Revision:Globalisation - effects on the uk

Globalisation's effect on UK?

How does globalisation impact on UK politics?

  • Globalisation is the growing “complex web of interconnectedness”. It is the process which many claim to be happening to the world, in which decisions in one place can effect the rest of the world
  • International trade is more common and markets are free
  • Many claim that this process adversely affects LEDCs whilst benefiting those who already control large proportions of the world’s power and economy.
  • It is hard to determine tangible effects of this process, but events and changes are often attributed to it
  • Tony Blair believes strongly in the idea of globalisation, saying that it is something we can’t ignore and thus we must “embrace globalisation and not retreat from it”
  • He claims that we benefit from the process as a nation as we are able to buy things cheaper, travel easier and also become more aware of the world, but politically the effects are much m ore diverse
  • Positively it can be asserted that this process has led to our increased membership of IGOs and this gives us more power throughout the world.
  • Membership of the WTO and the G8 gives us increased say on the world’s markets, policies and aims
  • However membership of such IGOs as the EU also decreases our sovereignty within our own country.
  • Laws passed, in certain areas, in the EU are sovereign over UK law and thus we have politically lost a significant part of our power over domestic policy
  • Receiving a loan from the IMF reduced our power over economic policy as we had to follow their guidelines in order to obtain the loan
  • Thus in terms of IGOs globalisation could be said to have increased our power over international politics whilst decreasing our power over domestic politics
  • Another area of politics that is affected by globalisation are the political parties, a fundamental part of our political system
  • Post-Cold War it has been said that liberal capitalism is the only way left
  • As a result there has been a noticeable shift of the ideology of our political parties
  • The 2 main UK parties, the Conservatives and Labour, have since then been accused of moving to the centre ground away from their traditional right and left wing stances
  • It is claimed that Labour has sacrificed the most ideologically speaking, as since coming to power in 1997 they have apparently embraced capitalism.
  • They now support privatisation and have seeming moved away from the trade unions
  • Good examples of this move are the recent outsourcings or closing downs of various car manufacturing plants
  • Companies are moving abroad due to cheaper costs and are able to do this because of globalisation
  • This means loss of jobs within the UK, and whereas before Labour would have fought or tried to find a way to keep these companies by introducing schemes or incentives they have merely said that there is nothing we can do about it
  • Not only does this lack of action signify a significant shift in ideology but also a decreased control of the economy as companies, like BT, are continuously moving outsourcing to India or such, and the British face more unemployment
  • However if faced with this point Blair or Brown would no doubt point out that our unemployment record is much better than France and Germany who are currently facing unemployment rates of over 10%
  • Economic globalisation has also contributes to the recent growth of the UK economy. Economic liberals would argue that cheap labour in Britain, the result of immigration, has kept inflation low, boosting the economy.
  • They could argue that this is the reason why the British economy has seen substantial growth, whereas the French economy has not
  • The perceived strength of the British economy is seen as a reason for the electoral dominance of the Labour party in recent times
  • Many see the growth of international terrorism as a backlash against cultural globalisation.
  • Organisations such as Al-Qaeda attract the support of many who are angered by the effects of McDonaldization and this has had an impact on UK politics.
  • The terrorist attacks on the 11th September 2001 on the USA and the attacks on the 7th July 2005 on the UK has affected British economy and politics considerably
  • On and after these dates trade stopped for a short period of time and especially in America this had a terrible effect on the Stock Market as the Dow-Hones fell by the most in one day and in one week, affecting all countries including the UK due to globalisation.
  • Fundamental elements of the British constitution such as Habeas Corpus have been ignored for the first time ever in peace time, and many see the proposed introduction of identity cards, caused by fear of terrorism, as an attack on civil liberties
  • In recent years there has been a conspicuous increase in voter apathy
  • This has been chalked up to various things, including the seemingly sameness of the political parties and the loss of control over policy that Britain appears to suffer from.
  • Both things which have been discussed above can be attributed to globalisation.
  • An increase of voter apathy means a decrease of political mandate for the government and hence a loss of support form its citizens and power over them
  • The movement of many pressure groups headquarters to places like Brussels signifies this loss as they feel that in order to achieve their objectives they must target IGOs like the EU which they view to have more power over British politics than our own government
  • Globalisation has also led to a greater awareness of the outside world, and a development of Labour’s questionable ethical foreign policy
  • This external awareness brought to us by increased access of the media, means that foreign policy made by our government is not merely driven by national interest but also global interest
  • More money and more concentration is spent on those in LEDCs than in previous years and one reason that Blair and his foreign secretaries have used is the extended awareness that globalisation brings
  • This concentration of our government on external affairs, whilst seen by the majority as a positive thing, has dramatic effects in Britain as shown by the recent local elections and the increased support of the BNP, who claim that their purpose it to look after British nationals first.
  • This increase support of the BNP is a harsh blow to the government, as the BNP is largely seen as a racist party, meaning that any increase of support of the BNP is a step in the wrong direction
  • Overall it is clear that although these occurrences may not be purely the result of globalisation, the process does have a significant effect on British politics
  • It seems that we have increased control over foreign policy or at least awareness there of, but our sovereignty over domestic policy has diminished
  • Globalisation is supported strongly by our government, yet according to recent figures, since 2003 we have dropped 3 places in the index of the world’s globalized countries.
  • We can’t deny the benefits but we must also not ignore the disadvantages

What is the anti-globalisation movement?

  • The term anti-globalization is allocated as a unified name to the movement by the media. It refers not to the opposition of globalization per se, but the opposition of different aspects of globalization. There is a wide variety of different kinds of "anti-globalization".
  • In general, critics claim that the results of globalization have not been what was predicted when the attempt to increase free trade began, and that many institutions involved in the system of globalization have not taken the interests of poorer nations and the working class into account. This has resulted in a number of negative effects of cultural, political, and economic globalization.
  • Many claim that it is simply a "buzz-word to denote the latest phase of capitalism", whereas others believe that globalization maybe "the latest stage of Western imperialism".
  • The anti-globalisation movement developed in the late twentieth century to combat the globalisation of corporate economic activity and the free trade with developing nations that might ensue
  • Members of the anti-globalisation movement generally support anarchist, socialist or social democratic alternatives to capitalist economics, and seek to protest the world’s population and ecosystem from what they believe to be the damaging effects of globalisation
  • Although adherents of the movement often work together, the movement itself is heterogeneous.
  • It includes diverse and sometimes opposing understanding of the globalisation process, and incorporates alternative visions, strategies and tactics
  • Many of the groups and organisations that are considered part of the movement were not founded as antiglobalist, but have their roots in various pre-existing social and political movements


These notes are aimed at people studying for Edexcel A Level Politics, module 5 and 6, route D, but will be suitable for other people too.

Originally submitted by joker13na on TSR Forums.