30 Globalization Pros and Cons

Definition: Globalization refers to the increasing global interconnectedness of nations. It it not only economic integration. It also refers to cultural, technological, social, and political integration (Dincer et al., 2018). A good catch-all definition comes from Hodos (2016), who writes: “Globalization is defined as the process of becoming globally connected.”

Pros of GlobalizationCons of Globalization
1. Increased economic growth1. Widening of economic disparities
2. Cultural exchange and diversity2. Loss of local cultures and identities
3. Improvement in global communication3. Exploitation of labor in developing countries
4. Greater access to foreign investment4. Environmental degradation
5. Access to new markets for businesses5. Increased risk of financial contagion
6. Increased migration opportunities6. Over-dependence on global markets
7. Reduction in prices of goods and services7. Threat to local businesses and industries
8. Increased competition leading to innovation8. Erosion of national sovereignty
9. Opportunity for developing countries to develop faster9. Downward pressure on wages
10. Spread of democratic values10. Cultural homogenization
11. Global talent pool for employment11. Brain drain in developing countries
12. Enhanced opportunities for high-skilled workers12. Spread of diseases across borders
13. Enhanced global cooperation and peace13. Vulnerability to global economic fluctuations
14. Widening networking opportunities14. Concentration of corporate power
15. Access to more goods for consumers15. Potential for global monopolies and oligopolies

Globalization Pros and Cons

The Advantages of Globalization

1. Increased Economic Growth

Globalization facilitates technology, knowledge, and goods transfer, which in turn boosts economic growth (Erixon, 2018).

Through globalization, countries can now purchase the newest technologies and import the most productive machinery from other countries.

This means every country now has access to the most productive machineries, making the whole world more productive. Productivity means more output, which means more economic growth.

2. Cultural exchange and diversity

Globalization facilitates cultural exchange and diversity by increasing interactions among people from different parts of the world through trade, travel, and communication.

This exposure leads to the sharing of ideas, traditions, languages, and values across borders, enriching the cultural landscape of participating societies.

Such interactions often lead to the fusion of cuisines, music, art, and fashion, creating new, hybrid forms of cultural expression.

3. Improvement in global communication

Globalization is both caused by and a catalyst for the expansion of global technology and telecommunications. For example, the internet helps facilitate global trade, and demand for a fast and reliable global internet has stimulated its technological development.

The resulting interconnectedness allows for real-time communication across different countries, breaking down geographical and temporal barriers. The result is a more integrated world where cultural and professional exchanges occur more seamlessly.

4. Greater access to foreign investment

Globalization leads to greater access to foreign investment. With broken-down financial barriers, businesses can now source overseas investors for funds. This helps push down the cost of investment and stimulate local business (Erixon, 2018).

It’s also good for investors. They can diversify their portfolios by investing in different countries, and developing countries can benefit from foreign capital to fund growth and development projects.

This influx of foreign investment can lead to economic growth, technological advancements, and increased employment opportunities in the recipient countries.

5. Access to new markets for businesses

200 years ago, everyday small businesspeople could generally only trade with nearby communities. They had to get goods to market via horse and cart and anything perishable had to be consumed fast. There were no refigerators!

Today, with global supply chains, refrigerators, and free trade agreements, even small businesspeople have access to global markets.

Companies can therefore expand their operations and customer base beyond their domestic markets, tapping into demand in different countries (Erixon, 2018).

6. Increased migration opportunities

Globalization has opened up global labor markets. Nowadays, it takes less than 24 hours to move anywhere across the world. No more 3-month boat rides! This has allowed highly-skilled professionals to cross the world and get jobs exactly where there is market demand.

This mobility benefits migrants through better opportunities, the companies by linking them up with the best possible employees, and also contributes to the cultural and economic dynamism of the host countries (Dumont, Rayp & Willemé, 2012).

