Have you ever wondered what the true impacts of things such as better transportation, communication, and trade have on our world today? If so, please allow me to introduce you to a phenomenon called “globalization,” a term defined by National Geographic as “how trade and technology have made the world into a more connected and interdependent place.” Globalization is the number one driving force in shaping our world today. Through its ever-evolving process, globalization has brought numerous beneficial interests. Yet despite such beneficial interest, this process can sometimes interfere with the lives of millions of people interrupting their cultural practices, destroying traditional jobs, and much more. This article is written with the intent of looking through both lenses, trying to find the pros and cons of this process, specifically when it comes to communities in Asia with the large hope of finding potential solutions to the downsides of globalization.
So first, what are the advantages of globalization? Well, there are quite a few! For example, the existence of social media and instant spontaneous ways of communications have created the perfect environment for all sources of advocacy work to thrive. Among these are ones with regards to the interpretation of human rights. According to Dr. Tchinaryan, people are now more than ever recognizing the fact that we as human beings regardless of our identity are entitled to certain rights in which we are born into. Globalization has helped create an internationally agreed upon set of human rights standards all over Asia and the world. We also see the rise of people speaking out in support of other vulnerable groups. In India for example, as a result of this advocacy pressure, we see the implementation of “positive discrimination.” These are policies in which the government zooms in and focuses on historically underserved groups of people by providing them with the extra assistance and protections they need, according to Harshada Rathod in her article, Globalization & Culture: Issues and Perspectives in India. And on top of that, big corporations are expanding globally, creating millions – if not hundreds of millions – of new jobs to countries who may be struggling economically, hence improving the living conditions for many people worldwide.
Now, you may be wondering to yourself, “This sounds quite good to me so far. What is the catch?” Well, like many things, there are indeed drawbacks to this process. Globalization with the expansion of big corporations is threatening natural ways of life for many people. According to Dr. Hannah Ho and Dr. Akm Ahsan Ullah, globalization is slowly demolishing local Southeast Asian culture that was uniquely formed through the interaction of thousands of different ethnic groups of people passing it down from one generation to the next. We previously talked about how globalization is helping with the creation of jobs but globalization is also rapidly destroying local small businesses. Among those are makers of cultural artisan crafts. In India for example, makers of traditional arts who are already barely surviving are now forced to compete with big companies capable of mass producing these products with their fancy, expensive machines. Not to mention the rare but possible creation of civil wars when citizens of a country feel like their life and traditional values are being threatened by outside influence causing uprising and rebellions mentioned by Professor Nierman from the University of Iowa.
So, we have to ask ourselves, “Is it worth it?” Globalization may act to improve the living conditions for most people in an economic sense but is it really an improvement if the existence of your traditions and values are being threatened? Is it really an improvement if people’s traditional jobs are being taken away by companies who in many instances obtain zero knowledge of such traditional products in which they are producing?
There are people out there who think that this problem could be solved through aggressive actions, and I’m one of them. This includes international regulation of big corporations, protection of small and traditional businesses, and education of young people about cultural appreciation through means such as the internet just to name a few. Globalization, despite its positive impacts, is destroying the lives of many different communities. Actions need to be immediately taken by us to preserve the benefits and solve the problems that globalization naturally brings up. If not, I’m afraid that there will come a day when it is too late to turn back around.
- Scrase, T.J. (2009). From Marginalized Worker to Impoverished Entrepreneur: The Globalization of the Trade in Crafts and Its Impact on Indian Artisans.
- Ullah, A. K. M. A., & Ming Yit Ho, H. (2021). Globalization and Cultures in Southeast Asia: Demise, Fragmentation, Transformation. Global Society: Journal of Interdisciplinary International Relations, 35(2), 191–206. https://doi.org/10.1080/13600826.2020.1747992
- Rathod, H. (2017). Globalization & Culture: Issues and Perspectives in India. Research Horizons, 7, 15–21.
- Tchinaryan, E. O., Lutovinova, N. V., & Kuchenin, E. S. (2020). Human Rights in The Context of Globalization. Propósitos y Representaciones, 8, 1–8. https://doi.org/10.20511/pyr2020.v8nSPE2.683
- Nieman, M. (2011). Shocks and Turbulence: Globalization and the Occurrence of Civil War. International Interactions, 37(3), 263–292. https://doi.org/10.1080/03050629.2011.594756
About the author:
Thien is a high school junior from Greensboro, North Carolina.
NCAAT’s blog is a chance for NCAAT staff and community members to write about topics relating to their personal passions, interests, and the Asian American community in North Carolina. The views expressed in NCAAT’s community blog posts are not endorsed by NCAAT nor representative of NCAAT’s official stances or views.