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Nowadays, the world economic situation is changing, and not all people seem to be optimistic about these changes. World Trade Organization, one of the institutions whose activity supports globalization, is believed to be one of the most popular objects of criticism. The opinions on its effectiveness and good conscience of its leaders expressed by analysts from different countries sometimes tend to contradict one another. Therefore, it becomes more difficult to assess some institutions’ role and define whether the impact that they have on the economic development of different countries is positive or negative. Among other things, it is believed that financial problems have to be studied in connection with human psychology (Hunt, 2005, p.424). Many authors have expressed their opinions on the global government and the effects of globalization. Among them, there are Theodore Cohn and Keith Griffin, who have made their conclusions about the situation and shared their thoughts on measures that can help to address the existing challenges with the readers.
In his work, Theodore Cohn discusses the impact that World Trade Organization has on the variety of processes that take place all over the world; in fact, the author seems to be willing to talk about the flip side to different organizations whose activity supports globalization and effaces the boundaries between separate countries (2007, p.201). As it is clear from the information and facts that he reports, the author would like to encourage other people to avoid making conclusions about this organization based only on its supporters’ opinions. It is necessary to say that he tries to sound convincing to make the readers see that not all the views on the World Trade Organization and modern tendencies in worldwide politics and economics are positive. To do that, he discusses a variety of opinions on global trade to demonstrate that representatives of different countries have not still reached a compromise on globalization and its consequences for people all over the world. In this work, he supports criticism towards the World Trade Organization and some of its uses. As it follows from the idea that acts as the primary reason to create such organizations, they are believed to promote free international trade and encourage economic growth in both richer and poorer countries.
Nevertheless, many people suppose that World Trade Organization does not always act in accordance with these objectives and that the principles of equality and shared leadership are not supported by some of its members who possess more resources and are more affluent. In general, the article by Cohn is devoted to a discussion of weaknesses and contradictions connected to the work of the discussed organization. More than that, the article touches upon a range of more common problems inherent in globalization.
The work by Griffin also relates to the issues connected with the activity of World Trade Organization and globalization itself, but he seems to be more positive while assessing the usefulness of the organization; to him, there is no doubt that its creation “has to be regarded as a considerable advance” (Griffin, 2003, p. 797). Although there are specific problems related to this organization’s existence, the author does not think that these weaknesses can be attributed to the idea that globalization is a negative tendency. The author discusses many facts that incur the displeasure of representatives of poorer countries (such as leading countries’ use of authority to pursue their financial and political interests).
Still, he associates these facts only with structural weaknesses and unfair distribution of the resources acquired with the help of this process. The thing that is also significant is that the author sees the creation of World Trade Organization as a crucial step; comparing it to other organs dealing with international trade, he claims that the former has a more developed structure that allows the members of the organization to conduct systematic negotiations and urge countries and companies to comply with all the accords. In general, as it is clear from the arguments discussed by the author, this same work can be regarded as an attempt to demonstrate that the World Trade Organization should no longer be considered as the most obvious target for critics when it comes to discussing the harmful effects of globalization.
What is more, the author assumes that many challenges caused by globalization may pose a threat to the quality of life of ordinary people living in developing and developing countries. Even though the fair distribution of the resources and advocating cooperation with developing countries all over the world are supposed to be the primary values of ones embracing economic globalization, the author assumes that it often happens that these ideas are not supported by real initiatives helping developing countries to propel their economic development to the next level. Nevertheless, the author of the discussed work does not seem to think that globalization should be seen as a process that can only help the people who already possess money and authority to deprive poorer countries of the resources. Instead, he regards the creation of World Trade Organization as a chance to change the situation in the world for the better; at the same time, he sees the primary problem is the fact that challenges are preventing the humanity from forming global institutions that would be able to manage and stabilize the situation in the worldwide market.
To begin with, it is necessary to regard the problem of attitudes towards the World Trade Organization and global governance, paying attention to the opinions on the present situation expressed by these authors. As for Theodore Cohn, he sees the current situation with globalization as quite controversial. Speaking about the World Trade Organization, he assumes that its activity is not easy to be analyzed because there are a lot of claims that the processes taking place within the organization are not transparent. At the same time, he highlights that it possesses great authority in the world and helps different countries to review and implement foreign trade policies. Also, increased attention should be paid to the fact that the cooperation with the discussed organization seems to be quite a good alternative for countries whose economic situation is unstable at the moment; despite all the negative opinions and protests, there are certain advantages connected to being a member state of the organization. For example, the organization tries to help its members to settle disputes related to trade conditions through negotiations; apart from that. It can protect some of its members inducing the parties to a conflict to act in accordance with the agreements accepted.
