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Globalisation and the future

Globalisation and Poverty Online Debate Over 5,000 people around the world subscribed to this on-line debate on Globalisation and Poverty, initiated by the World Bank Development Forum and co-moderated by the Development Form and Panos through the month of May 2000. Contributors included academics, development professionals, economists and many concerned individuals, as well as several World Bank staff members. They discussed the impact of globalisation of trade and communications on poverty and development – from theoretical perspectives and from personal experience. There were some sharp disagreements over basic free-market principles. However, even the most committed neo-liberals among the contributors shared their opponents’ view that in practice many poor countries and people are excluded from any benefits of globalisation; and that governments and international institutions should take steps to mitigate the negative impacts of globalisation on the poor or to help them access the benefits. This summary of the debate was made by Panos, using mainly extracts from submissions. The full submissions can be found on the World Bank Development Forum website Description Content of the Debate - Definitions - Facts: does globalisation of trade lead to economic growth? - Exclusion – the causes - Measures to facilitate inclusion - The failures of governments - Measures to strengthen governance - The role of governments in a globalised world - Education, technology and communication - Communications technology - Models of development – the question of sustainability Assessment and Comments - Participants’ comments DESCRIPTION In April 2000, the World Bank invited the Panos Institute, London, to co-moderate an on-line open debate through the month of May on the topic of Globalisation and Poverty. The debate was one of several that have been instigated and hosted by the World Bank's online discussion facility, the Development Forum, often in collaboration with an NGO, over the past eighteen months or so. Panos had previously co-moderated a debate on Knowledge and Development, in January 1999. This debate was conceived after the anti-WTO demonstrations in Seattle. The Bank recognised that Seattle marked a turning-point: its "clients" were no longer governments, but a much broader swathe of civil society. Although there had been many efforts at "consultation" and "listening", the Bank still did not, and did not know how to, engage in argument with its critics or with those who disagreed with it within developing countries. The Bank was not used to having to win arguments in the public arena. The protests in Seattle and later Washington, and the media coverage around them, suggested strongly that pro and anti globalisation proponents were arguing at each other, not with each other. The debate was an attempt to get people to argue with each other. Panos’ role was to work with the WB Development Forum in designing the structure of the debate, to publicise the debate and encourage subscription among its contacts worldwide and particularly in the south, and to form a team with staff from the World Bank Institute to jointly moderate the debate. Panos was participating as an independent institution. DfID’s Governance Unit offered financial support to cover the costs of Panos’ participation. The debate was publicised and opened for subscriptions (free of charge to anyone with access to e-mail) during the last week of April, and submissions were received from May 1st. The debate closed on Friday May 26th. Purpose and structure of the debate The aim of the debate was to clarify the state of our knowledge of the key issues, the main areas of disagreement, and the areas most needing further analysis. In most recent public debates on these matters, there has been a tendency for those with differing views to "talk past each other". The goal of this electronic conference was to chart the dimensions of the debate, so as to permit a longer, more focused and more productive public discussion of these issues in the months ahead. Panos and the World bank agreed to structure the debate around four themes, which would be proposed to participants at the start of each week. These were: Week 1: Globalization, Development and Poverty: What Do We Know? This first week was to focus on "takingthe measure" of the issues; trying to understand better what we know,what we don't know, what the fundamental disagreements are; what some of theunderlying assumptions of the debate are.Week 2: Poverty, Basic Needs, and Development The second week would focus in particular onthe world's poorest and their stake in the debate, particularly by focusingon basic needs (such as food security) and how they relate to globalizationand its impact.Week 3: Modes of Development Underlying much of the debate aboutglobalization is a set of disagreements about models of growth, consumptionand sustainability. The third week would focus on some of those issues,particularly relating to whether globalization imposes or implies a singularmodel of development.Week 4: Whose Development? Globalization, Empowerment and the Poor The fourth week would focus on howglobalization shapes and constrains the choices facing nations andcommunities (and particularly the poor) about their development.Moderation process The purpose of moderation was emphatically not to censor the opinions expressed, but to keep the volume of material posted to a manageable size – between ten and twenty messages each day – as well as to ensure observance of basic rules (relevance to the discussion, no personal attacks etc). Criteria for selecting messages were agreed between the World Bank and Panos, and explained to subscribers at the start: "…..the moderating team will review incoming messages for relevance to that week's topic. On days when traffic to the list is especially heavy, we will select a representative group of messages for posting. Priority will be given to participants from developing countries and first-time contributors. Our goal is to ensure that a wide range of thoughtful and critical views are articulated, and that a variety of participants from across the globe have an opportunity to express their thoughts. At the same time, we want to keep the discussion manageable in size so that we don't overwhelm partic

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Globalisation and the future

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