Is globalization good or bad for a country? In the following article, we will put forth certain issues that allow us to understand this phenomenon better and draw a conclusion thus.
Two Sides of the Same Coin
Globalization is both, good and bad. If channeled in the right way, it can open up several new avenues. If channeled in the wrong way, it can destroy economies.
The fact is that all of us are affected by globalization in one way or the other. How is that? Look around you and more importantly, at you, carefully – chances are that some (or most) of the things that are associated with you are not local in nature. They are essentially foreign. For example, the clothes that you wear or the food that you eat or the popular burger joint that has opened up in your area, or the fact that you can mouth the words of the latest pop song that is all the rage in Britain, are instances of how globalization has become a part of your life. You can easily buy things that are not produced in your own country or can watch a movie that is foreign, just as easily as you would go to the market and shop for groceries (chances are, those will have a fair share of the ‘foreign’ filtering in as well). The examples are countless and are enough proof of the fact that globalization exists. However, to fully understand the concept of globalization and whether it is good or bad for a country, we must know its pros and cons.
What it Offers
1. Provides Wider Choices
Globalization is responsible for the wide range of choices in most products that are available in the market today. If you think back to a time, say 15 years ago, you might recollect that ‘foreign’ goods were a rarity. If they were at all available, they were extremely expensive. Today, however, that scene has completely changed. We see several varieties of goods that range from groceries to beauty products to other consumer goods in all sections of the market. With so many choices at our disposal, we have a wider range to choose from.
2. Improves Quality
The secondary advantage of a wider range of products is that because there is so much choice in the market, the competition increases. To be in the running, manufacturers and distributors of goods have to stock only the best quality products to survive in the market. This in turn ensures that the consumers get only the best quality products to choose from and the inferior products are automatically filtered.
3. Improves Communication and Transportation
Advancements in the fields of communication and transportation have made it possible for people to communicate with others across the globe in a matter of seconds. Moreover, people can travel from one end of the world to the other in just a few hours. This has made it possible for people to take advantage of varied opportunities in the fields of education and business, among others. People can also migrate to other countries for a better future or to escape danger. All of which has been made possible due to globalization.
4. Boosts Economy
Globalization makes it possible to not only export and import goods, but it also allows for outsourcing services and jobs. It has been seen that jobs in the information technology sector are especially outsourced. Many American companies set up branches in the Indian subcontinent because the labor is relatively cheaper there as compared to their country. This results in a direct increase in their net profits. And as for India, they get a sudden burst of jobs which is helpful for their economy.
5. Provides Freedom of Choice
Globalization provides a platform for an exchange of information, ideas, goods and services. There is never a dearth of choices and options. And it is thus a highly ‘freeing’ phase wherein one never has to settle for something mediocre, because there is always the option of finding something more superior. If it is not available in one’s own country, and if one has the necessary resources, one can always look outside and more importantly, procure it.
6. Spreads Knowledge
Earlier, it would not have been possible to have an in-depth knowledge about other countries and their cultures. But due to important tools of globalization, like the Internet, it becomes possible to know everything that is happening around the world. It is possible to know about the different cultures of the world, varied food habits, the kind of education systems that exist, world news and other current events. The world shares entertainment, books, recipes and much more.
7. Promotes Progressive Thinking
Globalization is not merely limited to exchanging food, recipes, and the like, but runs deeper in the way of bringing about a change in the attitude and thoughts of people. It makes people tolerant of varied world views and practices and thereby promotes progressive thinking. This, more than anything else, helps to bring about social reforms in society. For example, leaning how a particular country improved the quality of education or the steps that were taken to increase security for women, or the different policies of world governments and educational systems that were passed will set an example to other countries and bring about reforms.
What it Affects
1. Promotes Traits of Commercialism
If you look at the teens of today, of any country that is, you’ll find that most of them will be in the same type of apparel, listening to the same kind of music, eating the same kind of food and frequenting the same joints. It seems like there is nothing unique and local anymore. People have developed an attitude of consumerism and everyone seems to have the same kind of things. This results in the same type of lifestyles and it pushes the ‘local’ ideas, products and practices somewhere in the background.
2. Destroys Ethnic Cultures
With so much emphasis on being global, people are forgetting what is local. They are disregarding their culture, ethnicity, and local traits in preference for foreign practices. It is feared that it won’t be long before countries lose out on their culture and heritage.
3. Affects Local Markets
When foreign goods flood the market and people begin to buy them, it is done at the cost of local goods. This is especially true of developing countries. For example, small time businessmen who do not have the resources to export their goods and only depend on the locals to buy them, go through varied degrees of losses because their goods are not sold. There are high chances that if you ask a small time businessman whether globalization is good or bad for developing countries, he’ll probably answer in the negative.
4. Promotes Danger of Spreading Disease
With people traveling and migrating from one place to the other, they introduce, or are introduced to varied forms of viruses. Thus there is a great risk that there could be a spread of diseases. The immunity that people develop against the diseases in their own country could be put at risk when introduced to the virus of other diseases and vice versa.
5. Creates Social Divides
While outsourcing may create jobs for one country, it does so at the cost of the jobs that are taken away from the people of the country that outsources them. One then has to question at what cost are profits being earned. So also for the fact that only a certain section of society which is able to afford to outsource are doing so and putting the lesser privileged sections of that society at a disadvantage. As a result, the divide between the different sections of society increases more and more.
6. Leads to Wastage of Resources
In order to import and export products, a country makes use of its resources even if the product is manufactured locally. Instead, if that same money is utilized in improving the product one could promote business for one’s own country and save on precious resources.
7. Promotes Health Risks
When food items are transported from one country to the other, there needs to be proper precautions taken to preserve them. Usage of pesticides and preservatives therefore becomes necessary. These chemicals are harmful for health. So while there is a wide range of food products that are made available, it is done so at the cost of health.
Whether globalization is good or bad cannot be answered in black or white. There are several grays in between. It depends on each country and its government to be able to strike a balance between the good and bad, such that it allows their nation to enjoy the advantages of this phenomenon, while also drawing up policies so that the ill-effects of globalization do not affect them. How many nations are able to do so? Now that is the real question.