The world was once vast and unknown. Communication was once dreaded as messageswould take exceeded amounts of time from one point of destination to the next.Countries would not know of each others affairs for months because the worldwas large beyond anyones imagination. But as soon as technology reared itshead the world rapidly became smaller.
It modified everything within its grasp.Communication that once took months could now take seconds. Travelling abroadthat would have taken years now took hours. Every institution that fell intothis form of globalisation changed. It is obvious to see that governments havealso been effected by globalisation in such ways that they can either imitate orcontrast with each other. Yet a controversy exists about the issue on the effectof globalisation on governmental power. On one side of the argumentglobalisation is considered as a force that weakens the power of governmentwhereas others debate the contrary, claiming that there is no effect and powerremains constant. Still both arguments fail because of the extremity that theyimpose.
A better argument would be that globalisation does effect governmentpower, not to the point of weakening, but ensuring that no abuse of power occursunknowingly. Globalisation is simply a tool that enables the actions ofgovernments to be monitored by other countries and world organisations. Withcomparison of Australian and Canadian environmental policy, it will be clearthat actions taken by the government have been influenced (not controlled) byglobalisation.
The idea of the world becoming a small interactive village iswhat many would consider the effect of globalisation. Boundaries are no longeran issue and can be crossed with an easy click of the mouse. But globalisationis far from being a new concept that came along with technology. It has existedsince humans have had curiosity. The exploring of new lands, the discovery ofnew peoples and nations, to the fascination of natures physical features,people have been in the process of globalisation for centuries. Technology hadsimply allowed globalisation to progress a little more rapidly than what it hadaccomplished in the past.
Although it seems that globalisation brings promise ofa unified Utopian society this is far from becoming the truth. Todays worldis based on the market. The selling of goods and services to the consumer togain profit. Therefore globalisation has become the expansion of the marketplace with greater opportunities for production and trade in new locations.
1Relations are established between nations, not for the mere satisfaction ofpeace, but for the insurance that a trading partner exists where profit can begained. This motivation from profit leads to the element of the manufacturingprocess. In order to achieve maximum profit corporations need to spend less inproducing a product. They go about this through means of cheap energy fuel(usually fossil fuels like coal), low labour wages, and cutting costs in wastedisposal. For an exceeded amount of time corporations have been able to escapethe clutches of the law because it was seen that damage to the environment was asmall price to pay in exchange for high profits.
For instance abuse to theCanadian forests in the past two centuries has led to a large proportion of itbeing cut, 8 000 kilometres long and hundreds of kilometres wide.2 When largedamage has been inflicted only then will peoples concerns be aroused.Governments then needed to intervene, to steer corporations from inflictinganymore damage to resources and environment.
Canadian government had only madeenvironmental policy a main concern since 1985. It was in the Ontario provincialelection where pollution was made a significant issue. This was the first timeever that the issue of pollution was made a priority.
Ever since the topic ofconcern for pollution has been maintained by both provincial and federalinstitutions.3 Australia on the other hand began its involvement on the issue in1980. It was in this year that the World Conservation Strategy was published andthe country took it upon itself to formulate a similar document that would helpenforce the idea of sustainable environment throughout the nation.4 Althoughgovernment intervention seems to guarantee some progress towards sustainabilitythe idea of globalisation alters the desired effects. World trade allows thecheapest producer to gain maximum profits. Competition for profits is thenalways present. In order for competition to exist all producers must somehowkeep product costs low while maintaining or increasing product output. Iflegislation is passed within a country that holds a corporation responsible fordestruction to the environment by means of their waste, corporations can stilloutrun any consequences from their actions.
It is difficult to prosecuteinstitutions because they are essential.5 They provide jobs, goods and services,and distribute money towards many organisations. The industry allows economy toprosper as well as many citizens that partake in the production and consumptionof the goods. The destruction of the environment is seen as irrelevant to thebenefits of cash profit that the industry brings.
