Globalization refers to the integration and eventual interdependence of different world cultures, populations, and economies as a result of cross-border business and movement in the last century (World Commission On The Social Dimension Of Globalization [WCSDG], 2004). As a result of globalization, nations have traded technology, goods, investments, information, services, and labor thereby establishing economic, political, and social partnerships. Throughout history, numerous countries have benefited from economic and technological advances brought about by globalization. However, these same benefits also brought negative effects, such as unequal growth opportunities, damages to the environment, and cultural erasure. This essay will contrast the positive and negative effects of globalization in terms of innovations, economies, education, and culture.
The Impact of Globalization
The world as we know it today would not be the same without globalization. Globalization paved the way for free trade among nations, and along with these the free exchange of ideas (WCSDG, 2004). The development of the Internet and its spread have essentially made the world a global village. As a result, people are exposed to other cultures, local politics are affected by international politics, and vice versa. Economies, likewise, respond to both local and international factors.
Positive Effects of Globalization
- Foreign direct investment
Globalization opened up the world to international trading. For developing countries importing various products, this meant economic growth as their market expanded (Kuepper, 2020). In the past few decades, however, these countries do not just rely on exporting. As more companies from developed countries respond to globalization, they expand their reach by investing in developing countries. Foreign direct investment is a strong stimulant to local economies, and could boost industrial restructuring as well as technology transfer and innovations.
- Technological innovation
With increased global competition, the private sector has had to push for technological innovation (Kuepper, 2020). Since the start of globalization, manufacturing processes have evolved so much that most factories now are filled with machinery. Technological developments have also spilled to information and communications (Kuepper, 2020). The Internet, in particular, brings numerous advantages for both developed and developing countries. The Internet enabled more people to have access to information and other services through their smartphones, which, without a doubt has led to better quality of life for many.
- Better education systems
For numerous developing countries, globalization became a catalyst for better education systems. Educators were able to improve education systems by interconnecting methods of teaching from various countries (Gupta, 2017). Furthermore, more people have had access to primary up to university levels (Gupta, 2017). Recent developments in education have started including multicultural awareness (Gupta, 2017). Institutions prepare individuals who are not only skilled but also understand the complexity of a diverse world. With better education systems, the world will not only continue to advance, but systems will continuously improve.
Negative Effects of Globalization
- Unequal growth and opportunities
Although economies grow as a result of globalization, countries and people in the margins are often left behind. Countries with valuable raw materials and lower labor costs are favored over those who don’t. Thus, developments tend to be limited in different areas.
Among countries who receive foreign direct investments, the effects remain uneven. FDIs that bring new jobs and higher income for governments make it difficult for local, smaller businesses to thrive (WCSDG, 2004). Hence, despite the economic growth, economies remain unstable.
Furthermore, these circumstances push people to depend on multinational companies for their livelihood, which makes them vulnerable to unethical labor practices that have become prevalent in an effort by these companies to be cost-efficient (WCSDG, 2004). Overall, while globalization brings economic growth, this growth tends to be uneven among countries, and especially among citizens.
- Damages to the environment
Globalization has also provoked larger demands for various raw materials, which on top of the chemical pollution and air pollution, damage agricultural lands and ecosystems. When palm oil became a staple ingredient in various products, rainforests in Southeast Asia were cut down and replaced with palm trees (Balch, 2013). This led to numerous species dying out due to loss of habitat (Balch, 2013). Similarly, mining causes erosion of mountains, leading to landslides, flash floods, and other similar natural disasters. Such damages to the environment aggravate the climate crisis, which affects the entire world.
- Cultural erasure
The culture of minorities often clashes with harbingers of globalization. Foreign direct investments in the form of mining companies have pushed indigenous groups out of their ancestral lands (WCSDG, 2004). Consequently, damages to the environment disproportionately impacts the lives and livelihoods of indigenous groups.
Meanwhile, education only favors those in the center as education systems only cater to Western ideas and systems. Indigenous knowledge and culture are not only left at the margins, but are considered savage and not worthy of being taught (WCSDG, 2004). Furthermore, education systems often favor one language, a lingua franca or usually English, as the mode of instruction. As an indirect result, younger generations end up not learning their language and adapting the lingua franca, and subsequently, mainstream culture (WCSDG, 2004). When local and indigenous cultures are not valued, as they are replaced by American or European cultures propagated by globalization, indigenous cultures risk dying out.
Is globalization good or bad?
Globalization has both positive and negative effects. As demonstrated by this essay, the positive effects are felt by developed countries and advantaged groups in developing countries, whereas the negative effects are felt by minority groups. Stakeholders must acknowledge the interdependence of the world and open up discussions and decision-making fora to minority groups. The negative effects of globalization occur because of a disproportionate favor on economies—on profits and cost-efficiency—but this is only one of the many aspects affected by globalization. Since globalization affects all aspects of global life, these aspects should be considered with equal priority.
Balch, O. (2013, July 4). Palm oil production: What are the social and environmental impacts? The Guardian. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/palm-oil-production-social-environmental-impacts
Gupta, P. (2017, April 6). Impact of globalization in education. EdTech Review. Retrieved from: https://edtechreview.in/news/2730-globalization-in-education
Kuepper, J. (2020, April 4). The impact of globalization on economic growth. The Balance. Retrieved from: https://www.thebalance.com/globalization-and-its-impact-on-economic-growth-1978843
World Commission On The Social Dimension Of Globalization [WCSDG]. (2004). Globalization and its impact. In A fair globalization: Creating opportunities for all (pp.12-48). International Labor Organization. Retrieved from: http://www.ilo.org/public/english/wcsdg/docs/rep2.pdf