7 Myths on Globalization

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Globalization can be defined as “the process in which people, ideas and goods spread throughout the world, spurring more interaction and integration between the world’s cultures, governments and economies” (M.K. Pratt).

Globalization represents the global integration of international trade, investment, information technology and cultures.

“Globalization is not new, though. For thousands of years, people—and, later, corporations—have been buying from and selling to each other in lands at great distances, such as through the famed Silk Road across Central Asia that connected China and Europe during the Middle Ages. Likewise, for centuries, people and corporations have invested in enterprises in other countries. In fact, many of the features of the current wave of globalization are similar to those prevailing before the outbreak of the First World War in 1914” (Globalization 101)

“The current wave of globalization has been driven by policies that have opened economies domestically and internationally. In the years since the Second World War, and especially during the past two decades, many governments have adopted free-market economic systems, vastly increasing their own productive potential and creating myriad new opportunities for international trade and investment. Governments also have negotiated dramatic reductions in barriers to commerce and have established international agreements to promote trade in goods, services, and investment. Taking advantage of new opportunities in foreign markets, corporations have built foreign factories and established production and marketing arrangements with foreign partners. A defining feature of globalization, therefore, is an international industrial and financial business structure” (Ibid).

“Globalization is deeply controversial, however. Proponents of globalization argue that it allows poor countries and their citizens to develop economically and raise their standards of living, while opponents of globalization claim that the creation of an unfettered international free market has benefited multinational corporations in the Western world at the expense of local enterprises, local cultures, and common people. Resistance to globalization has therefore taken shape both at a popular and at a governmental level as people and governments try to manage the flow of capital, labor, goods, and ideas that constitute the current wave of globalization” (Ibid).

Some Myths on Globalization

Depending on one’s attitude and bias, whether one is in favor or against the current globalization process, the following views are mostly considered by globalists as myths:

Myth #1: Globalization is a new, enlightened economy. 

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Truth:

“It is an old, colonial one. That is why movements from the global south call it ‘recolonization’. It reverses the gains of postcolonial governance in areas such as land reform, nationalization of industries, and cultural protections. Indeed its policies mirror colonial policies in uncanny ways. For example the outlawing of sale of unpackaged cooking oil in India feels the same as the outlawing of production of homespun cloth” (Amorystarr.com).

Myth #2: Globalization is some kind of “conspiracy” by big companies against smaller countries.

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Truth

It’s true, of course, that some companies are bigger, by financial measures, than some countries. That’s a testimony to the market-based economy that more and more countries are choosing to adopt. But no company or group of companies is calling the shots. Consumers are calling the shots, by voting with their money for the products and services they want and need. Those products are made more affordable as factories rise and tariffs fall, all around the globe.

Myth #3: Globalization’s ‘evil tool’ is information technology.

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“Globalization increasingly means the free flow of goods, services, capital, knowledge – and ideas – around the world. Information technology is what makes it work for people. It wasn’t tanks that broke down the Berlin Wall. It was ideas…shared by phone calls and faxes and TV” (Amorystarr.com).

“Technology has been the other principal driver of globalization. Advances in information technology, in particular, have dramatically transformed economic life. Information technologies have given all sorts of individual economic actors—consumers, investors, businesses—valuable new tools for identifying and pursuing economic opportunities, including faster and more informed analyses of economic trends around the world, easy transfers of assets, and collaboration with far-flung partners” (Globalization 101).

“When US WEST introduced cellular phone service in Hungary, an 80-year-old man cry as he reached the head of the line. He said: “I’ve waited all my life for this, and I was so afraid I’d die before I got the chance to call my daughter from my own telephone” (Amorystarr.com)

Myth #4: Globalization undermines cultural diversity.

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“Get on the Internet and type “blankets” or “jewelry” or “sculpture” or “food.” You’ll discover, as thousands of “bootstrap” businesses and crafts-people around the world have: Globalization expands diversity. It gives geographically-isolated crafts-people a worldwide market for their goods and services. It does the same for dances, and dramas. Religions. Political philosophies. And shared interests, as well…Yes, globalization brought McDonald’s to Hong Kong. But the menu, there, has had to take on a decidedly Asian flavor, as well as giving Asians a new choice” (McCormick).

Myth #5: Globalization lowers labor standards, turning developing nations’ workers into ‘slaves.’

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“Actually, globalization is raising labor standards. A recent study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that foreign corporations pay more than the average wage in every country in which they operate. In Turkey, for example, foreign companies pay 24 percent more than the national average” (McCormick, 2000).

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Myth #6: Globalization means multinational corporations will flourish at the expense of smaller companies and consumers.

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Truth:

There are more than 60,000 multinational companies in the world. “Quite a few of those are from developing countries. What we’re seeing is, as global companies move into local markets, local companies move into global markets. Even the venerable Tetley Tea Company in the United Kingdom is now owned by a conglomerate from India. Globalization and freer trade make market access easier for everyone — especially small businesses, which are quick to adopt new technologies” (McCormick, 2000).

Myth #7: Globalization widens the gap between rich and poor.

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Truth:

The widening gap between the rich and poor countries could not be totally blamed on to globalization. The gap already existed before the advent of the current globalization process. On the contrary, globalization uplifted many poor economies. In the 1950s, for instance, “the people of Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea lived in typical developing-country poverty. But as other developing nations closed their doors to global markets, these four took the opposite approach. Today … by deregulating their domestic economies and opening up to global markets, (these) Four Tigers…have achieved standards of living equivalent to that of industrialized nations……with per-capita incomes in Hong Kong and Singapore rivaling those of the wealthiest Western nations. Thanks largely to globalization, the United Nations Human Development Index, which measures education, income and life expectancy around the world, shows steady improvement” (McCormick, 2000).

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GIF Credits: Giphy.com

References

Globalization 101 (n.d.) What is globalization. Retrieved from http://www.globalization101.org/what-is-globalization/

McCormick, R. (2000). Ten Myths About Globalization. DiscoverTheNetworks.Org. Retrieved from http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/Articles/tenmyths.html.

Amorystarr.com (4 July 2006). 13 Myths About Globalization. Retrieved from https://amorystarr.com/13-myths-globalization/

Pratt, M.K (n.d.). Definition of Globalization. Posted by Margaret Rouse. Retrieved from https://searchcio.techtarget.com/definition/globalization.

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