Furthermore, its activity may help many countries settle down to a course of economics, and this statement is supported by many authors whose works Cohn uses for his analysis and discussion. Even though he acknowledges that membership in World Trade Organization can help some countries to establish relationships with valuable trade partners and ameliorate their economic situation, his attention is more focused on the problems and contradictions surrounding it. As for Keith Griffin, he also supposes that the present case cannot be called suitable for all the world countries because there are certain malversations within the organization. We are often told that equality should be regarded as one of the primary values of any developed society. The World Trade Organization is also supposed to do its best to give all its members equal rights when it comes to negotiations and ensure that all of them have no objections when it is necessary to confirm the specific decision that can have global implications.
Nevertheless, it cannot be stated that it fulfills this function properly because it is supposed to be closely interconnected with the capitalist regime (Milton, 1962, p. 108). Griffin supposes a range of problems related to globalization, but he does not think that its very idea is harmful to human society (2003, p. 805). Instead, he believes that the assumptions of the people who prefer criticizing this organization’s main idea and claiming that it is unable to fulfill its functions properly are quite naïve because many things that it is accused of are not connected to its responsibilities at all. Therefore, it cannot be stated that he sees no problems within the organization; instead, he supposes that those people criticize everything that it does seem to exaggerate the facts and be pessimistic about economic globalization in general. There is a critical difference between the opinions of these two authors. Unlike Cohn, Griffin claims that the World Trade Organization and other organizations supporting globalization can make the world better and help the countries to establish more effective relationships.
What is more, many researchers claim that global governance and economic globalization are the most significant tendencies that can reduce the importance of boundaries and unite the countries. In Griffin’s opinion, there are additional measures that can be taken by the organization to improve its performance. Still, the primary cause of the criticism is connected to the present system’s inability to implement these changes. Therefore, it may be stated that the authors tend to see the situation and the importance of the World Trade Organization in different ways.
Speaking about the present situation with economic globalization, both authors were paying increased attention to the range of problems surrounding the World Trade Organization activity and how ordinary people and ones related to financial analytics perceive its work. Therefore, the authors touched upon different issues, but there was one common point in their works. Both Griffin and Cohn suppose that the present economic system and the range of special organizations established to simplify economic cooperation between different countries are not as effective as possible if people were able to develop a solution and manage certain “institutional weaknesses” (Griffin, 2003, p.805). In their opinion, one of the most critical problems with globalization and the World Trade Organization is connected to the fact that there are no particular institutions that would be able to meet the requirements of the economic system that keeps expanding.
As for the differences between the authors that are related to their opinions on the problems, Griffin also supposes that being critical towards World Trade Organization has become a kind of popular way to give a runaround; although some vital comments provided by modern experts can be taken into consideration, there are also a lot of cases when the organization is associated with the problems that bear no relation to its primary responsibilities. Thus, such topics include ethical issues interlinked with inappropriate labor practices and disputable standards. According to Cohn, the primary problem in the field is related to the World Trade Organization’s inability to fulfill its functions and ensure the equality of its members; thus, it can be said that its activity even contradicts the principles included in its constitution. The author lists a range of such contrarieties, for instance, failure to consider all members’ opinions, ensure equal rights, and simplify the process of decision-making. Therefore, it may be stated that Cohn is more critical towards the organization than Griffin.
Besides operating with facts and raising problems related to the organization’s activity, the authors discuss possible ways of how to address the challenges. These two researchers are focusing on issues that are closely interconnected with each other. As for Griffin’s opinion, he supposes that the most critical measures that should be taken to ameliorate the situation and improve the performance of the World Trade Organization are to be connected with changing the system of global governance that is “full of holes” (2003, p. 805). To be more precise, he supposes that it is necessary to stop relying on foreign aid programs and give pride of place to other systems that can help to provide developing countries with financial help.
What is more, he states that the universal community’s attention should be compelled to the development and implementation of newer rules that will make the institutions of global governance have more responsibility for their actions. Cohn’s point of view also supposes that increasing the level of responsibility would be a great measure. The majority of his statements are focused on the World Trade Organization’s inability to meet all the requirements imposed on global institutions. Therefore, he supposes that decision-making processes should be redefined, and more attention should be paid to meetings of representatives of its members. Also, he believes it to be essential to pay more attention to the importance of shared leadership and the concept of justice; to him, all the privileges of developed countries should be squeezed of existence. Apart from that, he claims that the United States and other developed countries should collaborate with poorer countries more effectively and stop urging other WTO members to make certain decisions.
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In the end, there are a lot of urgent problems related to the activity of the World Trade Organization and other institutions whose actions accelerate the process of economic globalization. Nevertheless, as it usually happens, different people cannot agree on the measures to manage the challenges. As for me, I suppose that Cohn’s statements are more substantiated because he tries to regard the situation from different points of view.
Cohn, T. H. (2007). The World Trade Organization and global governance. In neo-liberalism, state power and global governance, 201-215. New York, NY: Springer.
Griffin, K. (2003). Economic globalization and institutions of global governance. Development and Change, 34(5), 789-808.
Hunt, E. K. (2005). The normative foundations of social theory: An essay on the criteria defining social economics. Review of Social Economy, 63(3), 423-445.
Milton, F. (1962). Capitalism and freedom. London, UK: The University of Chicago Press.