What is the Verdict on Globalization?
Globalization can be defined as the continuous process through which social, political and economic institutions and frameworks from all over the world are increasingly becoming integrated (Lechner 2009). This is due to advancement in infrastructure making viable the establishment of an international transport, information and trade network. As a result of globalization, a global socio-economic and political culture is increasingly emerging (Munck 2005). The world has become such a small place compared to a few decades ago all because of globalization, and the debate about its effects or impact has continued to rage (Brawley 2008).
One school of thought has given globalization a positive verdict while others have given the phenomenon a negative verdict. This paper discusses and weighs the positive and negative effects of globalization with an overall objective of determining the verdict on globalization. Globalization and International Politics Ever since the process of globalization started, national and international politics metamorphosed to fit within the emerging political orders.
The conclusion of the world wars and subsequent developments led to the emergence of three political and economic blocks: the first world, comprising the capitalist developed and democratized western world (therefore called the free world), the communist bloc comprised of the former USSR and her allies (the second world), and the developing world, comprising third world (developing) nations under pressure from both the capitalist west and the communist far east for political influence (Brawley 2008).
The collapse of communism (occasioned by the disintegration of the soviet republics) luckily ended this division, and democracy began to be appreciated as the ideal system of government. The first world gained over its ideological rivals, but the benefits accruable from globalization have not been fully felt in the developing world. Globalization has led to the emergence of a “virtual” world government, a political system in which the sovereignty of nations is somehow reduced since an international order regulates how governments in individual states relate to one another (Lechner 2009).
Social, economic and political globalization gives rise to a situation in which regimes which play along have certain rights associated with the internalization of government guaranteed; while regimes that do not play along can be economically and politically sanctioned (Brawley 2008). Under this scenario, the United States of America has emerged as a super power among all the world’s powers on account of its having the strongest, biggest and wealthiest economy.
Some world powers have benefited economically from globalization and thus their affluence in international politics has increased tremendously. China, for example, has had a long spell of stable growth not just because of her large domestic population (and hence domestic market for Chinese goods and products), but also because of a very strong and diversified export trade (Brawley 2008). China exports goods to virtually every country on earth; and it is very likely that a Chinese product will be found in every village in the world.
It is no wonder the port of Shanghai is the busiest port in the world. Under such growth rates, it is predicted that the People’s Republic of China will be in a position to wrestle power from the United States as the world’s superpower within a few decades. Globalization and the Economy Globalization has led to the creation of an open market on a global scale. Because of multinational trade agreements like the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade), free trade between nations of the world has been bolstered momentously.
Through reduction of trade tariff and non-tariff barriers to international trade, a large number of firms have found it easier to extend their business operations to many countries (Brawley 2008). The net effect of this is a corresponding increase in the scope of both goods and money markets and increased Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Multinational corporations like the Coca Cola Company and the Barclays Group are now able to operate on an international scale with more freedom than ever before.
They have consequently dominated in their respective fields, becoming some of the most powerful oligopolies on the scene. Economic and trade liberalization has its downsides however. Through globalization, multinational corporations operating under the framework of the Bretton Woods Institutions have acquired a standardized economic and financial structure. Resultantly, budgetary deficits for some individual economies have reduced; and so have food subsidies. Inhibitions to foreign direct investment have become lesser and the import and export trade has become liberalized (Brawley 2008).
Additionally, the privatization of banking sectors and reduction in the percentage of resources pumped in to support domestic agriculture are also repercussions of globalizations. These developments augur well only for the developing nations. Third world countries have not been able to conclusively reap the benefits of globalization. Increased interconnection of economies across countries means that when the economy in one nation experiences shocks, the effect is felt internationally. An excellent example of such a scenario is the recent recession of the global economy which had its epicenter in the United States.
After the financial markets slumped and the value of property declined drastically in the U. S. , the impact was transmitted to almost all economies, throwing the world into an economic recession. Liberalization of markets has led to an influx of cheap agricultural and manufactured goods into developing nations. Consequently, domestic economies in these countries have been suppressed and have become over-dependent on developed economies for their requirements as start-up economic initiatives in most sectors cannot bear the competition. Globalization and Human Rights
One of the positive effects of globalization is an increased awareness of human rights and freedoms. Globalization has led to, as explained under international politics above, led to the emergence of international administrative law. Importation of foreign forms of crime and internalization of crime syndicates has brought together the nations of the world into joint crime-fighting efforts. Human rights as a political entity have come to the fore and are increasingly being used as a measure of legitimacy or authority to govern of political regimes in the world (Leonard 2006).
Justice movements and activist groups have been created, operating on an international framework to sensitize the masses on rights issues and to pursue the implementation of such. It is under this framework that institutions like the ICC (International Criminal Court), the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) operate, being watchdog to push for the implementation of human rights across the globe (Leonard 2006). Of course, this has its drawbacks. Homogenization of social and cultural values leads to decreased tolerance for diversity.
As cultures become exposed to other cultures, they evolve; assimilating some elements of the foreign culture and shunning others. Globalization of information has created scenario where some cultures are treated as superior to others leading to cultural imperialism (Leonard 2006). As information technology especially internet technology continues to penetrate even further, cultural homogeneity is likely to increase correspondingly. Many elements of individual cultures may be forgotten altogether.
