The advocates of ‘globalization’ described it as the panacea for all economic woes, and that the only path to prosperity is to adhere to free-market principles. The nations in the South, in particular, are being urged to deregulate and open up their economies to free trade and foreign investment, to ensure their speedy transition to the status of developed economies. But it is also held that globalization has brought in its wake, great inequities, mass impoverishment and despair, that it has fractured society along the existing fault lines of class, gender and community, while almost irreversibly widening the gap between rich and poor nations, that it has caused the flow of currencies across international borders, which has been responsible for financial and economic crises in many countries and regions, including the current Asian financial crisis, that it has enriched a small minority of persons and corporations within nations and within the international system, marginalizing and violating the basic human rights of millions of workers, peasants and farmers and indigenous communities.
Christian Council of Asia focused on these concerns during an international consultation on “Globalization and its Impact on Human Rights” held under the auspices of the Cluster III programme units of the Council.
The main objectives of this Consultation were to analyze globalization and its impact on human rights; to study ethical and theological considerations with regard to globalization; to search for alternative development paradigms; to study the policies of developed nations on development and trade policies in the context of globalization; to gain inputs on the experiences of indigenous people, workers and farmers who are affected by globalization; to consider the response of the Churches to the challenges posed by globalization and to study and identify concerns that the Asian churches can take up in order to address the adverse impact of globalization in the Asian context.
This book comprises edited versions of selected presentations at the Consultation. However, this book is not the synthesis of the rich diversity of the whole discussions in the Consultation. Hope, the papers included in this book will help clarify several issues related to globalization and its impact and to initiate more discussion on how the rush towards globalization is presumably affect our lives.
Mathews George Chunakara
International Affairs, Christian Council of Asia