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Globalisation and Social Change

Globalisation refers to the growing interdependence between different peoples, regions and countries in the world as social and economic relationships come to stretch world-wide. Although economic forces are an integral part of globalisation, it would be wrong to suggest that they alone produce it. It has been driven forward above all by the development of information and communication technologies that have intensified the speed and scope of interaction between people all over the world. Moreover, as we shall see, there was a political context within which it grew. Let us look at the different dimensions of globalisation. To facilitate our discussion we deal with the economic, political and cultural aspects separately. However, you will soon realise how closely connected and interconnected they are.

THE DIFFERENT DIMENSIONS OF GLOBALISATION

THE ECONOMIC

In India we often use the terms liberalisation and globalisation. They are indeed related but are not the same. In India we have seen how the state decided bring some changes in its economic policy in 1991. These changes are termed as liberalisation policies.

a. The Economic Policy of Liberalisation

Globalisation involves a stretching of social and economic relationships throughout the world. This stretching is pushed by certain economic policies. Very broadly this process in India is termed liberalisation. The term liberalisation refers to a range of policy decisions that the Indian state took since 1991 to open up the Indian economy to the world market. This marked a break with an earlier stated policy of the government to have a greater control over the economy. The state after independence had put in place a large number of laws that ensured that the Indian market and Indian indigenous business were protected from competition of the wider world. The underlying assumption of such a policy was that an erstwhile colonial country would be at a disadvantage in a free market situation. You have already read about the economic impact of colonialism in chapter 1. The state also believed that the market alone would not be able to look after all the welfare of the people, particularly its disadvantaged sections. It felt that the state had an important role to play for the welfare of the people. You will recall from chapter 3 how important the issues of social justice were for the makers of the Indian Constitution.

Liberalisation of the economy meant the steady removal of the rules that regulated Indian trade and finance regulations. These measures are also described as economic reforms. What are these reforms? Since July 1991, the Indian economy has witnessed a series of reforms in all major sectors of the economy (agriculture, industry, trade, foreign investment and technology, public sector, financial institutions etc). The basic assumption was that greater integration into the global market would be beneficial to Indian economy.

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