Globalization suggests a fully integrated world, where all countries work together with the goal of improving politics, economics, social conditions, cultural values and knowledge. It is opposed to the tribalism that has dominated the history of the planet, and its advocates claim that it will lead to an inclusive and productive global society free from the trappings of today. However, globalization opponents state that it is harmful to developing countries, the environment and to cultural values. Today’s blog will take a look at four arguments from both sides of the globalization debate.
1. Economic Growth
The biggest advantage of globalization is it encourages global economic growth and stimulates trade between developed and developing countries. Advocates claim that globalization results in optimum free trade between countries, which in turn creates jobs, increases competitiveness between companies and lowers the price of goods for consumers. Globalization supports international trade, enabling foreign companies to access previously restricted markets. It also enables nations to focus on developing and exporting their strengths without having to worry about their weaknesses i.e. an oil-rich nation with a lack of farming land can export oil and import fresh foods from other countries. The emergence of free trade ensures the importing and exporting of products without government regulations, leading to the development of a diversified and comprehensive global market.
2. Free Movement of Labor
Globalization promotes the free movement of labor. The free movement of labor permits skilled workers to work overseas and earn more money for their services, while also earning revenues for their home country. Host nations benefit as they are able to fill gaps in the local labor market (healthcare etc.) and access new streams of revenue from foreign companies operating in their country. The free movement of labor provides skilled workers to where they are needed most.
3. Knowledge of Foreign Cultures
Another benefit of globalization is the spreading of culture between countries. The evolution of the Internet has resulted in the crossing of cultural and language barriers, allowing people to learn about the cultures, ideas, and traditions of other countries, encouraging biodiversity and a greater collective understanding of our species. Learning about the cultures of other countries can help people to become more respectful towards foreign practices and more appreciative of the nuances of different societies. This will hopefully contribute to a greater commitment to solving problems through diplomatic discourse as opposed to armed conflict.
4. Global Politics
International organizations like the European Union (EU), United Nations (UN) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) benefit the mutual interests of member nations and ensure that common goals are protected and achieved. Advocates of globalization see it as the only method for solving international concerns and promoting peace on a global basis. Globalization provides a framework for the international support systems used to help countries suffering from natural disasters and armed conflict. International organizations encourage stability and good relations between members, while also dissuading potential aggressors from targeting weaker countries.
1. Empowers the Rich
Opponents of globalization claim that while it benefits business owners and managers, it is often detrimental to workers. Big businesses of developed nations are in the position to exploit the workers and cheap labor of developing countries for profit and gain. In addition, companies often take advantage of the tax loopholes that stem from international trading, allowing them to avoid paying taxes and hide money in tax havens. There is also the possibility that the competitiveness of developed countries makes it far more difficult for developing countries to succeed on an even playing field.
2. Labor and Brain Drain
The free movement of labor has both positive and negative elements. Labor and brain drains occur when a nation experiences a mass emigration of highly trained or qualified workers, typically because the workers can achieve a higher rate of pay in another country. Globalization enables workers to travel to the country that offers them the best rate of pay for their work at the expense of their home nation. This can be quite damaging to a developing country, as the drain of a local labor market such as healthcare will obviously affect the overall quality of life of its residents.
Opponents suggest that the industrialization that comes part and parcel with globalization has a seriously adverse effect on the local and global environment. Economic growth unavoidably results in a growth of waste, some of which is not properly disposed of. This is of particular concern if it occurs in a developing country, as the business brought in by foreign companies will likely take precedence over environmental concerns. Globalization also encourages growth in the tourism sector, which can have a negative impact on the environment of tourist destinations, while also spreading diseases to new regions.
4. Loss of Culture
While some people see globalization as an opportunity for beneficial cultural hegemony, some believe it is resulting in a loss of cultural identity. Mass migration, the influence of Western businesses and the adoption of foreign practices can all lead to a decline in a country’s deep rooted culture. Globalization opponents argue that it will result in the loss of cultural barriers, which are essential to individual cultures, and eventually every country will be the same in function and appearance.
Both sides of the globalization debate have legitimate arguments for their beliefs. Advocates point to economic growth, the free movement of labor and global politics as benefits of globalization, while opponents are concerned about the rich taking advantage of the poor, labor and brain drains and the threat to the environment. If one is to consider the history of man and our evolution from lowly tribes to sovereign states then it appears that some form of globalization is the natural next step for our species. As a result, it makes sense for both advocates and opponents to put aside their differences and work together on a comprehensive global policy that will benefit all.