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[Ebook PDF] Global Issues: Politics, Economics, and Culture, 5th Edition
Authors: by Richard J. Payne (Author)
Explaining the political, economic, and cultural context of issues around the globe
Global Issues is a current and topical look at the forces driving globalization — everything from democratization, human rights, and global finance to population, migration, and noncommunicable diseases. Richard Payne helps students survey global problems that transcend boundaries and are challenging the international system. For global issues or international relations courses, this is the only text of its kind to place complex issues into comprehensive context and thus explain the growing political, economic, and cultural interdependence visible in the headlines and in students’ lives. The Fifth Edition now offers new and updated topics of discussion, as well as many tables and case studies that will engage students and add visual appeal.
The global financial crisis weakened the momentum toward greater globalization. Most countries continue to want the benefits of globalization while simultaneously enacting policies to diminish the costs of
globalization. This has led to the emergence of a new form of globalization, gated globalization, which is characterized by more state intervention in the flow of money and goods, increased regionalization of trade, and a deeper emphasis on narrow national interests than on global cooperation. At the same time, the globalization of problems continues to erode the ability of individual governments to effectively address their citizens’ concerns, which, in turn, weakens bonds between individuals and states. This trend is reinforced by global migration and the declining significance of citizenship. Furthermore, global inequality is reducing support for globalization. These developments are underscored by growing nationalism and religious and ethnic identity, especially in Western Europe, the Middle East, Africa, eastern Ukraine, and Russia.
Global inequality is now a leading global issue. The richest 0.5 percent of the world’s population owns roughly one-third of the wealth. The globalized high-tech economy, which gives an unprecedented financial advantage to highly educated and technologically innovative people, widened the gap between the global elite and the middle class. It also undermined the strong belief in the American dream of upward mobility. The failure of many governments to effectively address inequality and high youth unemployment has triggered massive protests globally, a development aided by widespread access to communications technologies, especially social media.
Edward Snowden’s decision to leak massive amounts of information from the National Security Agency about America’s spying on its citizens, citizens of other countries, governments and their leaders, and international organizations presented unprecedented consequences for U.S. national security and foreign policy and the relationship between American government and Americans. Their trust in their government has been undermined. Close American allies such as Germany and Brazil expressed strong opposition to the monitoring of their leaders’ personal phone calls. Responding to negative global
reaction, leading technology firms such as Microsoft and Google stated that the American government in its quest for absolute security had endangered individual privacy.
Social media and big data have emerged as potent forces that are diminishing the significance of national borders and profoundly influencing global politics economics, and culture. Social media provide a global forum for mass participation, the exchange of ideas, the instant dissemination of information, and individuals to organize globally. Social media enhance the power of the global middle class, thereby promoting democracy and challenging the power of traditional institutions and ideas. Global communications technologies also facilitate the growth and severity of cybercrimes and underscore the need for greater global cybersecurity for governments, nonstate actors, and individuals.
Global food safety is an extremely important issue. Global companies process and market food grown in many different countries. It is difficult for consumers to determine where food comes from. The emergence of China as a major food exporter is heightening concerns about food safety. Apart from the impact of excessive levels of pollution on crops, China has a notorious reputation for deliberately contaminating and adulterating food.
Middle-class consumers globally are concerned about genetically modified crops and are attempting to have foods containing them labeled. Eliminating drug-resistant bacteria and limiting the use of antibiotics on farms and curbing their use in medicine are priorities of the U.S. government. Companies such as McDonald’s, Costco, and Wholesale Corp. are reducing the use of meat from animals that are raised on antibiotics. The brutal gang rape and murder of an Indian college student shocked the global community and underscored the prevalence of sexual violence against women. It also served as a catalyst for mobilizing global support to reduce sexual crimes. These efforts are reinforced by global concerns about female genital mutilation and the growing awareness in America of sexual assaults on college and
university campuses and in the military. The proliferation of cybercrimes demonstrates our vulnerability to destructive forces largely beyond the individual’s control. The general global consensus that current approaches to the global drug problem are counterproductive and harmful is lessening global support for them. There is increasing support for decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana.
Several states in America decriminalized or legalized the sale and use of marijuana, and Uruguay became the first country to legalize the production, sale, and consumption of marijuana.
Concerns about global warming are reinforced by the frequency of destructive storms such as Hurricane Sandy in New York and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines; droughts, forest fires, hotter weather, and floods globally; melting ice in the Arctic and Antarctica; and rising sea levels, especially in the Pacific Ocean. Coral reefs around the world, from the Great Barrier Reef of Australia to Caribbean reefs, are dying, due partly to rising sea temperatures linked to global warming. However, global preoccupation with economic problems reduces efforts to deal with the effects of climate change.
