Essay # 4
On The Pros and Cons of Globalization
At the risk of stating the obvious, the world we live in has changed drastically over the last 500 years. From populations of basically homogenous people isolated in their respective countries with very little communication or travel, the advent of modern transportation, communication and trade has transformed the world into a closely knit global community which is growing closer by the minute. Cheap intercontinental travel made possible by rapid technological advances means swift, easy transportation to distant places, while the internet and satellite communication means a ubiquitous connectedness the likes of which the world has never seen before. These advances serve to streamline and encourage trade between countries, allowing foreign supplies to meet global demands and vice versa. This phenomenon of cross cultural pollination, commerce and travel is known as globalization, and it is the most potent phenomenon affecting the face of our planet today. A common example of globalizations effects would be the thousands of Japanese teens who dress in American sneakers, Italian sunglasses and jeans from France, bought and paid for in Japanese Yen, all because they saw someone dressed like that in a British television show on the internet. Another would be Iranian professional Parkour players navigating the Tehran skyline, skateboarders invading the Chans De Lise in Paris, or a Hawaiian champion in the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Yet another might be the outskirts of one of the largest cities in the world, where Luxury hotels and skyscrapers tower over some of the most impoverished slums in existence, which is the setting for Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers, a sobering work of nonfiction detailing the daily survival struggles of Indian trash gatherers. The story takes place literally in the shadow of the skyscrapers built for the rich while those in the slum starve, and they serve as a stark reminder of the negative effects globalization can have on individual lives. Because the phenomenon of globalization takes place on such a vast scale with so many varied, interconnected parts, whether one views it as a curse or a blessing may come down entirely to where they happen to stand in the modern global community. For the average U.S. citizen, globalization may mean opportunities abroad, a buyer’s market in terms of international commerce or increased recognition and acceptance of U.S. culture overseas, while for the average Indian citizen it may mean doom or salvation based on the particular recent developments in the global economy. The point is that whether globalization is ultimately positive or negative is extremely relative to a persons unique position in the global scheme, as well as being a fluid process which shifts to favor different entities at different times.
Taking this relativistic perspective into consideration is important when contemplating the issue of globalization. Bearing all that in mind, the process of globalization can have many positive effects at both the national and individual level, such as increased opportunities for advancement, higher overall GDP over time, unprecedented cooperation and efficiency among international entities, and the financial benefits of the early 2000’s economic upturn, while the negative effects include economic contagion, threats to the environment, national culture and flight of jobs because of off shoring. The first part of the essay will focus on the positive effects, illustrated by examples from Boo and supported by evidence, while the second part will be devoted to the negative effects, again supported by evidence and illustrated by examples from Boo.
One of the positive effects of globalization is the fostering of unprecedented connectivity and cooperation between international entities through the utilization of technology, creating a