7. Reduction in prices of goods and services

Globalization leads to a reduction in prices of goods and services by allowing countries to specialize in producing goods where they have a comparative advantage, leading to more efficient production and lower costs (Mir, Hassan & Qadri, 2014).

The removal of trade barriers and the increased competition in global markets drive down prices, making products more affordable for consumers (Erixon, 2018).

Additionally, the global supply chain means consumers have access to a wider variety of goods and services from different parts of the world.

8. Increased competition leading to innovation

Globalization leads to increased competition because you’re no longer just competing with Bob down the road. Businesses are now competing with other businesses from the other side of the world (Erixon, 2018).

While at first this competition sounds bad, it tends to have positive effects. For example, it spurs innovation as companies strive to maintain their competitive edge in a global market.

The exposure to different market needs and technological advancements across borders encourages businesses to innovate and improve their products and services.

This competition not only drives technological advancement but also leads to better quality and diverse options for consumers.

9. Opportunity for developing countries to develop faster

Developing countries need foreign investment and access to foreign markets in order to grow. Globalization provides this access (Mir, Hassan & Qadri, 2014).

This exposure to global markets and capital can accelerate economic growth, create jobs, and promote infrastructure development.

Furthermore, the exchange of knowledge and best practices with developed nations can enhance the skills and capacities of the workforce in developing countries, leading to sustainable development.

10. Spread of democratic values

Some argue that globalization has led to the spread of democratic values. Arjun Appadurai calls this the “ideoscape” of globalization.

The global spread of media and the internet allows for the rapid dissemination of democratic ideals and human rights concepts.

We saw this, for example, during the Arab Spring of 2011, where activist groups multiple countries in the Arab world collaborated via social media to demand democratic reforms.

11. Global talent pool for employment

Globalization leads to a global talent pool for employment as businesses and organizations have access to a wider range of skills and expertise from around the world (Dumont, Rayp & Willemé, 2012).

Enhanced mobility and interconnectedness allow employers to recruit talent from different countries, enabling them to meet specific skill requirements more effectively.

This global workforce diversifies the workplace, fosters innovation, and enhances competitiveness by bringing together diverse perspectives and experiences.

12. Enhanced opportunities for high-skilled workers

Globalization leads to enhanced opportunities for high-skilled workers as it opens up a vast array of international job opportunities in various sectors, including technology, finance, and healthcare (Dumont, Rayp & Willemé, 2012).

These workers can leverage their specialized skills in a broader market, often finding better employment prospects, higher salaries, and advanced career development options globally.

Moreover, the exchange of expertise and knowledge across borders contributes to professional growth and the advancement of specialized fields.

13. Enhanced global cooperation and peace

Globalization could also, in an optimistic scenario, lead to enhanced global cooperation and peace. This is based on the theory that increasing economic interdependence among nations encourages diplomatic relations and collaboration rather than war (Baldwin, 2008).

The shared interests in maintaining stable trade and investment environments promote peaceful interactions and reduce the likelihood of conflicts.

Furthermore, international institutions and agreements foster a platform for dialogue and conflict resolution, contributing to global stability and peace.

14. Widening networking opportunities

Globalization leads to widening networking opportunities as it connects people from different cultures and professional backgrounds through international business, education, and social media platforms.

These connections facilitate the exchange of ideas, collaboration on projects, and the formation of global communities with shared interests and goals.

This extensive networking can lead to new business opportunities, partnerships, and innovations, benefiting individuals and organizations alike (Dumont, Rayp & Willemé, 2012).

15. Access to more goods for consumers

Globalization leads to access to more goods for consumers by breaking down trade barriers and enabling the efficient flow of products across borders (Mir, Hassan & Qadri, 2014).

Amazon Canada doesn’t have the product? No problem, try Amazon UK instead!

This results in a wider variety of goods available in the market, often at lower prices due to increased competition and economies of scale in production.

Consumers benefit from the improved quality, variety, and affordability of products, enhancing their purchasing choices and overall quality of life.

