Globalization is a tool that shapes our culture, politics, and economics. ??An enduring tenet of the post-Cold War era is that globalization can be a catalyst for democratization. In one formulation, when democratic ideals sweep (or even trickle) across borders into authoritarian states, globalization makes democratization inevitable.?? (Dalpino, 2001). One of the most argued argument about globalization is that it promotes democracy and help in creating more democratic states through various means and measures. Globalization lead to economic development which lead as well to the reduction of poverty and hence the rise of the middle class (Munk & Gills, 2002, p. 30). The middle class is the most important factor in determining the political decision making process in a state and they require more democratic processes to achieve their goals and demands. For example, Korea and Taiwan can play an important case that represents how the globalization process can promote more democratic ideals.
Globalization and economic development comes as an important package but what exactly is democracy and how can it be promoted through globalization. Democracy is based on electoral process, civil liberty, political participation, and a functioning government with apolitical culture (Improving democracy assistance, 2008). The concept of democracy defers from state to another and also the globalization affect on democracies comes at various different extents and in a variety of forms. For instance, even though the United States of America is one of the most democratic states the Economist Intelligence Unit Index of Democracy rank it as only 18th out of 165 states (Improving democracy assistance, 2008). Also, in modern states we can find full or flawed democracies, authoritarian or hybrid regimes but almost 50% of the states are democracies and more importantly is that states do not need to be rich in order to be democratic (Soe, 2007, p.198).
Democracy is accelerated through globalization by the most important tools of communication between states and the people. Trade, foreign investment, finance, migration, environment, and culture are the tools which help in promoting democracy by creating more integration. Trade always played an important role in lessening from the gap between the different social classes and made it easier for the population to share ideas, ideals, and information faster and better (Rossi, 2007, p.165). The globalization of trade and using trade as a tool to communicate with other states is rather important to democratic states and now we are able to buy products and services from all around the world as well as specialize in different types of jobs and in making transactions with people from around the globe. Foreign investment is also valuable and helps in introducing countries to different investors from different states. Other undemocratic states enjoy the democratic benefits of employment, technology, knowledge, and economic activity which even work on a fast rate by the participation of democratic multinational enterprises in poor or corrupt developing countries (Hassmann, 2010, p.162). International finance allows for more capital to flow into poorer countries as well as to rich countries and it creates more interdependence between democratic states with non democratic states. The more interdependence states have with one another, the more power globalization has to influence and promote democratic ideals that help in creating a sense of justice, equality, rights, and freedom and hence the promotion of democracy to the masses. Migration, and culture are also bridging boarders and are the main elements in globalization that have direct affect in introducing skill as well as knowledge of different rights, values, and more importantly democratic norms.
Globalization has a great impact on promoting democracies and perhaps the most available evidence will be based on the infusion of democratic values and human rights into the regional and international institutions. For instance, the EU requires democratic governments only to apply for membership and more importantly to promote the democratic values and norms through their foreign policy. Not only does the EU promote democracy but even the organization of American states, and the African Unity were they both try to adopt more human right codes into their conducts and constitutions (Hassmann, 2010, p.44). The globalization of transnational nongovernmental organizations helped in promoting democracy as well as in the protection of human rights. The growth of those TNGOs which originate in western democratic states helps in spreading more democratic values by strengthening human rights in authoritarian regions.
The influential effects of globalization are indirect but they are connected to politics and economics. Authoritarian governments are always in search for global benefits and through their acceptance of economic deals they are enforced to accept political costs that have more pressure for democracy. Globalization helps in promoting the democratic norms by the development of both the concept of human rights and trade between states (Purcell, 2007, p.197). There are two important factors that are both tools of globalization and democracy and they are dependent on the international trade liberalization and telecommunications which are known to be associated with the ideas of open markets and democracy. Technology or telecommunication is also a link between the open market and democracy and it plays an important role as a bridge that speed up the process of globalization. Globalization promotes democracy in two different terms were one would be short via the telecommunications either by states or people. The second would be the long term which focuses on improving the state??s economic conditions through the increase of international trade. The consequences of trade liberalization and creating free zones or open markets will eventually require the authoritarian or other regimes to adopt a broader approach that is based on democratic policies and values (Improving democracy assistance, 2008). The global markets have largely been controlled by western democratic states, but now there are more economic powers that are not democratic and if globalization promoted democracy wouldn??t the new super economic powers have more effect by promoting more undemocratic values and norms.
Democracy can be promoted through globalization but can globalization undermines the democratic norms and principles. Well, one clear argument would be going back to the idea of promoting democratic norms through international trade. The financial disasters, recessions, and important security issues and dilemmas are rising in democratic states in the west and east. Globalization is introducing new international dangerous problems to states and to the idea of sovereignty and it undermines the democratic norms by making them weak and vulnerable compared to other political regimes. Authoritarian regimes agree to economic reforms that they can control and are always aware of the different impacts that allow for greater improvement of technology, and economy. Globalization allows other regimes to have a better functioning economy when there are bad economic times and the democratic states would suffer more. For instance, the Asian economic crisis of 1997 showed that countries that had more democratic links with the west had suffered the most and that was a warning which showed that globalization is dangerous (Munk & Gills, 2002, p.68). Also, globalization sustained authoritarian regimes by strengthening nationalism and the reactions during the Asian economic crisis against democracy, especially in Thailand, increased widely and created tensions but other countries started to take advantage from nationalism by becoming anti-democratic and anti-globalization.
One of the most important impacts of globalization is on the political reform of states and it is one of the difficult impacts as well. Through the research, globalization had an evident role in improving the economic conditions as well as trade and lead to the creation of new middle classes that can have the power of increasing the pressure for democratic reform. Globalization is linked with democratic states either by trade, migration, policies, or TNCs and it does promote the democratic ideas based on human rights and protection of the environment (Bonanno & Constance, 2010, p.261). Even though there are many undermining effects of globalization to democracy, the general trends and characters of globalization are still associated with promoting democracy on both the long and short term.
Democracy comes at various forms and levels but the globalization process that we are being influenced by does promote the democratic ideals and norms and try to expand them into various political regimes. Globalization has many tools that hold democratic ideas such as the idea of free markets and international trade and they can show the impact globalization has in transforming regimes, especially in the long run, into regimes that value democracy.