Globalization Essay: Question 2
If you are wearing a beautiful pair of shoes and look at the tag, chances are you would see that it was made in a foreign country. Furthermore, the leather could be of Italian origin and the shoes itself could have been assembled in Malaysia. The shoes could then have been shipped across the Pacific on a Japanese freighter crewed by Filipinos to Port Newark in New Jersey. This international exchange is just one example of globalization, a process that has everything to do with geography and people. Globalization is more specifically the process of increased interconnectedness among countries notably in the areas of economics, politics, and culture. Globalization can be viewed as both good and bad. Globalization brings wonderful opportunities and benefits to various cultures around the world, but it can also threaten employment, lower living standards, and slow down social progress. Globalization is also responsible for the widespread increase of communicable diseases. Additionally, many emerging countries pollute the environment more than developed countries. To stay competitive, these emerging countries cannot enact proper constraints to reduce pollution.
Cultures around the world gain new opportunities and benefit from globalization. With improved technology in transportation and telecommunications, people and commodities can move and communicate faster and more effectively. In the past, people and businesses across the globe communicated by costly methods in untimely ways. Presently, a phone call, instant message, fax, or video conference can easily be used to connect people. Fred Reed's article "Learning language on Web a snap" appeared in the Washington Times-DC on February 25, 2006. The article tells us that high technology can be used to achieve a low-tech goal. The article also shows that people can use technology to lower their costs for services like language instruction over the web. Reed's article explores the use of the web as a tool to cut across international borders to exploit the economic differences between two countries which benefit both parties economically. In this case, an American can learn Spanish at a reduced cost compared to the local market. Meanwhile, a Mexican can teach Spanish at a higher rate in America than she could have charged locally in Mexico. This is all made possible because the textbook and Spanish Language keyboard can be purchased online. The homework can then be emailed to the instructor in Mexico. Payment can be made electronically by using a service such as PayPal. Globalization has also been made possible by improved global transportation where anyone with the funds can book a flight and travel halfway across the world in a matter of hours. Due to the improved speeds of modern aircraft, flight times are lessened and the world continues to shrink when compared to years ago. Another benefit of globalization is that governments can work together towards common goals that are economically and socially advantageous. Daniel Kliman's article "U.S.-Japan collaboration on high speed rail", which appeared in the Japan Times, outlines the plan for cooperation between the Japanese and American Governments in developing high speed rail in the United States. Japan has been building and running high speed trains for 46 years with an impeccable safety record and no recorded fatality. American companies don't have this type of expertise. This cooperation will promote commerce in the US and Japan by reducing travel times between major cities. It will also create jobs in Japan for the manufacturer of the trains and the supporting equipment, and create jobs in the US for laying track and building infrastructure. In the past, such cooperation could not have occurred because it would be restricted to only US companies.
Certain things that take place due to globalization are; threatened employment, lower living standards, and a slowdown of social progress. Bruce Stokes' article "Shipyards to Cellphones," appeared in the National Journal on November 10, 2007. Stokes explains about the old world industrial city of Goteborg, Sweden and globalization's effects on it. During the 1960's and early 70's, international competition in the shipyard industry caused a rapid decline when Goteborg could not compete with global pressures, and many people lost their jobs. Finally in the mid 1970's, their ship building industry completely failed because of global pressures from subsidized companies in Japan and South Korea which proved to be more than they could compensate for. This happened very rapidly and caused middle class citizens of Goteborg to be thrown into economic turmoil when they lost their jobs and their social standing.
The spread of communicable diseases can be attributed to globalization. Although people can increase commerce and trade by rapidly travelling from country to country, the easy, rapid travel also promotes the swift spread of dangerous diseases such as the flu. If a person travels to a country that has poor epidemiological controls in place, their presence can wreak havoc on the people who live there. However, diseases thought to be widely eradicated can be reintroduced into advanced societies which have ended programs to control them. David P. Fidler's, J.D. article "Globalization, International Law, and Emerging Infectious Diseases" states:
This means that new diseases have emerged such as West Nile Virus in some areas while in other areas diseases have been wiped out. The elimination of these diseases can cause population explosions and famines. As countries struggle with tougher economic times, the reduced spending on prevention programs guarantees that diseases will spread. Increased reliance on antibiotics made available through globalization as a cure-all creates drug resistant strains of even the most common infectious diseases which further complicates their control on disease.
Emerging countries pollute the environment because they have not enacted constraints for economic reasons. In developing countries that are trying to compete in the global marketplace, environmental regulations are nonexistent or ignored by the companies in order to keep their competitive edge. This results in high levels of pollution as well as waste. One of the biggest offenders is Mainland China. In an article by Joseph Kahn and Mark Landler "China Grabs West's Smoke-Spewing Factories", which appeared in the NY Times on Dec. 21, 2007, they write that "In its rush to re-create the industrial revolution that made the West rich, China has absorbed most of the major industries that once made the West dirty. China has become the world's factory, but also its smokestack." The article explains how the old, dirty, and obsolete equipment that once darkened the skies of the West now darken the skies of China. The environment is being attacked to lower the export prices. The article "Poverty and Environmental Degradation," by Akin L. Mabogunje which appeared in Environment on Jan. /Feb. 2002, shows some of the ways that globalization negatively affects the environment. In developing countries, the poor gravitate to where they can find work and often setup makeshift dwellings as squatters next to urban centers without adequate water, sewage, and sanitation facilities. Often, the poor in these areas cook and heat their homes with whatever they can find to burn. They also find expedient modes of transportation which regularly is in poor repair or has two stroke engines, usually in motorcycles. This causes high levels of suspended particulate matter which exceed regulations set forth by the World Health Organization. These squatter cities collect mountains of solid wastes, including feces and food wastes which putrefy, and the runoff from these trash heaps leach into the water supply. The trash is also a source of diseases such as Typhoid and Cholera. Pollution is also produced when farmers use pesticides and fertilizers which run off into rivers, streams, and drinking water supplies.
Globalization has changed the world of our parents and it seems the changes will not stop. There are both good and bad consequences that result from globalization. Countries that choose to participate in the global marketplace must cooperate not just with trade but with technologies to protect their people and environment. If this does not happen, emerging countries are doomed to repeat the mistakes of those who went before them. It seems unfair that the pioneers of industry did not have any constraints from the beginning, and that emerging countries are being told to put in the safeguards learned from the past. These problems must be addressed or world peace and prosperity cannot be assured.
- Reed, Fred. "Learning Language on Web a Snap". Washington Times-DC 25 Feb. 2006 Section: Business and Technology, pg. C-12
- Kliman, Daniel. "US - Japan Collaboration on High Speed Rail." The Japan Times. Tuesday Nov. 10, 2009.
- Stokes, Bruce. "Shipyards to Cellphones". National Journal. 10 Nov. 2007, 036042217, vol. 39, issue 43
- Fidler, David P. JP. "Globalization, International Law, and Emerging Infectious Diseases". Indiana University School of law, Bloomington Indiana, USA. April - June 1996. Vol. 2, No. 2.
- Kahn, Joseph and Landler, Mark. "China Grabs Wests Smoke - Spewing Factories". The New York Times. Nytimes.com. 21 Dec. 2007
- Mabogunje, Akin L. "Poverty and Environmental Degradation" Sourcework. Academic Writing from Sources. Environment, Jan. - Feb., 2002. Vol. 44, Issue 1