Globalization in its simplest form can be defined as a continuous process of integration of the world’s economic, cultural and political systems (Casson, Marc 1992). The process was initiated and driven by trade and migration across great distances and borders. However; technological developments and innovations in such areas as transport and communication have spurred the wave of globalization to unprecedented levels. Different and conflicting views abound on both the definition as well as the application of the term. This is because Globalization is a complex and multifaceted phenomena that defies the limits of a simple definition. It is also undisputable that Globalization is surrounded by controversies between those who view the process as a beneficial development and those who view it as “the evil that has come to the world”. Much of the debate – arguments and counter arguments have served to generate interest and tension to the process and as such promoting understanding of the cross cutting trade-offs and dilemma facing governments, businesses and policy makers all over the world. This paper explores the different perspectives on economic, political and cultural globalizations which are held by both globalists (those supporting globalization) and skeptics (those who are anti-globalization).
Globalists claim that globalization is very important since it increases economic prosperity, opportunity mostly in developing countries; it also enhances civil liberties and hence leading to a more efficient allocation of resources.
“Cultural globalization is the growth of cross-cultural contacts and emergency of new categories of consciousness and identities, it embodies cultural diffusion, desire to consume and enjoy products of other countries, adopt new ideas technologies and practices” (Germaine, R., 1997).
This believed to promote unity amid diversity, creation, accumulation and diffusion of knowledge within systems and nations. They further argue that cultural globalization converges and creates a global village of values and ideas together with reactions hence bringing cultural homogenization. Global village is where different cultures are presented and accommodated by everybody equally without looking down upon the other as weaker or primitive cultures. Supporters of globalization argue that when people about other people’s culture they tend to appreciate each other more which further shuns away segregations associated with race, social status, tribe and political affiliations. This in turn reduces suspicions and rivalry promoting tourism and rise in foreign exchange earnings fostering economic growth. Skeptics on the other hand have a different view on cultural globalization. They argue that globalization interferes with the social structures of nations and institutions where by there is lose of cultural values and beliefs which are supposed to be passed from generation to generation. They believe that globalization impairs cohesion of civil societies and promotes rivalry and democratic discourse in most nations. They further continue to argue that developed countries will take advantage on the less developed countries and impose their cultures on them thus leading to extinction of theirs. (Jeff Haynes, 1999).
Some argue that all cultures are not equal and since globalization is all about converging cultures are diverging leading to self segregation between and among communities of the world. They conclude by saying that globalization leads to a period of conflict in equality and segmentation and should not be encouraged. (Held and Mcgrew.1999).
This involves the convergence of prices of products wages, interest rate and profits. Economic globalization is dependent on human migration that is through international trade, movement of capital and the integration of financial markets within nations. This involves free exchange of goods ad capital in the global common market where goods from every country are sold and bought. The globalists believe that global connectedness of livelihood and the production of goods and services as well as the emergency of international trade is a direct indication of economic growth. They further argue that globalization has improved the living standards of countries since with the regulation of interest for example it will encourage investment and ultimately increase the number of micro finance institutions like banks. This will in return encourage borrowing from this institutions since interest rates are low translating to general improvement of economic status of individuals and there countries at large. Additionally, with globalization there is technological advancement in under developed countries, this is reached through borrowing of tested and proven methods of production which are less laborious, cheap, effective and efficient. This may include the use of machines certified seeds and fertilizers among others. Technological advancements are also in form of bio-technology which includes use of seeds that adapt in different climatic conditions like droughout resistant seeds and fast maturing seeds and genetically modified organisms (GMO). There is also improved infrastructure which includes road net work, air and water transport also as to enhance transport of goods ad services.
Globalization brings diversity of food products where by there is availability of food products which are grown in other countries improving Availability, accessibility of food products at cheaper and affordable costs and thus food security and hence reducing frequent food shortages and instances of malnutrition which are the major causes of poverty and political instabilities This in turn leads to economic growth. Globalization can also help in regulation of food prices and reduction of other otherwise could be expensive foods this is as a result of constant supply of food products and limited seasonal gaps. Despite the benefits of globalization skeptics however, believe that even if there is economic growth, strongest gains are in advanced countries leading to a widening gap between the high income and low income countries.
They belief that the cost of production of goods in developing countries is very high since there are no subsidies as in developed countries therefore, in the world market where they sale the same product with the same price they do not consider the cost of production leading to much losses in the side of farmers from developing countries. Skeptics further argue that globalization promotes loss of employment since machines are used to perform jobs that could otherwise be done by human labor; this increases the unemployment rate leading to increased moral decay, e.g. theft, robbery, prostitution, street families in search of a living.
