Globalization: Advantages, Disadvantages and Concerns
This essay discusses globalization and how social commentators and historians act like globalization is a new concept, but it’s not. It’s something that has occurred between nations for as long as nations have interacted. According to the SUNY Levin institute, “Globalization is a process of interaction and integration among the people, companies, and governments of different nations, a process driven by international trade and investment and aided by information technology. This process has effects on the environment, on culture, on political systems, on economic development, and prosperity, and on human physical well-being in societies around the world (2018). Globalization has been around for thousands of years because people have been buying and selling to one another all over the world regardless of how much distance was between them. For hundreds upon hundreds of years, people and companies have made strategic investments in the work of other countries, with many of the current traits of globalization that dominate today comparable to those that were the norm before World War One (SUNY Levin).
However, with the changes in policy and the advancements in technology of the last fifty years, globalization has been able to occur at a faster rate, making many social scientists assert that we are in a new arena of international economic development. As one author, Thomas Friedman has asserted, today globalization is “farther, faster, cheaper, and deeper”—and this is one of the reasons that globalization remains a very controversial topic. Globalization today has been pushed by policies that have opened up economies all over the world, that have helped nations far and wide boost their own productive potential. More and more companies all over the world have engaged in foreign partnerships, with so many of these changes driven by the rapid advances of technology and the ability to make immediate and informed analyses of economies all over the world (SUNY Levin).
Table of Contents
a. Brief definition of Globalization
b. Brief overview of how globalization has almost always existed to some extent.
c. Thesis: Globalization is more complex today as it is deeper and more intense that the Pre World War I variety and has more repercussions and entanglements.
II. Advantages of Globalization
a. – Economic Benefits
b. – Social Benefits
c. – Global Benefits
III. Disadvantages of Globalization
a. – Cultural issues
b. – Economic injustice
c. –Spread of disease
Economic Issues and Globalization
a. Benefits and Drawbacks
Globalization has been a double-edged sword in American and all over the world, offering it both numerous benefits and drawbacks, conveniences and complexities. Given the inherent duality of globalization, it is worth taking a closer look at all the nuances connected to it.
With each century that passes, humans all around the far stretches of the globe become closer, in an constantly moving process of global integration that seems to grow more rapid with each passing year. As technology speeds ahead at a breakneck speed, the various sectors of the world become more interdependent. “Multinational corporations manufacture products in many countries and sell to consumers around the world. Money, technology and raw materials move ever more swiftly across national borders” (globalpolicy.org). However, it’s not just these tangible items that are moving swiftly across borders: ideas, rituals and cultures are crossing borders every swiftly as well which means that more policies and social movements develop on an international stage.
The globalization of today is not the globalization of 70 years ago. Much of the globalization that defined the 20th century has direct ties to the Industrial Revolution and the transport of goods across borders (Baldwin, 2018). This was a very specific type of globalization as it meant that it was measurable, countable, and had clear limitations of all mechanical and physical infrastructure along with clear policies such as taxes and tariffs to control it. Globalization today has evolved into a different form that still includes this original, more concrete form of trade: today globalization is the exchange of concepts and services and the implications for the future truly are immense and need to be expanded against our narrow 20th century paradigms. Hence, while globalization has transformed, most people have not changed their mindsets accordingly and their connected thought processes.
One way to illustrate how powerful globalization is revolves around the fact the if you look back to the year 1000, grouping India and China in one group and the G7 nations in another, you’ll see that India and China had the bulk (50%) of the gross domestic product and the G7 nations had under 10% of it (Baldwin, 2018). This was expected as in those days, nearly everyone depended on an agrarian economy and India and China had the majority of the world’s people so it made sense that they had the bulk of the GDP. “Starting around the 1820s—the decade economists Kevin H. O’Rourke of Oxford and Jeffrey G. Williamson of Harvard have pegged as the start of modern globalization—the G7 share starts to swell. Over the course of about 170 years, it goes from about one-fifth up to about two-thirds of world income. That’s how powerful globalization—the movement of goods across borders—was” (Baldwin, 2018). This demonstrates the sheer transformative force of globalization and how it has the ability to alter economies and lifestyles and modes of conduct. One could argue that the world is undergoing a similarly powerful transformative stage in this new form of globalization.
