The concept of globalization is one of the most talked about terms over the past decades. In fact, it is a highly popular buzzword that admittedly lacks a standard or commonly agreed upon definition. (Trebilcock, 2000). The concept of economic globalization stemmed from the root concept of “globalization” and by definition, pertains to that specific attribute of globalization that refers to the process of integration between the economic front and the ‘developed’, ‘under-developed’ and ‘developing’ economies (Naik, 2011). Economic globalization essentially comes together through international trade, FDIs (foreign direct investments) and the like (Naik, 2011). As stated by Naik (2011), economic globalization is a process that is all about the citizens and their welfare. By standard definition, economic globalization refers to the so-called increased economic interdependence of various countries which may result from the rise in terms of the movement of the different goods, services, capital and technologies across the international borders (Trebilcock, 2000).
Other authors and economic experts define the concept of economic globalization as the “globalization of the markets” which explains the phenomenon of the global marketplace or the ability of a specific manufacturer that is based from a specific part of the world to sell a product or good to the consumers in other parts of the world (Trebilcock, 2000; Naik, 2011). Economic globalization has also enabled the rise of other related concepts such as ‘transnational or multi-national companies/corporations’ which refer to the companies that are active in numerous countries at the same time (Trebilcock, 2000; Naik, 2011).
Because of these characteristics of economic globalization, other notable concepts which include foreign direct investments (FDIs), alliance capitalism, international trade and the like have been attributed to the concept of economic globalization. In fact, more than mere concepts, these terms have exerted tremendous benefits for the different people around the world (Naik, 2011; Trebilcock, 2000). However, one cannot totally ignore the fact that some critics recognize the negative effects or consequences of economic globalization as even the very concept of globalization itself may have specific ‘pros’ and ‘cons’. As argued by Naik (2011), while there are a number of advantages in economic globalization, there also exists a number of disadvantages in economic globalization as a phenomenon. Many critics point out that the countries’ interdependence with one another serves as one of the biggest issues in economic globalization.
They assert that when an economic crisis is being experienced by one country, this can result into an economic crisis as well on the different countries with which a country shares its economic ties (Naik, 2011; Trebilcock, 2000; Harrison, 2007). Aside from this, there are also many critics who argue that different companies actually exploit labor by investing in production facilities within developing countries. Because huge multinational companies that come from already developed countries resort to developing countries in order to acquire cheaper labor, critics consider this as alarming because they are only coming to these countries in order to acquire natural resources and more affordable labor which will be at their own advantage (Naik, 2011; Trebilcock, 2000; Harrison, 2007).
Aside from this, many critics also argue that economic globalization has already proven to have caused a number of ideological and political tensions in the different parts of the world and that these will continue to move on and grow further as the so-called economic superpower era comes closer (Naik, 2011; Trebilcock, 2000). Furthermore, the critics argued that the ‘interdependence’ brought about by economic globalization has not really done anything in order to improve the lives of poverty-stricken communities and individuals across Africa and Asia. Apparently, despite the considerably huge success of economic globalization, a large portion of the population in the world still remained to be in great poverty (Naik, 2011; Trebilcock, 2000). This is precisely the reason why the critics could not help but compare the unequal effects of economic globalization among the developing and developed countries.
In this research paper, we will explore the process as to how the so-called “economic globalization” phenomenon has fostered a globalization of critics and criticism. In this research paper, we will tackle the definition of economic globalization and its implications and how it has allegedly brought about and triggered the rise of a number of critics. This research paper will also identify the specific criticisms that critics have previously cited and identified with regard to the economic globalization phenomenon. The main objective of this research paper is to provide evidence as to how the emergence of globalization of critics and criticism was a direct by-product of economic globalization. Hence, in line with this main objective, this research paper will directly answer the research question: “How did economic globalization foster globalization of critics and criticism?”
II. LITERATURE REVIEW
A. Economic Globalization Defined.
Economic globalization, by strict definition, refers to the phenomenon characterized with an increased interdependence of the different national economies in the economic context (Joshi, 2009). This process or phenomenon is also characterized with a swift and steady increase in the movement of various goods, services, technologies as well as capital across borders (Naik, 2011; Trebilcock, 2000). While globalization as a sole context is focused on the rapid developments in the areas of science and technology and economic division of labor, the concept of economic globalization is centered on the growth of information as well as the advancement of science and technology. Thus, economic globalization may be viewed in two different aspects: either as a positive or as a negative process or phenomenon (Naik, 2011; Trebilcock, 2000).
