2 Comment(s) | Posted | by Ojo Anthonia Bolanle |


Vol. 9, No. 1, March 2015 Pages: 76-89


Ojo Anthonia Bolanle, SSMABoston College, USA


Globalisation is a phenomenon that has gained increasing importance all over the world in the contemporary age. It is a global trend towards development that brings about integration of the world economy and cultures into a global culture, decreasing transportation costs and the dissemination of information and communication technologies; and also bringing about significant rise in gross trade, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), capital flows and technology transfers. However, in most developing countries, the current wave of globalisation has been accompanied by increasing concern about its impact on inequality and poverty. It is believed that globalisation which is supposed to reduce inequality and poverty increases these. Nigeria is not exceptional in this situation. Nigeria, like most other Sub-Saharan African States, exists with deep-rooted and endemic inequality and poverty. This paper therefore, in the light of Catholic Church Social Teaching, which teaches that all development should lead to rules and values that secure the needs of human community and the desire for social justice, discusses the level of inequality and poverty in Nigeria, and recommends pro-active measures in confronting poverty and empowerment of the poor through investment in human capital in order to enjoy the benefits of globalisation.

Keywords: Globalisation, Inequality, Poverty, Social Justice, Social Teachings of the Church

Ojo Anthonia Bolanle, SSMA holds Doctoral Degree in Moral Theology from Catholic Institute of West Africa, Port Harcourt, Nigeria. She is currently doing her post-doctoral fellowship in Boston College, Massachusetts. Email:


Ojo Anthonia Bolanle: Globalization, Inequality and Poverty in Nigeria page2image125677 Introduction

The world is a global village. This is a metaphor that is often used to depict global interdependence and the increasing interaction and the integration of economic activities of human societies around the world.1 Over the past decades, the economies of the nations of the world have become increasingly interconnected, through expanded international trade in services as well as primary and manufactured goods. It has also expanded through collection of investments such as international loans, foreign aid, purchase of stock and increased Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) especially through multinational corporations, which basically invest in hi-tech industries like telecommunications; oil and gas; capital intensive manufacturing industries; and banking industry in developing countries.2 Thus globalisation is a way to describe changes in international economy and in world politics. It is described as the free movement of goods, services, labour and capital across borders. Globalisation has produced increasing global economic interdependence through the growing volume and variety of cross-border flows of finance, investment, goods, and services, and the rapid and widespread diffusion of technology. Globalisation conjures the picture of a borderless world with greater economic integration that enhances the living standards of people across the globe. In this new era of growing integration of economies and societies, individuals and corporations reach around the world further, faster, and more economically than before. Now, even grass roots organisations are equipped with fax machines, mobile phones and electronic mail, and may even be able to post latest news on their own website. Information exchange is instantaneous, and international discussion on campaign strategy can be achieved at modest expenses.3 The global flow of capital, commodities, people and information which is the hallmark of globalisation connotes equal exchanges and sharing of goods and services between countries and cultures.

However, there have been heated debates on the link between globalisation, inequality and poverty in the present age. Some authors argue that globalisation brings real chance of prosperity to the impoverished corners of the world. For instance, Dollar and

1S.I. Ajayi, “Globalisation and Africa,” Journal of African Economies 12, 1 (2003) 120-150.

2M.P. Todaro and S.C. Smith, Economic Development (8th Edition), Singapore: Pearson, 2003, 510.

3A. Salimono, “Globalisation and Challenges,” A Paper Presented at the International Summit on Globalisation as Problem of Development in Harana Cuba, Jan18-22, 1999.