Anti globalists assert that globalization leads to rise in food prices due to increased demand from other countries for food products which could have otherwise flooded leading to fall in prices. (Huntington Samuel, 1998). Additionally, they say that since there are no barriers among countries. It can lead to erosion of national boundaries and power of the nation sates and even leading to extension of a country’s sovereignty to new areas, which can be the starting point for civil strife and sneaking of illegal weapons to a country for example if the neighboring countries have constant political and economic instabilities.
Political globalization is the creation of world government which regulates the relationships between and among nations and guarantees the rights that will arise from social and economic globalization.Proposers of globalization say that It leads to the development of world communities in areas of science, education and politics where by there is improvement in governance and growth of democratic space in respective countries there is also the reduction of violation of the fundamental principles of social justice and human rights. Globalists support political globalization by arguing that t helps promote internal democracy among nations since there are sanctions issued to countries which go against the international justice. (Fredric and Myoshi Massao, 1998).
Globalization is believed by globalists to bring unity among nations and religions since through globalization countries which initially never used to agree on anything are presently carrying out trade with each other for example, the Arabian countries and western countries. This has led to reduced rivalry and suspicious towards each other. On the other hand with political agreements there is development of working relationships and establishments of government offices in foreign countries(embassy)leading to job creation. There is also establishment of travel routes through air and water encouraging trade through export, import and tourism leading to remittance of foreign currency hence economic growth This has further helped reduce the oil crisis as the Arabian countries who are the leading oil producers and suppliers are ready to export it to other countries in exchange with other commodities hence regulation of oil prices which are the major sources of fuel in most countries and subsequent reduction of prices of alternative sources of fuel like electricity biogas and firewood and further protecting them from depletion..
Globalization creates jobs as well as ready market for most products. This is evidenced by the increased large scale farming due to modern technology where most people are employed. It also promotes market since most countries are at peace with each other and ready to trade with each other and import products that they do not produce as well as exporting more those that they have in excess with globalization there is decreased instances of civil wars and ethical clashes since there is improved living standards of most people and reduced instances of hunger and starvation which are the major sources of social strife in developing countries (Huntington S, 1998). However, anti globalists on the other hand are of the idea that globalization has more disadvantages than the advantages. They argue that with globalization there is increased international economic dependences where by one country fails to produce some products because it can import from other countries which produces the same product or some countries totally depend on others leading to reduced innovativeness and technological advancement.
Additionally skeptics believe that with globalization there is loss. A country’s national autonomy (sovereignty) as it can not self sustain itself and most depend on other countries i.e. developed countries and where it must subscribe to laid down conditions. They say that the developed countries are the main beneficiaries since the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) are run by them hence they want to protect their social class. They continue to argue that even if there are improved living standards of all countries the strongest gains are in advanced countries and the gap between high income and low income countries has continued to widen.
Globalization is surrounded by controversies between those who view it as a beneficial development process and those who view it as “the evil that has befallen the world”. Both the globalists and the anti globalists (skeptics) to some extent come to an agreement on some aspects but differ on most of them. They both agree that globalization in some way improves the living standards of the people in all countries but the strongest gains are experienced in developed countries. They also agree that the gap between the high income earning countries and the low income earning countries has widened.
Economic, political and cultural globalization are the major ways in which globalization can be discussed and all these three perspectives can not be exonerated since in one way or another they depended on each.
Arguments and counter-arguments that emerge from the protagonists of globalization, stem from cultural, economic and political globalization where skeptics argue that globalization blurs national boundaries and erodes the power of nation states and even extends the sovereignty of individual states to new areas while the globalists on the other hand dismiss them by arguing that benefits of it outweighs the disadvantages key among them, being the advancement in technological developments of a country, promotion of diversity where many country learn other country culture together with the availability of other products which are produced in other countries and removal of trade barriers like tariffs which will otherwise hinder investing hence economic growth and development. Generally globalization has both positive and negative impacts in the economy of a country and although the impacts are not uniform in all countries but are far reaching with the more industrialized countries observing more growth than the less developed. It is with this that the opposers of globalization argue that it is benefiting the western countries. Both globalists and anti globalists are therefore justified and logical with their arguments but they need to reason out together and come to a common agreement since everything has its shortcomings.
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