The economic globalization phenomenon is comprised of a globalization process of various markets, corporations, technologies, industries, production and even competition. Interestingly, the economic globalization process is not at all a new phenomenon as for the past centuries or hundreds of years, this process has continuously and consistently occurred (Naik, 2011; Trebilcock, 2000). Nevertheless, it was only about two or three decades ago that the concept of economic globalization has been recognized and given importance by economic analysts and experts. It initially appeared as an important part of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) frameworks; because of these new economic policies, many countries have managed to cut down their trade barriers as well as open up new capital and current accounts (Naik, 2011; Trebilcock, 2000). Indeed, economic globalization phenomenon may be accounted for the increased integration and interdependence of the different countries and their economies, particularly, the integration between developed and less developed economies.
Clearly, this economic globalization phenomenon was achieved and was manifested through FDIs (foreign direct investment) as well as the reduction of the so-called ‘trade barriers’ and the emergence of cross-border migration cases (Naik, 2011; Trebilcock, 2000). The authors Hameed & Nazir (2012) on the other hand have a different view with regard to economic globalization. They saw this phenomenon as having occurred because of the improvements in technology as well as the decrease in transportation cost. Hameed & Nazir (2012) also cited the fact that numerous national governments have deliberately chosen to integrate themselves with the “global economy” which became the ultimate trigger point for economic globalization to emerge. Hameed & Nazir (2012) defined the concept of economic globalization also as the process of removing trade restrictions and barriers such as quotas and tariffs as well as the labor free movement and capital market liberalization.
Because of the removal of all the possible barriers and restrictions, economic globalization has emerged (Hameed & Nazir, 2012). This phenomenon occurred in the past 1980s and 1990s decades wherein majority of the developing countries reduced and alleviated their so-called important controls by bringing tarriff rates down as well as eliminating restrictions on FDIs (foreign direct investment) (Hameed & Nazir, 2012). Furthermore, Hameed & Nazir (2012) had positive views with regard to economic globalization citing that this has led towards the attainment of higher productivity and growth as well as a large reduction of poverty in many countries. This assertion is certainly contrary to what many critics deny with economic globalization being the key towards achieving higher productivity and growth.
Trebilcock (2000) on the other hand emphasized that focusing too much on the positive sides of economic globalization may not be a good idea as there are different significant effects to economic globalization which are not only limited to the positive ones. Apparently, there is a statistical evidence which points out that economic globalization causes a significant imbalance of power between the developed and the developing countries which are part of a greater global economy (Hameed & Nazir, 2012; Trebilcock, 2000).
B. Criticisms against Economic Globalization
According to Shangquan (2000), it is important to recognize the fact that the increased participation of the developing countries in the process of globalization may enable them to best utilize their so-called ‘comparative advantages’ and be introduced to more advanced methods of technologies, management experience as well as foreign capital. Economic globalization also has undeniably brought developing countries in a much favorable position in terms of eliminating or preventing any form of monopolistic behaviors and also, more importantly, in strengthening the market competition (Shangquan, 2000). However, apart from the immense opportunities for increased development that economic globalization has provided among developing countries, economic globalization also poses many significant risks (Shangquan, 2000). Interestingly, these significant economic globalization risks serve as the ultimate basis and evidence of the critics of economic globalization against this phenomenon. These risks serve as the critics’ proof and basis for their criticisms on economic globalization.
One of the prominent criticisms against economic globalization is the widened gap between the “North” and the “South”. Based on the early reports published by the United Nations during the year 1999, this gap between these two parts of the world has widened further as a result of economic globalization (Shangquan, 2000; Trebilcock, 2000). The UN’s reports contained facts and evidences that the total number of the developing countries that gained the benefits of economic globalization was only a small percentage (Shangquan, 2000; Trebilcock, 2000). Apparently, this was reflected in the gap or the difference in terms of the income per capita of the poorest and the richest country which has greatly enlarged to about 70 times as a result of the economic globalization (Shangquan, 2000; Trebilcock, 2000).
