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PhD, Professor of sociology at the Faculty of Philosophy of Nis University, Head of the Department for General Sociology, Head of the Post-graduate Studies in the Department for the Sociology of Social Development. 
Prof. Ljubisa R. Mitrovic

GLOBALIZATION AND TRANSITION 
AS CONTEMPORARY DEVELOPMENT MEGATRENDS

Balkans'21 / volume 2 - 2003

1. Controversies regarding the globalization and transition processes
Social processes have a contradictory character as well as diverse faces and a historical role. They are interpreted in various ways by scientists and actors from their different theoretical perspectives and worldviews.
In the last decade of the 20th century and at the threshold of the new millennium two processes especially draw the attention of mankind, namely, globalization and transition. There are numerous controversies about them both in theory and in practice. From glorification and apology to phobia and nihilistic-dogmatic denial of their importance.
In the contemporary science exploring these processes many different theoretical-methodological approaches to globalization and transition figure out, namely, from the Neomarxist theory (of neoimperialism, dependence theory, world-system analysis) through the functionalist global system theory, the classical theory of modernization and convergence to the postmodernist theory, the neoliberal and social-democratic theory of development and the theory of international relations. Likewise, there is a different attitude on the part of social actors towards these processes (corporation, social classes and movements, parties, states, nations, international institutions and organizations).
In the contemporary theory there are attempts to reduce globalization as a complex process to: postmodernism, neocolonialism, Westernization, “MacDonalization”, Americanization and the “new world order.” Similarly, there are attempts to reduce the process of transition to: return to capitalism, privatization, liberalization, democratization and modernization. However, it should be said that the real nature of the given processes is more complex. The goal of the science is to explore in the thorough way their character (structure and dynamics) as well as their social-development role at present times [1].
2. Globalization as a Development Megatrend (Typology of Its Forms)
Globalization and transition represent development megatrends in the late 20th century and at the beginning of the new millennium. They express the movement of the contemporary production forces of the third and forth scientific-technological revolution as well as the changes in the relations of the social-class forces and their interest, culturological and political orientations.
Table 1. Ten Key Development Megatrends of the Second Half and at the End of the 20th Century
10 megatrends describing the basic characteristics of the civilization development in the second half of the 20th century 10 megatrends in the late 20th century
1. from the industrial to the information society 1. economic prosperity is a planetary phenomenon
2. from the classic to the high technology 2. art substitutes sport as the most important contents of spare time
3. from the national to the world (global) economy 3. market socialism is being developed
4. from short-term to long-term goals 4. globalization of the life style along with strengthening of cultural nationalism
5. from centralization to de-centralization 5. privatization of the welfare state
6. from institutions to self-help 6. Pacific region becomes the world economic center
7. from the representation to the participation democracy 7. rise of the role of women in business and politics
8. from the hierarchical to the network organization 8. “Century of Biology” emerging to replace the “Century of Physics”
9. from the North to the South 9. rise of new values such as ethics, responsibility, intuitiveness and creativity
10. from either-or to multiple options 10. triumph of individuality and personalization
(Source: J.Naisbitt, Megatrends: ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives, New York, 1982; J.Naisbitt, P.Aburdene, Megatrends 2000, New York, 1990, (According to S. Pokrajac, Tranzicija i tehnologija (Transition and Technology, Belgrade, 2000, p. 158)

Globalization, as a development megatrend (a summary survey of the contemporary megatrends is given in Table 1), is an expression of concentration, capital centralization and new historical form of the integration processes whose organizational form is represented by transnational and global corporations as a trans-border actors of economic and other processes. It is after them as well as after the character of their influence upon world processes and relations that this phase of capitalism has been named global capitalism or capitalism as a world system.
Though capitalism has, since its emergence (or since the 16th century as some authors tend to be precise), tended towards internationalization of production forces and imperial expansion in the contemporary world there is its new nature that gains dominance, namely, the one in the form of globalization and globalism.
Globalization as a process has the face of Janus, namely, emancipating and exploiting. It expresses the role of modern production forces in the world economy integration, in establishing the new division of labor, in networking and inter-dependence of the world that has turned into a “global village.” Yet, at the same time, due to the remains of class determinism and the antagonistic system of the social power distribution, it divides the world system into the developed world center (“the North”) and the undeveloped world “South” (semi-periphery and periphery) and between these two there are numerous inequalities and contradictions. In a word, the benefits from globalization are asymmetrically distributed so that today the ratio between the undeveloped and the most developed countries is 1:240. 
Today’s world is dominated by 400 transnational corporations having at their disposal about 80% of the world capital while 358 rich billionaires possess a greater wealth than 45% of the people in the poorest countries on the planet. [2] This discrepancy in the development among various parts of the world (world center, semi-periphery, periphery and within them) is such that the economic and social inequalities are turning from unjust into inhuman as stated in the Human Development Report dating 2000 as well as the World Forum on Social Development in Geneva (June, 2000).
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1. More about the controversial nature of the processes see in the studies: A. Giddens, Posledice modernosti (Consequences of Modernity) (Filip Visnjic, Belgrade, 1988), S. Amin, Les Defis de la mondialisation (Paris, 1996), R. Robertson, Globalization (Sage, London, 1992), D. Avramovic, Tranzicija u istocnoj Evropi (Transition in Eastern Europe) (Belgrade, 1994), M. Pecujlic, Izazovi tranzicije - novi svet i postsocijalisticka drustva (Challenges of Transition - New World and the Postsocialist Societies (Belgrade, 1997), Z. Vidojevic, Tranzicija, restauracija i neototalitarizam (Transition, Restoration and Neototalitarianism) (Belgrade, 1997), M. Lazic and assoc., Racji hod - Srbija u transformacijskim procesima (Pace of the Cancer - Serbia in the Transformation Processes) (Filip Visnjic, Belgrade, 2000) and Lj. Mitrovic, Savremeno drustvo - strategije razvoja i akteri (Contemporary Society - Strategies of Development and Actors) (Belgrade, 1996) and La globalisation et les acters (Belgrade, 2001) back
2. More about regional social inequalities in the world see in the studies: Frederik Major, Sutra je uvek kasno (Tomorrow Is Always Late) (Jugoslovenska revija, Belgrade, 1991, p. 37-46) and Français Houtart, L’outre Davos: mondialisation des resistances et des luttes (L’Hartmattan, Paris, 1999, p. 7-10)

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