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Political outcomes (10 hours)


politics 4 Che_Guevara

Loss of sovereignty – Discuss the links between the diminishing effectiveness of political borders and the flow of goods, capital, labour and ideas, and the role of one multi‑governmental organization such as the European Union (EU), the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and MERCOSUR (the common market of South America). Discuss the shift of power from nation state to TNCs as a result of their economic size and dominance. Compare the wealth of TNCs with that of nation states.

Responses – Examine the resurgence of nationalism in one country as it attempts to retain control of its resources and culture.

Discuss anti‑globalization movements.

Discuss the attempts to control migration into one country.

Loss of sovereignty

IB Political outcomes worksheet 

IB Political Outcomes Nation State v TNC


Sovereignty: The state of being independent and being able to make your own decisions.

Globalisation has meant that many political borders are now much more porous, with goods, ideas, money and people able to travel much more freely between locations. The increased movement can bring both positive and negative impacts. Below is a table of some of these impacts.

  • Air freight
  • Growth of TNCs including offshoring
  • Growth of global brands
  • Greater advertising
  • Containerisation and air freight


  • Greater choice (although local brands may be lost)
  • Possible cheaper products (economies of scale)
  • Year round choice for seasonal and perishable products e.g. food
  • More reliable availability


  • Growth of monopolies or near monopolies e.g. Microsoft
  • Small businesses close
  • Homogenisation
  • Cultural dilution
  • Loss of seasonality
  • Dependence on TNCs and their services





  • global banks e.g. HSBC
  • Internet and telephone banking
  • Credit cards and services like Paypal
  • ATMs
  • Range of products e.g. loans, mortgages and overdrafts
  • Trade in stocks, bonds, etc.


  • Online shopping e.g. Amazon
  • Ease of travel e.g. travellers cheques and ATMs
  • Transfers between accounts and countries


  • Global credit crunch
  • Limited access for poor (more micro-loans offered no by banks like Grameen)
  • Credit card fraud
  • Overspending and debt
  • Collapse of pension funds
  • Collapse of financial institutions e.g. Glitnir and Landsbanki in Iceland


  • Greater passport ownership
  • Visa relaxation
  • Cheap flights
  • TNCs (global division of labour – footloose workers)
  • Global business language – English?


  • Remittances sent back to friends and family
  • Reduced unemployment as people move to jobs
  • Sharing of ideas and skills (division of labour)
  • Possible “Brain Gain’ for receiving countries
  • Production of cheaper products because of cheaper labour
  • Spread of job skills and knowledge


  • Reliance on foreign labour
  • Racial tension between ethnic groups e.g. Poles in the UK
  • Economic leakage as earning are sent home
  • Possible ‘Brain Drain” for losing countries
  • Lack of skills and training amongst home workers


  • Internet
  • Media organisations e.g. CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera
  • TNCs
  • Diplomacy (Embassies and Consulates)
  • Global organisations e.g. World Bank, IMF
  • Economic migrants
  • Military e.g. occupation of Iraq by US and its allies


  • Shared technology e.g. nuclear and renewable energy
  • Improved human rights through campaigning of governments and NGOs
  • Improved freedom of press and speech


  • Cultural imperialism – ideas imposed rather than voluntarily adopted
  • Loss of sovereignty
  • Ideologies might not always been suitable
  • Prescribed policies like SAPs can sometimes cause problems.


Many people blame globalisation and the associated development of TNCs and international organisations (including trading blocs) on reduced national sovereignty.

Below is a list of some of the World’s major trading blocs and a summary of the impacts that the EU has had on Europe (positive and negative).

