Education in a Globalized Society

History has proven that despite wars and economic crisis, there are few pieces of evidence that the advance of globalization has led to unemployment in advanced industrial societies. Authors such as David Brooks and Thomas Friedmann argue that the globalization “is the primary process driving our acts.” At first, the phenomenon of globalization can be understood as a multidimensional trend, with each aspect; economic, educational,  military, cultural, technological, political and environmental, requiring particular attention.
The first manifestation against the risks of globalization was during the financial crisis in Mexico in 1982 that spread to other countries. Blaming globalization was a line more easily found. During the decades of the 70′s and 80′s, many economists believed that if countries kept their currencies linked to the U.S. dollar, they would be guaranteed a sure way to avoid instabilities caused by active financial markets. This act has proved a failure because was impossible to implement policies that would prevent domestic instability of the currencies. Authors like Martin Carnoy, the advance of globalization with its new technologies causes a destruction of countless jobs and is replacing the human being by the machine in a process called automation.
However, one of the paradoxes of modern society is to make the education system reduces the inequalities that affect social stratification and consequently social mobility in developed societies. The sociologist Emile Durkheim wrote in the 19th century that the education is a virtue. For him, education plays a crucial role in the modern society; giving people knowledge and skills they need to live their social roles. Therefore, the knowledge in modern societies would be the essential tool for the individual to fit the inevitable process of economic globalization and the increasing role of new technologies. It is not a good idea start here into the merit of the discussion involving many sociologists and economists and their opinions about what kind of knowledge would be ideal. There is no doubt that an open society is better able to perform that task and more equipped to absorb new knowledge and apply them more efficiently. The industrial countries of today are experiencing a period of high competition among them and are facing the dilemma of how to bring science and technology to society itself without losing sight of living in a stable globalized society.
The paths of globalization in industrial societies depend on the solution taken by themselves with the problems arising with the economic crisis of 2008/2009 whose consequences did not finish yet.  Initially, these problems were felt most keenly in peripheral economies such as Africa and parts of Latin America and currently Europe is the center of the “economic hurricane” added to the problem of migration. In the past, the Washington Consensus emphasized the necessity to implement effective measures so that these economies may reduce levels of poverty that have endured long-term and the building of mechanisms to block other global financial crises do not become so devastating. Richard Ford, an American professor of Law at Stanford University, whose article “Why the Poor Stay Poor” argues that the problem of global poverty today is deepening due to additional factors such as racism in the global marketplace. Many developed countries have not yet established effective measures to avoid the vast difference that exists between its citizens in the rapidly developing economies. Unfortunately, the problem trends worse considering the lower levels of economic growth in many countries. The U.S. President, Barack Obama has visited potential allies such as India, Brazil, Jamaica, Turkey, Philippines, and Malaysia hoping to improve United States relations and expand the American economic influence. The goal is to make India principally as a partner and leave China- a potential threat- more isolated and create economic ties.In a trust, the “China factor” tends to weaken rising economies such as Brazil, South Africa, and Russia because China still has a huge capacity for domestic production and more than 70% of the global economy depends on its products in heating markets. In summary, the economic conditions in these countries inclined to become even more problematic for those who are still marginalized groups such as poor and immigrants. This position is extremely clear, financial globalization has been a “substantial source of income inequality” and “has not contributed to strengthening the overall productivity and increasing employment”, according to the annual report of the International Labour Organization(ILO) released on  November 12, 2012. “Globalization failed to contribute to developing the overall productivity and job creation” but also “increased economic instability,” says ILO. American economic policy has done little to improve the standard of living of people earning just over $US 7 per hour. A survey conducted in 2009 by New York University found that approximately 37 million Americans are living below the poverty line. This corresponds to 12.6% of the population. The last time debt fell was in 2000 during the Clinton administration: the index was 11.3%. According to Professor Larry Aber, New York University, “companies are becoming more riches and families earning less and less”.
