Last week the China Construction Bank opened its first branch in Australia. With a market capitalization of around $230b, it is larger than global players such as HSBC.

It was also a week which saw the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority take a stake in Citi, Dubai International Capital take a stake in Sony and whacky Hugo Chavez threaten to turn the oil tap off from Venezuela to the US.

This year has also seen the Russians continue to occupy an increasing number of spots on the Forbes wealthiest list, with an Indian steelmaker the world’s fifth richest man and a Mexican, Carlos Slim, overtake Bill Gates as the world’s richest man. Even one of Australia’s most successful companies in recent years, Rinker, was eaten up by the Mexican company, Cemex.

Chinese, Arabs, Indians and Mexicans are not portrayed in the media as being the economic winners of globalization, but increasingly they are.

It’s enough to cause enormous consternation at the ABC’s programming department and cultural studies faculties around the world as to use one of the most loved phrases of the post-modern set, the “Other” appears to be doing very nicely out of globalization.

Indeed, the “Other” is likely to continue to do extremely well out of globalization in the years ahead.

Whether it is African countries from Burkino Faso to Mauritania supplying raw materials to China and India, Brazil driving the revolution in biofuels or Gulf States buying up brand name western companies, globalization is giving the “Other” opportunities that a world sans-globalization could not possibly hope to offer.

The truth is that if globalization stops, the big winners will be lazy western companies and intellectually lazy western academics and the big losers will be the “Other.”

Peter Fray

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