Globalization there is an increased vulnerability and

Globalization there is an increased vulnerability and

Globalization is the increasing integration of world-economiesthrough the free flow of goods and services across national boundaries. Itcan be seen as the liberalization of global markets. Goods and services canbe defined as tangible and intangible, e.g. the agricultural sectorsupplying ground provisions can be classified as tangible and the tourismand banking sectors can be classed as intangible as they are serviceindustries. Commonwealth Caribbean states include: Anguilla, Antigua andBarbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands,Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Monsterrat, St.

Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St.Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and Turks and CaicosIslands.Limited natural resources, vulnerability to natural hazards andeconomic fragility are the characteristics with which CaribbeanCommonwealth states are endowed and which to a large extent determine ourability to compete in a global environment, that is constantly changing andwhere survival of the strongest is the name of the game.The doctrine of globalization has been a very real concern to thesecountries as it affects every aspect of Commonwealth Caribbean lifeincluding education, culture and tourism and entertainment. So real athreat that globalization is, that new policies have to be introduced inthe long-term to cope with the overwhelming negatives of this process. Letus look at some of the ways in which we can survive this process.

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A very crucial area to the Commonwealth Caribbean states thatglobalization is undoubtedly changing is that of economy. The integrationof the economies of these states’ into the world economy have provided somebenefits, however difficulties remain. Certain sectors and industries havedisappeared and there is an increased vulnerability and dependence on alimited number of markets. Added to that demands by International FinancialInstitutions (IFS’s), namely Moodys and Standard and Poors, have left manyof these states with very little room to adjust. These two IFI’s are basedin America and their role is to advise potential worldwide investors intheir capacity as rating agencies, whether they should invest in aparticular country.

One area of the economy that globalization has impacted is theagricultural sector, more specifically the sugar and banana, which are thelifeline of many small Eastern Commonwealth Caribbean states. These resultsrange from a lack of production and productivity, absence of economies ofscale of production, slow pace of crop diversification and continued use ofoutdated technology in the production process.With regards to sugar, one of the largest earners of foreign exchangein the Commonwealth Caribbean, the impact was not felt immediately as theindustry still enjoys the protection of preferential marketingarrangements.

These preferential marketing arrangements were agreed tounder the Sugar Protocol of Lome Convention and the US Sugar Quota. TheLome Convention is the result of an agreement between the African,Caribbean, Pacific (ACP) countries and the European Union signed in 1975,which gives special prices and privileges to agricultural imports from ACPcountries. However the Cotonou Accord, successor to the Lome Convention,stipulates that this will only last until 2008, after which the sugarindustry of the Commonwealth Caribbean will face the full impact ofglobalization. Economic globalization implies the expansion andintensification of international linkages in finance, trade and production.

While the Commonwealth Caribbean has forged alliances with her African andPacific counterparts, there is still a greater need for linkage and newstrategic policy implementation as preferential treatment nears its end.The banana industry, which is the mainstay of four Windward Islandseconomies and a significant contributor to the Gross Domestic Product ofJamaica, is under the most serious and immediate threat from the much-feared globalization and the World Trade Organization. The problems of thebanana industry are offset by high production costs and diseconomies ofscale. For example, the banana industry in Jamaica faces increasingpressure from globalization. So great is the pressure that the governmenthad to inject massive J$3.

6 billion to try to save the industry. Barbados’problems result from its lack of economies of scale. The United States ofAmerica further exacerbates these problems, already aggravated by thephenomenon of globalization. Economic globalization also implies increasedmobility of labour, constantly evolving technology and capital. The bananaindustry of the Commonwealth Caribbean has not made any real effort to seeknew and modern technology to increase efficiency and raise product standardto compete internationally. The industry has not constantly sought toeducate and entice young people to join the agriculture industry, as ameans of ensuring a steady labour force and that there is continuance ofavailable labour to effectively manage the crumbling sugar industry. Due tothese islands’ physical size, the amount of banana’s produced is anegligible figure, compared to the rest of the world.