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Kraay observe that the increase in economic growth rates leads on average to proportionate increases in incomes of the poor. They also maintain that over half of the developing world that lives in globalising economies have seen large increases in trade and significant declines in tariffs.4 However, the opponents of this view see globalisation as the cause of growing poverty and inequality in the world, both between countries and peoples. Rena Ravinder argues that globalisation “has spurred inequality — both in the wealthiest countries as well as the developing world... Indeed, globalisation creates losers as well as winners, and entails risks as well as opportunities. Ultimately, globalisation broadens the gap between rich and poor. It also creates distortions in the global economy.”5 He concludes that globalisation has become painful, rather than controversial, to the developing world, leading to corruption, environmental degradation and internal dissent.6 Globalisation is seen by many developing nations as merely a new, more attractive label, for the old imperialism, or worse — a form of re-colonisation.7

The argument that developing countries benefit from integration with the global economy is a very encouraging one but how can this be reconciled with the fact that the global poverty and inequality are remarkably concentrated in developing countries including Nigeria? Human conditions in most African countries in a globalised world have greatly deteriorated. Their economies have stagnated while their populations have risen with ubiquitous inequality. Many people continue to live in absolute poverty, unable to meet their most basic needs, and surviving on less than a dollar a day.8 Real disposable incomes have declined steeply, malnutrition rates have risen sharply, food production has hardly kept pace with population growth and the quantity and quality of health and education services have also deteriorated.9

4D. Dollar and A. Kraay, “Trade, Growth, and Poverty,” The Economic Journal 114, 127 (2004) 22-49.

5Rena Ravinder, “Globalisation Still Hurting Poor Nations,” (2003) 1., accessed 11/03/2015.

6Rena Ravinder, “Globalisation Still Hurting Poor Nations,” 1.

7John Mary Waliggo, “A Call for Prophetic Action,” in Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church, ed. James F. Keenan, New York: Continuum, 2007, 253–261, 254.

8World Bank. “World Bank List of Economies” (2011), http://sitesources.worldbank. org/datastatistics/resources/class.xls. Accessed 27/5/2013.

9A. Biyi and O. Ogwumike in I.O. Mike, ed., Integrating Poverty Alleviation Strategies into Plans and Programmes in Nigeria, Ibadan: Secreprint, 2003, 18.


Ojo Anthonia Bolanle: Globalization, Inequality and Poverty in Nigeria page4image121679

There is no gain saying that the majority of Nigerians are poor and that inequality abounds in the country. Indeed, her poverty profile in statistical figures according to World Bank (2010) indicates that Nigerian people live in one of the twenty-five poorest countries in the world10 despite her widely acknowledged huge economic potentials and abundant natural resources. The country is rated among the African countries where poverty level is relatively high. Evidence from survey investigations shows that above 70 percent of the population of Nigeria live below the poverty line. Its poor human development indicator puts Human Development Index (HDI) at 168th out of the 173 countries of the world.11 These statistics about poverty rate and HDI seem uncomfortable when compared with the global average record and even when compared with some other developing countries.

Given the enormous benefits accruing from globalisation, it becomes a matter of concern why the majority of Nigerian populace remains so poor even in the midst of abundant resources, and inequality is so obvious in the country where the wealth of the nation is concentrated in the hands of the few. Hence, this paper discusses the link between globalisation, inequality and poverty in Nigeria. The complexity of the relationship between poverty and globalisation suggests among others, pro-active measures in confronting poverty, and empowerment of the poor through investment in human capital. These are vital to reap the benefits of globalisation in Nigeria.

The Trend of Inequality and Poverty in Nigeria

The channels through which globalisation affects world inequality have been identified as commodity price equalisation, factor price convergence, capital mobility and differentials in marginal products and rates of return of capital among countries, and dynamic convergence in per capita income growth.12 However, assessments of trends in inequality and poverty in Nigeria rely primarily on monetary measures of well-being of the people. This is because income can serve as a useful, representation for assessing how well families are able to provide for themselves and their children, and more generally, thequality of life when other data is scarce.

10The World Bank and United Nation Development Programme (UNDP)’s 2010 Human Development Index,, Accessed 18/02/2015.

11The World Bank and United Nation Development Programme (UNDP)’s 2010 Human Development Index.

12Almas Heshmati, Globalisation, Inequality and Poverty Relationships: A Cross Country Evidence, Global Economy Journal 6, 2 (2006) 1-30, at 7.