What corporations fail toobserve is the future outlook. The concern is only on maximum exploitation formaximum gain. No corporation has interest in conservation because of thementality of whatever is left by a corporation will simply be used by acompetitor.6 Yet the immediate gains will not always be present because sooneror later resources will be exhausted and there will then be a failure toproduce, soon followed by a collapse within the industry production and profit.Sustainability will ensure that resources can be reserved as well as allowingtime for some replenishment. It is for this reason that governments have decidedto be involved, for a fall in industry would lead to a fall in the economy andthe welfare of the state.
Canada and Australia share the same vision when itcomes to sustainability. Both understand that environmental policy is essentialto maintain a prosperous nation. There has been a similar vision on the purposeof developing environmental policy.
The development is to allow (i) multipletimes scales in which the present is considered as well as the near and fartherfuture; (ii) effect on various dimensions of social life where economy,environment, and social equity are viewed as equal; and (iii) diverse social andecological scales where region and locality are a concern as well as the globalnation.7 All three aspects are to produce an ecologically balanced society, withstable institutions designed to assure equilibrium within tolerances that thenatural environment can support.8 This is much easier said than done.
The eventof there being total agreement is never achieved and compromising always leadsto one or all parties involved to be unsatisfied. In order to satisfy governmentpolicy, as well as avoid negative outbreaks by environmental consciencecitizens, corporations need to follow the specified guidelines of environmentalsustainability. Institutions then need to pay much more attention and efforttowards waste elimination and treatment. This costs a substantial amount ofmoney.
Two options are to either increase product prices or cut spending onother operations within the process. Increasing prices would allow costs to becovered and avoid in any profit loss experienced by the corporation but highprices could cause for decrease in profit for it causes a decrease in profits bythe lower prices This again is a of current competitors. This is the reason whythe second option is more favourable. Cutting costs in the operation allows forthe same amount to be spent on production and in some instances even less. Mostpopular method of cutting is within the removal of management layers. Byeliminating certain amounts of staff and replacing them with computers andautomation manufacturing processes companies can then compete in the worldmarket.9 This occurs mostly in wealthy nations such as Canada, Australia,England, and the United States.
Since poor nations have no strict policies onlabour leading to low wage structures, production by corporations within thesenations can produce product cheaply and sell at an admirably low price.10 Sincewealthy nations have high labour costs, expensive social programs, and a highdegree of foreign investment, in order to compete in the world market theychoose to employ less.11 It seems to be a simple enough tactic but othercorporations have been so used to a certain process of production that insteadof changing their methods they would rather relocate to poorer nations in whichthey could keep profits or exceed them tenfold. Globalisation leads to thereallocation of corporations. In less hostile environments, these corporateconglomerates can destroy and manipulate the environment to their pleasing andwill not be accused for they supply many jobs in a poor nation that needs incometo fuel its economy. This global mobility allows corporations to escapeenvironmental policy. The acceleration of jobless growth in poor nations leadsto unemployment, creating pressures that allow economic activity that isdestructive as well as it undermines efforts of mitigation, planning, andregulatory enforcement.12 Environmental policy with absence of enforcement leadsto the lack of interest in enforcement.
The NAFTA agreement, the elimination oftariffs among trading countries, between the United States, Canada, and thedeveloping Mexico is a good example of how businesses escape strict policy.Because of Mexicos low wage enforcement and anti-union government,environmental policy falls prey to lower standards and enforcement.13 The nationreally does feel opposed to the destruction but if they fail to allow industriesto do so they will lose business to global mobility. The problem is does not lieon government passing legislation for policies have been made. The problem lieswithin the amount of enforcement that is dedicated on ensuring that the policiesare practised to the full extent. Not every country has the same view whenenforcement of policy is the issue. Some nations are better off than others soit is easier for them to proceed with strict enforcement but Third Worldcountries, in order to compete in the world market, are more lenient because ofthe need to better establish a prosperous economy.
