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The process that has come to be known as globalization .i.e., the progressively greater influence being exerted by worldwide economic, social and cultural processes over national or regional ones? is clearly leaving its mark on the world of today. This is not a new process. Its historical roots run deep. Yet the dramatic changes in terms of space and time being brought about by the communications and information revolution represent a qualitative break with the past. In the light of these changes, the countries of the region have requested the secretariat to focus the deliberations of the twenty-ninth session of ECLAC on the issue of globalization and development.

Globalization clearly opens up opportunities for development. We are all aware -and rightfully so- that national strategies should be designed to take advantage of the potential and meet the requirements associated with greater integration into the world economy. This process also, however, entails risks: risk generated by new sources of instability in trade flows and, especially, finance; the risk that countries unprepared for the formidable demands of competitiveness in today's world may be excluded from the process; and the risk of an exacerbation of the structural heterogeneity existing among social sectors and regions within countries whose linkages with the world economy are segmented and marginal in nature. Many of these risks are associated with two disturbing aspects of the globalization process. The first is the bias in the current form of market globalization created by the fact that the mobility of capital and the mobility of goods and services exist alongside severe restrictions on the mobility of labour. This is reflected in the asymmetric, incomplete nature of the international agenda that accompanies the globalization process. This agenda does not, for example, includelabour mobility. Nor does it include mechanisms for ensuring the global coherence of the central economies'...
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