EU: European Union (27 members in Europe – see below)
NAFTA: North American Free Trade Agreement (Mexico, US and Canada)
ASEAN: Association of South East Asian Nations (10 member states in SE Asia)
GCC: Gulf Cooperation Council (6 Gulf countries – UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia)
MERCOSUR: Mercado Comum do Sol (Southern Common Market) – 4 members in South America (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay)
CARICOM: Caribbean Community and Common Market (15 Caribbean nations)
APEC: Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (21 Pacific rim countries)

To what extent can the flow of goods, capital, labour and ideas lead to a loss of sovereignty? (10)

The European Union (EU)

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The EU started life with six members (Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Italy and West Germany) in 1957 when they signed the Treaty of Rome to create the European Economic Community (EEC). In 1973 the community (now the EC) extended to include Denmark, the United Kingdom and Ireland. In 1981 Greece joined and in 1986 Spain and Portugal joined. In 1993 the Maastricht Treaty created the European Union (EU) and in 1995 Austria, Finland and Sweden joined. In 2004 the EU saw its largest increase in size when Cyprus, Malta, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland and the Czech Republic all joined. In 2007 Romania and Bulgaria joined making 27 countries in the EU. Croatia is due to be the next country to join in 2013. Other countries like Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro are official candidates, while Turkey and Iceland are negotiating their status.

The EU started off life with the aim of improving economic cooperation. However, it has now developed into a much bigger and more developed economic and political union. The single market, which allows the free movement of most goods, services, money and people to move freely between countries is still at the centre of the EU, but the EU now also looks at development, aid, resources, equality, democracy, transport, the environment, working regulations, etc. Membership of the EU means that some decision making is handed to the EU and its seven main institutions (there are other more specialised institutions); the European Parliament, the Council of the EU, the European Council and the European Commission, the European Central Bank, the European Court of Auditors and the Court of Justice of the EU. Decision making is sometimes known as competence in the EU – this means responsibility and autonomy.

In 2007 (coming into force in 2009) all EU members signed the Treaty of Lisbon. The treaty updates the Maastricht and forms a constitutional framework for the operating of the EU. Amongst other things the treaty created a new foreign minister, redistributed voting power, removed the veto on many policies and created a new European Council President. The treaty was unpopular amongst many Euro-sceptics who said that it handed too much power to the EU. The treaty had to be ratified by each member state (either a vote in parliament or a national referendum). Some countries like the UK and Ireland asked to opt out in order to pass the treaty they also for opted out on asylum, visas and immigration.

Below is a list of some of the ways that EU member states lose sovereignty:

Exclusive Competence: The Union has exclusive competence to make directives and conclude international agreements. Shared Competence: Member States cannot exercise competence in areas where the Union has done so Supporting Competence: The Union can carry out actions to support, coordinate or supplement Member States.
  • Monetary policy for members of the Eurozone e.g. interest rates
  • Members must follow a common fisheries policy to preserve marine biodiversity
  • Members must follow a common customs union
  • Competition rules must be followed with the internal market (reduced protectionism)


  • Agriculture policy
  • Consumer protection and rights
  • Energy e.g. renewable targets
  • Transport
  • Security and justice
  • Workplace safety
  • Environment


  • Tourism
  • Education
  • Culture
  • Sport
  • Industry
  • Public health
  • Disaster prevention


Eurozone: These are the countries that share the common currency in the EU, the Euro. There are currently 17 members of the Eurozone. Apart from the UK and Denmark the other countries are obliged to join once they have met certain economic criteria.

Eurosceptic: Someone who is against the EU and European integration. Euro-sceptics are normally concerned about the loss of national sovereignty.

UKIP: This is the UK Independence Party. It is a political party in the UK that believes the UK should leave the EU so that it can make all of its decisions independently.

  • Member citizens can travel freely between other members to go on holiday (saves space in your passport too!)
  • The above should increase tourism revenue for all member countries
  • Member citizens can choose to work freely in other countries
  • Within the Eurozone it is not necessary for currency conversions, easing trade and tourism
  • Undeveloped areas of the EU can receive support and assistance from the EU
  • Reduced risk of internal conflict and stronger military bloc to defend external borders
  • Bailouts for poorer countries e.g. Greece from stronger members e.g. Germany
  • Subsidies from the common agricultural policy (CAP) for farmers
  • Voice in the G20 for smaller members of the EU