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Inequality can also be measured as group differences in capabilities, such as the preconditions for people to live well and to be positioned to adequately provide for themselves and their families.13 According to Alvaro J. de Regila, the commonly-used measures of capabilities are educational attainment, life expectancy, and maternal and infant mortality rate. All these help to better capture the effect of public expenditure on such things as rural health clinics and public education that improve the well-being beyond the income available at the household.14 Considering how globalisation contributes to inequality in Nigeria, recent evidence shows that trade liberalisation leads to increasing wide gaps between the educated and uneducated, not only in the developed countries but in the developing countries.15 This risk is potent in no other place as much as it is in Africa where the greater percentage of the populace are uneducated. Apparently the combination of technology change with the globalisation of markets is raising the demand for and wage premium to skilled labour faster than the educational system is supplying skilled and trainable workers.

One of the many things the powerful nations (through the IMF, World Bank, etc.) prescribe is that the developing nations should open up to allow more import and export more of their commodities.16 The World Bank and IMF interventions in the 1980s and 1990s through the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) aimed at improving economic growth through the market mechanism turned out to be a disaster in sub-Saharan Africa and especially in Nigeria. The SAP was aimed at forging economic growth through trade liberalisation and economic integration. The developing countries in Africa were expected to focus on the cultivation and exportation of export commodities such as cocoa, groundnut, coffee, etc. and the importation of the processed products they needed.17 However this is precisely what contributes to poverty

13Alvaro J. de Regila, “An Ocean of Inequality: The Effects of Globalisation on the ‘Developing’ World,” 15,, accessed 13/03/2015.

14Alvaro J. de Regila, “An Ocean of Inequality: The Effects of Globalisation on the ‘Developing’ World,” 15,, accessed 13/03/2015.

15Nancy Birdsall, “Why Inequality Matters: The Developing and Transitional Economies,” Paper presented at the conference on The World Economy in the 21st Century: Challenges and Opportunities,” South Hadley, Massachusetts February 18- 19, 2000,, accessed 13/03/2015.

16International Monetary Fund, International Statistics Browser, http://


17International Monetary Fund, International Statistics Browser.

Ojo Anthonia Bolanle: Globalization, Inequality and Poverty in Nigeria page6image123281

and dependency. This brings about the scenario known as unequal exchange. As Richard Robbins describes it at first glance it may seem that the growth in development of export goods such as coffee, cotton, sugar, and lumber, would be beneficial to the exporting country, since it brings in revenue. In fact, it represents a type of exploitation called unequal exchange. A country that exports raw or unprocessed materials may gain currency for their sale, but they lose it if they import processed goods. The reason is that processed goods — goods that require additional labour — are more costly. Thus a country that exports lumber but does not have the capacity to process it must then re-import it in the form of finished lumber products, at a cost that is greater than the price it received for the raw product. The country that processes the materials gets the added revenue contributed by its labourers.18

According to the Declaration on the Right to Development, States should ensure “equality of opportunity for all in their access to basic resources, education, health services, food, housing employment and the fair distribution of income.”19 The international legal order is inadequate as of today to take this new phenomenon into account from the Third World developing countries’ perspective. Despite repeated promises of poverty reduction made over the last decade of the twentieth century, the number of people in poverty is actually increasing progressively by year.20

In order to show the intensity of poverty in Nigeria, the standard of $1 a day measured in international prices and adjusted to local currency using Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) conversion factors was used to calculate the depth of poverty as well as its prevalence in Nigeria. The World Bank measures poverty in relative terms by the share of the population living below the national poverty line. In absolute terms poverty is measured by the share of population living below $1 a day and two dollars a day.21 The exchange rate was put at 160 to be equivalent to $1 in 2009/2010. As at 2012, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) provided data that showed a staggering

18R. Robertson, Globalisation: Social Theory and Global Culture, London: Sage, 1992, 78.

20Joseph Stiglitz, Making Globalisation Work: The Next Step to Global Justice, New York: Penguin Books, 2006, 85.

21UNDP (2003), Human Development Report 2003, United Nations Development Program,, accessed 13/03/2015.

page6image22504 page6image22664

19Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), shtml, accessed 29/10/2012.