Economic globalization further implies increased competition ininternational and domestic markets, and with that in mind, it is essentialthat farmers adopt strategic measures to increase efficiency andproductivity of the agricultural sector. In the interim, the implementationof policies by governments is crucial, some of which include:i) Both the private and public sectors need to collaborate toimprove the level of productivity and production to secure thesurvival of these infant industries. These two sectors mustcombine their resources to afford the industries’ theopportunity to thrive in this globalized economy. The privatesector has access to unlimited managerial expertise and capitalcoupled with the public sectors access to labour supply canensure that both the sugar and banana industries have anopportunity to expand and capitalise on the benefits that comewith globalization, as stipulated with one of the implicationsof economic globalization.ii) As stated previously, economic globalization implies anintensification of linkage in trade and as such governments needto promote and expand domestic markets, whether in their ownterritory or regionally as to ensure that there is a decreaseddependence on foreign markets.

This can create a positive dominoeffect as competition can be stimulated and thus growth of theeconomy is more likely determined.iii) The governments must amalgamate and implement new strategic andlong-term policies to guarantee that these industries, on whichmany depend, survive the doctrine of globalization. As 2008draws near, preferential treatment is coming to an end; hencethese industries will face the full onslaught of globalization.It is the execution of these strategic policies that will avertthe total destruction of the sugar and banana industry.iv) Farmers, both large and small, must seek to reduce productioncosts possibly with the use of new and modern technology.

Globalization guarantees constantly evolving technology,therefore to compete effectively with other farmers’ worldwide,through the provision of high-quality products and packaging,modern equipment is necessary. Globalization demands change and one such change is the shift in the economic model of Commonwealth Caribbean countries from a planned to that of a market economy. For the states to reap the benefits of this integration process, it is necessary, especially those in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean Sates (OECS), to understand globalization and position themselves strategically, while reducing any possible risks associated with this. It will become important that the ability to partake in global negotiations must be strengthened regionally so that all can fully adjust to the globalization process. More opportunities for investment in these states will be secured at these negotiations, whether at the World Trade Organization or European Union, as whole unit and not just part of.Another critical component to ensure that these states survive the doctrine of globalization is that of the implementation of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME). In 1989, a decision was taken by the CARICOM Heads to implement this vehicle as an effort to deepen the integration process among countries to give the region further ability to respond to the challenges and opportunities of globalization.

Full implementation is expected by 2005 and countries like Jamaica, Barbados and Cayman Islands are at a distinct advantage with regards to the execution of policies under the nine protocols agreed to under the CSME. These nine protocols are: Protocol I- Institutions and Structures Protocol II-Establishment, Services and Capital Protocol III-Industrial Policy Protocol IV-Trade Policy Protocol V-Agricultural Policy Protocol VI-Transport Policy Protocol VII-Disadvantaged Countries, Regions and Sectors Protocol VIII- Competition Policy, Consumer Protection and Dumping and Subsidiaries Protocol IX-Disputes SettlementWith regard to Protocol IV, this deals with the installation of phased reduction of the Common External Tariff (CET), which deals with the restriction of intra-regional produce. Protocol II provides for the right to provide services by any CARICOM national to any part of the community. Similarly, does this apply to the free movement of capital and right of establishment.

Protocol VI recognises the free movement of skilled and professional personnel as well as for contract workers on a seasonal or project basis.With particular relevance to the establishment of the CSME, are the following responsibilities: Single Market and Economy- Barbados External Negotiations-Jamaica Science and Technology- Grenada Services-Antigua and Barbuda Agriculture- Guyana Transport-Haiti Labour-Dominica Sustainable Development- Belize assisted by MonsterratMany businesses within these states are pondering the effects of globalization. Should they continue to focus on strong domestic products or expand operations overseas to head off international threat? Can they compete based on price, quality, volume and market size and even more importantly can they compete against international companies operating within their own jurisdiction?World economies are integrating at a rapid pace in turn affecting each firm in each sector of the economy of all Commonwealth Caribbean states. In today’s globalized world, locally based businesses must now reposition themselves to continue to cope with an ever-changing market environment and re-engineer themselves for the effects of globalization. In a market that is very competitive going global is not only a practical move; it may very well be the only option for companies to stay in business. In Barbados for example, companies such as Systems Consulting Limited have expanded their operations in the process providing services to the World Bank, European Commission, to name a few.For years the construction industry in Jamaica thought it was relatively safe from the doctrine of globalization.

