Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Protectionism vis-a-vis Globalization

Until the the second half of 2008, the global economy was purring along with little or no bumps.
For a period of about three decades, the fortunes of many nations and societies have irrevocably changed for the better. Countries like Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and many others in the South East Asian sub-continent were able to modernise their economies by developing competitive advantages in modern technologies and other industries. Around the same time the old iron curtain of the Soviet bloc was crumbling which led to a groundswell of democratic awakening in eastern Europe, a factor responsible for the spike in the demand for the goods and services of the rapidly developing nations of Asia and the developed west.
The foundation of this unprecedented economic growth and rapid transformation in many countries was laid in the seventies. And there is no doubt that the driving force behind global economics was globalization.
China, India, Brazil and Russia ( BRIC) were the next wave of nations to fire up globalization.
The wave of rapid development having bypassed the continent of Africa in the nineties, the fortunes of many nations on the continent were beginning to point north when sadly the inflated balloon was poked. (Read this post for more information on how the global economy went belly up.)
For the three decades that nations embraced the concept of globalization and free trade, their human development indices improved dramatically. That is why recent moves by the developed north to curtail globalization must be a worry for all of us.
Today many of the nations that ardently preached the doctrine of globalization are themselves retreating into protectionism. The "Buy American" clause in the Obama administration's stimulus package recently passed in the US capitol, the comments by UK premier, Gordon Brown, that British jobs should be for British people and many other recent attempts by western nations to enact emergency anti-globalization measures as means to preserve their economies must surely be keeping many nations wondering what the future has in store for global trade.
For the sake of Africa's future, I really pray and hope that the doors of global trade are not slammed shut.
We cannot miss the golden opportunity at our doorstep.


Anonymous said...

Hello! :)

Nana Yaw Asiedu said...

Yes, Posekyere, but global trade for Africa has only just described the fact that all the countries of the world participate in the trade. In truth, the only real beneficiaries of this trade are the same countries of the rich north.

While saying no to protectionism, we must find a form of global trade that is truly equitable.

Hope I made sense. I try not to make too many of these arguments.

posekyere said...

Hi Thankfuf Paul,

Thanks for visiting my blog.
I have just had a quick glance at yours and I really liked what I read.
I will be back for a fiesty read soon.
Bless you.

posekyere said...

Hi NY,
You are right.
The recent momentum in economic improvement in Africa is primarily as a result of the far-reaching tentacles of the Chinese economy.
A global trade which is truly equitable is the best case scenario. However as long as Africa continues to trade in unprocessed commodities/resources we will continue be the disadvantaged in the game. If Asia could learn the ropes we also can.
I really believe that the fortunes of Africa will be on the up after the current global turmoil has passed.

Pen Powder said...

Protectionist tendencies by the developed world have never really been abandoned. You will recall that the WTO is failing to conclude the Doha Round, which in itself carries the best chance for developing nations. Using the guise of technological advancement and Intellectual Property rights, Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) which are in essence protectionist are now entrenched in the rules governing international trade. We have a big job ahead of us.

posekyere said...

You are so right, the vultures can't feed until there is a death.
Africa has been kept on the death bed for so long so the feeding can carry on.
The hope of our continent and its people ironically rests on the shifting global economic balance. The weight of the western world in global economic dominance is sliding and that of Africa is rising, albeit from a low base.
The forces of equilibrium at play here are surely going to favour us if we play our cards right.
I am an optimist in this game.

novisi said...

i believe the bare fact is that there has hardly been anything close to open market or free-trade amidst all the noise about globalization...

human beings are still playing funny in this day and age and pretending to own land, knowledge, money and gun-powder to an extent that i find self-killing!

the man in the white-house does not care about the boy on the streets of somalia and the man in Ghana Castle thinks that he should only think about how to get a good bowl of ampesi without bothering whether that child in Afghanistan got food instead of opiom!

this big time con and thievery foundation on which the world has based economic progress is just bound to crash in our faces!

may the forces continue to be with us!

**ahhhh! i did this comment the last time and thought i'd clicked that 'publish your comment' tab only to realise later that i only hibernated my laptop leaving the text to stare at me today! it was a long holiday, and Mills still wants to add Nkrumah's holiday!**

cheers man!

posekyere said...

Hi Nov,
I see you were having a good time during the birthday celebrations of Mother Ghana. Ghana deserves to be celebrated in spite of all the ....
I could not help but also notice that you are sounding more philosophical these days. Don't get disillusioned by the uncertainties around us. We did not create them and so we should not hit our heads against the wall because of them.
I bet nobody ever thought that the colossus of capitalism could so suddenly tumble the way they are all over the place. The world needs a reality check.
There is no longer first world and third world nations any more. Now we have first mess and then third mess nations. Ghana, like many developing(?) nations, is relatively untouched by the domino effect of global capitalism so the degree of our mess is manageable making us a third mess nation.

Bless pal!

Anonymous said...

Hello everyone!

The concept should be simple... the execution not so much.

I believe that globalization and free trade would provide poor countries in Latin America and Africa the means to evolve and make life just a little bit easier in those countries. On the other hand, i don't think that these countries should open up to free trade overnight; this has to be a slow transition that should allow poor countries to produce what they can produce more efficiently than the neighboring countries with "imported" capital and technology (Poor countries do not have the money, or intellectual property for that matter to come up with a "technological" improvement themselves. This is why, once these countries become more comfortable to the idea and the benefits they can rake in from free trade, the better off the world is going to be as we'll continue to specialize in what we are trully better at!

Any thoughts??

Thank you,
Omar Liendo

posekyere said...

Thanks anon.
I "see" what you mean.
I will be back soon with something lengthy and meaningful of an answer.
Thanks for visiting.