Globalization is here to stay, said former World Bank official Michel
Bouchet during a Feb. 25 presentation at the Vanier Library.
Short of a systemic crisis, this process cannot be stopped. Its
irreversible, Bouchet said during his hour-long talk. However,
while there is no alternative to globalization, there are alternatives
to the values driving globalization.
Bouchet is currently the global finance chair at Frances CERAM Graduate
School of Management and Technology. Before the presentation, he said
his professional background has given him different perspectives on the
many issues surrounding globalization. Besides his experience at the World
Bank and in international banking, he has worked as a consultant helping
nations with debt restructuring and sustainable development.
Instead of trying to stop globalization in its tracks, Bouchet said the
key for those challenging the existing system is to fight to have values
such as fairness and equity embedded in the organizations driving globalization,
organizations such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World
Trade Organization (WTO).
I feel there is a new spirit emerging that believes the globalization
system can be challenged by civil society and various citizens groups,
Bouchet said, and challenging this system and its values is not
abstract, not outside of our reach.
Bouchet said he thinks bodies such as the IMF and WTO are becoming more
receptive to input, adding he has seen changes in the way these organizations
go about their business.
Ive seen signs of gradual openness, he said while answering
a question from the audience. These organizations are becoming more
transparent and more open to debate. Not long ago, for example,
Bouchet said details of IMF involvement around the world were difficult
to get hold of, whereas now, one can visit the IMF Web site and get details
on its activities in a particular country.
While Bouchets presentation concentrated on seven major problems
associated with globalization, he also pointed out that globalization
has benefited many by increasing incomes and standards of living.
The problem, however, is the benefits of globalization have been
spread unevenly, and this gap is widening, Bouchet said. This
gap has been widening, not because the poor are getting
poorer, but rather because the rich are getting richer.
Bouchet also discussed how globalization has weakened the role of the
state in many economic policy and development issues, as national governments
become subservient to institutions such as the IMF and WTO.
Bouchets presentation, called The Seven Capital Sins of Globalization,
was co-sponsored by Loyola International College.
The college, which opened its doors on the Loyola campus in September
2001, allows students to pursue degrees in arts or sciences while taking
special multidisciplinary courses that enable students to think about
their areas of study from a global perspective.
The speakers series, now in its second year, gives some balance
to the domains of inquiry pursued on the Loyola campus, said co-principal
Professor William Bukowski. The topics presented in the series are
also intended to help one develop a critical eye towards globalization
and pluralism in the world.
The next presentation in the Loyola International College speakers series
will take place next fall.