Implementation of human rights may be based on what is acceptable in the social systems that prevail. Information and Education The advent of modern technology has brought about a revolution in information interchange. Geographically remote regions can now exchange information in real-time, thanks to innovative technologies like satellites and fiber optic networks (Amin 2009). Information and communication technologies have converged leading to reduced costs of information interchange. This has in turn enhanced globalization.
Reduced costs and efficiency of information exchange has its downside however. Communications technology has to lie within international legal frameworks as well as the rules and regulations where it is made or implemented (Rajaee 2000). Nevertheless, cultural, political and social preferences and stipulations regarding access to information are not universal. Information and information products which may be suitable in some places may be unsuitable in some places or cultures may not be suitable in others.
An example of the scenario above is exemplified by the recent conflict between search engine operator Google and the Chinese government surrounding censorship of information in the People’s Republic of China. Social networking sites like facebook and Skype have also generated their fair share of controversy especially in Islamic culture. Recently in may this year, Pakistan, a country which has over 2. 3 million users of the popular social networking site facebook, temporarily banned access to the site over a page which called on its visitors to draw caricatures of the founder of Islam, Prophet Muhammad.
Education has been revolutionized by globalization (Rajaee 2000). With business and administrative entities taking their operations to a global level, these operations have little choice but to conform to the complex legal and cultural frameworks existing in various places (Debrah & Smith 2002). Education systems have therefore had to evolve and structure their curricula so as to produce personnel with the capacity to practice with competency in any cultural, political or economic context (Amin 2009). This situation has brought about unfair competition in labor.
Underdeveloped nations are limited in knowledge and technology to train professionals who can compete on an equal ground with their counterparts from the developed world (Rajaee 2000). Globalization and Health The movement of information, people and goods has been made very easy through the establishment of a global transport and communication network. This has advantages and disadvantages with regard to health. On the positive side, information regarding disease control and management is readily available throughout the world as soon as it is available in one part of the world.
Healthcare professionals and planners are better able to organize disease control measures provided the resources are available; operating with stakeholders from all over the world to coordinate disease prevention measures. Better results are achieved this way in controlling disease epidemics. On the negative side, globalization abets faster spread of diseases. For example, the breakout of swine flu in Mexico in April 2009 spread out quickly across the world, eventually becoming a global pandemic.
Swine flu would have remained a localized disease outbreak had the movement of people been restricted like had been before globalization. Another example is the catastrophe that struck New World civilizations like the Maya, Inca and the Aztecs when small pox was introduced to their land by European colonialists and settlers. Over 90 percent of their population was wiped out by the small pox virus. Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and an assortment of other deadly and infectious diseases have spread globally due to globalization (Lechner 2009).
Globalization has also impacted on health policy by literally transforming healthcare from a service to a commodity. Structural re-adjustments imposed upon developing nations have led to increased fragmentation of health care systems. Healthcare is thus increasingly becoming privatized. Many stakeholders have become involved in the provision of health services leading to an interplay which lays more emphasis on strategic partnerships and defined interventions to specific human health problems instead of concentrating on the implementation of comprehensive healthcare policies (Leonard 2006).
The provision of quality healthcare, defined in the institutions resultant from globalization as a universal right, has been influenced by the doctrines of globalization including a global economy and is thus increasingly structured around profitability instead of accessibility (Brawley 2008). Emphasis on advancement of medical technology and innovation in medical trade has shifted the focus from national health priorities like health infrastructure expansion and universal provision of health services to privatized healthcare which is often expensive and out of reach to the majority. Conclusion
This research paper, in order to derive a verdict on globalization, has discussed key policy areas which have been impacted upon by globalization. Politically, globalization first pitted the capitalist west against the communism having its epicenter in the USSR. Capitalism triumphed, and the pressure has been on countries of the world to restructure their governing institutions to be in synchrony with the merging world order especially with regard to democracy and human rights. Emergence of a global economy has liberalized markets and reduced the prices of goods and services, albeit being beneficial mostly to the developed world.
Globalization has upped the standards of education globally and made information more accessible, spurring growth. However, globalization has abetted the spread of infectious diseases and impacted negatively on the delivery of health services, cultural diversity and tolerance (Munck 2005), environmental conservation, proliferation of international crime international food security. Evidently, globalization is analogous to a two-sided coin: it is beneficial in some ways and disadvantageous in others. Globalization is a deep-rooted trend that cannot be reversed.
The way foreword is therefore for policy makers to structure socio-political and economic systems in such a way that the international community benefits from the phenomenon in entirety by mitigating the areas which put, especially the developing world, at a disadvantage (Brawley 2008). ? References Amin, M (2009). “The effect of globalization, Labor Fexibilization and National Industrial Relations Systems on Human Resource Management. ” International Business Research. 2(4), 36-45. http://www. ccsenet. org/journal/index. php/ibr/article/viewFile/3910/3434 Brawley, M. R. (2008). The Politics of Globalization: Gaining Perspective, Assessing
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