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Colección: Trends for a common future
Autor: Noel F. McGinn
Título: Toward International Cooperation in Education for the Integration of the Americas

CHAPTER III

Globalization and International Cooperation

The concept “globalization” is a metaphor for the vast changes taking place in relationships between the countries of the world. These changes include what we call international cooperation. Globalization is not a new phenomenon, but it has now reached a stage in which its impacts have profound effects on all countries. The first steps of the process occurred as early as the 14th century (Abu-Lughod, 1989), 1989) or at least with the emergence of capitalism in the 16th century (Wallerstein, 1987) and were accelerated by the territorial imperialism of the European nations. Now all the peoples of the world have been affected by “western” values (von Laue, 1987) and there is remarkable similarity across countries, including in the goals and structure of their education systems.

Although often used to refer only to economic linkages, globalization today is characterized by five major flows or movements of:

1. people within and across national boundaries, as workers, refugees and as tourists. These people bear but are not the sole source of

2. information, understood as data in the form of scientific reports, news broadcasts, statistics, documentary films and videos. The flow of information is also greatly facilitated by the spread of

3. new technologies, of communication, but also of production and distribution, which permit radical changes in the organization and standard of life, and in the distribution of wealth. New technologies also permit an incredible flow of

4. financial resources, in daily volumes that exceed the total annual product of most countries of the world and which are beyond the control of any government. Facilitated by new technologies, but associated with tourism and capital flows, there is also a great movement across cultural boundaries of

5. images and ideas, carried in television programs, videos and films, music, books and magazines and, of course, conversations and formal speeches.

Flows, of people, ideas and so on, are most likely and most intense when participants in some form of cooperation are markedly different from each other. That is, the steeper the gradient that characterizes differences between countries, the greater the flow.28People, for example, are more likely to move from more to less crowded areas, from areas of high unemployment to areas of low unemployment, from countries with low standards of living to countries with high standards of living.  Money flows from areas of low return on capital to areas of high return, but also from areas of high risk to areas of low risk. While information flows from more to less informed peoples, knowledge producers flow from areas of less opportunity to areas of greater opportunity.

The more different participants in cooperation are the greater the likelihood that some will benefit more than others, increasing rather than diminishing gradients with respect to levels. One of the early effects of economic globalization, for example, has been increased disparity within and between countries on measures such as wealth, health, and education. Exacerbation of differences in standards of living is most likely when the participants are unequal in terms of political, economic or moral power. The richer and more powerful the United States, for example, the more its ideas and images will flow to other American countries, at the same time that educated and skilled people emigrate from those countries to the United States. The information and knowledge gap between richer and poorer countries has gotten wider (Casa Tirao, 1996).

On the other hand, the greater the variety or diversity of participants, the easier it is to maintain some measure of balance in relationships between the participants. A major preoccupation, therefore, is whether the flows of globalization will eliminate valued and valuable differences between peoples, regions, and countries. The logic of free trade, for example, is that expanded markets for the products of countries currently poor will increase their capacity to buy the products of the countries currently rich. But the maximization of trade depends on insuring that each country has something unique to trade and through that trade generates enough income to consume goods and services from other countries. The development of a healthy regional economy in the Americas depends therefore on reducing differences in levels of income and wealth between countries while simultaneously accentuating those elements of diversity, which stimulate exchange of goods and services. Critical elements of diversity are more likely to thrive if the Americas can shift from a reliance on one-directional international aid, to the development of active trading in cooperation in education (Carton, 1999).29

[INDEX] [Presentation] [Introduction] [The Evolution of International Cooperation in Education in the Americas] [Cooperation After Nationalism] [International Cooperation as Supranationalism] [Cooperation for International Development] [Resistance to Aid] [Cooperation as Collaboration within Latin America] [Cooperation as Structural Adjustment] [The Current Situation of Education in the Americas] [Current Status of Education] [Summary] [Current Forms of International Cooperation] [Aid as a Form of International Cooperation] [Varieties of Aid] [Uniformization as a Consequence of Aid] [Aid or Assistance from Bilateral and Multilateral Organizations] [Cooperation by Transnational Corporations] [Aid and Assistance from NGOs] [Aid by Philanthropic Foundations] [Aid Mediated through Educational Institutions] [International Cooperation in the Form of Collaboration] [Examples of Collaboration in Higher Education] [Obstacles to International Collaboration in Higher Education] [Examples of Collaboration Between Non-governmental Organizations] [Other Instances of Collaboration] [Summary] [Globalization and International Cooperation] [The New Industrial Paradigm] [Implications of the New Industrial Paradigm for Education] [The New Development Model] [An Outline of a New Paradigm for Education] [Alternative Approaches to International Cooperation in Education] [An Example of Regional Collaboration to Develop a New Paradigm] [Notes] [References]