Globalization and development

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Globalization and development entail change in both economic and cultural processes. This essay demonstrates the uses of political ecology as a theoretical framework, illustrates reforms from greater development, and clarifies the effects of migration and tourism. Conclusively you will learn the impacts of globalization and development on the people of Mexico and Central America.

Globalization is such a controversial topic. Globalization is the constant flow of people and goods; it is the rise in technology and resources across national boundaries. As said by Anthony Giddens (1990) “The intensification of world-wide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa.” Globalization is a network system that integrates cultures worldwide; constant change that seems to be coarsely inevitable. The hunger of globalization is the need constantly expanding markets for products and consumer satisfaction.

The main goal is to move the people away from subsistence. The way to do through the production of Non-Traditional Agricultural Exports (NTAEs), the point is to assimilate the people to the global economy and integrate them into the global economy, allowing them to ‘catch-up'. The NTAE reform is being promoted as a way to relieve poverty. These programs get adopted, but the expenses for successful productions most ultimately fail and have increased small-farmer debt resulting in total lost of land to aa more wealthy buyer. “There is evidence that NTAEs have tended to undermine small farmers' economic position, drawing them into increased debt and sometimes leading to significant land concentration.” (Conroy 1996) Often the person selling the land will later come to work for the land buyer. Under the NTAE reform land becomes private owned and more exclusive in access.

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On the other hand, Common property regime (CPR) claims to protect the core resources. CPR can be stratified into four different levels of access to resources. Open access has no exclusion to resources, but in many case this can lead to degradation of the supply. Private property is individual ownership and allows exclusion of other. Communal property generally allows access to a specific group and excludes others through control of membership access. Lastly, state property is administered by the state. Resources on state property are often managed and run like joint-stock corporations, with control over the shares.

Hardin's Tragedy of the Commons, scrutinizes a greed factor found in sheep herders using communal property, self-interest becomes a priority over the community. This behavior has been observed in communal pastures, when an individual herder is allowed to purchase many sheep and let them graze on the communal property. In turn the herders will purchase more and more live stock and utilize the communal property, but consequently the herders lose from degradation of the grazing area. Ultimately, self-interest leads to the over-exploitation and soon the property collapses. McCay & Acheson (1987), Feeny (1990), and Berkes (1992) completely disagree with Hardin. These anthropologists argue that Hardin's Tragedy of the Commons (1968) does not represent a real community. Communities are able to cooperate to solve common property problems, and there is no such thing as dialogue among the herders; furthermore people will not utilize an area to the brink of collapse. McCay & Acheson (1987) point out that communal access systems are being eroded by external pressures such as forces of globalization and migration. On the same wave length, Berkes mentions that communities can use CPR without overexploitation because they set up rules within the social structure that regulates access.

In matters of open access, no cooperation occurs until the population realizes the cooperation will protect group interest. (Berkes 1992) Marine resources are usually open access. Marine resources are highly perishable; however, integration is highly expensive. On a local level a resource used solely for local consumption often removes pressure that necessitate rules, but on a larger scale industries resist rules because resources seem inexhaustible. When the community engages in CPRs with rules and regulations, it's because an area without CPRs and ulimited resources can lead to the vulnerability to overuse.

Political ecology is a framework for understanding processes and relationships between local production, overuse, and global exportation and globalization pressures. Resource problems are not confined to local level. Regional and global consumers proide the interest and create demands, which sequentially create pressures for local producers. Demand can dictate what is produced and how much is produced. Local producers forcibly must move from subsistence to exportation. This adjustment generates the complicated connection between the multiple scales of local, regional, and global levels. “This pattern favors the short-term benefits obtained from income revenues instead of long-term goals of coastal and marine ecosystems conservation and support for the livelihood of the rural population.” (Cruz-Torrez 1999)

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On a large industrial scale of globalization in the aspect of political ecology, resources are being exhausted in Central America and affect the ecosystems. For example, the lobster “may embody conflicting aspects of environmental conservation, international trade, and human rights for indigenous peoples. As small-scale societies are increasingly incorporated into the global market system, market participation can produce unexpected local effects by shifting the ecological impact of subsistence and market-related activities.” (Dobbs 1998) Lobster is exported to global market not for domestic consumption. It's culturally constructed to be a luxury food, elite commodity for special occasions. The indigenous communities are suffering from deforestation, studies blames wealthy business elites and migrant peasant farmers.

Globalization is tied with migration. Migration patterns are the result of several hopeful forces, including wage differentials, job and social networks among Mexican immigrants in the United States, U.S. farm subsidies, etc.

Guest speaker, Dr. Carmen Flores explained that many Mexicans migrate to the U.S. for the reasons previous listed. In more detail Dr. Flores pointed out that Mexico is the leading country of origin for U.S. immigrants. Some settle permanently and some engage in circular migration. Circular migration is when immigrates move into the U.S. on a seasonal pattern, those who desire to move northbound move in the summer and spring and southbound in fall and winter. Harvest seasons used to be the primary reason for crossing, but increased enforcement in the 1990's made crossing more permanent, as getting back across is awfully difficult.

