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Geraldine SCHOTT

Engl 0349
Essay 4

What do you think will be the impact of globalization on existing cultures and traditions?

Discuss both positive and negative impacts.

Understood in most markets in the world, whether third world or developing nations,

from people on the street to Wall street, the term Globalization is quickly becoming one

of the most recognized words when describing ideas ranging from, free markets,

outsourcing , to multiculturalism. The free markets system and as Freidman put it, the

creation of a ‘’flat world’’, is connecting people from across the continents as if they

were in the next room. The question still remains though, what impact is this having in

today’s world? Many scientists, economists, and sociologists have studied and continue

to study this phenomenon. Globalization impacts almost everyone’s daily life and has

influences in so many different fields such as economy, politics and others. In this case

we will discuss the impacts of globalization on cultures. As far as positive impacts, we

will discuss how globalization favors the employment in the developing countries, the

idea of multiculturalism and the way globalization tend to spread democracy, and how it

helps defend the Human Rights. We will also see the negative effects that globalization

can have on developed countries’ populations, health, and environment.

Due to the opening of the frontiers and the migration of people, the different culture

values have spread and tend to interfere with each other. Many societies now experience

multiculturalism or at least are exposed to foreign cultures through the trade of cultural

products. We assist to a ‘’métissage of values’’ (Barbier, 1996) in which Western and


Asian values tend to be combined in a new configuration. Multiculturalism develops the

understanding of each other’s culture and brings more tolerance in societies; people who

understand others’ culture better as less likely to be afraid of it and react with racism and

violence. Friedman (1999) noted that, ‘’due to the increased volumes of immigration and

mobility of people brought about by globalization, almost every country in the world has

to learn to come to terms with multiculturalism’’.

The Declaration of Human Right (1948) has unleashed a new movement in matter of

Human Rights. For Alison Brysk (2002) one of the aspects of globalization is the

development of common norms and values which have been recognized as universal

human rights. Even though this Declaration is not respected by every country in the

world, at least we can say that it is something that brings a discussion about human rights

which proves that human rights are part of the concept of globalization. We can say that

globalization brings more democracy in the countries that participate to the process; in

fact, they have to agree to at least certain principles of democracy to be part of the

international trade. The University of Princeton (2006) has proposed a hypothesis

supporting this argument stating that “increased exports lead to higher level of

democracy”; their research have lead to a positive outcome to this hypothesis.

New technologies, having provided faster transports of human beings and goods and

more accessible information, have helped globalization and allowed for the offshoring of

manufacturing as well as the outsourcing from developed to developing countries. These

developing countries propose lower producing costs are they lower salary wage and so

have then beneficiated from globalization in terms of employment since a range of

companies now relocate most of their manufacturing in those countries. In fact, most
building tasks are now executed in Asian countries such as China (called the ‘’factory of

the world’’ by experts) and a lot of firms have also outsourced many of their departments

like data storage and record keeping departments as well as insurance to countries like

India. Even engineering is sometimes outsourced and in certain companies, only

marketing and sales of the products remain in the company’s country of origin. These

phenomenons have created a large amount of jobs in developing countries and also

helped them develop their economies.

There are also many negative impacts of globalization. First of all, as a direct counter

effect of what we talked about previously concerning the impact of globalization on

developing countries; developed countries are affected in a totally opposite way.

Effectively, as companies slowly outsource most parts of their manufacturing processes

in third world countries, people in other countries are losing their jobs. Even management

and corporate are now transferred to countries which propose lower tax rates. As a result,

the unemployment rate increases in developed countries and more people found

themselves in precariousness.

Globalization has also a negative impact on health. First, communicable diseases

travel along with people and are spread easily due to the global movements of

populations. HIV/ AIDS as well as SARS are two major diseases of the 20th and 21st

century According to Kawachi and Wamala (2007) “communicable diseases are the (…)

example of a health threat that respects no borders”. Second, certain no communicable

diseases also affect people’s health. For example, obesity rate is increasing rapidly in rich

countries as well as in poor countries due to changes in diets now higher in carbohydrates

(Pang and Guindon, 2004) and increased accessibility of fast foods made possible by
globalization. Pang and Guindon (2004) stated that” the spread of universal brand names

of popular beverages and fast foods has (...) contributed to the global epidemic of obesity

by replacing traditional diets with fat- and calorie-rich foods”.

Globalization also has an important impact on ecology and environment. Effectively,

industrialization and urbanization as well as an excessive use of cars have a bad impact

on the environment and the climate. The forests are cleared for farming and for the

expansion of the cities, and this affect the environment and the different ecosystems. The

pollution that is created by the methods of production as well as by the increased use of

motorized vehicles both affect the atmosphere, inducing global warming by increasing

the amount of carbon dioxide released in the air. Joseph Stiglitz (2007) stated that “no

issue is more global than global warming: everyone shares the same atmosphere” and that

the emissions of carbon dioxide “contribute to climate changes”.

Finally, we can say that globalization has good impacts on developing countries’

economies, contributes to open people’s mind and is a great opportunity to develop the

concept of human rights and help defend it. From on another perspective, unfortunately,

globalization has also many negative effects on populations; when some benefits from it

other suffer its counter effects, especially in terms of employment. Globalization also

influences the spread of diseases communicable or not. Last but not least, globalization

has a bad influence on the environment and we can fear that it will induce further health

and habitat issues.

References
Alison Brysk, (2002). Globalization and Human Rights, Berkely, University of California
Press.

Barbier, R. (1996). Valeurs et sens du mйtissage culturel. Espace Social, Cultures


etTravail Social, No. 5.

Friedman, T. (1999), The Lexus and the Olive Tree, New York, Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Ichiro Kawachi Sarah Wamala, (2007). Globalization and Health, New York, Oxford
University Press

Jean-Marc Coicaud, Michael W. Doyle, and Anne-Marie Gardner, (2003). The


Globalization of Human Rights, Tokyo, United Nation University Press.

John A. Doces, (2006). Globalization and Democracy: An empirical analysis using a


simultaneous equation approach, Princeton University,

Joseph Stiglitz (2007), The magazine of the United Nation Environment Programme,
retrieved from http://www.unep.org/pdf/OurPlanet/OP_Feb07_GC24_

Sanjaya Lall, (2003). QEH Working Paper Series, Department of International


Development, International Labor Organization, University of Oxford

Tikki Pang & G. Emmanuel Guindon (2004), Globalization and risks to health, EMBO
reports