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What Is Globalization?

What Is Globalization?
 

It is widely asserted that the XXI century is an era of rapid and irrevocable unification and dissolving of national borders, cultures, and economies. This process of the world’s compression and obvious intensification of any international ties directly refers to the concept of globalization. In a nutshell, the term can be defined as a worldwide international integration in political, economic, financial, social, and cultural dimensions that results in increase of international financial flows and trade, migration, global tourism, and cultural exchange among others. Although global integration undeniably bears positive changes into the world, they are unequally spread among the nations playing into the hand of the wealthy countries.

Regardless of that globalization can bring benefits, its destructive effects are exceedingly tangible and sometimes even surpass all the good manifestations the phenomenon has. On the one hand, one can claim that globalization stimulates the process of economic growth in developing countries, for example, extremely high rates of foreign direct investment. On the other hand, the process turns them into “peripheral markets” being able to contribute nothing but raw or intermediate materials and cheap labor force to the international market (Beck 2015). However, the latter fact almost neutralizes all the positive impact of the first one. Thus, global integration of markets and labor division is only widening the existing enormous development continuum gap between the wealthy North and the Global South instead of shrinking it (Milanovic 2016). In other words, the less a country is developed, the more it suffers from inequality in the global trade and economy systems.

Not only developing countries are experiencing harmful aftermath of globalization, but the wealthy ones also undergo its negative consequences. The transnational corporations (TNCs) and multinational companies (MNCs) tend to move their industrial capacities into the so-called Third-World countries as they have an opportunity to pay lower taxes and salaries there in comparison with their domestic markets (Beck 2015). This fact directly leads to a reduction in employment rate and related social problems in te industrialized states. According to the empirical data, in the period of 18 years (1990-2008), the number of created jobs in the United States of America grew from about 122 million to about 149 million (Spence 2011). The figure is relatively small for such a sizable country. Moreover, the striking 98% of those job offers were opened in the nontradable economy sector, which produces goods and services that cannot be exported (Spence 2011). Obviously, this was a direct result of that the American TNCs have moved their manufacturing sites to the emerging economies.

Furthermore, one should not forget that globalization, while usually positively perceived in the West, often meets resistance in the East. International terrorism is a phenomenon that most accurately illustrates this firm anti-westernization stance. Rejection of Western values and democratization process as a whole urges radicals to express their protest by such outrages atrocious attacks to oppose a direct threat to the core tenets of Islam. Otherwise speaking, terrorism represents the reaction from the ‘periphery’ aimed against the American-led globalization “steamroller” that ruins national cultures and traditions while replacing them with the alien mass culture (Lizardo 2006). Globalization has not only triggered the bombings but also created favorable scenery for their implementation. Innovative technologies, the Internet, and easier ways of cross-border migration all contributed to the increase in the number of conducted terroristic assaults.

Fair to note, the fears of the radical activists from the East are not utterly groundless. The concept of social and cultural globalization and integration is often called ‘McDonaldization’ or even ‘Americanization’ of the global society, claiming that the American mass culture is firmly rooting in different countries ousting the native traditions from their homelands (Pieterse 2015). There is an existing possibility that the process of the global cultural homogenization based on the predominance of democratic values, western traditions, and lifestyles will lead to the extinction of small authentic local cultures turning our planet into a unified indistinctive nation (Tomlinson 20113). This process can result in the decline of the global tourism as a whole. There will be no need visiting other countries as there would be nothing new to experience.

Of course, it is impossible to omit from analysis the environmental issues directly summoned by the world integration. Although this aspect is traditionally addressed in a favorable manner, one should consider it from another angle. While advanced countries are big at environmentalist rhetoric, praising their low pollution rates, they tend to conceal the fact they owe this eco-friendly image to the movement of their hazardous industries to developing countries. The TNCs tend to relocate their facilities to the countries with less stringent environmental laws, thereby doing a favor for their country of origin and, at the same time, rendering a disservice to the countries to which they move their industries (Lecher & Boli 2014). In fact, this is not the only way to avoid dealing with the ecological challenges. Toxic waste, such as mercury, arsenic, and cyanide, is shipped at relatively lucrative prices to the Third-World states, for instance, India, which is literally used as a dumping ground by the Northern industrialized countries. Moreover, pursuing economic goals, the developed countries not only shift the responsibility for dealing with the toxic waste. They inadvertently cause even more harm to the environment as many of the importing states do not obtain enough of the technology to process those chemicals (Lecher & Boli 2014).

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All these points lead to the logical conclusion that while the inevitable phenomenon of globalization has its favorable and auspicious effects, those benefits are distributed unequally between the nations and usually serve only the richest states, leaving most of the developing countries out in the cold. Moreover, even the most advanced international actors face many side-effects of the global integration, such as growing unemployment rates and living under the pressure of a constant threat of the terroristic attacks, to name a few. Hence, given the irreversibility of globalization, we have to acknowledge all the drawbacks of this process and come up with the efficient way of overcoming them.

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