|Essay on impact of Globalisation:
Has Globalisation brought about more benefits or ills to countries around the world? Explain your answer.
I think Globalisation has brought about more ills than benefits, even through it has brought about many benefits to countries around the world. However, there are countries that have benefitted from Globalisation and we will examine this from the economic, social and environmental aspects.
Firstly, the economic aspect of globalization has brought about an improved standard of living for many people. As countries participate in trade and open their doors to investments, more money is earned and thus this revenue is channeled to the development of facilities such as healthcare, education and infrastructure that benefit the people and thus increase their standard of living. Moreover, Singapore’s pro-Globalisation policy has lead to an increase in the average household income from $4940 in 2000 to $5400 in 2005, and this has allowed the people to improve their lifestyles. Furthermore, with free trade, there is a greater variety of goods available to the people and they benefit from the wide range of choices available. (+ ve)
Globalisation also creates competition among countries in terms of investments and markets as they compete for Transnational Corporations (TNCs) to invest in their countries. This leads to countries developing themselves to be more attractive towards the investors and thus boost infrastructure and economic development of the country. Dalian is an example of a city that has transformed itself from a developing area to a thriving sea and air port. It also has a sound financial infrastructure and industrial parks which provides jobs for its people, and therefore has benefitted China as a whole, as TNCs are increasingly attracted to it and help to develop the country further. (+ ve)
However its is mostly developed countries that benefit more from Globalisation as they have the capabilities to develop themselves and attract investors as compare to the developing countries, which as a result of their poor infrastructure and lowly-skilled labour, are trapped in a poverty cycle. This thus widens the income gap between people as the TNCs are largely owned by developed countries and thus gain more revenue instead of the developing countries which get the shorter end of the stick, as they supply cheap labour and raw materials to these TNCs. Thus the developing countries do not improve very much and cannot produce quality products as they lack the expertise and technology to do so, and thus cannot compete with higher quality, and high value added goods manufactured by developed countries. Moreover, the situation is made worse by the mobility of talent from developing to developed countries, and developing countries, such as India in the 1970s, experience a brain drain which aggravates their already dire situation. This may lead to increasing tensions between rich and poor within and between countries, that may destabilize international relations, as seen from the tensions between the G8 (group of 8 richest country) and the G20 (group of developing countries). (-ve)
In the social aspect of globalization, people have a better understanding of foreign culture and it is easy to watch movies or surf the net to find out about foreign lands. With improved transportation, it is also possible to visit these foreign countries and experience life there. This is very beneficial as it allows people to better understand other cultures or people, and this mutual understanding and respect for another culture would greatly enhance business deals and reduce misunderstandings due to cultural differences. (+ve)
However, this also means that global brands such as MacDonalds dominate the consumer market, making it difficult for local brands to penetrate the market and thus leading to a rather homogenous culture being created. Futhermore, Globalisation has negative impact on young people who have been greatly influenced by westernization and are losing interesting their local culture. Their loss of identity leads to rootlessness and a lack of unity within countries as they are unable to appreciate their own culture. This may also contribute to the brain drain as young professionals do not feel rooted to their cultures and therefore are more willing to leave their home country for greener pastures. (-ve)
Globalization has led to an increase in environmental awareness, and more people around the world realize that sustainable growth is the key to future developments. Globalisation has led to the formation of strong lobby groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth who lobby key politicians and try to influence policy making. Moreover, globalization has also allowed for the transfer of green technology from developed to developing countries, as seen from the introduction of hydro-electric power from developed countries like America to developing countries like China. With greater mobility of people and goods, green technology such as solar panels, geothermal and even nuclear power can be transferred, which allows developing countries to bypass the heavily pollutive stage of industrialization, thus helping to minimize environmental pollution. (+ve)
However, in the aspect of environmental degradation, globalization has led to massive deforestation and other related issues. As governments are keen to attract TNCs to their countries, they allow forests to be cut down for industrialization purposes and for plantations which contribute to the development of the economy and bring in a greater amount of revenue. However, this is at the expense of the environment. An example would be the Three Gorges Dam project which is meant to provide electricity to main cities through the use of hydro-electric green technology. However, this has been at the severe cost of the loss of flora and fauna, as well as ancient ruins which may compromise on China’s natural beauty and therefore lead to a fall in tourism. Moreover, the slash and burn tactics of Indonesian farmers who clear land to grow more cash crops for the international market also contributes to deforestation, which can lead to soil erosion, and therefore more floods in the area, and create haze in the region, as the particles from burning trees are carried by winds to various parts of Southeast Asia, which in turn not only creates respiratory problems, but also discourages tourism in the region. (-ve)
In conclusion, I would say that Globalisation is overall an ill as it only brings short term economic gains, but such benefits are also subjected to the cyclical fluctuations of the global economy (as seen from the recent economic crisis). Furthermore, the resulting environmental costs are long term, and the situation is still looking quite bleak, as environmental awareness and international cooperation does not necessarily lead to concrete actions being taken, as seen from the hollowness of the Kyoto Protocol and the failure of the recent Copenhagen Summit, where countries are not yet ready to sacrifice their national economic interests towards safeguarding our environment.
Elizabeth Chan 4GY
Edited by Miss Wong