Thursday 20 December 2007

Racism in the Era of Globalization (UPIASIA)

M.D. Nalapat

Manipal, India — Throughout the European Union, and increasingly in the United States and Australia, immigration is being directed on racial grounds, with preference given to immigrants of European origin. This is despite the reality that an immigrant from Chennai or Hyderabad in India is far more likely to add immediate economic value to a society than migrants from Tirana, Bucharest or Sofia, to take just three examples.

Even Britain, till now a haven of race-neutral policies, has lately introduced measures directed against citizens of countries other than those with European-origin majorities. Clearly, to many Western policymakers, "globalization" is a one-way street, confined to improving Western access to other locations but hostile to a reverse flow. The blocking of a Dubai-based company from acquiring a port in the United States -- even though that city is largely run by executives from Western countries -- is just one of numerous examples of the phobic reaction to efforts by outside corporations to buy into Western companies.

Astonishingly, even the corporate sector has not freed itself of biases dragged over from an age in which European countries administered most of the world. Today, both India and China are witnessing growth rates that could in a generation recreate the period when India and China accounted for over half the world's output, an age that vanished only in the early 1880s. Especially since the 17th century, what has driven Western prosperity is the unprecedented expansion of knowledge within those societies, which even today account for nine out of ten scientific patents worldwide (a small but increasing proportion of which are being contributed by researchers of Asian origin).