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112.47 million Nigerians (69%) of the country’s population that are

living on less than $1:00 (160) a day.22 Table 1: Percentage Living in Poverty (%)

Source: Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics HNL SS 2010.

In view of this above, the Federal Bureau of Statistics gives the index of poverty in Nigeria thus:

TABLE 2: Poverty Trends in Nigeria by Percentage of Population 1980 – 2010 (%)


Food Poor

Absolute Poor

Relative Poor

page7image10536 page7image10696

Dollar Per Day











page7image25536 page7image25856


Poverty Incidence (%)


Estimated Population (Million)


Population in Poverty (Million)



























Source: Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics HNL SS 2010.

Following from the table above, it is obvious that the poverty rate is growing rapidly in Nigeria. More than half of the population still lives on less than $2 a day. This made the World Bank in its May 2013 Nigeria Economic Report ranks Nigeria as one of the five countries with extreme poverty. The report specifically reveals that: “The fact is that two-thirds of the world’s extreme poor are concentrated in just five countries: India (33%), China (13%), Nigeria (7%), Bangladesh (6%), and DRC (5%).23

Poverty in Nigeria presents a paradox. The country is rich, but the people are poor. Although, the country’s economy is said to have improved in the past fiscal years, according to report of World Bank in July 2014, to have a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $510 billion

22 Central Bank of Nigeria “Exchange Rates” (2010) ExchRateByCurrency. Accessed 10/01/2015.

23The World Bank May 2013 Nigeria Economic Report /2013/.../nigeria-economic-update-w. Accessed 25/02/2015.


Ojo Anthonia Bolanle: Globalization, Inequality and Poverty in Nigeria page8image122483

(over N80 trillion), and as such the largest economy in Africa and the 26th largest economy in the world, this does not have any positive impact on the poverty level of the country.24 Despite the fact that Nigerian economy is paradoxically growing, the proportion of Nigerians living in poverty is increasing every year. Hence, Okpe and Abu remark that Nigeria has witnessed a monumental increase in the level of poverty in a globalised world which is expected to reduce within-country poverty.25 The World Bank Reports have demonstrated how low Nigerians rank in terms of access to electricity, safe drinking water, adequate housing, sufficient calorie intake, etc.

Privatisation of utilities, such as, power, water, telecommunications, etc. is another example of how globalisation affects inequality in Nigeria. Privatisation is always perceived as good for the society because most, if not all publicly managed utilities in Nigeria are inefficient and bedevilled by poor and corrupt management. However, it is increasingly obvious that privatisation poses grave risks of concentrating wealth in the hands of a few unless done well and with the full complement of regulation. The risk of privatisation arises because developing and transnational economies, almost by definition, are handicapped by relatively weak institutions, less well-established rules of transparency, and often, not only high concentrations of economic and political power but a high correlation between those two areas of power. These conditions combine to make it difficult indeed to manage the privatisation process in a manner that is not disequalising.26

With the corruption and general inconsistency associated with privatisation, there is a failure to reduce the inequality gap in Nigeria as there is the likelihood of the privatised corporation locking in private privileges whose aim it (the privatisation) was to eliminate. This is the case in Nigeria with the privatisation of the country‘s flagship national carrier – Nigeria Airways, telecommunications operator – NITEL, and electricity distribution corporation – PHN to name a few. They have all failed in the privatisation experiment causing many to be laid off and poorer for it.27

Inequality is also evident in the concentration of infrastructure in the urban areas while the rural dwellers lack access to the social

24 World Bank, “World Bank List of Economies” (2014), http://sitesources.worldbank. org/datastatistics/resources/class.xls. Accessed 27/2/2015.

25I.J. Okpe, and G.A. Abu, “Foreign Private Investment and Poverty Reduction in Nigeria (1975-2003),” Journal of Social Sciences 19, 3 (2009) 205-211.

26Jekwu Ikeme, “Sustainable Development, Globalisation and Africa: Plugging the Holes,”, accessed on 27/03/2015.


27Jekwu Ikeme, “Sustainable Development, Globalisation and Africa.”


