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The term globalization refers to the process of global integration of the economies of nations by allowing the unrestricted flow

of goods, services, investments and currencies between countries. Nation states pursued globalization in the hope that this would lead to prosperity. They believed that globalization would bring them agricultural modernization, industrialization, urbanization, and hyper-consumerism resulting in increases of per capita gross domestic product (GDP). Unfortunately, such developments have often been accompanied by increasing social and environmental destruction throughout the world. The process of globalization is having unprecedented impacts, both positive and negative, on life at the individual, village, town, city and national levels. For example, greater openness to the world economy, on the one hand, enabled the Philippines to weather the energy crisis of the early 1990s and spurred economic development. Foreign investments spurred employment and resulted in some reduction of poverty. On the other hand, the Asian financial and economic crisis of 1997-98 has set back the employment and anti-poverty gains that came with making the Philippine economy more competitive in the global market. Philippine Agenda 21 was consciously crafted, in part, to respond to these challenges by channeling and redirecting these global forces towards sustainable development. PA21 recognizes the challenges and summarizes them in the Figure above. While there are also opportunities connected with the globalization process, these are often overshadowed by the one-sided pursuit of economic growth and global competition. In the Figure, five forms of growth are identified as leading to unsustainable development. The whole process is fueled by globalization. Jobless growth results when economic output increases amidst high unemployment and underemployment. Ruthless growth is forcing millions of Filipinos to live in poverty, constraining them from developing as full human beings. Meanwhile, a few individual billionaires/millionaires enjoy an income level equivalent to the combined income of the millions in poverty. Globally, for example, the 1999 UNDP Human Development Report estimated that the $140 billion

combined asset of Bill Gates and the two other top owners of Microsoft is more than the combined gross national product (GNP) of the 43 least economically developed countries and their 600 million people. Futureless growth results from the destruction of nature through improper mining practices, use of pesticides, insufficient and improper environmental planning for the construction of dams and a range of other ecologically unsound development projects. Rootless growth refers to the cultural decay and loss of meaning and identity which often accompany economic growth fueled by globalization and the entrance of materialistic lifestyles of industrialized countries. Voiceless growth is economic growth racing ahead of direct human rights and democratic processes and participatory governance essential to modern societies. To these five undesirable forms of growth can be added a sixth. Meaningless growth results when some combination of the other five forms of undesirable growth blocks the creativity of the human spirit. The resulting loss in creativity, perspective, meaning, hope, and morality necessarily expresses itself in suicide, violence, drug addiction, crime, corruption and other social ills. PA21 gives a detailed account of these trends, challenges and opportunities that are brought by globalization and the forces of unsustainable development, which are being experienced by communities throughout the Philippines.