The advantages and disadvantages of globalization can be analyzed and understood by looking through its three main dimensions: economic, political, and cultural dimensions.
Economic globalization pertains to the mechanisms, as well as the pros and cons of the integration of global economies and international trade. Political globalization corresponds to the creation, maintenance, and evolution of world political systems.
On the other hand, cultural globalization represents the convergence of different cultures, emergence of global culture, the exchange of values and knowledge, and the impacts of global integration and cross-cultural interactions on local cultures.
This article identifies and enumerates, as well as briefly discusses the pros and cons of globalization from its aforementioned three dimensions.
Pros: The Advantages of Globalization
1. From an Economic Dimension
• International Trade: One of the benefits of globalization is that it has lowered the barriers to trade by enticing countries to participate in trading with each other and maximize their comparative advantage by gearing away from protectionist policies.
• Business Expansion: The process of global integration has provided homegrown companies access to regional and international markets or expanded their operations beyond the borders of their home countries and into numerous host countries, thereby creating new business opportunities.
• Economic Cooperation: It has also attracted governments to form economic alliances with each other through trade agreements, as well as form formal supranational organizations dedicated to promoting their collective economic interests.
• International Assistance: Governments have also pledged to provide financial aid and other forms of economic assistance to underdeveloped and developing countries while multinational businesses have expanded their corporate social responsibility programs outside their respective home countries.
2. Globalization and World Politics
• International Relations: Another advantage of globalization is that it has increased the need to promote international relations through the creation of different supranational and international organizations such as the United Nations aimed at addressing social and political issues of their member countries.
• Peace and Security: International organizations also provide countries with a way to manage conflicts and resolve their differences through an international forum while also enforcing policies aimed at upholding peace and security.
• Military Alliance: Several countries have formed regional military alliances and entered into mutual defense treaties to deter non-allies and build further their collective military capabilities through knowledge and technology transfer. Examples include the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Collective Security Treaty Organization.
• International Law: The development and enforcement of international law is another byproduct of global integration. These laws establish normative guidelines and standards concerning the different interactions among international actors.
3. From a Cultural Dimension
• Travel and Migration: Cross-border movement of people is another benefit of globalization. Citizens of countries integrated into the world have more freedom to travel, work, or move and permanently live to other countries.
• Scientific Breakthroughs: Global integration has enabled educational and research institutions, for-profit and non-profit organizations, and individuals to collaborate for scientific pursuits. This integration has also facilitated knowledge and technology exchange among institutions and countries.
• Movements and Advocacies: Issues such as environmental problems and civil rights have been discussed on an international stage or spread through cross-border mediums of communications, thereby increasing awareness, interest, and response.
• Cultural Exchange: Globalization has also promoted the culture and values of several countries and localized communities. Examples include works of art and literature, including music and films. International sports competitions have also provided a way for countries to participate in healthy rivalries while promoting their talents.
Cons: The Disadvantages of Globalization
1. Economic Issues and Limitations
• Prevalence of Poverty: It is true that one of the benefits of globalization is that is has empowered countries to grow their economies through their participation in international trade. However, a number of countries remain poor and several communities have low employment, healthcare access, and literacy rates.
• Impacts on Local Industries: The arrival of large multinational companies with demonstrated competitive advantages has sometimes driven local and smaller companies out of businesses, thereby resulting in the death of local industries.
• Exploitation of Resources: Another disadvantage of globalization is that it promotes a so-called race-to-the-bottom in which companies overexploit the utilization of natural and human resources to ramp up their production and cater to demand while also empowering needless consumption and hyperconsumerism.
• Risk Exposures: The global integration of economies has exposed local economies and businesses to localized or regional economic problems and crises. Examples include the 2008 Financial Crisis and the European Debt Crisis.
2. Globalization and International Conflict
• Conflicting Interests: Supranational organizations have aimed to promote peace and security. However, some of these organizations have conflicting interests, thereby resulting in conflicts. Globalization also does not sit well with other groups.
• Balance of Power: Other causes of conflicts center on the power imbalance on the global stage. Global integration has benefitted several countries economically and politically, thus giving them influence. However, a few have been sidelined, thereby fueling resentment and creating regional stability and security issues.
• Global Radicalism: Radical thinking has been easier to spread due to global integration, especially because of the tools and mediums that made radical ideas easier to disseminate. Global terrorism is a prime example.
• Transnational Crimes: Another disadvantage of globalization is that it has globalized underground economies and crime. Several criminal organizations operate on an international scale. Some examples of international crimes include the global trade of illicit drugs, human trafficking and sex slavery, and the global arms trade.
3. Environmental and Health Issues
• Climate Emergency: The race-to-the-bottom phenomenon and the overall global economic activity have increased the dependence on fossil fuels to power industries and modes of transportation, among others, thus contributing to global warming.
• Resource Exploitation: As mentioned, resource exploitation is another downside of globalization. To be specific, this phenomenon is exemplified through overfishing, the focus on cash crops and unsustainable farming, and unsound mining activities. The extraction of these resources has negative environmental implications.
• Global Health Crisis: The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the vulnerability of the world toward transmissible diseases that have localized origins. The free-flowing cross-border movement of people hastens the transmission of these diseases.
• Environment and Health: Note that the negative environmental impact of globalization has also created new health issues in other countries. These include the rise of dengue and malaria incidents in developing countries. Some communities have also become vulnerable to other health-related impacts of environmental problems.
FURTHER READINGS AND REFERENCES
- Ashrafuzzaman, M. and Furini, G. L. 2019. “Climate Change and Human Health Linkages in the Context of Globalization: An Overview from Global to Southwestern Coastal Region of Bangladesh.” Environment International. 127: 402-411. DOI: 1016/j.envint.2019.03.020
- Bu, M, L. C. T., and Zhang, B. 2016. “Globalization and Climate Change: New Empirical Panel Data Evidence
- Dollar, D. and Kraay, A. 2011. “Trade, Growth, and Poverty.” Finance & Development: A Quarterly Magazine of the IMF. Available online
- Erixon, F. 2018. The Economic Benefits of Globalization for Business and Consumers. European Centre for International Political Economy. Available online