Economic, Social, Technogical and Cultural Impacts of Globalization

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18th May 2020 Sociology Reference this

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The Peterson Institute for International economics describes globalization as “The growing interdependence of the world’s economies, cultures, and populations, brought about by cross-border trade in goods and services, technology, and flows of investment, people and information” (PIIE). A real world example of globalization is that a car manufacture based in Japan can manufacture auto parts in several developing countries, ship the parts to another country for assembly, then sell the finished cars to any nation (Kolb). Interestingly, Globalization is not a new [concept] but with policy developments within the past decades, it reinforced cross-border trade, investment and migration that scholars believe the world has entered a qualitatively new phase in its economic development (101). With the rise of internet and technology in the past years, the concept of globalization is considered as unavoidable in the present world. Many claim that globalization is not the best solution because an international free market only benefits multinational corporations in the Western world at the expense of local businesses local cultures and common people(101). Thus, globalization is dividing the world and making another form of political, economic and social control by the privledged only.

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In a case study written by Olubukola S. Adesina (2012), she discusses the problems that globalization created for Nigeria. While information and communication technology plays an important role in globalization, being the “Third Wave” following the agricultural revolution and the industrial revolution, it brings exposure of the youth to negative western culture (Adesina, 2012). She addresses that the internet includes pornography, money laundering, cultism, international terrorism and child abuse. Moreover, the internet creates a sense of cyber crime which affect many women in Nigeria who who seek for spouses online and are victims of ‘yahoo boys’ (Adesina, 2012). They lure the victims to help in procuring travel documents and even residential permits and once they achieve their aims, they will stop communicating with the victim and move on to the next target (2012). Moreover, globalization is also the root cause of deforestation. The overuse of natural resources due to increased demand and the removal of ecosystems due to population growth have had a large negative impact on the environment. Nigeria is deeply effected by deforestation and the country’s rain forest is depleting fast as a result of international trade (2012). Deforestation also affects water cycle, and causes more erosion, flooding and landslides. Environmental pollution is another result of globalization in Nigeria especially in oil producing areas. Oil flaring had contributed to climate change is a major global threat, and vegetable in the vicinity are affected as plants will not grow in such an area (2012).

Moreover, globalization leads a change in the system of higher education with an emergence of a knowledge economy and the importance of information technology and knowledge management (Pang, 2016). In a research by Pang, he describes that there is a demand for higher education globally, forcing governments to privatize higher education and corporatized public universities. In other words, when public universities are managed like business corporations, adminstrators will focus more on the market and less to pursuit of academic knowledge (Pang, 2016). In addition, universities may become uninterested to subjects dealing with ethics, social justice and critical studies. Although globalization has brought profound changes to nations and changes in education, Asian countries are challenged with dilemmas when their societies are open to globalization (Pang, 2016). Since their traditional cultures and values are faced with new ideologies brought along with globalization that may be disadvantageous. From Pang’s research, globalization is dividing education in a way that it is becoming an increased commoditization of education and making quality education only accessible to elite element of society who can afford it (2016).

Critics argue that globalization increases inequality in poorer countries. Gini index, a tool used to measure inequality, is a score between zero and one where one means extremely inequality and zero means incomes are equally divided (Eby, ). It was found that Sub-Saharan Africa’s gini index rose by 9% between 1993 and 2008. China’s score also increased by 34% over twenty years (Eby, ). It is predicted that rich countries will provide more employments in poor countries, however companies in poor countries often choose to hire skilled workers and pay them more. Another study on Vietnam showed that “workers in foreign-owned and subcontracting clothing and footwear factories rank in the top 20% of the country’s population by household expenditure” (Eby). A report from the OECD found that average wages paid by local firms are 40% lower than wages paid by foreign multinationals, as well unskilled workers and poor ones in rural areas do not have much chances in employments (Eby). From these factors, globalization did help skilled workers to get higher wages but the unskilled still suffers with inequality.

Furthermore, distribution of globalization is a subject countries need to consider. It may enhance economic growth in the world economy, but how is it divided? Indeed, the distribution of production has benefited some countries more than others. This problem has two aspects to it: one concerns the distribution between the countries of the world and the distribution within countries among various social groups (Lane, 2017). In other words, inequality can be presented in two ways. An entire country may suffer (the countries who are identified as the poorest countries of the world) or certain groups within all countries such as unskilled labor, unemployed and landless farmers may encounter problems (Lane, 2017). This income inequality has been a main issue for the last decades when globalization became prominent. As a result, the winners from this scenario are big businesses, financial elites, owners of capital and highly educated people. On the contrary, low educated people and trade unions are the unprivileged in the global market economy (Lane, 2017).