Disadvantages of Globalization

1. Widening of economic disparities

While the above positives sound good, many like Naomi Klein argue that globalization can lead to the widening of economic disparities as it often benefits developed nations and those with competitive advantages, while less developed countries may struggle to keep up.

This can result in increased wealth for certain regions and sectors, while others may experience stagnation or decline in economic growth. The result is a growing gap between the rich and the poor, both within and between countries.

2. Cultural Homogenization (Loss of local cultures)

There is an argument that globalization can lead to the loss of local cultures and identities as global brands and Western media dominate, overshadowing local traditions, languages, and practices.

We call this ‘cultural homogenization‘.

The spread of a homogenized global culture can dilute the uniqueness of local cultures, leading to a decrease in cultural diversity. People may adopt global trends at the expense of traditional values and customs, leading to a loss of cultural heritage.

Others dispute this claim, arguing instead that globalization leads to a process called glocalization.

3. Exploitation of labor in developing countries

Globalization can lead to the exploitation of labor in developing countries (Sharma, 2014). Multinational companies may seek to minimize costs by relocating production to regions where labor is cheaper and regulations are less stringent (e.g. opening up factories in Mexico and China instead of midwestern USA).

This can result in poor working conditions, low wages, and a lack of labor rights, exploiting the workforce in these countries. The pursuit of profit by global corporations can overshadow the need for ethical labor practices, leading to exploitation.

4. Environmental degradation

Environmentalists are often concerned that globalization is exacerbating environmental degradation. Increased industrial activity and international transportation contribute to pollution and natural resource depletion (Mir, Hassan & Qadri, 2014).

The global demand for goods encourages mass production, often without adequate environmental safeguards, leading to habitat destruction, loss of biodiversity, and climate change.

The focus on economic growth and consumerism can overshadow the need for sustainable environmental practices, exacerbating global environmental challenges.

5. Increased risk of financial contagion

Globalization leads to an increased risk of financial contagion as economies become more interconnected, meaning that financial crises can quickly spread from one country to another (Mendoza & Quadrini, 2010; Mir, Hassan & Qadri, 2014).

This interdependence is due to global investment and the intertwined nature of banking and financial markets.

A financial problem in one country can lead to investor panic and a loss of confidence, triggering a domino effect that impacts economies worldwide.

6. Over-dependence on global markets

Globalization leads to concerns that countries are over-dependent on foreign markets for essential supplies.

This dependence can make economies vulnerable when supply chains break down. When a major global shock occurs, countries heavily reliant on that market for exports or investment can experience significant economic disruptions (Mendoza & Quadrini, 2010).

For example, most nations in the world are reliant on Taiwan for computer chips. If Taiwan were suddenly invaded by China, the rest of the world won’t be able to produce sufficient computers!

7. Threat to local businesses and industries

In a globalized marketplace, local businesses face intense competition from larger multinational corporations.

These multinationals often have greater resources, technology, and access to larger markets, which can overshadow local enterprises (Burlacu, Gutu & Matei, 2018).

This intense competition can lead to the closure of local businesses, loss of traditional industries, and a decrease in domestic job opportunities.

8. Erosion of national sovereignty

National sovereignty is threatened by a globalized world. Governments may be compelled to alter their policies and regulations to attract global investment and remain competitive in the international market, locking themselves into international trade agreements that require compromise and cooperation (Burlacu, Gutu & Matei, 2018).

This can result in countries losing control over their economic, social, and environmental policies, potentially prioritizing international interests over national priorities.

9. Downward pressure on wages

Globalization can lead to downward pressure on wages as businesses seek to reduce costs by outsourcing jobs to countries where labor is cheaper (Mir, Hassan & Qadri, 2014).

This competition for lower-cost labor markets can result in wage stagnation or decreases in higher-wage countries.