  • Countries in the Eurozone lose control over their monetary policy e.g. interest rates
  • Free movement of members may lead to influxes of workers leading to racial tension e.g. Poles in the UK
  • Economic problems in one country e.g. Greece, Ireland and Portugal can cause Europe wide recessions and the need for bailouts
  • Enforced fishing quotas which may harm fishing industry e.g. Spain and UK
  • Imposition of working regulations e.g. working week
  • Imposition of metric measurements e.g. The UK being forced to use kilograms instead of pounds
  • Growth of independence and nationalist parties e.g. UKIP and BNP in the UK
  • Brain drain from poorer eastern European countries
  • Cost of supporting weaker nations

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 How does the European Union impact the flow of labour?


Citizens of the EU member states can live and work in any other country and their professional qualifications should be recognised.

With the lifting of most internal border controls, EU citizen can move as freely around Europe as we can within a Member State.

The Schengen Area comprises the territories of twenty-five European countries that have implemented the Schengen Agreement.

Implementing the Schengen rules involves eliminating border controls with other Schengen members while simultaneously strengthening border controls with non-member states.

The UK declined to join Schengen Convention elements related to passport control, one argument being that, for an island, frontier controls are a better and less intrusive way to prevent illegal immigration than other measures, such as identity cards, residence permits, and registration with the police, which are appropriate for countries with “extensive and permeable land borders”.


Explain the role of a named multi-governmental organization in the diminishing effectiveness of political borders. [10 Marks]

Transnational Corporations (TNCs)

“Of the 100 largest economies in the world, 51 are corporations; only 49 are countries (based on a comparison of corporate sales and country GDP)”


TNCs: Transnational corporations are companies that operate in more than one country. TNCs will normally locate their headquarters in their home country, for example Toyota has its headquarters in Japan. Headquarters are normally located in the TNCs country of origin because this is where the company was first established, where most of the profits will return to and where most of top management team is from. Most TNCs will also have R&D (see definition above) facilities which they will locate in developed country where there is a skilled workforce and a high level of technology. However, TNCs will often choose to offshore there manufacturing plants to LEDCs where productions costs are lower (cheaper labour, cheaper land, etc.)

Research and Development (R&D): Scientific facilities that investigate, design and produce new or updated products. For example Google and Microsoft are constantly researching and developing new pieces of software. TNCs are constantly carrying out R&D because they want to make their products better and attract new customers.

FDI: Foreign direct investment is money spent by a foreign company in a country. FDI might be the building of a new factory, new road or educating a workforce. Countries can try an attract FDI in a number of ways including:

  • Offering free or cheap land
  • Relaxing planning controls on new buildings
  • Improving transport links e.g. roads, rail lines, airports, ports
  • Helper with worker recruitment
  • Help with worker training
  • Access to new market place
  • Guaranteed water and electricity supply
  • Improved communications i.e. phone and internet
  • Grants and/or cheap loans
  • Reduced tax rates or no tax
  • Free trade areas / export processing zones / enterprise zones
  • Visas for foreign workers
  • Access to raw materials
  • Relaxed workplace regulations
  • Relaxed environmental regulations
  • Help with worker housing and related services


Deindustrialisation: When factories and industry starts to close down in a country. The UK has gone through deindustrialisation because production costs became too much and many companies chose to move overseas.

Monopoly: Sufficient control over a market place/product that makes manipulation of prices/supply/etc. possible.

Nation State’s Role Diminishing

Globalisation led to a significant rise of multinational corporations which many believe undermined the ability of states to manage their own economies. Multinational corporations integrate national economies into global networks; therefore nation states no longer have total control over their economies. Multinational corporations have expanded drastically, the top 500 corporations now control almost one third of global GNP and 76% of world trade. These multinational corporations, such as Standard & Poors, are admired but also feared by nation states for their immense power. Multinational corporations, such as Coca-Cola, wield great global power and authority as they effectively ‘place a claim’ on the host nation state.

