Inequalities in societies around the world are creating increasingly worse realities for people in every nation. Dr Narayan Gopalkrishnan gives insight into how closing the inequalities gap must start with addressing the effects of globalisation.
Globalisation is all around us, and it seems to be unstoppable. “Rapid advances in technology and infrastructure are enabling global flows of ideas, finances, media, products and people, and increasing connectivity across a range of stakeholders,” Narayan Gopalkrishnan says.
Modern technology has enabled marginalised groups to present their position on a world stage and to claim the media space they may have been denied earlier. As an example, indigenous peoples across the world are now able to connect with each other. They can work together to demand action on land rights, racism and discrimination.
The dark side of globalisation
However, according to Narayan, there is also a darker side to globalisation. Globalisation can be detrimental to the principles of social justice, such as the privatisation of public services, the deregulation of the corporate sector, and the lowering of income and corporate taxes that are paid for with cuts to public spending.
The liberalisation of agriculture is a practical example for this. According to Narayan, “it has led to the many small farmers having to leave their traditional business, and, in some cases, committing suicide because of their inability to provide for their families.”
Globalisation can also have an effect on public services. “The privatisation of nursing homes, social housing, childcare systems, and disability services have had extremely negative impacts, and people are increasingly falling through the gaps or suffering neglect in the process,” Narayan says.
“The privatisation of basic resources such as water and electricity have led to increasing burdens falling on the already stretched incomes of the poorer in society,” Narayan adds. “There are also significant aspects of neoliberal processes that impact adversely on the environment and on existing democratic institutions.”
What we can do to reduce inequality
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Those who move to create change can use globalisation by unifying themselves on a global scale. “Working towards a socially just society is a global endeavour,” Narayan says. “It goes beyond the nation-state and brings together all people in a globalised world.”
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