THE WEATHER MAP OF GLOBALIZATION
By Robert Kurz
[This article originally published in August 2004 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.exit-online.org/html/autorin.php.]
The heated debate on globalization in the 1990s has died down. Was the term only a soap bubble of the post-modern discourse or the invention of a neoliberal putsch in world politics as some old leftist critics thought at that time? The facts speak another language. Globalization is a real process rooted in the crisis of worldwide capitalist exploitation and describing a new quality of capital export. "Outsourcing" individual economic areas in the global repression competition replaces the export of complete industrial products. Capital export has become a function of rationalization and reduction of overcapacities. This is far greater than expansion investments abroad.
Administrative globalization rapidly accelerated while many leftist theoreticians denied the character of globalization and escaped into the Keynesian nostalgia of political regulation fantasies. Suppliers became transnational after automobile corporations were the transnational trailblazers according to a recent study of the University of Aachen's management advisory service. Many partial functions of medium-sized businesses migrate following global cost differentials. More and more areas are taken by special external enterprises including manufacturing and developing parts, not only cleaning services and payroll accounting. Globalization spills over into branches. The most successful sector of German industry, mechanical engineering, with almost a million employees, is in the midst of outsourcing complete assembly.
Shifts of rationalization exports can also be seen. Direct investments in the US obviously reached a satiation level after the boom of the 1990s. China has become the preferred nerve-center of transnational profit chains. The deficit-nourished US market is supplied from China. German and European capital export follow the trend of US industry, the main direct foreign investor in China. In Europe, the focus of outsourcing has shifted from countries like Spain, Portugal and Ireland to Eastern Europe in the course of admissions to the European Union. This is particularly true for the suppliers of the auto-industry and mechanical engineering.
One could speak of a weather map of globalization. With the greater shifts of the cost-differential, the more investment movements of rationalization exports are also shifted. Outsourcing is concentrated in the central regions of North America, eastern Asia and Europe including the newly admitted eastern European countries. The larger part of the world is completely uncoupled and abandoned to growing impoverishment. A process of differentiation is simultaneously occurring in the core zones of globalization. Secondary areas of lower quality of income and life, from extended work benches and poverty services to a poverty population that literally feeds on the wastes of the others.
The Hartz reforms of Germany that exist in different variants in all countries move in this direction. The Monday demonstrations emphasize firstly that the orientation of official policy is pointless. An independent non-parliamentary social movement is necessary. Secondly, every national orientation is condemned to fail. Only a transnational resistance can stop transnational capital and its executors from the political class.