This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
The book Globalisation and the New Realities, by Mahathir Mohamad relates to the problematic that developing nations, specifically middle income countries, are faced when treating globalization and when opening their border under the flag of neo-liberalization. He presents twenty speeches through which one can measure the qualitative progress of his ideas through different historic processes. It is interesting to note that we organized his speeches in a descendent fashion, going from the most updated to some of his first speeches when regarding globalization. Through this, the reader is able to see the evolution of the author’s thought. A main turn point in his discourse is without a doubt the crisis that Malaysia saw through 1998-1999. Nevertheless, it is important to tackle some background information before we analyze his ideas and standpoint regarding the subject. Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad was born in 1925 and is the former Prime Minister of Malaysia. He held the post from 1981 to 2003 during which he was credited for engineering Malaysia's rapid modernization and promoting "Asian values". He was also criticized for his autocratic style and allowing extensive cronyism to occur under his watch.1 Throughout this book, Mohamad understand globalization as the process by which all countries of the world come together to form one entity. It evidently tackles free flow of capital although people and other things “may not flow so freely”. Nevertheless, the author finds one first problem with such ideal and it is that although the market “is interested only in making profits” it cares not “for the wellbeing of society”. It is thus that he proposes that globalization puts on a different mask through regularization; one that is human and is not “absolutely free nor purely market driven”. The author believes that globalization is nothing but the new religion that richdeveloped countries are imposing on the rest of the world to continue its dominance over
Perdona Leadership Foundation. Profile of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. 2006. 13 de 07 de 2007 <http://www.perdana.org.my/portal/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=37&Itemid=42>.
poor-developing countries. On that regard, he says that free trade became “sacrosanct through the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the World Trade Organization (TWO)”. The idea has been sold for the past two decades by announcing that globalization will enrich us all, which has rather de facto turned the poor-developing countries into the new colonies of the European nations and the United States. Mohamad believes that globalization can be good, as said before, when putting a human mask to it. It does not mean changing the way in which things work, it is just to accommodate and adapt certain rules and restrictions in order to protect the less developed. The main argument given by the author is the idea of having a leveled game for all players. Also, education plays a great role. In order to participate in the development of information technology and other applications, Mohamad proposes that mass education is provided by the government. An example of this, specifically in Malaysia, was when he changed the national plan inserting much more sciences and mathematics at a preparatory level in order to prepare adolescents to pursue engineering careers. In order for developing and middle income countries to progress and achieve a better quality of life, the author proposes to be pragmatic. “This does not mean that the ends justify the means” says Mohamad. Nevertheless, he believes that governments and people in general must focus on results and true objectives that societies must achieve. Being able to “quick adjust to changing circumstances” is an ability that has to be incorporated in the decision making process and in the drafting process. In words of the author himself: “we must do what works […] when something no longer works for us, we must go to other strategies, policies and measures –quickly”. Mohamad bases most of his discourse regarding globalization on answering to two questions posed by Nelson Mandela which cite: “Is globalisation only to benefit the powerful and the financers, speculators, investors and traders? Does it offer nothing to men and women and children ravaged by the violence of poverty?” On that regard, the author foresees that the very rich and the very empowered to be the biggest winners in the game, while the very poor and the much disempowered are the biggest losers. Moreover, the author declares that if you’re not part of the solution, then you should get out of the way and not be part of the problem. On that note, he believes that the
progress that is needed will only come from national and individual initiatives and actions. Also, pragmatism is a very important tool for these solutions to be functional. Mohamad forecasts five central challenges for developing nations when dealing with globalization: 1. Independence, regarding the thinking process generated within every nation rather that accepting and importing ideologies and ways of thought. 2. Truth, by pursuing hard facts within every nation or groups of nations instead of simply admitting nonsense. 3. Fairness and justice in the sense that all countries are entitled to a vote within international organizations and the right to be heard. Thereafter, developing nations much fight for those rights to be fulfilled and respected. 4. Mutual benefit, relating to the ideal of maximizing the number of winners and minimizing the number of losers in order to prevent future problematic and violence. 5. Creating a more compassionate and caring world under the logic that in order for less countries to duffer hunger and poverty, globalization must be tackled through a human understanding and not just allow the free forces of the market to enact. In order to tackle these five challenges Mohamad also proposes five strategies to pursue solutions: • • • • • The principle of rationality. The principle of readiness. The principle of representation. The principle of responsibility. The principle of self-determination.