On the other hand, technological breakthroughs such as fracking in the gas industry have dramatically increased gas supplies in the United States. Lower costs are influencing power plants to switch from coal to gas, thereby reducing carbon emissions that contribute to global warming. Democratic transitions in most countries in the Middle East and North Africa degenerated into violence, instability, and deteriorating economic conditions. These fueled a massive refugee crisis in Syria. Myanmar’s peaceful transition to democracy, directed by the military government, is a major development in Southeast Asia and globally. Similarly, Tunisia and Nigeria’s peaceful transfer of power strengthened democratic transitions in those countries. The normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba also offers hope for democracy in Cuba.
Massive flows of refugees not seen since World War II are creating a major global issue. This problem is aided by human trafficking. Italy and Malta are experiencing unprecedented economic, political,
and social pressures from migrants from the Middle East and Africa, most of whom are fleeing conflicts in Syria and Libya that emanate from failed transitions to democracy. Many are also economic migrants from stable democracies such as Senegal and Ghana trying to find better lives in Europe, especially in Germany and Sweden. A humanitarian crisis has been caused by the overcrowding of vessels leaving Libya to cross the Mediterranean. Large numbers of migrants drowned. This wave of migration has created serious challenges for the European Union. The escalation and effectiveness of drone strikes
by the United States have weakened organized terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda. But terrorism remains a potent global threat. Wars in Syria and Iraq have ignited sectarian violence and spawned the emergence of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which is now the major global terrorist threat. The failure of the democratic transition in Libya and widespread lawlessness there facilitated an increased flow of arms to militant Islamic groups in Africa, making it a new front of terrorism. There are also rising threats from lone wolf terrorists, demonstrated by attacks in Boston, London, Sydney, Ottawa, and Paris.
Religious violence is increasing. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan deepened sectarian hostilities among Muslims. Sunnis and Shiites who lived relatively peacefully together prior to the American invasion and
occupation of Iraq are now engaged in unprecedented bloodshed. More radical majority Sunni Muslims in Pakistan routinely attack the minority Shiites. The dominant Han Chinese violently suppress the minority Muslim Uighurs in Western China. Muslims attack Christians in northern Nigeria, and Christians attack Muslims in the Central African Republic. Buddhists persecute Muslims in Myanmar, and Hindus use violence against Muslims in India.
Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are a leading global issue. NCDs cause roughly 80 percent of deaths in low- and middle-income countries and two thirds of deaths globally. These diseases include obesity, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer ’s disease, and hypertension. Global aging, poverty, smoking, drug abuse, harmful use of alcohol, sedentary lifestyles, a growing global middle class, and cultural globalization contribute to the growth of NCDs. The globalization of fast food and sugary drinks contributes to the global obesity epidemic which, in turn, causes other diseases. A growing concern is the increasing resistance of superbugs to antibiotics used to treat diseases. The Ebola epidemic in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone refocused attention on the global security threats of infectious diseases and the need for robust global responses to eliminate them. The global financial crisis weakened Europe’s economy and contributed to an erosion of public confidence in political leaders to solve economic and social problems. Even as further European integration is essential to strengthen the European Union (EU) and the euro zone, regions of several countries are advocating for independence. Richer northern European countries resist spending more money on weaker southern countries such as Greece, Spain, and Portugal. Public support for the European Union has declined, and many governments favor
limiting the free movement of people, which is a fundamental principle of the European Union. States, the foundation of international relations, emerged relatively recently from fundamental technological, religious, economic, political, and cultural changes. The forces of globalization are now profoundly altering international relations, weakening the virtual monopoly of power enjoyed by states, strengthening nonstate actors and intergovernmental organizations, and eroding all forms of hierarchical organizations. Revolutions in technology, especially in communications, directly challenge traditional approaches to international politics.
Globalization intertwines the fates of states, intergovernmental organizations, nonstate actors, and individuals to an unprecedented degree. Wars, which have been a primary concern for states and traditionally the focus of international relations, also have changed. Globalization has made traditional warfare less likely and unconventional wars more prevalent. America’s longest war is not with another state but is instead against nonstate actors, especially al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The proliferation of drones and the use of cyberweapons present serious challenges to global security. These developments have the
potential to engender a new arms race and increase international conflicts.
My decision to write this textbook was strongly influenced by the need for a comprehensive, accessible, and student-oriented introductory textbook for undergraduates that focuses specifically on global issues. This text concentrates on global issues that students around the world are passionate about because they are directly related to the forces of globalization that are integral components of their lives. The issues discussed in this book are both primary global concerns and those in which students have shown great interest. This book’s pedagogical features are based on classroom experiences that demonstrate how to help students understand complex concepts, develop critical-thinking skills, and engage in problem solving