This is a main concern amongmany because the problem is never fully solved but simply reallocated. This iswhen international policy becomes a suggested solution. Governments need tostrike a common chord with each other when it comes to environmentalsustainability. It needs to be seen that if restrictions are present andenforced equally throughout all nations then the concept of conservation will bespread throughout globally. In order for this to succeed a new flow of financingand technology for environmental conservation needs to be achieved.
14 ThirdWorld nations would also not feel the pressure to exploit for maximum profit ifdebts were alleviated and industrial countries initiated programs to provideaccess to technical assistance, training technology transfer, and planninggrants to increase their capacity to manage environmental and energychallenges.15 Through this method it would allow nations to stand on equalground and be able to maintain a harmony between nature and industry. This is afantasy to be achieved for the motive of wealth is always the motivation thatleads to the neglecting of policies. The proposal of a world government is anidea that could ensure that a universal policy be followed by all countries andensure that enforcement be weighted equally among all nations.
A worldgovernment generates both relief and fear when it boils down to policy making.The relief comes that all nations are treated equally and must follow all lawsthat have been passed by this supreme institution. Yet, not all nations areequal even though the idea of it sounds appealing. Some nations are better offthan others are so it is difficult for everyone to participate fully when somenations can achieve goals easier than others can. The main fear springs from theidea of losing identity and power.
A single government representing the world ofmany different cultures and beliefs is very hard to imagine. Minorities mightfeel threatened in that they have no legitimate say in the outcomes of producinglegislation. This in turn leads to the representation of governments incountries. They would feel threatened in the sense that they truly have no powersince the world government would be the one in control of matters of allcountries globally. So, what needs to be done is not the production of a worldgovernment but an alliance between world organisations and existing governments.Globalisation through this method does not infringe on the power of governmentbut allows for compromise to occur and for then to understand the need for aunified co-operation to maintain the environment and resources for futureenjoyment and use.
In Australia for instance, the Confederation of AustralianIndustry and the Australian Conservation Foundation, along side with a number ofstate governments, agreed to endorse the National Conservation Strategy forAustralia in 1986.16 This promoted the need to save the environment andecological beauty of Australia for there was a realisation that damage to theenvironment would lead to damage to the economy. The concern was in tourism.
Thenatural environment is a critically important part of tourism and isincreasingly being recognised as such through the term Ecotourism.17Through globalisation and government assistance it is possible to see theimportance of conservation which in turn would set precedence for othercountries to follow. This was the main intention by the Australian TourismIndustry Association who argued that tourism can and does (i) enhanceenvironmental appreciation by changing peoples attitudes; (ii) act as ajustification for environmental conservation; (iii) enhance environmentalmanagement for conservation; and (iv) enrich the social and cultural environmentof the Australian community.18 A global government may have a unilateralauthority and may think broadly but it can not possibly reach out toeveryones interests in the decision making.19 Mutual adjustment is the bestmethod to solving the environmental problem by the use of global co-ordination.When this occurs it produces policies and plans that take account many positionsthat exist.
A countrys own government needs to be aware of the essentialneeds of its people and must respond to the concerns of various authorities ofenergy, roads and highways, land use, city planning, air and rail transport, andindustrial policy.20 These needs then need to co-relate with those needspresented by organisations that stand for the protection of the planetsresources and environment. Governments have not lost power but need to re-learnhow to distribute their influence. Both the federal and provincial governments,at least in Canada, hold the distribution of authority over environmentalpolicy.
The municipal governments still participate even though they have beengiven no authority over the matter.21 But the majority of the work is achievedby organisations that press governments for swifter actions towards policymaking. In Canada, the Greenpeace group, located in Vancouver and Toronto, had arevenue of 7.
