Repercussions of globalisation in Nepal
The euphoria brought about by economic liberalisation has ushered in a new world order. New actors are taking the lead. It has contributed to questioning the traditional forms of economic interactions and living patterns of people. Nepal has envisaged globalised order with new hopes of development through the federal system in provincial structure and the national economy has accommodated itself to the international economic paradigm.
Globalisation can be a challenge for developing country like Nepal to accommodate with international strategies that conflict with national goals. The phenomena have also brought new challenges, i.e. environment degradation, instability in commercial and financial sectors, unequal increase within and across nations in addition to so-called new opportunities such as the promise of technology transfer and accessibility to developed countries.
Analysing globalisation requires a keen understanding of national economy. The tangible components of the globalisation—Gross Domestic Product (GDP), industrialisation and Human Development Index (HDI) are few of the struggling sectors in Nepal. Due to increased overseas travel for employment and education and trade, the country has also witnessed an increase in the number of transmissible diseases like HIV/AIDS, Swine Flu, Bird Flu and many plant diseases.
Also, drug abuse and violence has increased as the phenomenon of globalisation in its negative form, directly affecting living standards and life expectancy in individual countries. The emergence of organised crimes such as human trafficking, cyber-crimes, money laundering, fake currency have also posed critical threats.
In recent years, Nepal has faced the problem of brain drain as the skilled and qualified manpower like doctors, engineers, IT specialists are moving across the border for better opportunities, causing the dearth of skilled manpower for the country.
Nepal has another jewel to its feather in the form of its great Himalayas, worthy enough to create a vibrant tourism phenomenon. Tourism has created employment opportunities but Nepal has not been able to exploit opportunities and resources. While the lifestyle of Nepali people changes and gets westernised, concern for the chance of losing local culture is valid. Some food dishes are losing their value as local people imitate the lifestyle and eating behaviours of westerners.
Globalisation’s adverse effect has been seen in family life that has squeezed the extended family into smaller units than ever before. Even the local languages of different community in Nepal are in the verge of extinction as English language is used at most of the private companies and business houses.
Globalisation has imposed imbalance in ecosystem and difficulty in the protection of endangered flora and faunas as global warming is rising. Young generation, the pillars of nation building, are leaving for other countries in search of better job, education and security in life. It is common to see teenagers heavily affected by Hollywood and western lifestyle in the form of Adidas footwear, western t-shirts, i-pads and i-phones and McDonald, KFC etc.
Economic globalisation has affected the state’s ability to manage conflict and change. More than 70 percent of the Nepali population earns a livelihood from agriculture which constitutes only a part of national income. Both internal and external constraints have resulted in substantial benefit from international trade. The current trade regime, which seems to put more emphasis on volume of trade rather than on development specific outcomes of trade, has to be redesigned to address development challenges facing our nation.
Trade should be viewed as means to achieve developmental goals rather than taking it to an end in itself. Nepal has not been able to increase its share in international trade in spite of preferential market access opportunities provided by developed countries. The Sino-Nepal transit trade agreement after the economic blockade imposed by India can be utilised that has provided the sea access through Tianjin port for widening and balancing the benefits from both the giant neighbours of the landlocked nation.
The challenge is to achieve sustainable development in global world. Brain drain is a significant policy challenge for developing countries undergoing globalisation. Sustainability involves resolving the conflict between two goals that are the existence of human life and integrity of nature. The major bottom lines of sustainability involve environmental quality and social equity. The remedy lies in sustainable development. Idea of economic progress followed by the pursuit of other primary concerns such as cultural promotion, ecological care, democracy and peace are required for a national identity and prosperity.
The best path can be a gradual walk towards liberalisation and globalisation for benefit of the country in terms of efficiency, inflow of capital, market expansion and adoption of new technology. The possible recession ushered by globalisation can be minimising gaining comparative advantage from hydropower, tourism and agro-farming with national laws and regulations.
A country cannot remain isolated from turbulent waves of globalisation. It is better to initiate co-operation and unity among least developed countries to eradicate common problems of today and tomorrow due to globalisation. Globalisation can be a trap for us and requires enormous effort to retain control keeping a plethora of regulations intact. It is right time for Nepal to get benefits from ‘New Diplomacy’ (waijiaoxinzheng) of China under President Xi Jinping’s foreign policy and India’s Act East policy to feel the real taste of globalisation.
Hence, liberalisation needs a real national development paradigm for countries like Nepal. Every Nepali needs to understand the dual role as a Nepali citizen and global citizen. It’s high time to graduate from least developed nation to reap global benefits.
The writer is currently pursuing Masters in International Relations and Diplomacy at Tribhuvan University.
Published on 22 March 2018