Globalization is a powerful force that can change the world and the lives within it very rapidly. It’s crucial to adequately understand how globalization work, the assets it provides and the challenges it creates in order to be able to harness its immense power.
The benefits of globalization are numerous and have made direct and sustainable contributions to society. With every potential benefit of globalization, there is of course a caveat, which demonstrates how often in the reality of globalization, things don’t often manifest as they “should” theoretically. For instance, those who support unfettered globalization push the fact that it offers the possibility to unravel some of the more complex issues that plague the world, such as unemployment and poverty (Collins, 2015). Supporters of globalization usually connect this to the potentialities that free trade can unleash, as it can minimize taxes and tariffs, something that isn’t often true in real life. Many G20 nations have continued to add 1200 more restrictive export and import measures in the last 10 years (Collins, 2018). Regardless, those who see the benefits of globalization argue it represents free trade which can’t help but create global economic growth, the creation of jobs and drives competition between companies, ultimately lowering prices for consumers (Collins, 2018). However, the caveat attached to this advantage is that nations manipulate their currencies in order to receive a more aggravated price advantage (Collins, 2018). Globalization “…also provides poor countries, through infusions of foreign capital and technology, with the chance to develop economically and by spreading prosperity, creates the conditions in which democracy and respect for human rights may flourish” (Collins, 2018). While many pessimists refer to this advantage as a mere “ethereal” goal and something that has yet to be achieved by most nations, one can’t help but acknowledge that progress has undeniably been made in both spreading prosperity, better respect for human rights and the dissemination of democratic principles.
Technology has been such an important aspect of modern globalization and of course, the Internet has shaped so much of how business is conducted today. There is now a global market for firms and customers who now have access to a range of nations they had never been able to interact with before. Even some of the smallest villages can begin to start their own businesses selling crafts and goods online: handmade baskets, necklaces, scarves etc. can all be made and sold online to people all over the world: there truly are endless possibilities. This is a huge change that has occurred in the world, because it honestly equates to economic freedom for so many people—most notably for girls and women all over the world who otherwise had no means of forging economic independence for themselves. This is a clear transformation to the way that people live and can reshape destinies, ensuring that more and more people have greater possibilities and are able to chart their financial paths and fate, no longer being dependent on farming alone.
One thing that globalization has always meant has been a greater sense of interdependence and inter-connectedness. “Gradually there is a world power that is being created instead of compartmentalized power sectors. Politics is merging and decisions that are being taken are actually beneficial for people all over the world” (Collins, 2015). While this might be an overly optimistic viewpoint of what is happening in the world today, there is a higher level of consciousness that has occurred in conjunction with globalization that has ensured that powerful nations don’t merely think of themselves, but consider the bigger picture of their actions and how their actions make an impact on the greater world stage.
Another major benefit of globalization is that it forces there to a more intense exchange of information among nations, even nations that do not have anything particularly in common among them. This create more knowledge and ideally, greater understanding of nations all over the globe, and hopefully of America itself. For many decades, America has just been dismissed as a super-capitalist, fast-food nation, intent on materialism, gross foreign policy and saturating the rest of the world with its culture. There’s a far more nuanced perspective available of what America is like as a country, one that includes its promotion of individualism, world peace and a commitment to self-betterment. The greater the sense of understanding that can exist between nations, the greater an opportunity for there to be peace and mutual assistance. With greater information moving between nations, this opens the door for a greater cultural mingling (Collins, 2015). Sharing cultures, rituals, traditions with neighbors far and wide is another practice that can help build understanding. With greater understanding comes a bigger possibility to build world peace. This isn’t something that is going to happen overnight, but globalization in this manner can help sow the seeds. From a social perspective, one could argue that globalization has helped to forge a higher level of tolerance among people and among those who live differently than we do (Collins, 2015). Again this is another brick in the road towards world peace. When it comes to protecting and improving the environment, more governments around the world are working together to sort out ecological problems (Collins, 2015). While there haven’t been a greater deal of life-changing solutions that have emerged from these talks, the attempts have been made and the first steps are in motion to undo so much of the damage that has already been done. This teamwork, however, has been a direct result of globalization, since globalization has cause more and more governments around the world to share financial interests. And finally, many people correctly view things like quick travel, rapid mass communication and the speedy dissemination of information via the Internet as one of the benefits of globalization (Collins, 2015). There have also been marked economic benefits of globalization, which will be discussed later.
