This is a respond to the ReCom 3 magazine article by Lai Voon Seng. Although I disagree with some of Mr. Lai's arguments, his effort to put forward his thoughts in that magazine deserves praise.
Has globalization helped third-world countries?
We do not need to look any further, than our nation Malaysia, and our neighbours Singapore. Without doubt, Malaysia and Singapore would not have been what it is today without the presence of big global companies investing in both countries.
A huge percentage of our GDP is due to the electronics industry. And because of globalization and our government's smart policy of encouraging foreign direct investment, companies like Intel, AMD, and Dell are able to set-up factories in Malaysia.
Let's examine some of Mr. Lai's points. He argues that multinational corporations (MNC) use low-wage workers in developing countries. While it is true that workers at Nike factories in Vietnam are paid lower than their counterparts in the USA, we must also understand that Nike workers in Vietnam are paid much more than they would have been paid elsewhere in Vietnam. Also, it's hardly a sweatshop in local comparison since other manual labor jobs often invovle more sweat than a factory job. That's why so many people in poor nations are dying just to get factory jobs - its stable and they earn an income much higher if they were to work elsewhere in the country.
To understand whether globalization actually benefits a nation, we compare the scenario if MNC invest in a country and the other scenario if MNC does not invest. If Intel and other MNC did not invest in Malaysia, thousands of electronic factory workers would be unemployed and Malaysia wouldn't be as developed as it is today. The very fact that government in third-world developing nations are courting foreign investment and MNC clearly demonstrates that globalization, if done in a proper manner, can be a huge boost to the development and wealth creation of a nation.
Another of Mr. Lai's point concern the debt of third-world nations. Again, it is easy to fall prey to the argument that rich nations are taxing the poor nations too much by asking for interest payments. True, rich nations could probably do more to help poor nations, but the poor nations debt is due mostly to poor financial management and corrupt leadership, and not because of IMF imposing interest on debt.
Responsible developing nations need to borrow money to fuel development and if IMF does not lend money to these nations, development in these nations will be hampered.
In interest of space, I will not comment on the other points, but maybe other members can.
In conclusion, what we need is more responsible governments in developing nations, not less globalization.