The second top criticism that critics often throw against economic globalization is the fact that many developing countries run the risk of being exposed to external factors in the environment that are unfavorable. Apparently, under the economic conditions that are open to conflicts, there is an important realization which states that there are immense constraints with regard to the open macroeconomic regulations and policies among developing countries which continue to weaken their macroeconomic regulation and control capacities (Shangquan, 2000; Trebilcock, 2000). In addition to this, the constant innovation of the different financial instruments also moves further the expansion of the various financial assets of companies in developing countries. Apparently, this has brought about enormous negative impacts on the financial stability and economic safety of majority of companies within developing nations (Shangquan, 2000; Trebilcock, 2000). Aside from the negative economic impacts of ‘economic globalization’, other scholars and authors also argue that economic globalization may have vivid negative strong impacts on the surrounding different cultures of the world in general.
According to Held (2004), through the advent of economic globalization, there is a greater chance that the different populations from various cultures will mimic or imitate the labor markets and the international capital flow through the merging of cultures. And certainly within this process, the native people’s exposure to economic measures and foreign measures may cause major assimilations on their lifestyles (Held, 2004). Specifically, based on the numerous researchers who have been studying the main effects of the economic globalization phenomenon among the youth, the different populations in the world will inevitably experience many changes as triggered by economic globalization (Held, 2004). Populations from South America, Arab, Africa, Caribbean and South East Asia will be exposed more on Western cultures including their language which is English, their music, their computers and technologies, their dating practices, even their gender roles as well as the other nitty-gritty of the Western cultures (Held, 2004). All of these will certainly bring about negative effects especially in the process of preserving their own native cultures. Apparently, based on a recent study conducted, the negative cultural impacts of economic globalization are inevitable and the assimilation of the native cultures are unescapable in this day and age (Xintian, 2002).
Hence, no matter how much a specific culture would protect and preserve its own, the challenges and the changes of today’s economic globalization phenomenon will continue to put pressure on the different populations’ cultures and would ultimately result to the emergence of a totally new assimilated culture which may not be as distinct and as original as the one that the populations originally had (Held, 2004; Xintian, 2002). An author named George Ritzer once wrote about another point of criticism against economic globalization and his emphasis was on the so-called “McDonaldization” of a specific society as brought about by the economic globalization process (Ritzer, 2010). Ritzer emphasized that the different fast food businesses that continue to spread all throughout America as well as in the rest of the world will inevitably be forced upon the various world populations.
They will be forced to adopt the fast-food cultures which continue to expand its influence across the world and this was made possible by the economic globalization which served as an important and influential force in standardizing the Western culture (Ritzer, 2010). Even in the area or aspect of the media, economic globalization also has somewhat certain negative impacts. For example, according to Nakayma (2005), the global news media companies export their information and deliver them through the Internet, radio and the news. However, in the process, these information are being exposed to Western values and products given that the top North American companies such as Reuters, CNN and BBC are the ones that dominate the global media and news industry.
They are far more powerful and influential as compared to the likes of Al-Jazeera which may only cater to a smaller number of audiences and may only exert influence on a few people (Nakayma, 2005). This implies that indeed, the amount of influence of America in almost all aspects of living whether it be in culture, news, politics, economics, and the media, are undeniable. This means that in one way or another, the economic globalization may bring about negative effects on the developing countries since they are the ones on “receiving end” and not on the influencing side (The Economist, 2011; Bertucci & Alberti, 2010; Aisbett, 2007).
Given the immense number of literatures that point out the advantages, benefits and positive effects of economic globalization, it would be difficult to ascertain and even argue that economic globalization has a negative side to it (Bertucci & Alberti, 2010). Interestingly however, the increasing number of critics that point out the negative effects of economic globalization as a global phenomenon constantly increased in the past few years which mean that today, more than before; there are more evidences with regard to the not-so-advantageous impacts of economic globalization in the world. As previously stated by Naik (2011), one of the negative aspects of economic globalization is that of its ability to weaken a country’s economic situation while it remains to be dependent on other countries. This is such that when an economic crisis is being experienced by one country, this can result into an economic crisis as well on the different countries with which a country shares its economic ties (Naik, 2011; Trebilcock, 2000).
Aside from being prone to economic crisis, another criticism against economic globalization is the fact that it causes a significant imbalance of power between the developed and the developing countries which are part of a greater global economy (Hameed & Nazir, 2012; Trebilcock, 2000). This means that the gap between the developed and the developing countries continue to increase and widen which in the end, would place the developing countries in a somewhat ‘abused’ and ‘disadvantaged’ position. The third important point of criticism of the critics of economic globalization is the fact that the present economic globalization phenomenon places to put on high levels of pressure on the different populations’ cultures which may ultimately result to the emergence of a totally new assimilated culture that may not be as distinct and as original as the ones they had before (Held, 2004; Xintian, 2002).
