, you know, extremism, and all these issues that can be related to globalisation. But maybe globalisation is actually about bringing knowledge of different society, understanding to each other, in order to help them be more tolerant. Basically, for me, globalisation has to do with social relations across boundaries. The extent to which people can interact in varied forms. Again, it is a cultural element, where it is increasingly linking people through the kind of social organisation that is taking place in terms of human behaviour.

Skip to 0 minutes and 57 seconds I think globalisation describes a process of growing interactions between firms, people, and countries on a global scale. And these interactions can operate in many ways; through trade, politics, and culture, for example. To me, globalisation would be where singularity disappears, and there’s just universalism, and it comes with a lot of violence. Globalisation could be defined as the process that intensifies the cross borders interactions of goods, services, human beings, technology. This is a good thing, as long as globalisation is provided with strong welfare states that could fairly redistribute the overall gains from globalisation. OK. Globalisation has three components for me. The first one is exchange of goods and services. The second one is increasing the technology and exchange of technology and ideas.

Skip to 2 minutes and 2 seconds And the third one is the mobilisation of resources from one side to the other side. Well, of course it has a positive side, which is very useful, especially for our generation. Because it makes it easier to have interaction and connect with people from all over the world, and to speak with our friends in other countries. But of course it has negative sides. For example, with globalisation, we are losing traditional cultures. If we look at, for instance, the African nations, massive urbanisation and development is taking place in the urban centres, but this is creating social dislocation. This is damaging people’s livelihood, because they all have to be taken out of their traditional source of livelihood.

Skip to 2 minutes and 43 seconds And so obviously, whilst people are wheeling and gaining from globalisation, some are losing. And so this is the source of the contestation and the controversy. Tomorrow’s globalisation would be a good thing if the political side supports it. That is, if in most developed countries, the political parties that run these countries will not be anti-globalisation. For a couple of reasons. One, it allows for free flow of capital, but not for labour. So it does marginalise people. It does not bridge the gap between the haves and the have-nots. So a lot of people are left to the margins, and they’re just constantly marginalised through land grabbing or various other ways.

Skip to 3 minutes and 27 seconds What I see in the future of globalisation is an issue of governance, in the sense that globalisation will push to rethink labour and also the concept of production. Therefore, I believe that states and other actors will want to have a say on how to reshape these concepts. To my country, we import coffee. We import potatoes. But we are producers of coffee and potatoes. Why do we have so much production of potatoes and coffee, we are importing from outside? That’s a big question from my society. I do think that globalisation brings more tolerance to each other. Just look at a picture of having a Chinese slogan on the top of it, and then McDonald’s.

Skip to 4 minutes and 18 seconds And then some Indian spice shop on the corner of it. It’s globalisation. It’s co-habitation. And we’re all living together in the same place. Globalisation helps us to not be afraid of the other. It brings us everything we should know to be tolerant with each other.

Views from some students

To kick-off our discussions, let’s listen to the voices of some students from the Graduate Institute in International and Development Studies in Geneva.

We asked them to answer our big questions this week : what is globalisation and why is it so controversial?

We thank them for sharing their thoughts!

Feel free to join them in expressing your views in the next steps.

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This video is from the free online course:

International Affairs: Globalisation

The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies