The Good and the Bad of Globalization

Globalization is, in the purest form, an enterprise, economy or government that has universal involvement in all places on the planet. With some exceptions, such as Coke and Pepsi, this is actually very difficult, if not impossible to achieve. Each government and nation will either present roadblocks or require adaptations to the enterprise or government that change their very nature.

McDonalds in Beijing is easily recognizable, but the menu there is somewhat different from the menu in Paris or Milwaukee, as are many aspects of the business operations. An iconic entertainer may have to modify their routine for various countries due to religious restrictions or censorship issues.  Even militaries have to modify their behavior when operating as “guests” in different countries, Saudi Arabia serving as an example of draconian restrictions that affect the lives of the soldiers, civilians and their families who are stationed there.

With the exception of tourism, the benefits of globalization are mainly for the expansion, business strategy and benefit of the corporations, smaller enterprises, the drug cartels and military strategy. While tourists may benefit from having the same high quality of sanitization and service in international hotel chains, the rest of globalization offers expansion and growth opportunity for those who have a profit or strategic motive.

The exception lies in the international aid and relief organizations, especially the Red Cross, Red Crescent and Doctors Without Borders. The ability of these organizations, as well as international rescue operations to quickly get past the borders of countries in order to work is one of the benefits of globalization. International collaborations in the sciences, law enforcement and drug interdiction also offer great benefits when there is a push to globalization.

The drawbacks to globalization include the capitalization required to finance expansion of businesses to serve vastly larger markets. Conversely, “outsourcing” work to countries that have lower labor costs occurs on an alarming scale which has jeapordized the local economies of the host countries.

 American workers, for example, are losing both jobs and the income to buy the products that are now produced through outsourced labor. The production goes on. It might be cheaper, given the way out of laws that protect the workers, but who is left to buy the products? Currently, the liquidation of assets is leading to a booming market at the liquidation outlets and on online auction and sales sites. This leads to a new type of business, the overstock and liquidation business, which also has the potential for globalization.

Capitalization now comes from international and local sources. This has created political problems as foreign investors have intruded upon the actual process of government through lobbying and other negotiations that are not known to the public. The politicians are being accused, for good reason, of catering to both foreign and domestic investors and corporations at the expense of the citizens.

In the aspect of product sales, especially in electronics and high technology, there are economic, language, electrical power source and other issues that must be dealt with on a country by country basis. Anyone who has lived overseas remembers the thrill of dealing with different currents and megahertz and of having televisions that receive PAL or SECAM broadcasts. Buying auto insurance in Italy is a far cry from buying auto insurance in Great Britain. Even the exchange rates can be a challenge, not to mention value added taxes and a host of differing legal restrictions and rules.

The idea of “one world government” is just that: an idea. There is very little chance, given the great distance between the differing governments on a host of issues, that any one government could rule the entire planet. Even regional and international treaties and organizations are hard pressed to maintain structure and a will to honor the agreements and treaties.

For every military and strategic superpower, there appears to be an equally strong opposing superpower, combined with resistance from a vast array of groups. As a result, any attempt to establish or to attain a singular global ruling force is doomed to failure. Even the conspiracy theorist’s favorites: the “secret cabals” of the wealthy and powerful who aspire to global domination have many problems that discourage such efforts, the main problem being widespread and uncontrollable public exposure and resistance.

Globalization, as a result, has elements of the good, the bad and the ugly. As with human attempts to manage the natural world, there will always be unforeseen consequences and unforeseen challenges to a purely global enterprise.