To put it simply, economic globalization made it quite difficult if not impossible to preserve one’s cultural origins and distinct practices and languages as the pervasiveness of the Western influence is too strong which is a manifestation of the many changes that the economic globalization may bring about (Shangquan, 2000; Nakayma, 2005; Lerche III, 2002). Therefore, because of these highlighted points of criticism that are usually being raised upon by various authors who are against the concept of economic globalization, one can contend that indeed economic globalization has fostered a globalization of critics and criticism because of its own negative aspects and influences among the developing countries. Not only does the concept of economic globalization bring about positive consequences in the global dimension, it also inevitably brings about a number of consequential disadvantages not only in the economic aspect but also in social, cultural, political and even in the media aspects (Bertucci & Alberti, 2010; Aisbett, 2007).
IV. ANALYSIS/ IMPLICATIONS
In answering the question, “How did economic globalization foster globalization of critics and criticism?” it may be asserted that economic globalization did foster globalization of critics and criticism in a number of ways. Apparently, in the recent years, there have been more evidences concerning the not-so-advantageous impacts of economic globalization in the world and among these include the capacity of economic globalization to purposely weaken a country’s economic situation as it remains to be dependent on other countries. Its manifestation is whenever a country experiences economic crisis, it inevitably results into an economic crisis as well on the different countries with which a country shares its economic ties.
This means that the so-called ‘interdependence’ and partnership between developing and developed nations has a negative side to it as when the economic situation of a country fails to normalize, other nations will be affected in a negative way (Naik, 2011; Trebilcock, 2000). Because of this specific disadvantage, many critics consider economic globalization as a risky process and a negative phenomenon as opposed to what many proponents argue (The Economist, 2011; Aisbett, 2007). Aside from the issue on economic crisis, another direct criticism often thrown against economic globalization is the fact that it causes a significant imbalance of power between the developed and the developing countries which are part of a greater global economy (Hameed & Nazir, 2012; Trebilcock, 2000). Apparently, this is quite true as observed by many economic experts and analysts who have studied economic globalization as a phenomenon for many years.
They have observed that one of the inevitable results of the economic globalization phenomenon is the widened or increased gap between the developed and the developing countries. Apparently, this places the developing countries in a somewhat ‘abused’ and ‘disadvantaged’ position as they are the ones on the losing end while the developed countries are on the side of gaining all the benefits to the phenomenon (Hameed & Nazir, 2012; Trebilcock, 2000). And lastly, it may be asserted that economic globalization did foster globalization of critics and criticism because of the fact that economic globalization phenomenon put on high levels of pressure on the different populations’ cultures ultimately resultd in the emergence of a totally new assimilated culture and the developing countries’ inability to preserve their culture (Held, 2004; Xintian, 2002). Many critics argue that economic globalization made it quite difficult if not impossible for the developing countries to preserve their cultural origins and distinct practices and languages (Shangquan, 2000; Nakayma, 2005; Lerche III, 2002).
In conclusion, all the three main highlighted points of criticism which always serve as the main entry of critics in going against the concept of economic globalization provide evidence as to why economic globalization did foster a globalization of critics and criticism. The reality is that indeed economic globalization has fostered a globalization of critics and criticism because of its own negative consequences and influences especially on the part of the developing countries. There is the widened economic gap between the rich (developed) and the poor (developing) countries. Another is that economic globalization made it impossible for the developing countries to protect and preserve their cultures. And lastly, economic globalization brought about a number of consequential disadvantages not only in the economic aspect but also in social, cultural, political and even in the media aspects (Bertucci & Alberti, 2010; Aisbett, 2007; Lerche III, 2002; Hameed & Nazir, 2012).
Nevertheless, despite the fact that economic globalization has fostered a globalization of critics and criticism, it does not mean that economic globalization as a phenomenon should be permanently ceased. As in any other global phenomena and processes, economic globalization has its own set of advantages and disadvantages as well as positive and negative impacts to the countries and populations it would influence. For this reason, criticisms are only natural consequences of any other global phenomenon such as economic globalization. Critics are free to critique or display their disapproval for economic globalization as a concept; however, they must also recognize and acknowledge that this global phenomenon has contributed much to the developments of today’s present age (Harrison, 2007).
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