Before we begin to weigh the pros and cons of globalization, it is important to first completely understand the concept of globalization.
The Blackwell dictionary of Sociology defines globalisation as, “A process in which the social lives within the societies is increasingly affected by international influences based on everything, from political and trade ties to shares music, clothing styles and mass media”
S.K Mishra and V.K Puri say that, “stated in simple terms, globalisation means integrating the economy of the country with the world economy”
It is clear from the definitions that the main purpose of globalisation is the integration of international markets across geographical and political boundaries, the expansion of free flow of international trade and economic interdependence between countries. This economic interdependence leads to transmission of culture and lifestyles around the globe.
Globalisation focuses on four important parameters-
- Reduction of trade barriers so as to permit free flow of goods across national frontiers
- Creation of an environment in which free flow of capital can take place among nations
- Creation of an environment which permits free flow of technology
- Creation of labour in different countries of the world
Now that we have established the basic concept of globalisation and its underlying concepts, we can now look into its positive and negative effects.
Let’s first look into the positive effects-
- The process of globalisation has shrunken the size of the world. The increased interdependence and international trade has lead to the development of the concept of a global village. Media and communications have undergone tremendous growth and is one of the leading factors for establishing international communications.
- Globalisation has not only influenced trade of goods, but has also aided in the exchange of services. Due to international co-operation, there is an exchange of talented people, exchange of culture and a shared knowledge of advancements in the field of science and technology. This has led to the scientific, technological, intellectual and cultural enrichment of the world.
- Globalisation is regarded as the first step towards establishing world peace and world government. International trade and the global market helps the nations of the world progress towards political, economic and cultural cooperation.
- Due to the pressure of globalisation, goods are to be manufactured with sufficient care and responsibility for a global market. The very presence of a global market creates a healthy competition among producers. This competition compels them to include the quality of the products and reducing the prices.
- Globalisation has contributed to higher standard of living. It can fetch greater income to the employees and thus, human welfare can be promoted and balanced.
- Since we share financial interests, corporations and governments are trying to sort out ecological problems for each other.
- Socially we have become more open and tolerant towards each other and people who live in the other part of the world are not considered aliens.
Like everything else, globalisation also has its fair share of negative effects. Some of the main cons of increased globalisation are:
- Globalisation widens the gap between the richer and poorer nations. The rich nations, by the help of sophisticated instruments of production, by attracting the talented human resources towards them and by resorting to powerful advertisements, are able to establish their hold over the market. The under-developed or developing countries are unable to face this competition. Thus, the underdeveloped nations are becoming poorer and will be in financial crisis.
- Due to the pressure from the international financial institutions such as World Bank and IMF, the developing countries and underdeveloped countries are compelled to keep open their national markets, but the rich and developed countries are reluctant in opening their markets for international trade.
- Globalization is supposed to be about free trade where all barriers are eliminated but there are still many barriers. For instance161 countries have value added taxes (VATs) on imports which are as high as 21.6% in Europe. The U.S. does not have VAT.
The biggest problem for developed countries is that jobs are lost and transferred to lower cost countries.” 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.” Workers in developed countries like the US face pay-cut demands from employers who threaten to export jobs. This has created a culture of fear for many middle class workers who have little leverage in this global game.
It is quite apparent that while globalisation has a lot of advantages, its disadvantages are equally prominent. In order to make sure that the tool of globalisation yields better results, it is essential to ensure efficient leadership and balanced trade. Trade agreements should be carried out satisfactorily. On a more societal point of view, stereotypes should be abandoned and mutual respect and acceptance should be practiced. Globalisation is nothing but a tool, which can be used to our advantage to reach the level of utopia that we all desire.
What do you think about globalisation? Should the concept of globalisation be trashed or do you think it should be practiced diligently? Let me know about your thoughts and views in the comments below.
- C.N. Shankar’s Principles of Sociology