Globalization is a process that involves increase of world’s unification in many spheres, including economy, politics and culture. While this type of integration is often treated as an achievement and a source of opportunities; globalization is a constant matter of debates because of its uneven influence on different parties of the process. Experts claim that globalization inevitably has short-term and long-term winners and losers, so there might be far reaching consequences, which are not always identified at the first stage.
Indeed, at first sight free exchange of goods around the globe looks stimulating for the competition, increase of jobs number and quality improvement. However, the reality demonstrates that the economic process is far more complex and involves a whole system that is balanced by its participants. This means than while one gains, another has to lose in order to keep the balance of the world economy. Thus, opponents of globalization argue that it promotes inequality at a global level.
The concept of the so-called “Golden Billion” exemplifies this kind of inequality: in order to maintain the living standards of the rich countries, resources of the poorer countries are exploited. Moreover, most of the economically better off states cannot rely on their own natural resources, so they use other countries. The system that they have built contributes to their prosperity yet accompanied by impoverishment of already poorer countries, their working and natural resources. It would be impossible to create a system where the rest but the Golden Billion enjoy the same prosperity level. So, this situation is a deadlock in many ways. First of all, it affects the nature; secondly, it ensures the status quo of poor countries, which means that they have no chances to bridge the gap however hard they try.
Frank J. Lechner analyzes the third wave of globalization by defining its winners and losers. In fact, the trends constantly change, while there are short-term winners and losers. At the moment, however, there is a trend of Asian countries like China and Korea to get benefits from globalization, while there are still serious issues with African countries that lag behind. The expert believes that despite some countries success it is impossible to offer a reasonable recipe to other states, as there are a lot of factors involved. Many African countries are less stable, and have military conflicts, epidemics, natural catastrophes and so on. These factors can contribute to loss and decay with no real possibility to lift the economic burden. At the same time, antiglobalists say that it is the goal of rich countries to keep poorer countries under this burden, which makes it easier for them to rule the territories and find cheap labor resources. Asian countries have an advantage because they have a better infrastructure, education, business and political value than African countries.
At the same time, there are complaints from the developed states as well. Unemployment is a plague of the twenty-first century for the Western world. There are several reasons for this trend, including subjective and objective ones. The major reason is globalization of business, which urges owners to seek cheap working resources outside the developed countries. So, there are two trends about this aspect: either working places move abroad or cheaper working force gets in the country, like immigrants, who take lower paid jobs. As a result, citizens of more economically prosperous countries may fail to find a job, because they are just unable to find a suitable one due to the salaries competition.
Subhrendu Bhattacharya is optimistic in his predictions but he is cautious anyway:
“The globalization would see more winners than losers. But to say there won’t be any losers would be too simplifying” ( p. 38). He explores how the cultural aspect of globalization is related to the economic one. Per his words, there is a trend of Americanization in India, when people tend to adopt the promoted lifestyle without critical thinking. For example, banks’ clients are short-term winners but they can be losers in the long run. The reason for this is that because of foreign investments banks become flexible in giving out credit cards easily. So, consumers have access to higher financial flexibility about their personal budget. They can afford to make an impulse purchase or go travelling. Because of cultural shift and American culture influence, credit cards become a popular trend. At the same time people are not educated properly about the options and can put their finance at risk by spending them unwisely. Finally, this became a global issue for the economy. As the researcher puts it, a decade ago the Indian culture was different: “People detested being indebted and debt was the last resort” (Subhrendu Bhattacharya, p.40). This example demonstrates how easy globalization can change the face of the local economy and society, and make both positive and negative transformations work. So, there are cases that are controversial. It can be suggested that the same people can be winners and losers, depending on the culture and attitude.
In terms of culture, there seems to be no less influence about globalization than in terms of economy. The development of the Internet and all kinds of communication makes the world a global place, which eventually contributes to a larger number of people travelling. So, it is possible to say that touristic companies are among the winners of globalization. Businesses become more flexible, IT industry is on its way to grow even further, so those people who prefer to work from different location of the world win. At the same time, as the example of European Union demonstrates, integration makes economies more vulnerable as they are interdependent. Besides, political system is outdated and fails to change as quickly as economy does.
In my opinion, globalization cannot be considered being purely positive or purely negative phenomenon. I like the idea of global society where people get access to other cultures and experiences easily. This enriches life, and so do increasing opportunities of travelling and cultural exchange. At the same time, with Americanization as a global trend there is a risk for local cultures to lose their identity. Of course, in terms of world economy the most disturbing situation is a gap between the rich and the poor countries. The practice of keeping developing countries under control and making them a source of natural resources is beneficiary for the states of Golden Billion. However, this trend is immoral and makes it impossible for some countries to lift the burden of poverty.