4 million dollars without government or corporal aid from 1987 to1990.22 The source of revenue came from concerned individuals within the countrywho see the needed value of conserving the planet. In response, politicalparties must address these issues to ensure that the public receives the resultsthat they desire. When the creation of the National Conservation Strategy inAustralia took place both the Fraser Liberal government and the Hawke Labourgovernment played an important role in the structure that the policy wascomprised of.23 Through globalisation the world can look upon itself and seethat there are better methods of approaching problems. Profit can not constantlyexist if there is no planet to work from. The governments see this and pressureeach other to abide by a universal understanding that there is a great need forsustainability.
Powers are not decreased or removed but simply placed into adifferent context where instead of the individual gain the overall gain shouldhave more precedence. Both Canada and Australia have set example that industryand environment can exist together and it is the governments duty to ensure thatguidelines are set to allow enforcement take place. Globalisation can helpenvironmental policy only if other countries have full understanding of thebenefits and participate with means of improvement. The poorer nations need tobe guided by the wealthy to prevent any further destruction on the remainingresources that the planet contains.
Global understanding and consensus willallow for countries to maintain their distinctiveness but allow for one commontrait to exist, a total appreciation of the shared home we call earth. Bibliography1. Melody Hessing and Michael Howlett, Canadian Natural Resource andEnvironmental Policy: Political Economy and Public Policy (University of BritishColumbia Press, 1997), 243.
2. Robert Paehlke, Green Politics and the Rise ofthe Environmental Movement, edited. Thomas Fleming, The Environment andCanadian Society (International Thomas Publishing, 1997), 270. 3. DougMacdonald, The Politics of Pollution (McClelland & Stewart Inc.
, 1991), 56.4. D. McEachern, Environmental Policy in Australia 1981-91: A Form ofCorporatism?, Australian Journal of Public Administration Vol.
52 No. 2, June1993, 175. 5. Robert Paehlke, 270.
6. James Meadowcraft, Planning forSustainable Development: What can be Learned From the Critics, edited.Michael Kenning and James Meadowcraft, Planning Sustainability (Routledge,1999), 25.
7. Ibid., 35. 8. Ibid. 9. Robert Paehlke, 271. 10.
Ibid. 11. MelodyHessing, 243.
12. Robert Paehlke, 270. 13. Ibid.
14. James Gustave Speth,International Policies Will Conserve Global Resources, edited. MatthewPolesetsky, Global Resources: Opposing Viewpoints (Greenhaven Press, Inc.
,1991), 239. 15. Ibid., 240. 16. D.
McEachern, 175. 17. Richard Bramley, TheManagement of Natural Tourism Resources, edited. Richard Cordew, AustralianPlanner Vol.
31-32 1993-95 (Royal Australian Planning Institute, 1995), 40. 18.Ibid. 19. Charles E. Lindblom, A Century of Planning, edited. MichaelKenny and James Meadowcraft, Planning Sustainability (Routledge, 1999), 62. 20.
Ibid., 63. 21. Doug Macdonald, 51. 22.
Ibid., 44. 23. D. McEachern, 181.Bibliography Bramley, Richard. The Management of Natural TourismResources. Edited by Richard Cordew.
Australian Planner Vol. 31-32 1993-95:(40-44). Royal Australian Planning Institute, 1995.
Hessing, Melody and MichaelHowlett. Canadian Natural Resource and Environmental Policy: Political Economyand Public Policy. University of British Columbia Press, 1997. Lindblom, CharlesE.
A Century of Planning. Edited by Michael Kenny and James Meadowcraft.Planning Sustainability. Routledge, 1999. Macdonald, Doug.
The Politics ofPollution. McClelland & Stewart Inc., 1991. McEachern, D.
EnvironmentalPolicy in Australia 1981-91: A Form of Corporatism?, Australian Journal ofPublic Administration Vol. 52 No. 2: (173-185).
1993. Meadowcraft, James.Planning for Sustainable Development: What can be Learned From theCritics. Edited by Michael Kenning and James Meadowcraft. PlanningSustainability. Routledge, 1999. Paehlke, Robert.
Green Politics and the Riseof the Environmental Movement. Edited by Thomas Fleming. The Environment andCanadian Society.Government