One major disadvantage of globalization that has been cited again and again is that via the cultural exchange that occurs because of globalization, it has also created a destruction of cultural identities. “Culture sets the identity of one state to another; every country had its own main culture and subcultures, which represent that nation and symbolizes its society, character and way of life. In today’s world, we see three dominant world cultures; US, European Union and Japan. This cultural group sets the world’s agenda” (Sundby, 2018). When emerging nations such as Brazil, India and China come on the world stage, more and more people have argued that they are bending to the cultural influence of the big three. However, supporters of globalization have argued that culture are continually changing and have evolved and adapted since the beginning of time—one shouldn’t necessarily blame globalization for that. The influence of cultures on one another is just more acute now. However, these same critics of globalization argue that there’s a marked imbalance as America has such a profound influence on cultures all over the world, and to an unfair degree.
“Advancements in technology, has allowed dominance of American products in foreign countries, which is a threat to cultural identity of these foreign countries. American-based television, movies, music and literature are viewed worldwide. These often indoctrinate cultures into thinking the American way is the way to success and prosperity” (Sundby, 2018). The dominance of American way of life on the world stage, is a drawback of globalization as it can stifle and suffocate so many other cultural viewpoints. A Pew research study conducted in 2007 and which interviewed 47 nations found that 46 of them asserted that their traditional way of life was being erased (Sundby, 2018). Supporters of globalization argue that cultures of smaller nations aren’t being eradicated; they’re merely being forced to adapt to global forces more acutely and that this is a dynamic that is as old as time itself.
Another drawback of globalization revolves around the fact that may have argued that it leads to more mass migration and immigration, something that puts stress and burden on governments all over the world. “The dramatic increase in migration and influx of refugees had also brought new problems and pressures to many Governments and communities… Ever-expanding technological innovations allowed for automation of many tasks in industry and manufacturing and in services. Workers were being displaced and unemployed” (un.org, 2016). Hence, this demonstrates one of the double-edged swords of globalization: while it gives more freedom to workers to travel around the world and market their skills, this tendency can alienate the existing labor market and put a downward pressure on wages (Collins, 2015).
The issue revolving jobs has been one of the biggest complaints about globalization. When factories move to lower cost nations that creates rife unemployment. “According to conservative estimates by Robert Scott of the Economic Policy Institute, granting China most favored nation status drained away 3.2 million jobs, including 2.4 million manufacturing jobs. He pegs the net losses due to our trade deficit with Japan ($78.3 billion in 2013) at 896,000 jobs, as well as an additional 682,900 jobs from the Mexico –U.S. trade-deficit run-up from 1994 through 2010” (Collins, 2015). These numbers reflect plainly how globalization can undermine the fiscal security of its people—even in developed nation like America. Even when workers in America don’t lose their jobs, they often have to deal with demands from employers for reductions in pay, when these same employers make threats to send these jobs overseas (Collins, 2015). Some have argued that globalization has essentially created a “culture of fear” for many workers around the world. Other have argued that the expansion of labor to cheaper nations is also what enables certain evils such as child labor and human trafficking.
Moreover, one of the most common complaints about globalization is that it heightens economic inequality: the rich become wealthier and the poor become more disadvantaged. “During the most recent period of rapid growth in global trade and investment, 1960 to 1998, inequality worsened both internationally and within countries. The UN Development Program reports that the richest 20 percent of the world’s population consume 86 percent of the world’s resources while the poorest 80 percent consume just 14 percent” (Collins, 2015). Anyone can see that this is just another manifestation of injustice and unless big changes are made, such economic inequality is just going to……..