Economically, yes it is. Globalization is about reducing the costs of trade so that each area or group can specialize in its particular advantage. When that happens, our overall productivity goes up and everyone can have more. More doesn’t just mean material goods–it includes services as well, like say, a personal trainer in the gym or a symphony performance. Globalization in the past decades has been responsible for pulling millions out of poverty around the world. The biggest effect you can see on China. China is the main reason about half a billion people are now above the poverty line (only slightly above, but it’s definite progress, especially considering its scope). Unfortunately, wanting more of everything does have the side effect of damaging the environment with the required resource extraction and pollution. However, since climate change is a global problem, it will require an international solution as well. Globalization may be key to the dissemination of ideas, technology, and diplomacy needed to deal with the climate issue.
The benefits versus detriments of globalization is always a tricky debate. One the one hand, we have this vision of togetherness, sharing of cultures, spreading of wealth, and opening up of opportunity. On the other hand, we have the unfortunate view of reality. Globalization serves much like capitalism in this country. It strengthens the strong and weakens the weak. The gap between the haves and the have-nots widens everyday. Sharing of cultures is often a case of the West overriding native cultures with McDonalds, Starbucks, and a culture of consumerism. It is often a case of dominance rather than togetherness. You can read more about it in the article below from the NY Times. It’s from 1999, but an interesting look back to compare to today.
As the others have said, there’s nothing wrong with globalization in theory. In fact, we can imagine that a united would would be enlightened, diverse and harmonious. “Chantez” said it well about the West overriding native cultures, and I see it even a little more broadly. There are several countries who call themselves global powers, but dozens, hundreds more small third world countries and tiny ethnic pockets. In a completely globalized world, these smaller groups of people would just become crushed and lost in the majority.
I used to think that globalization was a purely good thing but the more I think about it, and the more I’m exposed to its negatives, the more I’m not sure. With globalization comes globalized industry and it does have a tendency to hurt local business. When you think of agriculture, a small town farmer who raises animals in a humane and sustainable way oftentimes cannot undercut prices of a big distributor. This distributor may have to ship their product thousands of miles (with a ton of fuel) but they can still offer their product for cheaper. Globalization has certainly led to the concentration of power with huge multi-national corporations. To its credit, however, globalization does allow for people from different cities, states, countries, and continents to try and work together to make a difference. It goes both ways, I suppose.
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