How does globalization benefit an organization?


A documentation in excerpts from the final report of the Enquete Commission of the German Bundestag

Together with representatives of trade unions and associations as well as scientists, the Enquete Commission of the German Bundestag has drawn up an agenda for the re-democratization of our everyday life, which has become global.


The final report of the Bundestag study commission on "Globalization of the World Economy - Challenges and Answers" presented in the summer of 2002 is a highly informative and important document. More confidently than ever when it comes to international economic and social policy, parliamentarians, together with representatives of trade unions and associations, as well as academics, have drawn up an agenda for the re-democratization of our everyday lives, which have become global. It is the strength of the report that innumerable points demonstrate how the delimitation of economic activity, especially the financial markets, which was politically wanted and forced at the beginning of the nineties, now impacts politics. In the course of the increasing delimitation of the markets, the socio-political constitution of states themselves becomes an object of economic competition. How much welfare state may be, how it should be organized and what tax rates are justified, suddenly no longer want to be able to determine legitimized parliaments through elections, but corporations from all industries that make investment or short-term investment decisions. The state, the "res publica", is threatened with takeover - or at least (too) extensive influence - by the decision-makers at the international financial and trading centers.

The trading experts and analysts are currently failing themselves because of their own hubris, nourished by the child's belief in infinitely rising prices on the stock exchanges. In the economic crisis that we have been experiencing for almost two years, an entire generation is experiencing a new dimension in life: mass unemployment. Her parents - the post-war generation - had built the social market economy in a bipartisan consensus based on the experience of the economic crises of the twenties and the catastrophe of National Socialism: a balance between the market principle of "enrich yourself" and the welfare state principle of "prosperity for all". The young generation not only in Germany, but in many industrialized countries, who grew up in prosperity, had forgotten what the source of prosperity is - and how this can be secured politically. She believed she could do without the planning and careful redistribution of the state. Basically, in 2002, with the sustained drop in prices on the stock exchanges, the worldview of an entire generation collapsed.

In times of crisis, history shows, calls for regulation and government intervention grow louder. Even market radicals - provided they are responsible in a company - are already cautiously calling for financial assistance from the public coffers. The discussion has already shifted imperceptibly. In return, business leaders from all sectors are making unheard (and sometimes unheard-of) confessions of their social responsibility on more and more occasions. But that's probably no more than a playful swing. If the economy turns up again, the market believers regard the nation state with its regulatory elements as the greatest obstacle to be expected to profit maximization on the international stage.

The special merit of the Enquete Commission of the German Bundestag on Globalization is to have presented a draft for a re-regulation of everyday economic life with its report, on a global, multilateral and national level. Basically, it is about nothing else than - to put it simply - to restore the primacy of politics and to contain the unleashed, sometimes punishing, sometimes praising market in such a way that the economy ultimately serves the people. And to prevent that the actors of the economy cannot alternately demand international delimitation and then protection by the nation state and its taxpayers by means of subsidies and increased financing of social security. Ultimately, the majority of the Commission is calling for a global regulatory framework in which states, business, trade unions and civil society can shape the project of globalization on the level of mutual respect, commitment and honesty. Only when the market is again subject to the principles of freedom and equality, human dignity and the protection of the environment, will it again serve people and their striving for general prosperity. This summary of the short version of the study report gives an overview of the challenges and answers to the globalization of the world economy formulated in detail by the commission.

Hilmar Höhn

Hilmar Höhn was financial and economic policy correspondent in the Berlin office of the Frankfurter Rundschau and has been head of the press and public relations department of the DGB federal executive committee, Berlin, since the end of last year.

As the first parliament in the world, the German Bundestag has set up a commission that systematically deals with questions of globalization: the Enquete Commission "Globalization of the World Economy - Challenges and Answers". The appointment resolution of December 14, 1999 (Bundestag printed paper 14/2350) instructs the Commission to

- examine the reasons that have led to the globalization of the world economy,

- describe their effects in economic, social and political areas and

- To propose options for action for the national and international community on how they can influence further development in a responsible and creative manner.

In its work, the Commission did not focus solely on global developments. The focus was also on the consequences of the globalization process on Germany itself. As the second largest export nation on the globe, Germany will clearly benefit from the progressive elimination of trade restrictions on the one hand and the increasingly easier movement of goods, services and money on the other. A return to a fixation of politics on the national level is - not only for the Federal Republic of Germany - a desirable alternative. Ultimately, it would lead to a loss of prosperity. Nevertheless, the work of the commission was not blind to the dangers that increasing international economic competition brings with it for the cohesion of societies. Unregulated competition carries the germ of a division into rich and poor. This applies to the relationship between nations and economic blocs, but of course also between groups within societies. The Commission is therefore also making proposals which are intended to help "eliminate the major negative effects of globalization" ().

(From the foreword by Ernst-Ulrich von Weizsäcker, Member of the Bundestag, Chairman of the Study Commission "Globalization of the World Economy - Challenges and Answers")