Additionally, the influx of workers willing to accept lower wages can suppress wage growth even in sectors not directly exposed to international competition.

10. Spread of Political Ideologies

While earlier I noted that globalization may have sped up the spread of democracy, the opposite may occur.

While democracy may have been promoted by globalization – especially in the 20th Century – the same could happen with anti-democratic ideologies. For example, recently we have seen the spread of authoritarianism and “illiberal democracy” across the world.

11. Brain drain in developing countries

Globalization leads to brain drain in developing countries as highly educated and skilled professionals migrate to developed countries in search of better job opportunities, salaries, and living conditions (Dumont, Rayp & Willemé, 2012).

This migration of talent results in a significant loss of skilled labor for the originating countries, impacting their development and economic growth.

The departure of these key individuals can also lead to a shortage of expertise necessary for local advancement and innovation.

12. Spread of diseases across borders

Globalization leads to the spread of diseases across borders as increased international travel and trade facilitate the rapid movement of people and goods around the world.

This mobility can enable pathogens to cross geographical boundaries more easily, leading to the faster spread of infectious diseases.

Outbreaks that might have been contained within a region in the past can now quickly escalate into global health emergencies.

13. Vulnerability to global economic fluctuations

A globalized nation may be vulnerable to global economic fluctuations as economies become increasingly interconnected through trade, investment, and financial markets (Mendoza & Quadrini, 2010).

This interconnectedness means that economic issues in one country or region can have ripple effects globally, impacting economies that might not be directly related to the initial problem.

As a result, even local economies can be significantly affected by economic downturns or crises occurring in distant markets.

14. Concentration of corporate power

Some argue that globalization leads to the concentration of corporate power as large multinational corporations expand their reach and influence across multiple countries (Cowling & Tomlinson, 2005).

These corporations can dominate markets, overshadowing smaller local businesses and potentially manipulating markets to their advantage.

This concentration of power can lead to reduced competition, influence over political and economic policies, and an unequal distribution of economic benefits.

15. Potential for global monopolies and oligopolies

Similarly, globalization could lead to the potential for global monopolies and oligopolies as dominant corporations expand their reach across international borders (Burlacu, Gutu & Matei, 2018).

These entities can gain excessive market control, limiting competition and potentially leading to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers.

The global scale of these companies makes it challenging for new entrants to compete, and their influence can extend to shaping market regulations and policies in their favor.

References

Baldwin, R. (2008). EU institutional reform: Evidence on globalization and international cooperation. American Economic Review, 98(2), 127-132.

Burlacu, S., Gutu, C., & Matei, F. O. (2018). Globalization–pros and cons. Calitatea19(S1), 122-125.

Cowling, K., & Tomlinson, P. R. (2005). Globalisation and corporate powerContributions to Political Economy24(1), 33-54.

Dincer, H., Yüksel, S., & Hacioglu, Ü. (Eds.). (2018). Strategic Design and Innovative Thinking in Business Operations: The Role of Business Culture and Risk Management. Springer International Publishing.

Dumont, M., Rayp, G., & Willemé, P. (2012). The bargaining position of low-skilled and high-skilled workers in a globalising worldLabour Economics19(3), 312-319.

Erixon, F. (2018). The economic benefits of globalization for business and consumers. European Centre for International Political Economy.

Hodos, T. (Ed.). (2016). The Routledge Handbook of Archaeology and Globalization. Taylor & Francis.

Mendoza, E. G., & Quadrini, V. (2010). Financial globalization, financial crises and contagionJournal of monetary economics57(1), 24-39.

Mir, U. R., Hassan, S. M., & Qadri, M. M. (2014). Understanding globalization and its future: An analysis. Pakistan Journal of Social Sciences34(2), 607-624.

Sharma, N. K. (2013). Globalization and its impact on the third world economy. Crossing the Border: International Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies1(1), 21-28.

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Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education. [Image Descriptor: Photo of Chris]

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