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Iran Ranked at the Bottom of Globalization Index

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Iran Institute-Democracy!

PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2004 10:09 pm    Post subject: Iran Ranked at the Bottom of Globalization Index Reply with quote

Iran Ranked at the Bottom of Globalization Index
March 04, 2004
Iran Institute for Democracy
Ramin Parham

Disconnected from an Increasingly Connected World

In an attempt to measure Globalization, The fourth annual A.T. Kearney/FOREIGN POLICY Globalization Index analyses and ranks 62 countries in its 2004 report. The study covers all major regions of the world, encompassing both developed and developing nations. The results are quite enlightening both with regard to the global context, two years after the deadly terrorist attacks on September the 11th 2001 and the downturn of the global economy as a result of events consecutive to 9/11 and to more predictable economic cyclic patterns, and with regard to the specific case of Iran. What follows, is a summary of the report’s methodology and findings. Ranked 62 over 62, the Islamic Republic of Iran, one of the 4 Islamic theocracies of the world along with Mauritania, Pakistan, and the “transitional Islamic state” of Afghanistan, sinks “dead last for the fourth consecutive year …near the bottom in most categories”.

Number of countries analyzed: 62
These countries, including the Islamic Republic of Iran, “account for 96 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 84 percent of the world’s population”.

Data Period:
Annual data for 2002 are used to calculate the index published in March/April 2004.

Data Source:
Sources include “World Development Indicators 2003 (Washington: World Bank); International Financial Statistics Yearbook 2003 (Washington: International Monetary Fund); Balance of Payment Statistics 2003 (Washington: International Monetary Fund); International Telecommunications Union Yearbook of Statistics 2003 (Geneva: International Telecommunication Union); Compendium of Tourism Statistics 2003 (Madrid: World Tourism Organization); The Secure Server Survey 2003 available online from Netcraft; World Factbook 2003 (Washington: Central Intelligence Agency)”.

Categories studied:

1) Cultural Integration:
In an attempt to measure the extent to which a given country is integrated with the global network of circulating cultural products, researchers (two from Singapore University) have focused their attention on "the conduits by which ideas, beliefs, and values are transmitted". These "conduits" are termed "cultural proxies" and "Proxy signifiers" measuring the "extent to which beliefs and values are moving across national boundaries. The most likely proxy, then, would be the vehicles by which culture is most typically transmitted." Although the authors acknowledge that any empirical quantification of "all possible facets of culture" is infeasible, they have nevertheless been able to identify "key indicators" of cultural globalization: 1) "cinematic films"; 2) "television programming" as a less costly way of cultural production and diffusion than Hollywood style feature film making, and, 3) the "volume of imported print publications" including magazines, periodicals, books and so on. These indicators are also said to demonstrate the extent to which the people of any given country can "create a way of looking at the world that is not bound by tradition." Recognizing the difficulty to find reliable and systematic sources of data, GI (Globalization Index) researchers have finally taken into account the only indicator for which systematic data have been available, that is printed materials. Based on this, the normalized calculation of the index has "tallied up the imports and exports" of printed materials divided "by the population size" (normalization). To interpret the results the following guidelines are given:

- "the higher a country is on this index, the more likely an individual in that country is to receive foreign cultural products"; and
- "the higher the dollar value of this index is, the more likely an individual in that nation is to recieve cultural products."

2) Economic Integration:
“Trade, foreign direct investment, portfolio capital flows, and investment income”.

3) Technological Integration:
This is a measure of “connectivity” as determined by the number of Internet users, Internet hosts, and secure servers.

4) Personal Contact:
“International travel and tourism, international telephone traffic, and remittances and personal transfers (including worker remittances, compensation to employees, and other person-to-person and nongovernmental transfers)”.

5) Political Engagement:
Absolute numbers here are given for “Memberships in international organizations, personnel and financial contributions to U.N. Security Council missions, international treaties ratified” and GDP-adjusted “governmental transfers” (sum of credits and debits).

Calculating the Index
“For most variables, each year's inward and outward flows are added, and the sum is divided by the country's nominal economic output (as measured by GDP) or, where appropriate, its population...The resulting data for each given variable are then normalized through a process that assigns values to data points for each year relative to the highest data point that year. The highest data point is valued at one, and all other data points are valued as fractions of one ... Globalization Index scores for every country and year are derived by summing all the indicator scores”.