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amenities needed for daily living. The poverty profiles constructed by the National Bureau of Statistics (2007) show that Nigerian poverty is predominantly a rural phenomenon. In 1980, 28.3 percent of the rural population was poor. This increased to 51.4 percent in 1985 but declined to 46.0 percent in 1992 before increasing to 69.8 percent in 1996 and again decreasing to 63.8 percent in 2004. On the other hand, the proportion of the poor in the urban areas rose from 17.2 percent in 1980 to 37.8 percent in 1985. It declined to 37.5 percent in 1992 and rose to 58.2 percent in 1996 before decreasing to 43.1 percent in 2004.28 This is a reflection of the disparities in access to opportunities and infrastructure among the different households. For instance, infrastructure such as roads, water and sanitation, universities and electricity are not always readily available in the rural areas of the country. Nor are opportunities such as off-season employment, credit availability and access to timely agricultural inputs. In Nigeria, there has been neglect of agricultural and non-oil producing sector due to the discovery of oil in the 70s. This led to the rural-urban migration and dilapidated infrastructural facilities in the urban centres.

Further investigation of the poverty profile in the rural areas reveals that about 44.4 percent of households cannot meet the food expenditure requirements. Another 19.38 percent can meet the food expenditure requirements, but are unable to meet the minimum expenditure to cover other basic needs. In the case of urban households, only 26.7 percent could not meet the required expenditure on food while 16.4 percent that could meet the food expenditure still could not meet the other non-food basic needs expenditure. This indicates that although poverty alleviation programs should concentrate in the rural sector, the urban sector should not be neglected.29

The wave of globalisation, trade liberalisation and privatisation in Nigeria has raised incomes and standard of living of the elites rather than the poor. However, the country is experiencing painful declines in human welfare, increased inequality giving rise to domestic and international tension. While globalisation may promote economic growth and employment, it may have an adverse effect on the livelihood of small rural producers in the absence of institutions that ensure an equitable distribution of its benefits. From the above analysis, one can deduce that Nigeria is becoming a natural habitat for poverty, despite globalisation and the country’s enormous natural and mineral resources.

28National Bureau of Statistics, Poverty Profile for Nigeria, Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, Abuja, Nigeria, 2007.

29Nigeria World Document, Accessed, 14/02/2015.


Ojo Anthonia Bolanle: Globalization, Inequality and Poverty in Nigeria page10image128085 The Social Teachings of the Church on Globalisation and Global


The Church has consistently put forward, through her social teachings, viable and cogent proposals as regards how to work towards a global community in the contemporary world that will respect human values and at the same time promote the glory of God.30 The Church appreciates the expansion of free trade and of institutions that present tremendous opportunities for helping the developing world to raise its living standards. Therefore, Catholic Social Teaching (CST) on globalisation is based on respect for human values, that is, the unique dignity of the human person. The teaching is based upon a theological anthropology that views the human person in relation to the mystery of God as well as to the person’s rightful place in the order of creation.31 The social teaching of the Church, out of the great promise for humanity, the promise of making human life more humane (GS, 1), helps to direct the process of globalisation towards the service of the human person rather than his/her degradation.32 It is a Christian humanism that shows how to take advantage of the immense opportunities that globalisation offers humanity in ways that accord with human dignity.33

The fundamental principle that guides CST on globalisation is the principle of solidarity. John Paul II in his encyclical Sollicitudo Rei Socialis points out that solidarity “helps us to see the ‘other’— whether a person, people, or nation—not just as some kind of instrument... but as our ‘neighbour,’ a ‘helper’ (Gen 2:18–20), to be made a sharer on a par with ourselves, in the banquet of life to which all are equally invited by God.”34 He maintains that: “Recognition of this fundamental principle can give the world as it is today, marked by the process of globalisation, a soul, a meaning and a direction. Globalisation, for all its risks, also offers exceptional and promising opportunities, precisely with a view to enabling humanity to become a single family, built on the values of justice,

30Kenneth R. Himes, “Globalisation with a Human Face: Catholic Social Teaching and Globalisation” Theological Studies 69 (2008) 272, 69.2.2, pdf, accessed 25/03/2015.