The firms in this industry now have to compete with firms based in developed countries, particular from Europe, for building contracts in Jamaica. Commonwealth Caribbean formulated construction companies now have to ensure, more than ever, that they deliver top quality services in addition to maybe even becoming multinational co-operations. This is so as to compete effectively means securing markets overseas and not just within home territory.Small businesses are especially the most vulnerable to the overwhelming negatives of globalization. Due to their size and limited financial resources as well as capacity to compete with larger firms, they might have to find themselves closing down.

Working in an ever- expanding market place provides all with quite a challenge. To prepare for the challenge, organizations must employ and work towards internationally accepted standards. Providing business services in a global market place means that businesses must provide a high level of service, quality products and ensure a high level of satisfaction irrespective of geographical location.Globalization is a reality, an increasingly undeniable part of an ever- evolving world. There are many implications of globalization of which, most significant are:i) The need to adjust and transform the Commonwealth Caribbeanstates economies and institutions, so that integration in theglobal economy without reliance on preferences by 2008 canbecome a reality.ii) Businesses must become more competitive by focusing on localtalents and resources, to enable effective penetration intoglobal markets. By concentrating on local talents and resources,businesses can export personnel into foreign countries to studythe environment and then advise the respective company as whatproducts to produce.

Also, expatriots from other countries canadvise their companies as what market to concentrate on based onthe culture of that particular country. (These will be discussedlater throughout the essay.) As a region, the instrument for adjustment is the Caribbean Single Market and Economy.

This will enable countries, particularly those in the OECS with weak and vulnerable economies, to adjust at the same pace with larger Commonwealth Caribbean states. At the national level, the Jamaica New Trade Policy is crucial as it is the framework for negotiating and adjusting to the global trading environment. Also, the Jamaica Trade and Adjustment Team (JTAT), which is a policy established in 2001 and seeks to establish a Trade Adjustment Project that will assist the private sector to adjust to the new trading environment and enhance their competitiveness, as well as to build the capacity and strengthen institutional arrangements to improve the formulation and implementation of trade policies.As stated, globalization affects every aspect of Commonwealth Caribbean life and that includes education.

People are a country’s greatest asset and subsequently is the education of its people. The Commonwealth Caribbean has been known to produce people who are very educated and intelligent individuals who contribute to building a democratic and free society. The education system is of such high calibre, with a slew of tertiary education facilities including the University of West Indies Mona Campus, Cave Hill Campus and St. Augustine Campus, in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad respectively as well as the University of Guyana and St. Georges University in Grenada.

These universities forge alliances with well established international universities to ensure that modern teaching practises are learnt by locally based teachers in the Commonwealth Caribbean and relevant programmes are offered to meet the demands of the globalized world.In Jamaica, the government through the Ministry of Education, launched a massive billion-dollar initiative recently in junction with a Canadian University, whereby the island’s principals’ will be trained to modernise their management style so as to keep in line with the globalized world. Quite recently, the University of Technology forged an alliance with an American Ivy League university resulting in the creation of a new graduate programme in the information technology arena. As the global village becomes increasingly computerised, this creation comes at a time when it is most needed. Even corporate Jamaica is contributing to the development of quality education to respond to the challenges and opportunities posed by globalization.

The National Commercial Bank recently revealed plans to build a business university, where members of the public stand to benefit from training geared at enhancing and instilling modern business practises and also help in the integration process. This university, slated to be located in Kingston, will have lecture-based classes aiming to modernize the global business landscape.Regionally, there is the examining body, the Caribbean Examinations Council that provides academic qualifications to the Commonwealth Caribbean populace, through well-structured syllabuses and well- structured exams in a wide range of subjects. Globalization brings forth competition and in seeking to compete with the English-based Cambridge International Examining body, and its GCE A’ Levels, CXC created the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations. This branch of CXC offers a variety of subjects, providing advanced studies in areas such as information technology and foreign languages, the world is heavily influenced by.The doctrine of globalization does not only affect the education and the economy sectors’ of the Commonwealth Caribbean, it also affects the Tourism and Entertainment industry. The tourism sector is one of the most important segments to the economies of most of the Commonwealth Caribbean because of its invaluable assistance in easing the unemployment levels and contribution to the GDP of a country.

