Globalization and Its Paradoxes
November 12, y
The Perils of Globalization
What can two dollars buy you? A small coffee at Starbucks, a candy bar, bag of chips, and a soda, a slice of pizza. For nearly three billion people, approximately half of the world's population, two dollars a day is all the money that the person has to live on. Moreover, of the 2.2 billion children in the world, 1 billion grow up in poverty; 640 million without adequate shelter, 400 millions with no access to safe water, and 270 million with no access to health services (UNICEF). One proposed reason for this harsh reality of high poverty rates is globalization - the growing integration of economies and societies around the world. The claim that globalization generates poverty has been the focus of many debates for the last twenty years, and has created a polarization of viewpoints when it comes to widespread economic globalization. People tend to jump on the side that “globalization helps eradicate poverty” or “globalization promotes poverty”, but in reality it is not a binary answer. While studies, facts, and numbers can be thrown behind both arguments, the realistic and rational answer is that both are true in their own separate ways. The purpose of this essay is not to emphasize one agenda or the other, but realize that in a world where we fight global poverty so vigorously it is our job to challenge any structure or entity that incentivizes oppression. While globalization has been an economically empowering tool, it has also been a catalyst in suppressing third-world nations and creating more poverty, the goal should be to look where we can improve and fix the unstoppable force that is globalization, rather than fight against an inevitable reality.
Globalization does have positive effects that are felt throughout the world. If we look at the latter part of the 20th century alone, the evidence that globalization reduces poverty is overwhelming. Looking at a variety of measurements poverty, life expectancy, health, education more people have become better off at a faster pace in the past sixty years than ever before. And according to the World Bank, trade enabled the developing countries to grow at a rate of 4.3 percent per year, twice the rate of the developed world. Globalization is a vital process toward transferring knowledge and education to the world as people from different regions, cultures, and knowledge bases interact with each other
Globalization has generated significant opposition because of concerns that it has decreased wages in all countries and decreased the number of all types of jobs, of both uneducated and educated statuses, that are available in developed countries. Statistics have shown that an increase in product trade with unskilled-labor-abundant, low-wage countries leads to an increase in the wage rate of skilled workers and depresses the wage rate of unskilled workers. For some time, factory jobs have been moving to lower wage countries. This practice not only affects developed countries that lose jobs, but it also affects poorer countries who receive the additional jobs.
Another example of how globalization by effect causes poverty can be seen in Paul Grengrass’ movie Captain Phillips. Captain Phillips is a movie about the 2009 hijacking of the Maersk Alabama commercial container ship by Somali pirates, and while it was a big hit, it was a misleading portrayal of many U.S. actions as a result of globalization. The pirates are shown as savages who ruthlessly take over the ship and seem to lack any decent human characteristics. Their portrayal is purposefully negative, but shows how the filmmakers overlooked the United States’ role in the situation. The truth of the movie that is never shown is why those pirates were in the dire position of having to overtake a ship. While it is shown repeatedly that the ship is for humanitarian aid, which makes the pirates look even worse, it is never said that the reason