Is Globalisation a positive phenomenon?

The presentation was on the increasingly important topic of globalisation, and the effects that this phenomenon has had on a global scale. To create a presentation on this topic we arranged several meetings to decide the various aspects of globalisation that would be included in our presentation. We discussed what we define as globalisation, and both the advantages and disadvantages of this process. We concluded that despite the undeniable issues that it has instigated, overall, the occurrence of globalisation is beneficial. On the whole, the group worked well together developing ideas and researching various aspects of the controversial issue of globalisation, and from this put together an informative presentation.

Globalisation is defined by the Collins dictionary as “a process enabling financial and investment markets to operate internationally, largely as a result of deregulation and improved communications.” Globalisation as a topic of study is increasing, and is of huge importance to the whole group from a social science perspective. As such a complex topic, globalisation is defined in countless ways, as it is relevant within a multitude of areas; from trade to inequality.
The presentation draws upon the fact that Globalisation is a very real process, and despite only being coined ‘Globalisation’ in the 1960’s, the interconnected relations of states have been developing as far back as the middle ages.
Shortly after it was formed, the group met to decide a topic for the presentation. Globalisation raises a number of important issues, so in order to create a short presentation we reduced this broad topic to a discussion of whether or not globalisation is a beneficial process. Each member of the group was assigned a section of the presentation, which was divided into four parts; an introduction, the advantages of globalisation, the disadvantages, and a conclusion. In addition to researching a specific section, each member was asked to do general research across the scope of the topic in order to have an understanding of the presentation as a whole. The main source of research was the Internet, and the presentation includes factual information from articles as well as touching upon a number of theories proposed by academics.
After the first meeting, each group member contributed a number of slides on their section and the presentation was composed. Whether to conclude that Globalisation was in fact a good or bad thing was debated within the group until the conclusion was reached that the majority of the research pointed to the former. The final meeting was a run through of the presentation to ensure it was within the allocated time limit.
Globalisation has been allowed to progress through three main routes; policy change, the development of trans-national corporations, and advances in technology and communications. The expansion of this process has accelerated in recent decades, leading to an increase in both interest in the topic, and number of anti globalisation movements. Indeed, as Simon Jeffery argues, “what really put globalisation on the map is the anti globalisation movement.”
Globalisation is often viewed as a beneficial process due to its influence in both the western and developing world. However, for many, globalisation comes at a high price. It is often described as a western phenomenon, which is beneficial only to the western world. This argument is based on evidence of the west exploiting developing countries through several means.
Firstly, globalisation has allowed Trans national corporations (TNC’s) to develop manufacturing plants worldwide. These source growth and development in large areas, as well as transferring modern techniques and technology. They also provide jobs and further opportunities for many local people.
However, often these workers are underpaid and working in bad conditions, which the TNC’s (outside of their own countries health and safety regulations) are not liable.
Furthermore, the dependency of the developing country on the TNC puts the company is a position where it can exploit the workers, the local environment and the government (to offer an incentive for them to remain employing their people e.g low taxes.) This can also have serious affects on the home economy, as outsourcing leads of loss of jobs in the home country.
Globalisation is also considered to have an adverse affect on culture, referred to as ‘Mcdonaldization’. This is essentially the promotion of brands to the extent that they can be recognized instantaneously. These brands are representing a particular culture, the “world culture” which is essentially the American (or western) culture. The global recognition of these brands is a common image of the extent to which the world has been globalised. This is seen negatively as it is argued that there is a loss of individuality, and other cultures are devalued, as each country aims for a western lifestyle.
Finally, it is argued that globalisation has lead to higher levels of global inequality. For example, 80% of the global population earns only 20% of global income, due to many countries whose economies are not strong or advanced enough to benefit from globalisation. Globalisation is held responsible for these increased levels of inequality, as the western world appear to be getting wealthier at the expense of the less economically developed countries who cannot reap the benefits of global integration.
However, those economies that can successfully take part enjoy many benefits, for example, World Bank data shows that 3 billion people living in the 24 developing countries that increased their integration into the world economy enjoyed an average 5% growth rate in income per capita, longer life expectancy and better schooling.
Furthermore, a global economy increased competition, as each country in order to have a successful export market must be extremely efficient. This increases the quality of produce, as well as pushing down prices, making commodities more affordable. The import export market also increases the amount of choice for the consumer, for example at any given super market, the consumer has the choice of apples from New Zealand to Spain.
Globalisation also encourages the development of non-governmental organizations, including humanitarian aid and developmental efforts. These provide increased awareness as well as aid and support for countries in need.
Overall, we came to the conclusion that Globalisation is in fact a positive phenomenon, and its benefits can be identified in both the western and developing world. Globalisation is the increased level of interconnectedness between countries, leading to improved levels of communication and cooperation. This is essential in tackling many global issues, such as disease, poverty and food distribution.
The group worked well together and achieved a detailed analysis of the benefits and problems of globalisation. We learnt crucially how important it is to communicate as a group, and for each individual to put in the required research and effort. Initially, the group struggled to agree on a topic, yet when we had identified the common interest of globalisation the presentation came together quickly. Creating this presentation allowed us to develop a number of valuable skills, mainly time management, as each member of the group was given a number of deadlines to share their research, ideas and written work. Additionally, the group developed teamwork skills in order to produce a concise discussion and conclusion on globalisation.
Nadeem, S (2009) Macaulay’s (Cyber) Children: The Cultural Politics of Outsourcing in India, Cultural Sociology
Hanks, Patrick (1979) Collins English Dictionary, London

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