However tourism and entertainment is not immune to the phenomenon of globalization and it too is feeling the effects. These effects range from range from increased competition, not only within but also without the region, lack of assistance from government to aid in the proper development of the tourism product as well as stagnation in the diversity of the tourism package.Jamaica attracts a large number of tourists with its pristine beaches and varied and uniquely Jamaican food. However large hotels, due to current world events as well as globalization have not been able to sustain this. Other countries world-wide have a far better developed product than Jamaica and the rest of the Commonwealth Caribbean because they have the support of their governments’ they are able to sustain and expand it. Currently there is debate whether to legalise casino gambling in the hotels.

If one takes an objective look at this, then it shall become clear that will only boost tourist arrivals and put Jamaica and its hotel industry effectively competing in a seemingly shrinking global village. How else does one explain why countries such as Cayman Islands and Bahamas have such a developed tourism industry? The religious and social aspects are overshadowing the prospects of casinos. Not only can casino gambling ensure a greater arrival of tourists, but tourism stakeholders can use this platform to interest the tourists into enjoying other scenic and luxurious spots on the island that are not always given the spotlight.

The Jamaica Tourist Board must reposition itself to strategically sell Jamaica in not only a sea and sand setting, but also using the people as a selling mechanism to attract potential visitors to our island.Regionally, Commonwealth states in the OECS, which are totally dependent on agriculture to sustain them, must seek to develop and promote their islands as tourists’ attractions, so as to warrant a decreased dependence on agriculture, already under immense pressure from globalization. The Commonwealth OECS must pool their limited resources and effectively develop the tourism product, irrespective of geographical situation. Also at the regional level, and perhaps the most crucial way to sustain tourism is the implementation of the Sustainable Tourism Zone of the Caribbean (STCZ).

The STCZ was officially created by the signature of the Convention for Sustainable Tourism during the third summit of the Association of Caribbean States. The objective of this vehicle is to establish that the Zone is a geographically determined cultural, socio- economic and biologically rich and diverse unit. In which Tourism development will depend on sustainability and the principles of integration, co-operation and consensus, aimed at facilitating the integrated development of the Commonwealth Caribbean.The doctrine of globalization leaves no stone unturned in the Commonwealth Caribbean and it also affects the regions culture. Culture is like an identification card; it signifies who a person is and where they originate. Since globalization is an incorporation process, it has the ability to rob a regions culture replacing it with a more dominant one from a developed country.

The Commonwealth Caribbean is known to possess a very culturally diverse people and unique culture-based activities such as carnivals, jazz festivals and even the annual Reggae Sumfest.As stated, the only real way for the region to survive under this unrelenting doctrine is to integrate; hence to survive culturally we must integrate, while not loosing our separate identities, and seek to export this. Avenues of exporting this are through the Commonwealth Caribbean’s participation in beauty pageants, sporting activities such as the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games as well as through music.

The dancehall music has been successfully exported to every corner of the globe and the region, more so Jamaica, can use this as a means of exporting the island, hence the region on a global scale creating positive domino effects. Sporting activities such as the Olympics provide the perfect opportunity to export us and ensure our survival, as the region is known to produce athletes who continue to leave their imprints on the sporting world. Examples include Merlene Ottey and Herb McKinley from Jamaica, Ato Boldon from Trinidad and Tobago and Chandra Stirrup from the Bahamas.Gone are the days when developed countries gave “special” treatment to needy countries such as those in the Commonwealth Caribbean. Through the emergence of the unrelenting and unforgiving globalization, the scale is not tipped in favour of these states. No longer can the Commonwealth Caribbean sit on their laurels, living in an unreal utopian society.

The region is small; to survive we must be smart. Being smart means realising the many areas as stated above, in which we can survive. It means taking advantage of our multi-faceted cultural industry and using it as a means of securing investment to afford expansion of these states. Given this, the process of survival can begin.

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