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How Globalization Has Reduced State Sovereignty

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Essay title: How Globalization Has Reduced State Sovereignty

How Globalization has reduced state sovereignty

Globalization is associated with the rising power of a mass of nonstate or suprastate entities (O'Neil 253), and as the entities accumulate their power, they tend to take power from sovereign states in zero-sum fashion. Some of this loss of power, or sovereignty is deliberate: many states have ceded authority to Intergovernmental Organizations, such as the World Trade Organization, to gain a benefit or help protect themselves from threats.

As countries gain membership in various international institutions, states are becoming more and more bound to the rules and policies of the institutions. As a result, countries are less able to act independently even on domestic issues within their own territory. President Bush is known for his propensity to act unilaterally on many issues despite opposing international views, but even he has accepted a WTO ruling that infringed on US sovereignty. According to Tim Wu, Professor at Columbia Law School, "in his tenure as U.S. president, George W. Bush has obeyed exactly one international court decision: a WTO ruling that shot down his protections for American steel." The WTO has struck down European Bans of hormone fed beef and has the authority to scrutinize the US ban on marijuana as it could be viewed as an arbitrary barrier to free trade. (Preceding examples from Wu article).

The WTO holds power over countries because of its ability to levy sanctions and hurt countries financially. It is not only IGOs that have the increased ability to impact the sovereignty of a country from globalization; multinational corporations also are able to leverage their monetary might to set policies and procedures in otherwise sovereign countries. New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman refers to this as these MNCs as the financial herd. Typically, capital is moved to countries that offer free markets and political transparency, and out countries lacking those qualities. Countries that wish to benefit from the influx of capital must don a "golden straitjacket" (quoted in O'Neil 256). The countries must agree to open up their economies (sometimes to their own peril) and typically allow for more transparency in government.

The "straitjacket" also impacts the sovereignty of states by constraining the tendencies toward violent conflict. Friedman's "golden arches theory," is the observation that no two countries with McDonald's had ever gone to war against each other. Globalization often makes it much too costly to consider going to war because it will "undermine vital international connections" (O' Neil 256) that keep the global system going. Nongovernmental organizations also play important role in wielding influence over the actions of sovereign countries. NGOs such as Amnesty International play a powerful watchdog role that would typically be reserved for the voters in a sovereign country.

According to O'Neil, "In the 1990s, scholars and pundits alike saw the Internet as nothing short of revolutionary, a phenomenon that would upend domestic and international institutions including the state" (272), but state sovereignty still exists today, so there is the possibility that states may hold onto their sovereignty even as the pressures borne from globalization infringe on it. Nonetheless, we feel that as globalization increases, the relative sovereignty of countries will decrease. It will impact different countries differently. In the next section we will compare how sovereignty will impacted over the next 25 years in Nigeria, Poland, and Great Britain.

The Future of Sovereignty in Nigeria, Poland, and Great Britain

Over the next 25 years, we believe Great Britain is the most likely to experience a decline in state sovereignty. O' Neil defines sovereignty as "the ability to carry out actions or policies within a territory independently from external actors or internal rivals" (21). As a member of the European Union, "an example of integration without precedent" (170), Great Britain has already surrendered some of its sovereignty. It has thus far declined to join the monetary union as it would be "an important loss of sovereignty that is unacceptable to [its] public" (174). As globalization continues, and Great Britain will have to try harder to remain competitive in the world's marketplace, it will likely have to join the Euro currency. O' Neil astutely points out that the ability to print money and regulate financial transactions are critical elements of sovereignty (256), and will represent a large loss of sovereignty for the former superpower. By aligning its economic system with the other EU states, the country will no longer be able to set its own monetary policy, which is one

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