Criticisms of globalization
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Criticism of globalization is skepticism of the claimed benefits of globalization. Many of these views are held by the anti-globalization movement. Globalization has created much global and internal unrest in many countries. While the dynamics of capitalism is changing and each country is unique in its political makeup, globalization is a set-in-stone "program" that is difficult to implement without political unrest. Globalization can be partly responsible for the current global economic crisis. Case studies of Thailand and the Arab nations' view of globalization show that globalization is a threat to culture and religion, and it harms indigenous people groups while multinational corporations profit from it. Although globalization has promised an improved standard of living and economic development, it has been heavily criticized for its production of negative effects. Globalization is not simply an economic project, but it also heavily influences the country environmentally, politically, and socially as well.
Global Economic Crisis
The Global Economic Crisis, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, can be partially attributed to globalization. Although globalization promised an improved standard of living, it has actually worsened the financial situation of many homes and has made the financial crisis global through the influences of international financial institutions such as the World Bank. Globalization limits development and civilization to a path that only leads to a Western and capitalistic system. Because of the political and structural differences in countries, the implementation of globalization has been detrimental for many countries.
Globalization as American hegemony
John Gray described globalization as a post-Cold War American triumphalism, and stated "global laissez faire is an American project". Globalization is a project in which American ideals and values are executed and implemented into other countries. However, this effort has been criticized, mainly by the examination of the United States today. In the United States, there are high levels of economic and social inequalities as the gap between the rich and poor are great. Furthermore, U.S. has the highest rates of incarceration, and anxiety due to economic uncertainty is great. The criticism that follows is that the implementation of the American system into other countries may reproduce these negative effects. Some scholars and critics say the Washington Consensus played a role in solidifying the United States as one of the core nation-states at the heart of the system of global capitalism in the post-Cold War era.
Power of transnational corporations
In the process of implementing globalization in developing countries, the creation of winners and losers are often predetermined. Multinational corporations often benefit from globalization while poor, indigenous locals are negatively affected. The power of transnational companies inflicts a major threat for indigenous tribes. Transnational companies have exploited local family land for their businesses. Globalization can be seen as a new form of colonization or imperialism, as economic inequality and the rise in unemployment have followed with its implementation. Globalization has been criticized for benefiting those who are already large and in power at the risk and growing vulnerability of the countries’ indigenous population. Furthermore, globalization is non-democratic, as it is enforced through top-down methods.
Globalization requires a country to give up its sovereignty for the sake of executing Western ideals in its country. As a result, sovereignty only belongs to a select few: those whose views and ideals are being implemented. In the name of free markets and with the promise of an improved standard of living, countries give up their political and social powers to international organizations. Thus, globalization causes the greater empowerment of these international organizations and the diminishing influence of local state institutions.
Case study of Thailand’s Pak Mun River
In the late 1970s and 1980s, hydropower dam projects were conducted in order to recreate Thailand's economy into an export-oriented economy. The projects were funded by loans from the World Bank and was part of globalization efforts. The local villagers whom the project would directly affect were not notified, and the World Bank disregarded their concerns. As a result of the building of the dams, villages that heavily depended on the river lost their livelihood and their means of economic gains (i.e., fishing). The projects contaminated the river, which made the river unfit for villagers to drink, bathe, and do laundry without experiencing negative health conditions such as rashes. Furthermore, the projects resulted in the extinction of 40 edible plant species, 45 mushroom species, and 10 bamboo species, all of which the income of the local markets were dependent on, some of which were important for medical usage. Furthermore, the decline in fish population exterminated fishermen's ways of life, as 169 different fish species were affected and 56 species became extinct. The globalization efforts in Thailand resulted in environmental impacts that affected the social and economic welfare of indigenous populations.
The collision between global and local cultures have created challenges in adapting to and reconciling the two. Globalization and the introduction of the Western culture in different countries have shown to produce bicultural identities, identity confusion, and self-selected cultures.
Bicultural identity is defined as one adapting to the global culture while simultaneously being familiar with local traditions. As a result, two identities are formed: global identity and local identity. One's global identity allows for him/her to participate and succeed globally by being able to relate to those outside of his/her local sphere. One's local identity allows him/her to still be relevant to family and friends nearby. Often, those experiencing globalization in their country are seen to develop a hybrid identity, an identity in which merges their global and local identities. This can also be seen with immigrants.
However, adapting to both cultures may be difficult, especially if the distance between the two cultures is great. In these cases, globalization may cause identity confusion, preventing the proper development of identity and self (Erikson's theory of identity formation). Similarly, globalization may create a crisis in which John Berry calls “marginalization,” in which one is unable to identify with local culture due to the heavy exposure of globalization and Western influences; however he/she is also excluded from the global culture as well.
The implementation of globalization requires a certain degree of culture shedding, as global culture alters and disrupts the preexisting local culture. This also leads to identity confusion, primarily in adolescents.
The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (November 2016)
Urban and adolescent issues
Many times, in countries where globalization is introduced, problems that arise among adolescents are often blamed to the intrusion of Western culture and ideals through globalization. Adolescents are most vulnerable and receptive to the introduction of new cultures. Developing countries where Western values and technology have been introduced are more aware of current events taking place in other countries, and adolescents and youths can be seen copying American fashion and music styles. Therefore, Western media is blamed for the rise in premarital sex and teenage pregnancies that follow when globalization is introduced.
Globalization claims to have improved countries’ global status. However, companies attempting to compete globally have exploited workers, and global competition has been achieved through poor working conditions. Furthermore, due to global influences, juvenile crimes have increased because of the disruption of traditional norms.
Arab and Muslim countries
The Arab and Islamic countries see globalization as an attempt to instill Western superiority and a threat to the preservation of their cultural identity. Although differing views of globalization exist among Arab nations, a large percentage of Muslims see it to be imperialistic and a cultural invasion that attempts to destroy their heritage and cultural beliefs.
Despite the differing opinions of globalization, almost all acknowledge and believe that globalization is simply Americanism— the implementation of American cultures and ideals into other countries.
Globalization is especially threatening to Arab nations because Islam is not simply a religious practice, but it dominates laws and social norms such as marriages and spending habits. Since globalization is seen to be a way of secularizing a nation, Muslims also see it as a cultural and religious invasion, requiring the separation of religion and daily life. Radicalists see it as a perversion of pure Islamic doctrine, as globalization is seen to merge the domain of Islam (Dar al-Islam) and the domain of infidelity (Dar-al-Kufr).
The Western influence on media is also unwelcome. The Western control of media is viewed as a way to brainwash young Muslims to strip them of their nationality and cultural heritage. They also oppose the creation of a new, global, hegemonic culture, referencing Quran 49:13 which states that God has purposefully divided mankind into different nations and tribes. Arab intellectuals have stated that globalization rids the earth of human cultural diversity and civilizations’ peculiarities, which many see as barbaric. Authors and publishers have expressed fear of Western ideals penetrating their nations.
- Criticism of capitalism
- Criticism of neoliberalism
- Criticism of the World Bank
- Criticism of the World Trade Organization
- Development criticism
- New World Order (conspiracy theory)
- New world order (politics)
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