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Problems With Globalization

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Exploitation caused by globalization is a result of capitalism and competition. If the United States, for example, set a quota on how much outsourcing its firms could participate in, it could save millions of domestic jobs. The freedom given to corporations allows them to outsource most of their manufacturing processes to countries like China, where the average hourly compensation of manufacturing in 2010, according to the BLS was $2, which is over $32 less than in America.

This may provide jobs to developing nations, but most of the income from these sweatshops is not given to the workers; it is distributed among a few wealthy owners. This exploitation of another nation's workforce is the result of globalization. Not only does it disrupt local businesses that have to compete with large international corporations selling the same products for much cheaper, but also most of the domestically grown grains are exported, making them too expensive for the poor locals to buy. This creates even more domestic problems as the nation's citizens are exporting most of their food and filling up on international, unhealthy junk food that fills their stomachs but leaves them ill or malnourished.

Many argue that globalization is good for developing nations as it helps with eradicating poverty and curing diseases, but the fact is there are more examples of nations becoming wealthy and healthy by doing the exact opposite of what most pro-globalization individuals think. “The United States, Germany, France and Japan all became wealthy and powerful nations behind the barriers of protectionism” (Rosenberg). “In 1962, Mexico decreed that any automaker that wanted to sell cars here had to produce them here” (Rosenberg). This led to the creation of international factories with excellent working conditions and worker compensation.

Globalization is not only changing developing nations; the United States has changed its beliefs and values as well. Corporations such as Apple and Wal-Mart have shifted most of their labor overseas. “All iPhones contain hundreds of parts, an estimated 90 percent of which are manufactured abroad”; Apple is associated with over 750,000 workers across the globe, and only 18% of those are American workers (Duhigg & Brasher).

In the 1950s and 1980s, GM and GE respectively provided hundreds of thousands of jobs only to American workers; this led to growth and a higher standard of living in America. The shift in core American values from GE’s 1980s company policies to Apple and others today has led to a shift away from American corporations believing they should give the jobs to domestic workers even if they don’t make as much profit as exploiting workers in other nations. In 1985, for instance, “Sam Walton launched his "Bring It Home to the USA" program, but competition and greed led to a shift in beliefs (Cleeland, iritani, & Mashall).

Wal-Mart, for example, has asked suppliers to continuously cut costs and created a system of reverse auctions among its suppliers. The issue is these suppliers are already paying their employees almost nothing, and they already work in terrible conditions, so if a supplier has to cut costs by even just a few cents, it can lead to layoffs, wage cuts, or worse working conditions that lead to increased exploitation and instability in countries like Honduras and Bangladesh. Wal-Mart’s “size and obsession with shaving costs have made it a global economic force. Its decisions affect wages, working conditions and manufacturing practices around the world” (Cleeland, Iritani, & Marshall).

Even the WTO was created to promote equality, but today it is mostly controlled by the United States and European Union. One interesting method used by Chile to control the turbulence of globalization is to place a tax on short-term capital; this prevents market fluctuations and disturbances.

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I think nations such as the United States need to regulate corporations more, not less in order to protect themselves and other nations from exploitation and market fluctuations. I believe nations should only lift trade barriers after they have grown and created a firm foundation for their own people. Once this takes place, globalization can be beneficial. Otherwise, the costs vastly outweigh the benefits of introducing globalization at a nation's early growth stages. This includes increased inequality and the loss of values, traditions, domestic jobs, and family bonds.

For example, in India, where I am now, many of the older generations are complaining that their children and grandchildren don’t have any respect for elders; they lost their religious beliefs and forgot all about family values. Globalization introduced Western television programs, the Internet, fashion products, and brands, thus changing the mind frame of India’s youth. India used to be based on family and heritage, which included arranged marriages between families, not individuals. This resulted in fewer divorces and closer-knit families, but now as Western cultures creep in, these traditions are starting to vanish, and divorces and unhappiness in families is starting to increase.

As Rosenberg stated, globalization can be good for nations if they focus on distributing the wealth more equally and “countries should aid the poor directly with vouchers or social programs” not indirectly through the idea that factories and globalization is “an end in itself, and instead is treated as a tool in service of development: a way to provide food, health, housing and education to the wretched of the earth” (Rosenberg).

Work Cited

Duhigg, Charles, and Keith Bradsher. "How the U.S. Lost Out on IPhone Work." The New York Times. The New York Times, 21 Jan. 2012. Web. 13 Jan. 2016.

Cleeland, Nancy, Evelyn Iritani, and Tylar Marshall. "THE WAL-MART EFFECT." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 24 Nov. 2003. Web. 13 Jan. 2016.

Rosenberg, Tina. "Globalization." The New York Times. The New York Times, 18 Aug. 2002. Web. 13 Jan. 2016.


BirgitJensen on August 16, 2018:

I couldn't agree with this more. Political landscapes are now shifting to accommodate globalization even further or - in the case of proto-authoritarian leaders like Trump - to exploit the anger of people left in the dust by their globalized economy that has left them under- or unemployed.

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