Remember the time when playing with an American toy was a big deal in itself? Now every market we visit is flooded with products from every country of the world. Our daily lives have become a whirlwind of meeting people from all over the world, bringing their new perspectives and making the world a canvas of intermingling. Cultures are not rigidly defined anymore, with all the cultures engaging in a new plane of fluidity where they interact to achieve an actual understanding of cosmopolitan.
The reality of globalization that is so easily accepted as the norm today was only an ambitious imagination some years back. Now, nations live in a sphere of association and interrelation, with people, products and ideas transcending formal boundaries every minute of a day. Globalization has come with innate positive effects with the world becoming a much smaller space and people getting connected easily. Socially, it has created a space that is inclusive of every culture, influencing each other to create a new world of cultures. Economically, businesses have expanded and resulted in the boom of several economies with consumers having innumerable choices to choose from. Global education has become a reality for many and ideas and opinions are freely exchanged now, creating a world that is based on the foundation of deliberation and debate.
However, is globalization as a reality only positive or does it come with several other facets that can be potentially dangerous? Advocates of globalization see no harm in it but when one digs deeper, one encounters several aspects of the concept that can have severe impacts. Thoroughly understanding these concepts is important to be in a position to make an informed conclusion on the benefits of globalization.
To begin with, larger and prosperous nations reap the benefits of globalization more than smaller nations with smaller economies. Large countries take strong protectionist measures in their economy to prevent their domestic markets from foreign influx however, smaller nations are compelled to remove such trade barriers putting their local traders at a risk at the hands of the foreign producers. This consequently also results in the diminishing of the market of local products and indigenous creations pushing their marginalized creators to the periphery of the society.
Globalization as a whole affects the global economy with prices instead of going down due to greater competition, unequally affects different economies. Countries manipulate the valuation of their currency and subsequently earn a price advantage. To put it in the most commonly heard terms, the rich are moving towards being richer while the poor are becoming poorer. Multinational corporations are the most visible manifestation of globalization but are these companies beneficial to society? They often evade tax using several tactics which has a harmful effect on the total economy of any nation.
Globalization is not limited to the sphere of economy only. With the world becoming a single home for all, it has had consequences on other aspects like social, ecological and political facets of life. Globalization has caused severe impacts on the health of people as well. With borders open for easy movement, several diseases have spread more easily because of cross-border movement. Infectious and contagious diseases are increasing due to greater interaction between people and what better time to understand this than the current Covid-pandemic that the world is grappling with. Although a positive aspect on the health industry is that globalization has made it possible for better treatment to be accessible to all, diseases are spreading faster and to more regions as a result of this.
Politics and globalization are deeply embroiled in each other. Globalization can lead to the escalation of geopolitical conflicts and tensions between nations that can acutely disrupt the lives of the citizens of these nations. The fear is that minor geopolitical skirmishes can blow into a huge military conflict between warring nations causing devastation. This will negatively strike the entire globe.
Socially, globalization has led to the exploitation of workers and laborers who are made to work in deplorable conditions and are not paid their dues. Globalization can also be linked to the substantial increase in human trafficking. Social welfare schemes for these workers are a myth with no one to reach out to report their grievances or any official system to guide them to the end to help them reach their freedom. Globalization can also result in social instability due to unequal income distribution and the principles of protectionism.
Large corporations also cause ecological disbalance due to excessive utilization of natural resources for the motive of monetary profitability. While now, ecology and environment form an important part of contemporary discourse, it mostly ends at the level of a talk without actual or effective implementations. Due to globalization, big conglomerates are given rights over natural resources which they use indiscriminately which not only destroys the environment but also the local inhabitants dependent on these resources. Working under very few restrictions, MNCs have the power to sway the decision-makers and negate any power that could potentially stop them from exploiting all the resources.
Globalization is a mirror that lets us look into the future of the world but is it perfect as it is? The warning bells that toll when looking at the scenario created by globalization should not be blatantly ignored. It is imperative to understand its limitations and create a guided system that tries to deal with them and overcome them in the long run. Globalization should be a means to an end that benefits all. After all, the world is a home to all, not some and everyone should have the space to prosper. Curbing globalization is not the way ahead; it is to create more equitable consequences of this overwhelming phenomenon that has the world wrapped around its fingers.
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