Globalization faces different types of barriers. A recent McKinsey report says that the process of globalization is not only not uniform across all industries, but there are large differences in the extent to which developed and developing countries have been integrated into a single market (McKinsey 2003). These “large differences” give cause to worry. There are some winners and some losers in this game. It has been pointed by globalization scholars that disproportionate benefits of globalization go to the developed countries. The developed countries, often called as ‘the North’ also seem to follow double standards in many respects.
On the one hand, they seek to vehemently push forward the levels of globalization, on the other hand, they themselves spend enormous amounts of money in granting agricultural subsidies, and impose trade barriers. The protectionist tendencies in ‘northern’ countries are presenting major obstacles for ‘southern’ countries to be integrated into the world economy (Ayoob & Zierler 2005). Further, and most importantly, even if doors are fully open for trade to Southern nations, there may not be much to trade, as these countries, especially the African nations, remain severely underdeveloped.
Globalization can only happen, when developmental goals are seriously pursued in many impoverished regions of the world (Kikwete 2003). Developmental goals present much deeper issues, because in African and a few other Third World countries, there are a host of complex factors militating against the development agenda. However, the cause of economic globalization can be given a greater boost, with its spread and benefits reaching farther and deeper in the near future, if all the major players in the game understand the concept of fair play.
This point can be better illustrated if we briefly consider the case of Nike, one of the first big corporations to jump into the globalization bandwagon. Nike has grown in a massive fashion over the last several decades by taking advantage of global sourcing opportunities to produce lower cost products, the savings from which it ploughed back into marketing campaigns and improvement of product design. However, outsourcing, at once at the root of the company’s success, had also brought it obloquy for a long time.
In the 1980’s, when it just emerged as the leader of the market, it caught the attention of human rights activists who criticized it for sourcing its products in factories characterized by poor working conditions and associated with low wages and human rights violations. In 1990’s, the situation was further aggravated and Nike’s image was badly tarnished by news of child labor it was exploiting in countries such as Cambodia and Pakistan, along with new revelations of miserable working conditions and unacceptably low wages in the factories linked to Nike situated in countries such as China, Vietnam and Indonesia.
Nike and its suppliers were accused of serious disregard of employee welfare. Not entirely undeservingly, Nike products have come to be associated with unsavory things such as slave wages, forced overtime, and arbitrary abuse. Some people even feared it was stark brutality of colonialism spreading in a different guise. However, Nike was soon forced to mend its ways to a large extent and ameliorate the compensation schemes and working conditions for hundreds of thousands of cheap laborers that are employed in the manufacture of its products, though some critics still contend that Nike’s initiatives are not enough.
But Nike is striving to prove to the world that it is serious about doing the right thing (Locke 2003). Perhaps to make up for its past excesses, Nike has increasingly associated itself with environmentalism in the recent years and the innovative environmental slant its product design has created a new healthy aura around its name, besides contributing to its success. Thus when the business of economic globalization is conducted on fair terms, everyone stands to benefit, and unimpeded by negative will and opposition, economic globalization can have a great future, signifying more prosperous and rewarding times for everyone.
Conclusion Globalization is accelerating and its impact on our lives continues to grow. Economic globalization holds immense potential for helping build a better world for all. However, there are many challenges and barriers to overcome, if the full potential of economic globalization in benefitting humanity has to be realized. The economies of many Asian Countries such as China, India, and Malaysia, which have been sluggish until one or two decades, have today become classic boom time stories — thanks to opening up of markets and economic globalization.
Since the beginning of the age of industrialization, the growth of an enterprise heavily depended on efficient allocation of resources. Economic globalization makes perfect sense, because ultimately it means nothing more than efficient allocation of resources, with greater choices in means and greater rewards in the outcomes for greater and greater numbers of people. If one has to go by purely utilitarian considerations, i. e. , seeking greater happiness for greater number of people, economic globalization is the path to pursue.
However, economic globalization mostly goes hand in hand with cultural globalization, the advantages of the latter being often debatable, especially in the face of erosion of cultural values and cultural diversity with the concomitant “Americanization” of the world. However, economic globalization, and to an acceptable measure, cultural globalization can be pursued while still upholding the cultural integrities of various societies and cultures across the world.
Achieving such wholesome balance is one of the challenges that need to be dealt with on the path to attaining more optimal levels of economic globalization. Some of the other barriers are reactionary interventionist policies by the governments as well as selfish and exploitative tendencies on the part of some participants. When such challenges and barriers are addressed, economic globalization paves the path to reach a greater human civilization, that is more advanced, affluent and aware of its inner unity.
Though it began on and still largely revolves around purely economic considerations, the ultimate implications of globalization are spiritual. As distances between regions are cut down and barriers between people fall away, Globalization is for the first time in the history of mankind bringing forth into reality the deeper truth of “one earth, one humanity. ”
Ayoob, M. & Zierler, M. (2005) The Unipolar Concert: The North-South Divide Trumps Transatlantic Differences. World Policy Journal. Spring 2005. Volume XXII, No 1. Retrieved April 14, 2007 from http://www. worldpolicy. org/journal/articles/wpj05-sp/ayoob. html Cavanagh, G. F. , & Fisher, C. T. (2005) American Business Values: A Global Perspective. New Jersey : Prentice Hall CNN Money. (2004). Outsourcing creates jobs, study says. CNNMoney. com. March 30, 2004. Retrieved May 17 2007 from https://www.forbes.com/feeds/afx/2006/06/20/afx2827527.html