  • Creates jobs for local people
  • Locals with jobs then spend money in their local economy at local businesses and therefore there is a positive multiplier effect as extra money gets added to the local economy.
  • TNCs will pay local and government taxes and therefore increase the government budget.
  • Jobs at a TNC will be in the formal economy, so hopefully better regulated in terms of safety, pay, etc.
  • Improves workers skill and education level
  • They introduce new technology into the country
  • Infrastructure like roads and ports are often upgraded and benefit the whole economy
  • Diversifies the economy, might move away from the reliance on one industry like farming or tourism
  • The country receives prestige for attracting TNCs and investment into the country.


  • Many of the best paid managerial jobs go to foreigners
  • Local workers often do manual jobs which are poorly paid and often workers suffer exploitation (long shifts, no breaks, etc.)
  • There will be some economic leakage as profits from TNCs go back to their home country
  • Increasingly manufacturing processes are becoming more mechanised so less workers are needed in factories. Many top jobs may go to workers from abroad
  • One of the attractions of LEDCs is cheap labour, but as a country develops labour costs increase and TNCs may move to cheaper locations.
  • Products produced by TNCs maybe too expensive for locals to buy. TNCs may also use local raw materials. Products may not even be intended for local market place.
  • Electricity and water supplies maybe diverted away from local population
  • The increased demand created by TNCs may cause local inflation. Land may also become privatised and unavailable to locals.
  • If the government is building new roads or a port for a TNC it probably means that they can’t spend as much money on education or healthcare. New roads, ports, etc. may increase congestion on roads.
  • TNCs may cause environmental damage and pollution e.g. Union Carbide in Bhopal (see the relevant section)
  • TNC decision makers are often foreign so policies of TNCs may not always benefit local people.
  • Increased dependency on foreign companies. Local domestic companies may close.


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TNCs are often criticised for having too much power. Nearly half of the companies have Head Quarts in the US, but China already has increased its number and this figure will only increase in the future as the Chinese economy continues its rapid growth. The TNCs have a turnover more than many LEDCs. For example ExxonMobil employs about 84,000 people, has a turnover of about $383 billion and a profit of about $30 billion (this is nearly twice El Salvador’s total GDP). They are criticised because they employ so many people and earn so much money that they hold power over countries who fear losing the investment of TNCs. Because they can afford the best technology, the most skilled workers, the best lawyers they can also draw up very favourable contracts which may exploit poorer countries.

Overall, globalisation has diminished the nation state’s ability to manage its economy. Globalisation within the neoliberal agenda has provided nation states with a new, minimalist role. It appears that nation states have little choice but to give away their independence to the demands of globalisation, as a cutthroat, competitive environment has now been formed.


Nationalism: a political movement or belief that holds that a nation has the right to an independent political development based on a shared history and common destiny.

Resource Nationalism: when a country decides to take part, or all, of one or a number of natural resources under state ownership.

To examine the resurgence of nationalism in Brazil as it attempts to retain control of its resources and culture. Click on the link below:

Nationalism threatens Brazil’s regional interests

Secularisation in France

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Secularisation: To remove allegiance from a particular religion. This basically means that there is no specific state religion.
Islamaphobia: The fear of, or prejudice behaviour against the Islamic faith.

France actually passed a law as far back as 1905 that separated the state from religion. The law was designed to give neutrality to the state and give more freedom to religious expression. From this point the French government did not fund any religion. Although the idea of secularisation has been around in France for over a century, the debate about secularisation has recently resurfaced with new laws about religious symbols.

In 2004 the French parliament overwhelmingly voted in favour of banning religious symbols in France. This meant that students were no longer allowed to wear headscarves, crosses, skull caps and turbans. The idea behind the ban was to make all students equal inside the classroom and to promote the idea of being French. Then later in 2010 the French parliament voted to ban the full face veil in public. This time the argument was to improve integration of immigrant groups and to stop the repression of women. The ban was believed to impact about 2000 women. Punishments for women wearing the full veil included fines, punishments for men forcing women to wear the veil included prison sentences.

Both laws have proved highly controversial, with many arguing that freedom of choice has been removed, not enhanced and that it is anti-Islamic. Whatever the rights and wrongs are though, this is an example of one country trying to combat the globalisation of religion in order to promote French cultural values. The French government strongly defends its position saying that it is standing up for French values, where the church and the state are separated by law.

