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Skip to 0 minutes and 8 secondsWhat is globalisation? A short definition of globalisation could be the integration of economies, industries, markets, culture, and policy making around the world. This is a short definition. It was not given by me. It was given, actually, by the Financial Times, the newspaper in the UK, which is one of the heralds of globalisation. What I like about this definition is that it captures all of these elements, the economies, the markets, the industries, but it also captures something which is new in globalisation. That is cultures and policy making. What is lacking in this very short definition is the fact that all of this integration is made possible because of technology.

Skip to 1 minute and 2 secondsTechnology, as we understand it today, the internet, air travel, and all of the connectiveness of countries is what has made globalisation a phenomenon that raises so many questions around the world. And not only in the developing world, but also in the developed world. The question then becomes, is globalisation good or bad. Why is it that people make demonstrations about globalisation? Why do you see so many articles criticising this process of globalisation? Well, the truth is that this has been a very disruptive process. Globalisation is something that has surely allowed millions of people to get out of poverty conditions in many developing countries. But it also puts some stress in many populations.

Skip to 2 minutes and 1 secondAlso in developed countries, many people associate the loss of jobs and delocalisation with the process of globalisation. And that makes it politically complicated for many governments and for many populations. Is it good? Is it bad? There are certainly good sides to globalisation, as I just said. There are certainly less good or bad sides to globalisation. What is the solution for this? The solution, in my view, is surely more rules a managed globalisation. Globalisation is a process that is a phenomenon that is happening, whether we want it or not. You are not going to stop globalisation by putting barriers to trade and stopping data to flow around the world. That's not going to stop.

Skip to 2 minutes and 58 secondsThe question is how do we manage this process, and how do we cater for those who lose from this process? These are important questions, and there is a big challenge in there, because many of the solutions to globalisation may not be in the international system. Many people, for example, would blame the WTO or other international organisations, like the International Monetary Fund, for this phenomenon. What is it that the WTO can do to manage globalisation? Surely, if the WTO members want, they would come here and try to set new rules for addressing this phenomenon. A lot of the problems caused by globalisation, nonetheless, are rather in the realm, or the competence, of national governments.

Skip to 3 minutes and 54 secondsSo issues, for example, like education, retraining of workers, social security benefits are all issues that to this day are the competence of domestic governments, and perhaps rightly so. The governments of specific countries are the ones who have the legitimacy and who know best how to educate the people, and how to retrain people, and what is the Social Security system that fits better in a certain country. Now is this something that is easy to do? Surely not, and adapting education, adapting social security systems, very often takes time and the phenomenon of globalisation is very quick. So you do have a problem of timing there, were globalisation and the effects of globalisation are happening very fast.

Skip to 4 minutes and 51 secondsAnd at the same time, these domestic policies are not following as they should. One thing is for sure, this process is not going to stop. It would be good if we could manage this process, and surely domestic governments have a lot of saying in trying to solve these issues of globalisation.

Views from a trade expert

We are pleased to hear about the view from a trade expert, M. Victor do Prado, who serves as senior official in the World Trade Organisation, in Geneva.

We asked M. do Prado to answer the big question: what is your definition of globalisation and how do you envision its future ?

What do you think about his proposals ?

Biography of M. Victor do Prado

Victor do Prado is currently the Director of the Council and Trade Negotiations Committee Division in the World Trade Organisation. As such, he oversees the organisation of the WTO General Council, TNC and Dispute Settlement Body meetings and advises the respective Chairpersons. He is also responsible for the organisation of the WTO Ministerial Conferences. This position allows him to have an overview of all WTO substantive activities, both in the negotiating and non-negotiating areas.

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International Affairs: Globalisation

The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies