This is an excellent collection of fourteen articles, written by specialists coming from different countries, various fields and having very diverse backgrounds: professors, diplomats, journalists, researchers, and UN officers.
With a preface by Saskia Sassen, suggestively called “In the penumbra of globalization”, introduction and conclusion by Jorge Heine (CIGI-Center for International Governance Innovation - distinguished fellow and chair of global governance at the Balsillie School of International Affairs) and Ramesh Thakur (Professor of International Relations in the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy, Australian National University and Adjunct Professor in the Institute of Ethics, Governance and Law at Griffith University), the book is divided into three parts, entitled “Domination and fragmentation”, “Challenges” and “Responses”, each comprising the different articles as follows: Part I: “Globalization, imperialism and violence” (William D. Coleman); “New state structures in South America” (Edgardo Lander); “The African connection” (Garth le Pere and Brendan Vickers); Part II: “Arms trafficking in West Africa” (Dorcas Ettang); “Organized crime in Southern Africa” (Charles Goredema); “Maoism in a globalizing India” (Ajay K. Mehra); “Globalization and South Asian insurgencies” (S. D. Muni); “Terrorism and political movement in Kashmir” (Rekha Chowdhary); “Jihad in the age of globalization” (Nasra Hassan); “Security challenges in a unipolar globalized world” (M. J. Akbar); Part III: “Regional integration as a response to globalization” (Luk Van Langenhove and Tiziana Scaramagli); “Civil society and trade protests in the Americas” (Marisa von Bülow); “Global production, local protest and the Uruguay River pulp mills project” (Ricardo A. Gutiérrez and Gustavo Almeira); “Actors and activities in the anti–human trafficking movement” (Kirsten Foot); “Conclusions: A bumpy ride to globalization, Google and jihad” (Jorge Heine and Ramesh Thakur).
The aim of this book is to focus attention on the so-called dark side of globalization represented by undesirable consequences caused by the globalization process. Considered as an inevitable and absolutely necessary process by some, or destructive and better to be avoided by others, globalization continues to create controversy and heated debate, as well as to attract the attention of scholars working in various fields.
Early in the 1980s, globalization was seen as a process that would create opportunities and lead to progress in numerous fields, as it could contribute to the spread and assimilation of new technologies and communication systems, as well as to internationalize business and to speed up the integration of capital and financial markets, favoring the rapid movement of goods and people, the growth of income and employment.
Unfortunately, these last years have shown the various unexpected and undesirable faces of globalization, such as higher risks, decline of income, rising unemployment rates, financial and economic crises. The strong integration of capital markets and business, the highly interdependent economies, all create a vicious circle in which the decline of one player may lead to another’s slowing-down or stopping - the recent Greek crisis is perhaps the most eloquent example in this respect.
Bringing to the fore the negative effects of globalization has been avoided for a long period of time, or even if they were identified they were ignored (deliberately or not). They are less visible, but extremely dangerous for the security and stability of the entire world through their diversity and ingenuity in exploiting the opportunities and benefits of globalization for their own purposes.
In an article published in Foreign Policy (2003: 29), Moisés Naím called “the illegal trade in drugs, arms, intellectual property, people and money” as “the five wars of globalization”. Together with terrorism, he added, these types of war will continue to represent a huge challenge to governments.
The present book, edited by Jorge Heine and Ramesh Thakur, comes as a demonstration of this statement, showing that even if these challenges are not entirely new phenomena in the world, the novelty is represented by the fast rate of their spread, the extent of their support networks and the sophisticated communication and technology that they use in their actions.
Described as ‘deviant globalization’ by Nils Gilman or as an ‘uncivil society’ by Kofi Annan all these negative outcomes of the globalization process can be very harmful and can affect, in the long term, the desirable consequences of globalization.
The book sheds light on all these dangers, trying to understand how they manifest, evolve and use the benefits of globalization in their own interest, as well as how they exploit the weaknesses of governments and international organizations. Various examples of global flows of illicit trafficking of goods, people, drugs, weapons, mineral resources, counterfeit products are given in the second part of the book. Arms trafficking in West Africa, organized crime in Southern Africa, insurgencies in South Asian countries, terrorism and political movement in Kashmir, militant Islamism, Jihad or Al Qaida, Iran nuclear activities, all are presented and analyzed exhaustively. The book shows how all these transnational non-state actors are adopting the new technology and communications systems, using them to spread their network across the world and to achieve their objectives at the expense of states and their citizens.
As shown, the beginning of the twenty-first century brought various changes to society and our world. Communication and technology have grown rapidly leading to an active movement of goods, people and capital across national borders. This movement reshaped social and economic relations both at the national and international level. Unfortunately, transnational criminal groups have made better use of these changes. As Moisés Naím remarked, crime becomes a global phenomenon “transforming the international system, upending the rules, creating new players, and reconfiguring power in international politics and economics.” (Naím 2005: 5)
How should humanity deal with these challenges? The book attempts to answer this question in the last part, in which the various responses to these new problems are examined. Regional integration, regional governance, the necessity of cooperation between civil society organizations (CSO) and national governments, the variety and importance of the roles of CSO in supporting and shaping “the conduct of all actors engaged” in global governance are just some of the possible answers to the problems that the international community is facing.
This is an extremely useful book for those who wish to understand globalization as a complex, double-faced process with desirable effects, but also with unexpected negative consequences that bring new challenges to humanity.