Nationalism in the UK

Nationalism: Loyalty to one’s nation and/or the desire for independence.

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Europe has had a recent history of far right nationalist groups. The most horrific and disturbing example was the rise of Fascism in Germany between the World Wars leading to the emergence of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. Adolf Hitler was an extreme example and modern-right parties do not support his policies of extermination, but many do support restrictions on immigration and even deportation of existing citizens.

The British National Party (BNP) founded in 1982 is an example of a far right nationalist party. Their current leader is Nick Griffin. The BNP has a number of policies which it says will promote the nation of Britain. Policies include:

  • The halting of all immigration to the UK
  • Voluntary repatriation of non-indigenous UK citizens
  • Exit from the EU
  • Increasing the tax of global corporations
  • Charging foreign trucks for using UK roads
  • Increase teaching of British history
  • Create bank holidays for national days e.g. St. Georges Day

The BNP currently has very little support in the UK, winning only 1.9% of the vote in 2010 general election, although they have won two seats in the European Parliament, one seat on the London Assembly and have one council seat.

Although some people believe that the BNP is fighting the negative impacts of globalisation, many more believe that it is a racist group that will harm Britain’s reputation around the world as being a welcoming multi-cultural society.

Resurgence of nationalism is a direct response to the global recession and a loss of sovereignty. Critically evaluate this statement using one example. 10 marks.

Anti-globalisation Movements

What is anti-globalisation?

Anti-globalisation is the umbrella term for a group of different protest causes, including

  • environmentalism
  • third world debt
  • animal rights
  • child labour
  • anarchism, and
  • anti-capitalism and opposition to multinationals

Globalisation has really accelerated since the break-up of the Soviet Union.

It includes the increasing integration of countries’ individual economies, the rise in world trade, the impact on ordinary people of multinational companies and the effect of large sums of money moving in and out of economies.

It also includes the increasing number of cross-border social, cultural and technological links.

The targets of anti-globalisation protests have been meetings of the

  • World Trade Organisation (WTO) which promotes free trade between countries
  • International Monetary Fund (IMF) which gives countries loans when their economies are in crisis
  • World Bank, which among other things gives longer term loans to countries for development

Other meetings of national leaders and businesses have also been hit, such as the Summit of the Americas in Quebec, and the World Economic Forum in Davos.

May Day (originally a pagan festival, now the day of workers and international socialism) is often a target for these protests.

Protests have often resulted in violence, eg the scenes in Quebec (see picture). But most of the protesters are supporters of non-violent direct action, and have used tactics such as guerrilla gardening (which saw Winston Churchill’s statue getting a turf mohican), and Feed the Birds (giving pigeons in Trafalgar Square food when authorities are trying to remove them).

Opponents of globalisation say it leads to exploitation of the world’s poor, workers, and the environment. They say it makes it easier for rich companies to act with less accountability. They also claim that countries’ individual cultures are becoming overpowered by Americanisation. Several of the largest US brands (eg McDonald’s and Starbucks) face particular opposition.

Those in favour of globalisation say increasing world trade should make everyone richer, and say global phenomena like the internet can help those who are oppressed. Trade links can encourage countries to respect human rights, they say.

Anti-globalisation Movements

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Anti-globalisation: Opposition to the emergence of a single world market dominated by large TNCs.

The anti-globalisation movement began life in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s in protest to the OECD’s call for greater liberalisation of global markets. In 1988 in Berlin and later in 1994 in Madrid there were protests held at IMF and World Bank meetings. In 1999 more coordinated protests took place in London and Eugene in the US. Later that same year protests took place in Seattle in the US during the meetings of the WTO. Protesters managed to stop on the opening ceremony taking place. Since 1999 protests have taken place at most global meetings and conferences of international organisations like the OECD, WTO, IMF and World Bank. Also May 1st has become widely used an international day of protest against many national and global issues, including globalisation.

