Globalization Explained: Is It a Threat or an Opportunity?

When people hear the word "Globalization", they think of the advancement of technology, economies, and human life starting from the 19th century. But when did it really begin?

Many historians believe globalization started with the voyages of Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama in pursuit of spices and discovery, but economists Kevin O’Rourke and Jeffrey Willamson beg to differ. In their working paper released in the National Bureau of Economic Research, O’Rourke and Willamson argued that globalization only took off during the 19th century, not with the two aforementioned explorers’ voyages.

Globalization

Amid the disagreements between economists and historians, globalization is happening at this very moment. And for some entities, it remains a puzzle. Is it a threat, or is it an opportunity?

Globalization Explained

In the 2000 brief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), globalization was defined as a “historical process.” It results from innovation, integration of economies, and the movement of people and knowledge across countries.

Globalization has opened a wider scale for businesses. From a national scale, companies with capabilities to access broader markets can tap on an international scale. This shift has led to more capital sources, advancements in technology, and affordable import-export arrangements.

Top 4 Aspects of Globalization

The IMF states that globalization has made the market more integrated. Whether it’s trade or access to financial sources, globalization has reduced barriers through the following aspects:

1. Trade

Globalization aims to reduce trade barriers by allowing countries to sell various goods and services to one another. In theory, this would mean that governments will grow together economically. In reality, is this what’s happening today?

2. Capital Movement

With open international borders, third-world countries will have the opportunity to access and infuse foreign capital to improve their country. This foreign capital infusion may involve intellectual and foreign capital sources that can improve citizens’ quality of life. Or is it the other way around?

3. Movement of People

As countries become accessible, people will want to exploit this opportunity. Workers from third-world countries would like to move to first-world countries for better employment. Individuals who are members of a profession can access better income opportunities if they practice abroad. But does this sound too good to be true?

4. Spread of Knowledge and Technology

Intellectual capital can help developing countries revolutionize technology, build infrastructure, design systems, and streamline the manufacturing sector. In return, this will entail low costs and economic development. Or does this remain a theory today?

The Reality of Globalization

In a podcast of Professor Pankaj Ghemawat from the Harvard Business Review, globalization entails many complexities. And because of an uninformed public, many blame globalization for the poverty and issues of a country.

While Ghemawat tends to look more at globalization’s benefits, the reality is either harsher or more beneficial. Here are some key takeaways:

"Free Trade" is a buzzword when globalization is mentioned. Though globalization breaks international trade borders, some countries impose import duties and value-added taxes on imports, making imported goods more expensive. E-commerce and selling products online, however, have made these imported goods easily accessible and less expensive by eliminating the need for brick-and-mortar stores and the operational costs they entail.

● Multinational corporations tend to exploit “tax havens” and low wage rates in third-world countries. By infusing capital in these countries, they use labor and avoid large tax obligations.

● States that offer better employment opportunities attract individuals with specialization to seek employment abroad. In effect, it creates a “brain drain” for some countries because of the lack of professionals and skilled individuals.

● First-world countries experience a lack of employment opportunities because multinational corporations prefer outsourcing work from countries with low wage rates.

● Nations with advanced technology tend to absorb all demand for technology-related services. This only leaves other countries with no competitive edge in developing similar technology.

● With the introduction of imported goods in the market, people tend to patronize them and ignore the local markets. This competition between imported and local goods has caused less support for local businesses and products.

● As more foreign investments come in, the citizens will have fewer chances of owning companies or contributing to economic growth and development.

Conclusion:

Globalization, just like any other economic model, has its advantages and disadvantages. It’s both a threat and an opportunity. Thus, the only way to make globalization work is through significant government reforms, leadership, and international cooperation.

Today, globalization is an opportunity for some as it is a threat to others. Therefore, there is no clear cut on its benefits. Countries must learn to give and take to make this work. And while this may sound impossible, dreaming for a better world and humanity’s participation in it is its last hope.

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Globalization Explained: Is It a Threat or an Opportunity?
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