Globalization is a complex political and economic issue these days. Most define globalization by saying it is the free exchange of goods, people, human, information, and services across international borders. But is globalization good or bad? In this article, we will explore points that both sides on this argument often make. We invite you to read on to learn more. Then, decide for yourself whether you feel that globalization is good, bad, or perhaps even both.
1. It Widens the Gap between Rich and Poor
Globalization seems to mostly benefit the big guys. In a global world, the rich have more opportunities than ever. While it seems that the opportunities for the poor (such as the lower middle class and working class citizens) only lessen. Over the last few years as globalization has taken hold, we have seen the wealth of people like traders, executives, and CEOs explode. All the while, global wages of workers have taken a nose dive.
2. Freedom of Choice of Goods
Proponents of globalization state that being able to select goods form anywhere in the world gives consumers more freedom of choice. With more freedom of choice, consumers are free to select what goods they want to buy. Prices are also kept low by the high amount of competition in the market. Want to see this benefit at work? Then just head to any large department store. There you will be met with a plethora of goods, almost all of which are now cheaper for consumers in today’s dollars than they ever have been before. For you, this is good news.
3. More Tolerance
As we move about a globalized world, we are more likely to interact with and come into contact with new cultures. Interacting with these new cultures helps us to better understand our own. It also makes us much more tolerant to others on a global scale. We suddenly understand that being human, in and of itself, is a shared, common experience. No matter where we call home. For oppressed people’s everywhere, this new outlook can mean deeper understanding and caring. It might also mean that old grudges and wars are more likely to be quenched before they erupt into war.
4. Quicker Transmission of Goods, Services, People, and Information
Ever noticed how fast the world seems today when compared to early time periods? This is no mistake. It is also a byproduct of globalization. When goods, services, and money move more quickly, people, too, can move more quickly. Sometimes along the same routes (like air travel, for example). As people move faster, so, too, do ideas, technology, information, and innovation. Using developments like the internet or satellite television allows us to get news, information, or even things we need faster than ever before. Gone are the days of the paper letter or waiting months to hear word back.
5. International Benefits
Many argue that internationally, globalization has led to a better life for many people. Workers who were once unemployed are employed again. Countries that were once overlooked are now receiving the help and economic growth they need. Their poorest populations are now being educated, cared for via the government, and able to move away from situations they were unhappy in. Countries where consumerism is more important and accepted also enjoy being able to purchase more goods for cheaper prices. Many argue that these international benefits far outweigh any drawbacks.
6. We Learn about Each Other
Today, we know more about and understand each other so much more than we did in the past. Cultures and peoples that once seemed mysterious (and were even discriminated against because of this) are now commonplace. Ideas from others are accepted more freely. This has truly spurred innovation in the last 100 years. There is no doubt that with continued globalization, we will continue to learn more. And as we learn more, we will no doubt become more open to one another. Globalization could hold the key to a new wave of peace, technology that will improve situations for more people than ever, and a preservation of cultures on the brink.
7. Heightened Economic Growth
Globally, all economies in the last 50 years or so have grown. Some much more than others. Just inspect GDP for the top countries in the last 50 years or so. And despite a few downturns, here and there, most countries currently make far more money than they did just a few years ago. Such economic growth continues due to globalization. When corporations and businesses are allowed to expand freely and across borders, money flows more freely. With a more free flow of money, everyone can finally be part of a market much larger than the one immediately surrounding them. Or even just within the borders of their own country.
1. Environmental Concerns
Globalization means that corporations can go wherever the natural resources that they need might be. Or that they can purchase them from any source. This might include countries or sources without strict environmental regulations. The effects of globalization (weakening of the economy and infrastructure) can also make natural disasters worse in some areas. Plus, globalization means that we are using up limited resources (like fossil fuels) faster than ever before in human history. In the future, this gross misuse of resources could seriously affect the impoverished, the climate, the earth, and the human way of life. Many environmental activists oppose globalization for this reason.
2. The Race to the Bottom
The race to the bottom is the economic term used to describe the free fall of wages in a global world. When companies can simply seek cheaper work elsewhere, they often do. They have the money to move. Sadly, most of their workers do not. When a company moves a town, region, and a portion of the population can be plunged into poverty. And when they move to just lower the cost of wages, workers somewhere else on the planet will also suffer. Their particular job (whether skilled or not) becomes less valuable on an international scale.
3. Hard for Developing Countries
Developing countries already struggle to create social services to help their poorest populations. When there is globalization, the pressure that such governments feel to support these services only increases. Not only that, but these services are also being weakened on a regular basis because of the economic devastation that globalization has wrought on the poorest of the poor. Developing countries may try to borrow money from other, richer countries to support social services. Over time, they can find themselves deeply in debt to other countries around the globe. And when they cannot pay such loans back, they fall into an even deeper economic rut.
4. Health Risks
Workers who find themselves working for very low wages in developing areas are seriously at risk for health issues. Not only that, but with people and goods constantly moving across global borders, diseases and illnesses can travel faster than they have ever been able to before. Some in the medical community are afraid of a global pandemic that could spread quickly and kill many, spurred on by globalization itself. Every country is at risk, here. Except, of course, for those that do very little outside trade. In the current world we live in these countries are very few.