Anti-globalisation movements protest against a number of issues include:

  • War and nuclear proliferation
  • Exploitation of workers (including trafficking)
  • Rising levels of government debt
  • Rising power of TNCs
  • Environmental damage (greenhouse effect, acid rain, deforestation)
  • Rising power of global institutions (WTO, IMF and World Bank)
  • Loss of culture
  • Corporate bailouts
  • Corporate pay and bonuses
  • Inequalities between groups (racism, sexism, etc.)
  • Loss of national sovereignty
  • Polarisation between rich and poor

Because anti-globalisation is so broad, protesting against many different aspects of globalisation there are thousands of groups and individuals involved encompassing every socio-economic group. Recent protests in Wall Street, New York attracted the support of people ranging from the unemployed to the writer and director Michael Moore. Two groups that we will look at more detail in the next section are the “Focus on the Global South Group” and “People’s Action Group” as well as the role of trade unions

US Immigration Controls (Arizona)

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The exact number of illegal immigrants in the US is unclear because they are unregistered and don’t want to be found. However, the most common estimate is about 11 million (although figures range from 7 to 20 million). California, Florida and Texas have the largest number of illegal immigrants, at about 1 million each. The main source country for illegal immigrants is Mexico accounting for about 57%, other Latin American countries account for a further 24%. The other illegal migrants mainly come from Europe and Asia.

Migrants move to the US for a number of push and pull factors (Lee’s migration model). From Latin America, push factors include crime, unemployment, low wages, poor education and poor healthcare. Pull factors to the US include friends and family already living there, Spanish speaking communities, better job prospects, safety and better schools.

Most migrants on their journey to the US will face intervening obstacles, like the cost of transport, problems of crossing the border and becoming victims of crime. Robbery, kidnapping, rape and murder all fairly common crimes committed against migrants crossing Mexico. For many migrants there will also be factors that stop them wanting to leave their country of origin e.g. friends, family and familiarity with language and customs. There will also be facts that stop them wanting to travel to the US e.g. language barrier, fear of being caught, no friends and family and worries about adjusting to new culture and finding a job.

Migrants that do arrive in the US bring many advantages. They provide a cheap source of labour and are willing to work long hours for relatively low pay. They also bring aspects of their culture like food (Mexican) and dance as well as forging closer links with source countries. However, they can also create problems like housing shortages, racial tension, cost of providing education and healthcare. For more details on general push and pull factors as well as impacts to both source and receiving country go to: Movement responses – Migration and Labour flows.

Despite the large number of advantages that migrants bring, concerns like racial tensions, terrorism, identity theft, loss of US jobs, political opinion, welfare fraud and criminal gangs has meant that US politicians are constantly discussing ways of dealing with illegal immigrants. Suggested solutions have included; an increase in border controls, an extension of the US-Mexico border fence, an amnesty for current illegal migrants, heavy fines for employers using illegal immigrants, greater workplace checks, heavier punishments for illegals ( including prison sentences), extended working visas, country immigration quotas and economic support for source countries to reduce push factors and therefore migration.

Arizona which has an estimated 460,000 illegal immigrants has recently introduced some controversial new immigration laws (Arizona Senate Bill 1070). The law enforced existing US laws like imprisonment and deportation of people found to be living illegally. However, it also made it a crime for aliens not to be carrying the correct documentation and allowed the police to make document checks on people stopped for routine police business. Fines and prison sentences is the punishment for not having the correct documents. The new law also meant that there would be more workplace checks and greater punishments for people employing, trafficking or housing illegal immigrants. The new law was very controversial because it was accused of infringing on civil liberties and it was said that it would encourage racial profiling by the police. As such the law got blocked by the US Department of Justice although Arizona is trying to overturn the injunction.

Any future laws are also likely to prove controversial, because much of the US economy depends on illegal immigrants, the cost of imprisoning and deporting illegals is expensive, the cost of patrolling the border between the US and Mexico is expensive, many illegal immigrants and their families were actually born in the US and illegal immigrants are impossible to track because there are new arrivals every day.

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