benefits and threats of globalisation.
There are processes in the international order--driven by revolutions in communication and information technology--that exhibit seemingly inexorable globalising tendencies while, at the same time, there are a range of actions, adopted by states and non state actors alike, that attempt to resist these often ill defined phenomena captured by the all embracing notion of 'globalisation'. For example, the long term tendency towards freer trade, electronic commerce and the seemingly uncontrollable power of deregulated capital markets do much to enhance the power of markets and create a sense of the economic irrelevance of national borders. By contrast new innovations in information technology, especially the Internet, in theory make possible the empowerment of minorities and foster the development of sites of resistance to globalisation. In short, mixed messages originate from observing globalisation and we need to ask whether it is a source of explanation of contemporary global events--or whether it is something that itself needs to be explained? .
But this question is prior to that posed by this Asia Pacific Roundtable; that is, what are the benefits and costs stemming from globalisation? Some kind of 'cost benefit analysis' is not so easy when globalisation is perhaps the most over used and under specified concept in the international policy sciences since the passing of the 'Cold War'. Not withstanding millions of words, it remains a contested concept that cannot simply be 'assumed'. There is no inevitability or inexorable logic to it. Globalisation must not be seen as a homogeneous or totalising process but one in which economic, socio-political and cultural dynamics (both historical and immediate) and sub national, national, international and super-regional processes are all at work. It should be seen as a systematically interactive set of processes in which the direction of causality is two way and contingent.