31John Paul II, Centisimus Annus, Nairobi: Paulines, 2002, nos. 53–55

32Thomas More in Samuel Gregg, “Universal Principles for a Harmonious Globalisation: Insights from Catholic Social Teaching,” 243-256. Globalization, pdf accessed 15/03/2015.

33Himes, “Globalisation with a Human Face,” 270.

34John Paul II, Encyclical Letter, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (On Social Concern), Nairobi: Paulines, 2005, 39.


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equity and solidarity.”35 In this, the sharing between communities that globalisation involves will help all of humanity to flourish. Thus in the context of Catholic Social Teaching, globalisation must be driven by the Christian principle of solidarity.

The fundamental claim that CST makes about globalisation is in connection with the fact that the human person is by nature a social being. Therefore, community is not an option for those inclined to it but an expression of the basic unity of humankind. This belief has shaped CST to such an extent that a consistent theme is that: “human dignity can be realised and protected only in community.”36 Building bonds between individuals and groups helps to foster conditions within which human beings can flourish, precisely because human beings are social beings.37 In the globalised world this solidarity translates into “partnerships for the benefit of one another,” especially partnerships between rich and poor nations.38

However, despite the potential benefits of globalisation for the whole of humanity made possible through the interplay between economic-financial globalisation and progress in technology,39 the Church acknowledges that globalisation has both positive and negative aspects, when she teaches that:

There are indications aplenty that point to a trend of increasing inequalities, both between advanced countries and developing countries, and within industrialised countries. The growing economic wealth made possible by the processes described above is accompanied by an increase in relative poverty.40

John Paul II speaks of these negative consequences as sinful aspects of globalisation: “Driven by profit and power, it is the structures of sin that mar globalisation. These structures are radically opposed to peace and development.”41

35Charles Curran, Kenneth Himes, and Thomas Shannon, “Commentary on Sollicitudo Rei Socialis,” in Modern Catholic Social Teaching, 415–35, esp. 426–30.

36Himes, “Globalisation with a Human Face,” 275.

37U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Economic Justice for All, Washington: United States Catholic Conference, 1985, no. 14, international/EconomicJusticeforAll.pdf (accessed January 2, 2008).

38Vimal Tirimanna, “Globalisation Needs to Count Human Persons,” in Ethics in the World Church, ed. James F. Keenan, New York: Continuum, 2007, 245–52, at 247.

39Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Nairobi: Pauline, 2005, 362.

40Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium, paragraph 362. 41John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 40.


Ojo Anthonia Bolanle: Globalization, Inequality and Poverty in Nigeria page12image122487

Another principle that guides the teachings of the Church on globalisation is the principle of social justice. The Church’s teachings on justice advance her concept of human rights. Hence, Kenneth Himes points out that the promotion of a set of basic human rights that ought to be universally established and recognised is a further elaboration of the idea of justice that CST provides for assessing globalisation.42 The protection of human rights depends on the preservation of such minimum standard of life as the right to food, the right to shelter, the right to freedom of speech, the right to health, the right to clean water, etc. These are the basic human needs — the moral minimum — without which the existence of human being is meaningless. The deprived people across the globe are entitled to the basic human needs, and the rich have the obligation to respond to that needs. The deprived peoples’ right to development also springs out of basic human needs.

John Paul II expresses fear that the processes of globalisation might lead to a “misconstrued homogenisation” among cultures whereby the values of poor nations are lost under the dominance of richer nations.43 This, Himes describes as two major fault lines visible in the processes of global decision-making. The first is that, in many of the forums, conferences, and summit meetings where rules and procedures of globalisation are discussed, the grassroots perspective does not get an adequate hearing and second, decisions about trade, foreign debt, and capital investment are made with little or no input from the majority of people affected. This, according to him, is a serious injustice to persons whose dignity entails exercising their creative moral agency.44 Similarly, David Hollenbach argues that a globalised world should neither deny people the experience of local communities that claim their loyalty, nor allow such loyalties to conflict with the fundamental human rights of people abused by local cultural norms. He then continues that basic human rights serve as a norm for particular groups even as we recognise the persistence of local loyalties amidst the reality of globalisation.45 Not only the material well- being of the poor must be safeguarded and enhanced by the