The economic model entered into the debate among members of the cinematographic industry. For example, the film “The International,” a thriller that has its hero an Interpol investigator seeking to unravel the intricacies of a conspiracy involving bankers and arms dealers to Africa countries. The villain of history is “the system”, international capitalism, where money circulates with impunity. Another example is the documentary “The Shock Doctrine”, based on a book written by Naomi Klein, a Canadian filmmaker, which shows how Neo-liberalism took a crisis to implement projects for financial deregulation and the transfer of money from the public to the private sector. Finally, a movie made by Canadian director Richard Brouillette called “L’encerclement,” which is a fierce critique of the neoliberal agenda, interviews a long line of intellectuals and critics of globalization activists. In summary, Brouillette sees great corporations and international financial organizations like World Bank and IMF(International Monetary Fund) a network of conspiracy in influential business and the concentration of wealth in few hands. Finally, how to deal with the problems created by globalization such as poverty and the high number of unemployed among immigrants and lower middle-class in Canada, Australia,  England, Brazil, Russia, South Africa, and Spain? Perhaps the best answer was already given by the economist John Maynard Keynes in the decade of 1930, when he claimed that the interference of the State in times of crisis would be capable of creating conditions to enable the initiative and creativity in free economies. We must fight for implementing a Human Rights agenda which is more consistent and rational. Just pay attention to the divergences between Barack Obama and former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper analyzed in the excellent article “Globalization 3.0″ written by John Ibbitson, quoted here. Ibbitson reminds us that the United States are worried about themselves, and the American tendency from now on is to participate effectively in this “war currency” with all the advantages possible not caring about the consequences that provoke in several economies. There are many divergences on the future that global economies will have. Experts like Kevin Carmichael, a Canadian journalist at The Globe and Mail newspaper, wrote an article called “The G-20′s Modest Task: Bringing Order Out of Global Chaos” in which the central point is: “The G-20 is a chaotic assembly that is still figuring out how to work together. The Bretton Woods negotiations amounted to economist John Keynes, representing Britain, trying to dislodge the United States from its initial position. No one country dominates today as the U.S. did after the war. Mr. Keynes was supremely frustrated by the Americans, but it is by no mean obvious that he would fare any better in today’s menagerie of competing for global interests.”(The Globe and Mail, Monday, November 8, 2010).
As much as authors like the theme of globalization, also believe in a human being as the “instrument” that could change the trajectory of this process that now appears to confuse and contradict. Everything depends on how the leaders understand the need for social reforms and to identify priorities and finally puts them into practice. Education became a central point to surpass contradictions provoked by an economic model in permanent crisis. First of all is mandatory to understand deeply how contemporary capitalism works in fact. Pedagogic reforms and educational practices strongly influenced by society, and educational institutions are in a complete collapse around the world.  High level of students evasion, violence inside the schools, lack of ability to promote a secure transition to school and the marketplace are persistent problems. The “new left”  attribute it to increasing levels of poverty, lower economic activity and the privatization of State in developed economies. Education is a field where political ideologies have been in action for dominating class.  Currently, education becomes more conservative in industrialized societies. This traditionalist group sees education as a consequence of morality and authority. The privatization of education institutions is their goal because it will facilitate a better way to put in practice ideologies related to tradition and religiosity. Countries like Canada and Australia worry social scientists and educators because the issue of multiculturalism in Canada for example, seems to function more as a barrier than as a process of integration. Here there is a definite trend of isolation by those immigrants who come from countries with little democratic tradition, and are significant in number. Conservatism represents here a secure harbor against libertarian ideologies in migratory destinies such as Canada, Australia, Brazil, and some European countries. Then democracy became an ideological concept instead economic.  That can create an enormous problem in a significant number of countries to build an active “agenda” in the future. There is no doubt that Canada, Australia, Brazil and some countries of Europe have substantial participation in the process of globalization. The new middle class and immigrants  need to know that their involvement in the political process  is an efficient way to produce a new type of globalization not only centered in the economic trend,  but a process in which the concept of citizenship is no longer just a concept, an abstract idea without practicality or just to help them to get a Canadian passport. In short, a “citizenship on account of globalization” in which education will serve as a guide for a better world.

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