In all, the author proposes that developing nations empower themselves, think themselves, ensure to have the will and wherewithal to decide their own destiny; “no liberalization, no globalisation without representation”. Furthermore, he believes that developing countries have been left behind through several revolutionary processes such as the industrial revolution, the mass production techniques and now the information revolution. In order to avoid be left behind forever,
developing nations must fight to get know-how and invest in growing their own innovative capacities. The idea is to at least diminish the technological gap that is found between developing and develop countries; that is the only way to break the dependency pattern until now followed. Through very positive ideas, Mohamad believes that things that can be achieved by a human being can be achieved by another. Thus, if a developed nation was able to attain dominance of the market, we can too. Also, we should be able to do it better. On that regard, not only the process of globalization must be slowed down, but according to Mohamad, it is the role of governments to ensure that markets do not regulate themselves but that they are a direct responsibility of institutions. The author is very concise regarding that and believes that globalization is not “just about material wealth but also about values”. Additionally, he proposes a new international organization through which changes in the exchange rates are determined and controlled. In all, he believes that the assumption through which markets will regulate themselves “is contrary to the logic of human nature” because the market is about maximizing profits and not “a social organization intended to cure social ills”. However, according to Mohamad the most important issue to tackle is the hard reality that a “mere 2 per cent of foreign exchange is used for payments” and that the rest of transactions are all speculative in nature; thus, evidently, non-productive. Why is it that globalization as it stands means access of products of developed nations, while the latter keep high tariffs in sensible sectors? The author claims ironic that the very same people who advocate for freedom of speech and rights of expression “are the very same to clamp down and hard on what they see as dissenting views on their brand of globalisation”. Furthermore, he tackles the idea of free flow of labor force and people willing to work. The result would be, according to him, a lower production cost and lower cost of living for the rich and more remittances to poor countries. And thus, the author arrives to a very first and general conclusion that is nevertheless highly important: globalization should stress results rather than methods. Under the impression that systems by their own can solve problems, we fall under a false premise of inaction. The important thing is “the results, not the dogma” says Mohamad. Furthermore, on that regard, developing countries have to learn to support one another in a more consistent fashion instead of turning backs to one another.
As said before, the main issue regarding globalization according to Mohamad is the free movement of capital. When poor countries allow borders to disappear and allocate capital to move freely, it can be fully employed to make more capital. At the same time, the WTO created the so called level playing field by removing and reducing import duties and equalizing rates. Furthermore, clusters form and big companies unite and so the ideal of a game that is fair for small countries and small companies fades. For once, foreign owners do not care about national social problems and they just wish to maximize problems; so when they economy is totally in foreign hands, it is likely that social unrest will increase. Also, free trade under the WTO is not free, it is very much regulated. Thus, the main problem of globalization appears: if the world is to be a global entity then, “there should not be abjacent [sic.] poverty in some parts and obscene wealth in other parts”. Thereafter, globalization and information are making local companies uncompetitive according to Mohamad. This will soon make them easy prey for foreign takeovers. Parting from the idea that globalization is a concept invented by man and that as such it is not perfect, we have to be mindful of it. If only the rich, who possess the technology, money, marketing and know-how, were to invest in the poor countries, a different story it would be. There should also be transparency in trade and dealing between nations. Ratings must be “done by international non-profit organizations financed by the international community” proposes the author. That way, nobody would dominate too high a proportion of financing and there could even be taxes on all international speculators in order to really help level the game. Thus, the world will not see disparities between the weak and the strong, which sounds more of a real scenario than a class of civilizations, adds Mohamad. Also, there would not be the rapid devaluation of currencies that developing countries often undergo, and alongside, no collapse of the stock market. On that regard, Malaysia applied several policies in order to help its own situation after an economical crisis. It was decided that all imports were to be paid in foreign currencies and that capital invested was to stay in the country for one year, which prevented short-selling and decontrol in inflow and outflow of short-term capital into the share market.
As a conclusion, the reader of Globalisation and the New Realities, by Mahathir Mohamad, is able to understand that for poor-developing countries to develop they must industrialize so that people not remain unemployed. Also, that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is not necessarily guarding for the interest of such nations; ergo, these have to keep mindful of the actions they chose to carry and the advice they wish to follow. In order to make heedful decisions, governments must invest and conduct investigations that deliver hard data on which activities may be programmed. Nowadays, it is not the exploitation “of local labor that is the focus of the new capitalists” argued the author, but it is the exploitation of the “poor countries worldwide that promises unlimited gains”. Therefore, the push for deregulation and globalization take place. Nevertheless, Mohamad prevents those southern countries that if there is any strength that these have, it is in the numbers and that is how, ultimately, globalization may be challenged. On that note, it is important to have principles that guide strategies and plans. But if plans fail or are not resulting as accorded, pragmatism must be used and thus new plans made. Mohamad believes that countries posses the freedom to decide on their own what they wish to pursue as their own interest. Furthermore, they have for centuries been colonized and slaved for the rich. Thus, it is their time to decide whether they wish to continue down that line or they opt for a new path. For a new fashion of making things, countries must look upon cooperation and education. They must study and gain their own valid data through which they can make decisions. Achieving independence in the decision making process will result in mindful consideration and managing of the economy and most certainly in corporate nationalism. Mohamad is credited with spearheading the phenomenal growth of the Malaysian economy, now one of the largest and most powerful in South East Asia. Growth between 1988 and 1997 averaged over ten percent and living standards rose twentyfold, with poverty almost eradicated and social indicators such as literacy levels and infant mortality rates becoming on par with developed countries.2
Kamarudin, Raja Petra. « HYPERLINK "http://www.malaysia-today.net/loonyMY/2005/11/anwar-factor.htm" The Anwar Factor .» Mlaysia Today (2005).
Last, it is important for other developing countries, especially those with a middle income, to study and learn from the experiences of countries like Malaysia. Through Keynesian oriented politics, economy may achieve a great growth and have a direct impact in social matters such as unemployment, literacy rates and poverty.
Kamarudin, Raja Petra. "The Anwar Factor." Mlaysia Today (2005). Mohamad, Mahathir. Globalisation and the New Realities. Kuala Lumpur, 2002. Perdona Leadership Foundation. Profile of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. 2006. 13 07 2007 <http://www.perdana.org.my/portal/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=37&It emid=42>.
This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
We've moved you to where you read on your other device.
Get the full title to continue reading from where you left off, or restart the preview.