Global Context at the time of the study

The period of the study, 2002, was in a sense Year One in a post September 11th world. 2002 was also a world of global economic downturn among the causes of which one could take into account the huge productivity gains made during the 1990s as a result of the pervasive penetration of information technology use in all aspects of social life from corporate governance to household connectivity. In their depiction of the global context, the authors of the 2004 GI also point out to:

- the collapse of the World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting in Cancún, Mexico;
- the trading of “diplomatic blows over free trade and the ongoing war on terrorism” between the US and EU;
- the “effective collapse” of the Growth and Stability Pact in the euro zone;
- the internal EU divide over political integration “as Europe's leaders failed to reach consensus on a draft constitution”; and to
- the inability of the UN to overcome the trans-Atlantic divide over the war on Iraq, “the most visible” symbolic failure of “multilateral cooperation”.

Global Results
“Globalization endured in 2002”, the report says, and so, despite a downturn in economic indicators. The resiliency of the globalization process is credited on non-economic such as travel, mobile telephony, and the world wide penetration of the internet:

- “More than 130 million new Internet users came online in 2002, bringing the total to more than 620 million, representing 9.9 percent of the total world population ... the World Wide Web now contains a volume of information that is 17 times larger than the print collections of the U.S. Library of Congress” ... The Middle East remained among the world's least connected areas, but saw the number of Internet users jump by 116 percent
- “International telephone traffic continued to grow, up 9 billion minutes to a total of 135 billion minutes in 2002 ... In 2002, for the first time, the number of mobile phones per capita (“mobidensity”) worldwide exceeded that of main telephone lines...”

Country Results

Integrating Economic, Technological, Political, and Personal data, the 2004 GI Top 10 and Bottom 10 countries are ranked as follow:

Top 10: Ireland, Singapore, Switzerland, Netherlands, Finland, Canada, United States, New Zealand, Austria, Denmark

Bottom 9: Brazil, Kenya, Turkey, Bangladesh, China, Venezuela, Indonesia, Egypt,

“Dead last”: Islamic Republic of Iran
Overall ranking among the 62 countries: 62
Economic ranking: 59/62
Political ranking: 61/62
Technological ranking: 48/62
Personal ranking: 62/62

High on Opiates and Connected to Heroin Lords

Released by the Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (US Department of State), the International Narcotics Control Strategy Report 2003 gives yet another striking picture of the reality of Iran under the revolutionary theocratic regime.

According to the report:

- The Islamic Republic of Iran is a major transit route for opiates smuggled from Afghanistan and through Pakistan to the Persian Gulf, Turkey, Russia, and Europe.
- Opium addiction in Iran ... is a major social and health problem ...
- About two percent of Iran’s 67.7 million citizens (that is, about 1,354,000 people) [official estimates] ... Other sources ... would add perhaps 500,000-600,000 “casual” users, for a total of perhaps two million ... UNODC estimates that 2.8 percent of the Iranian population over age 15 used opiates in 2001. Only Laos and Russia come close to Iran’s estimated drug abuse ... In 2002, the number of deaths from drug abuse increased by 370 percent ... reflecting a shift in Iran to abuse of heroin, especially intravenous abuse ... Sixty-seven percent of all recorded HIV cases are associated with drug abuse...
- Opiate drug seizures during 2002 in Iran ... were almost 208 metric tons of opium equivalent (Opium Equivalent = Opium +(heroin x 10)+(morphine base x 10), making Iran number one in the world in opiate seizures. Projected drug seizures for 2003, based on nine month figures, were even higher, at 243.6 metric tons of opium equivalent.
- Iran has ratified the 1988 UN Drug Convention, but its laws do not bring it completely into compliance with the Convention ... particularly in the areas of money laundering and controlled deliveries...
- Drug offenses are under the jurisdiction of the Revolutionary Courts ... More than 60 percent of the inmates in Iranian prisons are incarcerated for drug offenses, ranging from use to trafficking. Narcotics-related arrests in Iran during 2002 remained high at 118,819 persons ... Iran has executed more than 10,000 narcotics traffickers in the last decade ...
- Trafficking: The use of human “mules” is on the rise. Individuals and small groups also attempt to cross the border with two to ten kilograms of drugs, in many cases ingested for concealment. Trafficking through Iran's airports also appears to be on the rise.

Attentive readers may add to this, recent reports (ISNA, November 10th 2003) according to which:

- drug seizures in Iran amount to no more that 5% of the narcotics that circulate or transit through the country;
- 8000 drug and prostitution rings are active in Tehran alone;
- in the last 7 years, the average age of prostitutes has dropped from 27 to less than 20 years old;
- 1.8 billion US dollars has been the estimated value of the drug in circulation in the country in 2002-2003, more than six times higher than its value 8 years earlier
- the number of HIV infected Iranians is put at 25000 to 40000, five to eight times higher than official estimates [10 November 2003 (RFE/RL)]
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