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Globalization: definition, causes, social impact and risks

Globalization is a more than current phenomenon: the emergence of this concept goes back to the twentieth century, but on closer inspection, it was at the beginning of the XXI century that globalization had reached its climax. This is a rather intuitive phenomenon that concerns the progressive and widespread increase in international trade and investment. The globalized world is the world of today, in which national economies are increasingly interdependent. Trade has almost no barriers, and communications are of disarming simplicity, even from one side of the Earth to the other. 

The phenomenon of globalization is undoubtedly interesting and must be tackled from different perspectives and points of view. If at first, it was a concept that invested the purely economic sphere, today, globalization invests every area of ​​our life: from the social to the cultural one, from politics to technological development. We are used to buying clothes that are produced in China, watching American films, eating Japanese, Thai and so on. This is now a globalized world. As we will see shortly, the "no-globals" strongly oppose this phenomenon, which is, on the one hand, has certain positive aspects. On the other, it hides limits and dangers that are not indifferent. Let’s have a look at the causes, social impact and risks of globalization.

The causes of globalization

The engine of globalization is the economy: it was, in fact, due to the growing interdependence of the various local economies that other social, cultural, political, commercial, and other dependencies have been created. However, the causes of globalization are to be traced in different aspects, which all occurred more or less in the same historical period. These causes are as follows:

-The abolition of customs barriers, which allowed free trade and, therefore, a sort of unification of the world market.

-The development of transport on a global scale, which has made it possible to market products from one part of the world to the other with lower costs but at the same time, has given a significant boost to production delocalization. 

-The development of new technologies, which has given an impetus to international communications.

The dark sides of globalization

As we have mentioned, the no-globals strongly oppose this phenomenon, which has affected the entire planet. The reasons are questionable, but it must be recognized that globalization hides a series of not negligible dark sides. Due to this economic capillarity, the multinationals have started to implement a very risky production relocation process. They have moved parts or even entire productions to less developed countries and have done so to enjoy various advantages: lower labor costs, reduced taxation, and fewer rules to be also respected for the defense of the environment. This last point should not be underestimated: multinationals take advantage of this situation to not respect the strict rules imposed in the most developed countries. This means that they move massive pollution and often without restraint in the areas of the East or the South of the World because here, the governments have not yet adopted strict environmental protection policies. However, the problem of environmental degradation cannot be moved: it affects the whole world, and globalization risks further worsening an already severely compromised situation. 

The pros and cons of globalization

Globalization appears to have contributed to improving the living conditions of the world's populations, but the gap has grown between the economies of the rich and poor countries.

At the same time, globalization has stimulated the mechanism of productive decentralization. In this context, the multinationals have moved parts or entire productions to countries in the South of the world or in those of Eastern Europe to enjoy the following advantages:

-the reduced cost of labor, often recruited in economically disadvantaged countries and therefore willing to work with low wages and in any condition in order to fight poverty;

-minor union defenses for workers;

-less tax to pay for businesses;

-Weaker legislation in environmental protection. This is a serious problem because not only does it subject local populations to all the risks of sometimes massive pollution, but it nevertheless increases the overall degradation of our world. Sometimes it is the forests that are attacked: cut down without any conservation criteria, to produce precious wood; other times the rivers are reduced to landfills to dispose of the waste of dangerous processes that the rich societies of the North of the world no longer want on their territory. For years, protest movements have emerged, which is defined as no global, which fights precisely against the politically incorrect management of multinationals.

Few, therefore, very large companies impose their point of view and dominate the world market at the expense of medium and small companies that struggle to exist on the square, failing to reach a similar level of competitiveness.

Those who save globalization leverage other arguments such as the export of technology even to the most difficult countries on the planet and the increase in work where there are strong precarious and unemployment situations.

This is why for years, the globalized world, apart from being economically split, has been divided into opposite parts also ethically: on the one hand, the proponents of this great universal process called "globalization"; on the other, those who strongly condemn and protest.

However, it is worth noting that discussions and controversies only break out in rich countries because, in really poor countriesGlobalization, one does not even know what globalization is: one simply suffers it.

Author: Vicki Lezama


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