Effect of Globalisation on Indian Society
Globalisation is often associated with the integration of the world, with the market breaking open the barriers across nation states in terms of flows of trade, finance, technology, knowledge, culture and even movements of people. It is supposed to be a leveler, with universal benefits, reaching out all countries and all their residents uniformly. Thus advances of technology, especially in the Information and Communication Technology sector, are considered to have facilitated the proliferation of the forces which have initiated globalization in most parts of the world. Globalisation is supposed to work best with a minimalist role of the nation state vis-à-vis the waves of the global market. The mainstream arguments tend to judge the success of globalization in terms of output alone. However, it remains incomplete in absence of an analysis of the distribution of the output and the related changes in the level as well as the quality of life which make for development.
India was not isolated from the world even thousands of years ago. Trade among civilizations flourished for centuries. Throughout India’s long past, people from different parts came here as traders, conquerors, migrants in search of new lands and settled down. Being a colony, accelerated our admission in the globalised world. But the speed and scope by which globalization is affecting our everyday life is beyond belief.
The Indian state broke from the earlier stated policy of greater government control over the economy and since 1991, series of reforms took place in all major sectors of economy. The government also made commitments to pursue economic measures that involve a policy of structural adjustments cutting down expenditure in social sectors such as health, education etc. The country’s status as a sovereign power seemed considerably impaired in terms of its ability to control its economic policies
2.) Transnational Corporations
TNCs are companies that produce goods or market services in more than one country. They may be relatively small firms or giants like Coca-Cola, General Motors, Volkswagen, Adidas etc. Indigenous firms are usually unable to compete with them. They either merge or cease to operate.
3.) Globalisation of Finance
Today Banks, corporations, fund managers and individual investors are able to shift funds internationally by a click of a mouse. Prospects of high returns on speculatory short term financial assets today are much higher than when markets for these transactions were regulated. Official policies of national governments are generally guided by what benefits finance. Concerns of industry and employment, as a result, are left in the back seat with consequences adverse for development.
A new international division of labour has emerged in which more and more routine manufacturing production and employment is done in the Third World cities. New opportunities have opened for urban middle class youth through IT revolution. However, the introduction of flexible labour norms has facilitated the process of displacement as well.
5.) Knowledge Economy
The new economy is one in which products have their base in information, as in the case with computer software, media and entertainment products and internet based services. Much of the workforce is involved not in the physical production or distribution of material goods, but in their design, development, technology, marketing, sale and servicing.
6.) Rural Society
After decades of state support and protected markets, Indian farmers have been exposed to competition from the global market. Imported food items throng our markets today.
Also the incorporation of agriculture into the larger global market has affected our farmers. Contract farming systems, where a company identifies the crop to be grown, provides seeds and other inputs, the know-how and the working capital. The company guarantees that it will purchase the produce at a predetermined fixed price. This system is very common now in the production of specialized items such as cut flowers, grapes figs, pomegranates etc. Though it may provide greater financial security to the farmer, but one becomes dependent on these companies for livelihood. Also indigenous knowledge of agriculture seems to becoming irrelevant with high doses of fertilizers and pesticides ruining the ecological balance as well.
While farmers have periodically faced distress due to drought, crop failures, debt, the phenomenon of farmers’ suicides appears to be new. Many events like increase in cost of production, decrease in agricultural subsidies, unstable markets and heavy debt burden have coalesce together to form this event.
7.) Political scenario
The collapse of erstwhile socialist world hastened globalization. Neo-liberal economic measures became part of the polity. Also, it saw the growth of international and regional mechanisms for political collaboration like the European Union, ASEAN, TPP, SAFTA etc.
India has cut substantial funds for social sectors. There seems to be a democratic deficit, which is a failure of elected government to fulfill the promises to the electorate. The mega projects like big dams, highways, industrial plants instead of helping has tended to threaten the livelihood of people displaced. The politics of the country stand divided on various fundamental issues. The levels of corruption and nepotism has reached stratospheric levels.
The new geo-political reality which includes the informal hegemony of one or more rich nations over the rest of the world. These modes of control are often exercised through inter-governmental negotiations, at bilateral forums or through multilateral agencies of the UN like the IMF, WB, WTO.
8.) Cultural Impact
a) Glocalisation of Culture
Glocalisation refers to the mixing of the global with the local. It is closely linked with the commercial interests of globalization. It is a strategy ogten adopted by foreign firms while dealing with local traditions in order to enhance their marketability. Foreign Television Channels use Indian languages and content, foreign fast food chains use vegetarian and chicken products, avoiding beef and foreign brands using Indian stars promoting their products.
b) Culture of Consumption
Till the 1970s the manufacturing industries used to play a major role in the growth of cities. Presently, cultural consumption of art, food, fashion, music, tourism shapes to a large extent the growth of cities. Advertisements and media generally promote a culture where spending is important. Tremendous growth has been seen in fields like fashion, cosmetics and health.
c) Corporate Culture
It is a branch of management theory that seeks to increase productivity and competitiveness through the creation of a unique organizational culture involving all members of a firm. A dynamic corporate culture- involving company events, rituals and traditions- is thought to increase employee loyalty and promote group solidarity.
The strength of Indian culture has been its open ended approach. Culture cannot be seen an unchanging fixed entity that can either collapse or remain the same when faced with social change. Globalisation will,lead to the creation of not just new local traditions but global ones too.
There remains a staggering inequality under present day globalization, not only across but also within nations. While it has opened up new opportunities, not only for the super-rich but also for large sections of the contented middle class, there remains much larger clusters of the poor and not so poor, both in advanced as well as less developed areas, who continue to be excluded from these opportunities. The sensible path of globalization with development is which generates growth with equity and social justice, and responds to the public demand and sentiments for a better world which provides ample space for all.