The Impact of globalisation

Currently 37,000 companies, 70% of them based in either the USA, European Union or Japan, control one-third of the world's private assets [1].

In practical terms, this is what globalisation means. The economic and political power in the hands of these unelected and unaccountable trans-national corporations is immense.

The International Labour Organisation describes very graphically the world wide impact:

“The number of people unemployed worldwide remained at an historical high in 2006 despite strong global economic growth. Even though more people are working globally than ever before, the number of unemployed remained at an all time high of 195.2 million in 2006 or at a global rate of 6.3 per cent. This rate of unemployment rate was almost unchanged from the previous year. This confirmed the trend of the past several years in which robust economic growth has failed to translate into significant reductions in unemployment or poverty among those in work.

The pattern looks set to continue in 2007, with a forecast growth rate of 4.9 per cent likely to ensure that unemployment remains at about last year’s level. The persistence of joblessness at this rate is of concern, given that it will be difficult to sustain such strong economic growth indefinitely. Moreover, while the percentage of working poor in total employment declined in the past ten years, the number of working people living on US$2 a day has continued to grow in absolute numbers, reaching 1.37 billion in 2006. To make long-term inroads into unemployment and working poverty, it is essential that periods of strong growth be better used to generate more decent and productive jobs. Reducing unemployment and working poverty through creation of such jobs should be viewed as a precondition for sustained economic growth.” [2]

The crisis is most stark in what the western media call the 'less developed countries', really the neo-colonial world. Countries which have won their independence from the old Empires but which are still dominated by the major imperialist powers. Today 20% of world's children do not attend school and there are 250 million child labourers. Officially 840 million people, 20% of world's population, do not get enough to eat. [1]

The figures of those living on an income of less than US $1 a day are breathtaking. In south Asia 43% of the population, 515 million people, are under this level. In sub-Saharan Africa the numbers are 219 million and in Latin America 110 million, respectively 39% and 24% of these two continents' populations. Even in east Asia and Pacific, home of the 'Tiger economies', 446 million or 26%, have this low level of income. [1]

[1] Committee for a Workers International - [accessed 22/8/07]

[2] ILO Employment Trends - [accessed 22/8/07]