Skyscrapers, malls, restaurants, hotels, resorts, city lights, busy highways, and booming businesses—- without a doubt, China has already blossomed from a sleeping nation into an economic giant. From a country that once resisted the global market, it now thrives as one of the leaders in world economy. In fact, China comes in with the second largest Gross Domestic Product last 2008 with a total amount of $7. 8 trillion (Guthrue, 2006, p. 7). This makes this country one of the fastest growing nations in the world. This great stride is the result of Deng Xiaoping’s vision and effort for economic reform.
Over the past 30 years, globalization helped tore down the trade barriers which in turn, expanded the People’s Republic’s investment, businesses, and knowledge. The effects of globalization in China are simply staggering. In fact, it is even impossible to imagine that some 25 to 30 years ago; this country is known only for its history of political and economic problems escorted by social turmoil and fragmentation (Guthrue, 2006, p. 7). China’s path towards economic reform began during the late 70’s when its government started to adapt a more pragmatic action to its numerous political as well as socioeconomic dilemmas.
This different perspective resulted in the decrease of its socialist ideology in the country’s economic policy. During this time, the government focused its attention in economic productivity by introducing new management methods in its industrial, agricultural, financial, fiscal, as well as labor sector. In 1984, China’s idea of people’s commune was eventually eliminated after its 25-year existence. Private ownership of agricultural and industrial production assets were declared legal, while workers were encouraged to find private employment.
Apart from this, small enterprises and businesses in rural areas also came in by the numbers. This resulted in increased competition as well as an increase in trading (Guthrue, 2006, p. 7). These small steps helped this country prepare for its great leap forward. China’s economic growth finally came in when the government decided to fully integrate its economy with the international market. Efforts were then made to make several Chinese regions open for foreign investments. Incentives and favors on taxes, patents, as well as contracts were passed as a way of attracting international investors.
Although the government’s efforts to draw foreign investors were on full force, its bureaucratic issues such as political corruption and social fragmentation caused its vision for economic reform to slow down. Inflation eventually surged in which then caused the country to lag behind considerably. By the early 1990s, China regained its momentum as its leader Deng Xiapong suggested various pronouncements geared towards reinventing and renewing the country’s goal for economic reform. This marked China’s growth to become one of the world’s economic giants.
The following years saw how this country quest to improvement not only its economy but also administrative system. By 2003, the government proposed several policies and amendments to address its ever changing economic system. Legislators also placed in a new emphasis on balancing the income distribution in both urban and rural areas, reducing unemployment rate, improving equity, while at the same time protecting its natural resources. In 2005, the government approved a five-year economic program which is geared towards creating a “harmonious society”.
This program ultimately calls for a 45 percent growth in its Gross Domestic Product as well as a 20 percent decrease in its energy consumption by the year 2010. Apart from this, the program also underlined the importance of an improved education, social security, as well as medical care system (Guthrue, 2006, p. 7). From the 70’s up to the present, China’s efforts to development their economy allowed them rank as the second largest GDP in terms of Purchasing Power Parity and the third largest when it comes to Industrial Output (Guthrue, 2006, p.
7). Indeed, globalization allowed this country to create important developments as well rapid progress. However, the country’s growth in economic dominance does not only create benefits, but it also creates threats to the country’s culture, tradition, and way of life. Although globalization brings many benefits and advances, it also brings with it several consequences that must be properly addressed. In the paper Urban Development in Global Periphery, Sanjoy Chakravorty (2003) explained that globalization has two varied elements.
This includes economic globalization which refers to the “integration of markets” and ideological globalization which refers to the “political idea that underlie the spread of market, trade, and democracy” (Chakravorty, 2003, p. 357). While economic globalization can be effectively used to improve and development a country’s economic status; ideological globalization on the other hand, can have a relative detriment to the county’s culture and way of life. One of the staggering consequences of globalizations in China is the threat of losing its identity.
Chakravorty (2003), explains that globalization is a homogenizing process (Chakravorty, 2003, p. 361). This creates not only an economic but also a cultural mark that leads a country to adapt the values, taste, and even identity of the dominating global economy. Some scholars even refer to this as the “Mcdonaldization” or the “Cocacolonization” of a nation’s cultural identity and value. Although patronizing foreign products can help the economy, there is also this underlying threat that such products may cause the people to forget their own and ultimately adopt the values that the foreign products brings.
In the case of China, a country that was once known for its rich culture, the Great Wall, fascinating dynasties, and many more, may become replaced by foreign logos of McDonald’s, KFC, and Coca-Cola. Inequality is also an important issue that must be considered along with globalization. As technology and foreign businesses continue to spread, it is also very likely that the gap between the rich and poor will become wider. Although globalization played an important role in decreasing poverty, this same thing may also create a bigger gap between the haves and have-nots.
This is because the income gaps between skilled workers and non-skilled workers will continue to grow despairingly large. This is especially true for China. The income inequality becomes much more prominent due to the huge gain enjoyed by its upper crust (Seeking Alpha, 2007). Human right is another globalization issue that must be carefully considered. Although globalization has exacerbated poverty in many parts of China, it is still important to take note that most of the laborers in this country receive below the minimum wage.
The pressures of globalization can lead to labor exploitation especially in rural regions. In this situation, the women and the children are always the first victims. Most women become laborers in a sweatshop setting while receiving a low salary. Children on the other hand are forced to work in factories. The human issues regarding globalization become even worst as the laborers are often subjected in sweat shop settings. Oftentimes, the workers are exposed to an environment which is hazardous to their health. Most of the workers also lack the basic health and accident benefits.
Indeed, globalization has delivered the world its promises of economic development and growth. However, it is also essential to remember and consider the ugly side of this phenomenon. Inequality, human rights, and even the threat of losing national and ethic identity are just some of the many consequences of globalization. Although resolving these issues all at once may be a far cry, it can still be addressed through effective and good governance. Education and awareness regarding the consequences of globalization must also be implemented and disseminated.
References Chakravorty, Sanjoy (2003). Urban development in the global periphery: The consequences of economic and ideological Globalization. The Annals of Regional Science 37, p. 357-367 Guthrie, Douglas (2006). China and globalization: the social, economic and political transformation of Chinese society. CRC pres, p 1-398. Seeking Alpha (2007). Why Globalization Is Boosting Inequality in Developing Nations. Retrieved May 30, 2009, from http://seekingalpha. com/article/36616-why-globalization-is-boosting-inequality-in-developing-nations.