42Himes, “Globalisation with a Human Face,” 278.
43John Paul II, Ecclesia In America, Boston: Pauline, 1999, no. 55.
44Himes, “Globalisation with a Human Face,” 280.
45David Hollenbach, The Common Good and Christian Ethics, New York: Cambridge


University, 2002, 219.


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processes of globalisation, but more attention needs to be given to

the realm of human culture.46
Advocating for global justice to correct all the ills of globalisation and

to make it work fairly for all, John Paul II in Centesimus Annus writes:

Today we are facing the so called ‘globalisation of the economy’, a phenomenon which is not to be dismissed, since it can create unusual opportunities of greater prosperity. There is a growing feeling, however, that this increasing internationalisation of the economy ought to be accompanied by effective international agencies which will oversee and direct the economy to the common good, something that an individual State, even if it were the most powerful on earth, would not be in a position to do. In order to achieve this result, it is necessary that there be increased coordination among the more powerful countries, and that in international agencies the interests of the whole human family be equally represented. It is also necessary that in evaluating the consequences of their decisions, these agencies always give sufficient consideration to peoples and countries which have little weight in the international market but which are burdened by the most acute and desperate needs, and are thus more dependent on support for their development.47

The basic tenet of distributive justice is the redistribution of wealth according to one’s due in the society. The quest for justice in globalisation is for and in relation to other human beings in the society. In view of this, William Ryan explains:

The theory of international or global distributive justice starts with the premises that the moral concern for the welfare of individuals is not confined to a particular territory rather it transcends the boundaries of nation states, and the individuals across the globe that constitute the global community are the target of the theory. This approach to justice concerns the welfare of individuals across the globe on the basis of the minimum standard of life, be it ‘the basic need’, ‘subsistence’, or ‘basic human rights — the moral minimum.’48

In all, the aim of CST is to recover a perspective on the human person that views relationality as a vital component for authentic personhood. Such a viewpoint will necessarily be attentive to the prospect of a common good and authentic human development. The paramount consideration in globalisation must be the common good

46Daniel G. Groody, Globalisation, Spirituality, and Justice: Navigating the Path to Peace, Maryknoll, New York: Orbis, 2007, 110.

47John Paul II, Centisimus Annus, Nairobi: Paulines, 2002, 58.

48William Ryan, “Personal Comments, Reflections, and Hopes,” in Globalisation and Catholic Social Thought: Present Crisis, Future Hope, ed. John A. Coleman and William F. Ryan, Toronto: Novalis, 2005, 249–65, 249.


Ojo Anthonia Bolanle: Globalization, Inequality and Poverty in Nigeria page14image122489

of humanity which takes into consideration the certain goods that are basic to human well-being and necessary for persons to endure with dignity intact. The more the world is united globally, the more it is in the interest of each part that the common good of all be pursued.49


In conclusion, in recent years, the link between globalisation and world inequality and poverty has been strongly debated. This concern is based on the fact that poverty and income inequality still abound in many developing countries of the world that see globalisation as a panacea to these challenges. Globalisation generally should mean for all and especially it should be more responsive to the needs and development considerations of the deprived billions who live in the Third World. However, assessing the level of poverty and inequality in Nigeria, these cannot be totally blamed on globalisation. Hence the Nigerian government has the duty to take more pro-active measures in confronting poverty. Among these, empowerment of the poor through investment in human capital is imperative. This will help to promote modernisation of the economy. A policy to build human capital should also aim to develop a broad array of technical, managerial, and scientific skills needed to sustain rapid growth. Globalisation should be a path that assures that the “joys and hopes” of the people of every age will be realised while their “griefs and anxieties” are properly addressed (GS, 1).


49Himes, “Globalisation with a Human Face,” 284. 


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