The Politics of Globalisation and Polarisation

The Politics of Globalisation and Polarisation

Maurice Mullard

This book deals with the nature of contemporary globalisation. Maurice Mullard aims to show that globalisation is not an inescapable, unstoppable process somehow beyond human control, rather that it represents, and is being shaped by, a series of deliberate policy choices and policy decisions. The emphasis of this fascinating work is on how these policy choices are creating new forms of economic inequalities and also political elites that distort the democratic process.

Chapter 3: Globalisation and Models of Citizenship

Maurice Mullard

Subjects: politics and public policy, international politics, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, economics of social policy


INTRODUCTION The concern of this chapter is the nature of the relationship between globalisation and claims for citizenship. As suggested earlier, present forms of globalisation are being shaped and defined by rules and regulations outlined by international agencies, including the IMF and the World Bank. Global rules reflect deals and bargains between the more powerful economic blocs such as the EU, the USA and Japan. National Governments are increasingly becoming the lobbyists, expressing business and financial interests. This approach to globalisation creates a specific discourse of citizenship. Citizenship is equated with consumer citizenship. Globalisation is presented as competitive markets and increased consumer choice. Citizenship in this sense is guaranteed in the marketplace. This chapter points to a number of competing discourses of citizenship. Since there are competing discourses of citizenship, there are also alternatives about the shape of globalisation. Sen (1999) has pointed out: ‘there are no famines in a democracy’, because he argues democracy provides the means to bring about a change of government and therefore make political elites accountable. Famine, disease and social deprivation represent policy choices and policy priorities of how to distribute resources. Political elites in non-democracies seek to reinforce existing social, economic and political structures By contrast, democracy enforces accountability and provides populations the opportunity to bring about a change of government and changes in policy priorities: ‘no substantial famine has ever occurred in any independent and democratic country with a relatively free press. Famines are easy to prevent if there is a serious effort...

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