Illegal migration began to rise at the end of the Braced Program (1942-1964), a program which allowed farm laborers from Mexico to work in the U.S. in agriculture on a temporary basis. Laborers were required to return to Mexico after their contracts expired.

Is migration ‘good' or ‘bad' in accordance to development potential? ‘good' if migration serves as an impulse to development, ‘bad' if it does not (Binford 2003) The media attempts to claim that immigrants do not pay taxes or use public resources. Perhaps the U.S. is missing out on advantages, “Restructured US capitalism needs new generations of undocumented migrants to occupy slots at the bottom of the economic food chain as subcontracted labor power to agricultural, construction, textile and office cleaning firms (Durand, 1998: 66-8) or, alternatively, as service providers (domestics, nannies, gardeners, car wash attendants, grocery workers, flower vendors) who ‘enable' - the term is from David Reiff (1991) - the comfortable lifestyles of economically accommodated classes.” (Binford 2003) Because of the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) the government makes a tax deduction from your paycheck, provided you have a social security number to rep benefits, amounting in a tax return. With 250 million people crossing per year, plus a 6.2% tax of gross compensation, the U.S. and Mexico may profit simultaneously. When a Mexican family or member of the family can establish a job in the U.S. thus they can send support to their family member residing in Mexico.

President Carlos Salinas served as Mexico's President from December 1, 1988 to November 30, 1994. President Salinas pushed for neoliberal reform, following the footsteps of Migueal Madrid (1982-1988), and concluded his term with the adoption of the North American Free Trade Agreement. President Salinas wanted to ‘modernize' agriculture, but first he would push for the removal of ejidos, promotion of communal land share. Communal lands were not for sale, but rather for rent to private individuals. Fortunate private, foreign investment lead to the nationalization of PEMEX (an oil company) and ejidos, which led back towards a neoliberal policy, call attention to productivity in terms of the global scale. President Salinas ratified reforms that allowed ejidos to become more privatized in 1992, then in 1994 NAFTA goes into effect, urban centers start to become more populated and rural land became marginalized and sculpted the idea of ‘poverty'. The measurements of seeing Mexico as a modern performer are based on the 1988 to 1994 economic growth, which lead to a crash in the currency, a break down in the peso.

January 1, 1994 Zapatistas come forward the day NAFTA is signed, to fight for Agrarian reforms and redistribution of land. Ejercito Zapatista De Liberacion Nacional seizes several towns and attacked Mexican army defense forces so that the Mexican government knew the battle was a serious matter. After the initial ‘attack' they retreat and become more mom-violent. Zapatistas did not need violence to illustrate their proposals, they used political manipulation. Zapatistas managed voice their issues through the media, sending there message across national and international boarders. They gained support from the Mexican population, and drew support and pressure from the international audience. This type of exposure backed the Mexican government in a corner for negotiations. This is a prime example of how globalization can undermine the indigenous communities.

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Different people are acquiring greater awareness and knowledge of other cultures. Globalization is all about exposure, the information is not always factual, but through the widespread circulation of culture information the transmission relies on the spread of technological innovation and tourism. Indigenous peoples now use internet as a tool for communicating with other indigenous groups. Traveling is a means through communication takes place, mainly by North American and European citizens. Holidays provide exposure to rural places, people, products, etc. The interaction between the tourist and indigenous has a huge impact on how each group views the other. In all, it's a fundamentally unbalanced power relationship, with unequal access to capital and wealth.

Nations are turning to tourism as a course of development. Tourism brings in new jobs and money to the state and local businesses. Most tourist vacation to another country to absorb the history and customs of that culture, but some of the large tourist attractions in Mexico like Cancun and Quintana Roo have elaborate the culture aspect and shoot more for public entertainment and satisfaction.

Mundo Maya (Maya World) tourism promotional materials prominently feature female Maya vendors because they are the Mayas most visible and accessible to outsiders. However, these vendors do not directly reap the benefits of monetary or institutional aid.Instead, they have learned to use the ways in which they are represented by tourism promotions for economic gain. Their experience reflects the contradictions between representation and agency in an expanding economic system that is increasingly commoditizing cultural practices generated by women. (Little 2008)

     These women do not wear their Maya customs outside of the tourist world, but because this is what the tourist are expecting to see, the Maya women put on the show to fit the ideal depiction, these women make adjustments to fit their identity.

Globalization is a movement to create some sort of balance in the world so that everybody can profit and prosper from each other. Globalization is not ideal because the small scale producers fall through the cracks of this movement and ultimately are excluded from advancement. You must have the money and the goods at hand to put forth a successful business. Under globalization and modernization, there is an emphasis on ‘development'; the term is normalized in our culture. Development is generally seen in terms of improvement often seen as invasive, at least to westerners. Yet, globalization is an inevitable force transforming national and international value (i.e. goods, currency, technology, etc)