The rapid development of the revolution of information technology has brought about a tremendous new leap of social productive forces, as well as an historic opportunity for re-depicting the global economy.
In the 1990s, human beings have initiated a new industrial revolution characterized by the revolution of information technology and heralded the age for the accelerated development of economic globalization.
There is so far not a universally acknowledged accurate concept about economic globalization. Generally speaking, it refers to the objective trend featuring the transnational flow and allocation of production factors emerged along with the development of social productive forces. The mature market economy needs constantly expanding domestic and international markets, this exactly constitutes an objective basis for the emergence of the phenomenon of economic globalization.
Under the circumstance wherein the old international economic order dominated by developed Western countries has not been fundamentally changed, the direct cause of economic globalization, which has emerged against such a background, is the nature of unlimited added value and expansion of capital, therefore, it carries the nature of capitalism, however, economic globalization, characterized mainly by the market economy, is not tantamount to capitalism, because "the market economy is not tantamount to capitalism".
Actively participating in the process of economic globalization is not equal to accepting "Westernization" and entering a "trap". Economic globalization does not mean the "victory of capitalism", but rather it implies the deepening of the interrelationship and interdependence of the whole world.
Economic globalization involves both gains and losses and implies the coexistence of opportunities and challenges. Generally speaking, it brings both gains and losses, with gains outdoing losses, to the overwhelming majority of countries in the world. The benefits gained by developed nations are much greater than those of the developing countries, the least developed countries have not as yet gained any benefit from economic globalization, the developing countries should pursue the good and avoid the harm, seize the opportunity to promote development.
Economic globalization has become an irreversible objective trend and an unavoidable reality. Nowadays, no country isolated from the outside world can get development. Humanity needs to transcend the restraint imposed by different regions, cultures and concepts of value and allow the market, not ideology, to guide the development of the world economy and trade. To extricate themselves from poverty and accelerate economic development, the developing countries need to actively participate in the process of economic globalization, and pursue benefits and avoid detriments. Otherwise, they would face the danger of "marginalization".
Overall, economic globalization has provided developing countries with unprecedented development opportunities and brought conditions and chances for them to attract foreign capital and learn from advanced technology and management expertise; brought to them favorable external environment and conditions to make investment abroad; it has boosted the development of economic and technological development zones, bonded areas and free trade zones; promoted the readjustment and optimization of the industrial structure and the upgrading of the product mix; spurred the growth of developing countries' transnational corporations and the enhancement of their international competitiveness; and it has given an impetus to the development of developing countries' foreign trade.
In other words, if the countries can firmly grasp the opportunity for the revolution of information technology, it would be possible for them to combine industrialization and informationization and bring about an historic leap in social productive forces and social progress.
However, economic globalization has also exerted negative impact and influence on the developing countries. It has aggravated the imbalance of the world economic development, thus widening the gap of wealth between the developed and developing countries, and intensified the polarization between the rich and the poor within a developed or a developing country. According to statistics from the United Nations, there were 36 least developed countries 10 years ago, the figure rose to 42 five years ago and to 48 at present. Viewed from this angle, the process of economic globalization actually is a process of the continual concentration of wealth.
In this process, world development has become increasingly unbalanced; the per-capita GNP gap between the developed nations and developing countries has expanded from 43-fold in 1983 to over 60-fold at present; The developed countries, whose population accounts for only one-sixth of the world total, monopolize nearly 80 percent of global income.
The information technological gap between the developed and the developing countries, i.e., the "digital gulf", cannot but has aroused great attention. It is thus clear that the gain and loss occurred to the developing countries and the developed nations in the process of economic globalization have become an inequality of serious imbalance. On the one hand, economic globalization has made developed nations become increasingly wealthy; on the other hand, it has caused the least developed countries to face the danger of "marginalization", poor people there find it harder to eke out a living. In the past decade, the proportion of the income of the world's impoverished people to the global total has dropped from the original 2.3 percent to 1.4 percent.
Economic globalization has increased pressure and impact on the national industries of developing countries. For historical reasons, the developing countries' economic structure is fragile, their capital is scarce, technology backward and market growth immature. They are vulnerable to impact in the process of being merged into economic globalization, so they not only need private investment and technological aid from the developed nations, but all the more need the assistance of official capital.
In fact, the developed nations' official capital flowing into developing countries in the past 10 years has notably decreased. Many developed countries have failed to earnestly undertake their responsibilities, falling far short of fulfilling the internationally acknowledged target for aiding the developing countries.
The World Bank report "1999 Global Development Fund" shows that the amount of developed nations' official capital flowing into developing countries has fallen from approximately US$60 billion in 1990 to less than US$45 billion at present.
Financial globalization under the condition of economic globalization has, without doubt, accelerated the flow of international capital, it, however, has also increased the financial risk of the developing countries. Under the circumstance wherein the financial system is not perfect and financial control capability is not strong, if the developing countries blindly open their domestic financial market, the negative influence of financial globalization will stand out. The best illustration of this is the eruption of the Asian financial crisis in 1997.
The negative influences brought about by the tide of economic globalization obviously is not the development target of humanity. The developed nations should bear certain responsibility for the emergence of these consequences. In the world economic arena, the fact that the developed nations are both the participants in the play and the makers of regulations on the play determines that in the solutions of many international trade problems and the formulation of trade regulations, the voice of the poor developing countries is weak.
The 2000 UN Report on Human Development points out that the global economic decision was made in the world where economic strengths are extremely unequal. These words have brought out the "true meaning" with one remark. In the process of economic globalization, the few rich developed nations and the poor and backward developing countries are far apart in strength, but they are confronted with the same competitive rules, this has undoubtedly landed the developing countries in an unequal and passive position at the very beginning of participating in this process.
There is no need for reticence that in the process of economic globalization, the developing countries have contacted the world's advanced technologies and management methods, but this is obtained at the high price of their cheap labor and natural resources. Three years ago, the total annual wages of 22,000 Asian workers were not as much as the advertising fee for a noted public figure paid by the Nike Company of the United States. This situation has not as yet seen much improvement. At present, if this unfair and irrational old international order is not broken, the developed nations will continue to hold sway of the process of economic globalization, the developing countries will continue to act a supporting role.
The developed nations and the developing countries are living under the same blue sky, when one develops, one should also allow others to develop as well, so that every one can become the beneficiaries of economic globalization. The minority rich countries should not build up their affluence on the poverty of the majority poor countries. Otherwise, there will not be a world of peace, stability and prosperity to speak of.
The accelerated development of economic globalization indicates that mankind has entered a new era with peace and development as the main theme. But this development should not be gained at the expense of the developing countries' economic security and economic sovereignty, nor should it entail the consequence of creating more poverty and aggravating polarization featuring a widening gap between the rich and the poor.
Just as President Jiang Zemin has pointed out: We need an economic globalization of "common win" for various countries around the world; need an economic globalization featuring the equality among various countries of the world; and an economic globalization allowing the coexistence of all countries in the world. Only when a fair and reasonable international new economic order is established through the concerted effort of human beings, can they jointly triumph over the challenges emerged in the process of development and can they enjoy a brighter future.
(People’s Daily 12/18/2000)