16 October 2018
Over the last century, efforts have been made to bring various countries together. All these efforts were meant to help the people of the world connect and come together on many platforms. These efforts to make an impact on life include economic, political, and social impacts. Today, the world has been seen as many things including being a place where the interactions of the people in the world are almost effortless. Most parts of the world are interconnected to the rest of the world in different ways. This interconnection between countries has led to globalization expanding at great rates.
The word globalization gets tossed in conversation without even slipping our minds what it is. But what is it? According to Steger in Globalization: A Very Short Introduction, Steger states “globalization is a set of social processes that appear to transform our present social condition of conventional nationality into one of globality” (9). The influences of globalization can be felt in every city around the world. Globalization has led to an immense amount of economic growth throughout world in all countries large and small. With countries expanding economic growth, the impact it has on the world and the people in it can be both positive and negative in terms of repercussions.
Globalization of an idea or practice can be very beneficial in most aspects of life worldwide. People all over the world become closer than ever before thanks to globalization. Anything we want as a consumer is practically at our fingertips. The buildup of industry, economy, culture, and polity gives solutions to many social problems we face today (Mudambi). Global trade has the potential to bring benefits to people and places all around the world. It’s a leading contributor to reducing poverty and provides wealth and prosperity for countless people. With this new global market, it means there is a big opening for global trade. This newfound global trade helps benefit individuals, businesses, along with nations. Global trade means the consumer is now linked to countless manufacturers all over the world. For consumers, this means they are able to buy a wide variety of products from all over the world at cheaper prices than they would be domestically (Mudambi). Thanks to worldwide connections formed due to globalization consumers now have access to the global market. This increase in the global market has also benefited millions of people. Employment opportunities have been created for millions of people, causing a steady income for many as well as an increase in wealth (Mudambi). The new steady income many people are now receiving due to employment has helped improve living standards and life expectancy in many people. Businesses are now connected with more buyers and sellers of goods and services, meaning businesses are able to sell more products and make more revenue. This also allows for companies to access goods and materials at cheaper prices. Before companies could only get materials from the country they’re located, but now countries are able to get large amounts of materials like coal or iron from other countries at a cheaper price (Mudambi). Since countries have become so interconnected it has allowed for movement of ideas, knowledge, money, and technologies between countries, this has helped with the advancement of medicine, education, and businesses (Mudambi). This expansion of knowledge can also help remove cultural, language, and religious barriers that may be in place. People are able to access this information through the use of technology, allowing them to become more knowledgeable about certain cultures, languages, or religions. With more knowledge people may be apt to want to know more and experience more leading them to travel to the country ultimately leading to benefits for the country.
As consumers, we don’t really think about where our products come from or what they’re made of, all we see is how easily we are able to access to just about anything a person may want or need. With a search into someone’s Google bar people are able to view millions of products for sale all around the world; and it’s as simple as a few clicks of a mouse to purchase something. According to John Green in a crash course video, he explains that globalization has really had an effect on individual’s psychology (1:25). Society today has become blinded by how easily they are able to buy something. Consumers do not realize all the hard work that goes into making a product. If a consumer had to make the thread, make the fabric, dye the fabric, make a template, cut out the template, and then sew the fabric a consumer would think twice about buying a shirt if all those steps were involved. While there are really great benefits to globalization, it has quite a few downfalls. The most apparent downfalls due to globalization are unemployment, poverty, and a lack of education (Mudambi). All of these issues are due to the fact that outsourcing factories to developing countries means cheaper labor. While having big corporations move their factories to developing countries does provide many jobs, it all comes at a cost. Workers in these factories are paid very little for all the work they do. They are also forced to work in horrible working conditions. The demand for this cheap labor means child labor is used in some countries (Mudambi). This leads to low literacy rates and low education levels. As corporations expand and build factories in other countries they not only harm the economy of the host country but also of the home country. These companies are practicing outsourcing, meaning that they are taking jobs from people in home countries and giving them to those in host countries. An example of this is it showed people who have been living on that land for many years, and to them it belonged to their ancestors, but a big corporation had come in and taken over some of the land causing the indigenous people to lose many resources. (End of Poverty 1:13:11) These poorer countries are only seen as a source of cheap labor and cheap raw materials.
Many developing countries tend to fall in debt and have a hard time repaying what they owe. “The 1980s debt crisis instituted a new era of global governance in which individual national policies were subject to external, rule-based procedures that strengthened the grip pf the First World through the international financial institutions (IMF and World Bank)” (McMichael 3). As countries adopted these rules they had to follow debt repayment rules. These rules were as followed “drastic reduction of public spending, currency devaluation, export intensification, privatization of state enterprises, and reduction of wages to attract foreign investors” (McMichael 5). This was done to benefit the rich and hurt the poor. To pay back their debt’s countries would have to do what they were told. This leads to the government making the decisions for the country. The government doesn’t care what happens to the people there, all they care about is making money. They will give the country an economic plan to follow to make sure the debts are repaid. These plans mainly affect the poor because it normally means and increase in the price of goods and an increase in taxes. This creates a never-ending cycle of debts that need to be repaid.
When talking about impacts of globalization we have to bring up neoliberalism and colonialism. According to the film The Cost of Cloth: Ethical textiles, Neoliberalism is the idea of free market (30:00). Neoliberalism relies on 10 concrete measures, These measures are privatization of public enterprises, deregulation of the economy, liberalization of trade and industry, massive tax cuts, “monetarist” measures to keep inflation in check, even at the risk of increasing unemployment, strict control on organized labor, the reduction of public expenditures, particularly in social spending, downsizing the government, expansion of international markets, and finally the removal of controls on global financial markets” (Steger 43). “Colonialism is the subjugation by physical and psychological force of one culture by another -a colonizing power- through military conquest of territory and stereotyping the relation between the two cultures” (McMichael 2). These two theories are best seen in developing countries. When a country is in need of help larger developed countries tend to “swoop in” and save the day. These developing countries take out loans through large government facilities like the IMF or World Bank. They bring in big international factories to regions that are not developed and full of poor people. They use neoliberal policies to gain control over these places. This affects the people there because it creates an uneven wealth distribution where the top one percent are making higher wages than the rest of the workers. This has led to there being an almost nonexistent middle class in these countries. The people are majority of the time poor and in need of an income. This leads the people to become more desperate for work and willing to work in poor conditions for not a lot of pay.
“Globalization II – Good or Bad?: Crash Course World History #42.” YouTube, uploaded by Crash Course. 9 November 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_iwrt7D5OA&feature=youtu.be. Accessed 13 Oct. 2018.
“The Cost of Cloth: Ethical Textiles.” Films Media Group, 2011, fod.infobase.com/PortalPlaylist.aspx?wlD=96306&xtid-48263. Accessed 2 Oct. 2018.
“The End of Poverty?” Amazon Prime, uploaded by Amazon. 2010, https://www.amazon.com/End-Poverty-Philippe-Diaz/dp/B003QV6A1I. Accessed 13 Oct. 2018.
McMichael, Philip. “Instituting the Development Project.” Development and Social Change: A Global Perspective (2012): Pages 1-2. Print.
McMichael, Philip. “Instituting the Globalization Project.” N/A (N.D.): Pages 4-7. Print.
Steger, Manfred B. Globalization: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017. Print.
Mudambi. “On the Geography of Emerging Industry Technological Networks: The Breadth and Depth of Patented Innovations | Journal of Economic Geography | Oxford Academic.” OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 23 Sept. 2017. Web.