 Similarly, in a study by Hill and Rapp, it describes that large multinational corporations demanded their governments to establish strict trade restrictions on developing nations that “fail to enforce western laws protecting their intellectual property rights” (2009). They cannot remind competitive because of the lack of inexpensive access to the essential ingredients of global business like up-to-date versions of many software packages. Other problems appear when governments use their political clout to protect basic industries including textiles and agriculture, and insist trade barriers be removed in areas where they have significant advantages (Hill & Rapp, 2019). Moreover, nations are more vulnerable and exposed to inequities when they do not have the important elements for successful commerce.

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 As we are in the middle of a second era of capitalist globalization, it leads to illegal migration. It can be explained by the Mexico–U.S. case, which represents the fundamental oxymoron of our current era of globalization. The NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) was signed between USA, Canada and Mexico in 1994. The purpose of the agreement was to lower barriers for cross-border movements of capital, goods, services, and information in order to create an integrated North American economy (Massey, Durand & Malone, 2002). However, in the same year, USA launched a system (all-out militarization) in San Diego called Operation Gatekeeper to regulate undocumented. This operation at the border failed to achieve its objectives and instead increased undocumented population, and expanded the numbers of unauthorized migration and led to migrants spread more widely throughout the country (Massey, Durand & Malone, 2002).

The Mexico-US case clearly demonstrate the fact that political policies, laws and institutional social structures imposed upon global migration in the early twenty-first century affect international migrants in similar ways. Regardless of where they come from (many immigrants seek economic opportunity) or in countries from which many escape as refugees from human castatrophes, conflict, environmental degradation and others (Massey, Durand & Malone, 2002). Studies like this also suggest that the contradiction of the globalization in this century, that not only it created the new phenomenon of illegal migration, but also stimulated more inequality among immigrants around the world. Unauthorized migrants across the world live and work at an inconvenient disadvantage, and their disadvantage can be worse when combined by other characteristics (2002). Legal status disparities to continue to grow if international migrants are suffering in their home countries due to rising civil violence or environmental degradation.

Cultural globalization is a subtopic of globalization that is responsible for great evolution in sectors of science, language, art, food and much more (Baroud, 2009). But before globalization, cultural influences were introduced mildly at a much slower speed. It allowed societies to consider, adjust and reflect, consider to the introduction of unique ideas over time. With the current globalization, it does not give chance to countries to examine or analyze the benefits and the harms of new ideas. For instance, music, news, and even pornography are broadcasted directly to all sorts of outlets with no filter (Baroud, 2009). Only countries with strong economies get the power the make decision through globalization, since nations with more money tend to have more influential media than poorer nations. In both scenarios, small countries are in disadvantage because they have to negotiate a better economic standing for themselves but at the same time, hope to maintain their cultures which defined their people throughout the history (Baroud,2009).

Additionally, in recent years “pop culture” becomes an important subject and many view this form of globalization as “Americanization” because of United States’ powerful entertainment industry (Globalization 101). Foreign nations began to grow concerns due to the growth in the influence of American television and film. they are not only worried about their own domestic entertainment industries from an economic perspective, but also the effects on their own cultures. As a result, countries have taken action reacting to this cultural globalization or Americanization. For instance, Saudi Arabia limited the invasion of many fundamental western values including no voting rights, censorship of all Western materials including movies, alcohol and internet access as a way to preserve its culture (Globalization 101).

Consequently, globalization continue to strive in economic, social, technological, and cultural aspects. It is necessary to evaluate both the advantages and the disadvantages, especially when globalization brings negative impacts to countries around the world (especially with undeveloped countries who experience them more severely) and create a notion of division among the world. Nevertheless, globalization produces several problems including income inequality between rich and poor, changing the fundamentals of higher education, negative influence from western cultures to more conservative countries, detrimental environments and illegal immigration. Thus, it is important for governments and economists to control this phenomenon with appropriate policies and strategies. The ultimate goal is to prevent the scenario of ‘richer gets richer and poorer gets poorer’ so the world can be united and receive the same amount of privilege despite differences.

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