Contemporary Global Issues
Globalization has had an effect on just about every state in the world. The effects vary from social, political, and economic, all aspects of everyday life. By definition, globalization is “the process of increasing interconnectedness among societies such that events in one part of the world more and more have effects on peoples and societies far away” (Lamy, 2015). Many people have argued that this causes more harm than good, as it can create worldwide consequences from the mistakes or failures of one or few states. However, globalization has been defended with claims that it encourages prosperity throughout the globe, and has created stronger relations between states. By looking at major world events, as well as the growth of the world’s economy, it can easily be argued that globalization has had a positive effect on the world.
One of the most prominent parts of globalization is its effects on trade and economic growth. Many point to trade as the start of globalization, when ancient civilizations would exchange resources with each other. Though initially the trade would include food, tools, and animals, it eventually evolved into a trade of ideas, methods, and beliefs. Today, we still see positive effects of global trade and business. Because of businesses have widen their market, we have seen more efficient markets, as well as a higher wealth equality around the world (Rao, 2013). The broader markets have helped many states see an increase in their way of life. A strong example of this is South Korea, which currently stands as the 15th largest economy in the world (Dixon, 2011). The global success of Korean-based companies such as Samsung, Hyundai, and Kia have helped the state to increase its wealth and quality of life for its people (Dixon, 2011). When compared to its bordering state, North Korea, which is much more closed off from the rest of the world, it is clear how much more of a positive effect globalization can have on states. The tensions between North and South Korea compared to other neighboring states also show how globalization can create better world security.
Many credit globalization as having truly come into effect after World War II, and with the formation of the United Nations. The consensus between European nations was that fascists like Hitler would look to those society had abandoned to fuel their cause (Lamy, 2015). To help prevent this, the United Nations was formed, to help establish basic rights worldwide, and to prevent more global conflicts from happening. This cooperation among nations also supported trade and relief to each other. The embrace of globalization helped states to work with each other, and establish closer connections. However, the strength of the United Nations was put to the test with the Suez Crisis in 1956. When Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal, the state of Egypt saw an invasion by Israel, France, and Great Britain. Many point to this as Britain’s last attempt to hold control as a once-powerful empire (Brown, 2001). With the threat of war starting to loom, the United Nations had to show how they can help resolve conflict and prevent war. From pressure by the UN, the US, and the USSR, troops were eventually withdrawn. Though France and Great Britain felt humiliated from the crisis, war was successfully avoided, and many felt confident in the ability of the UN, which still remains today, and continues to work together on world issues.
Because of globalization, states worldwide are able to come together to combat issues that affect the globe. This is best shown when, in September of 2000, the UN came together and formed the “United Nations Millennium Declaration.” Here, eight goals were established to improve worldwide health, equality, way of life, and environment. This was a fifteen year endeavor, with its deadline in 2015. Though many of these issues still remain today, there has been vast improvement worldwide. The UN has credited the MDGs as being the “most successful anti-poverty movement in history” (Galatsidas, 2015). Because of the UN and their goals of the MDGs, we have see large improvements in the world. This includes child mortality being reduced by half, a rise in net enrollment, and a decrease in HIV infections by nearly 40% (Galatsidas, 2015). If it weren’t for the united efforts of the UN, it is unlikely that conditions in the world would have improved as much. Globalization has shown that states working together and cooperating more have helped shaped the world to be in much better condition. Though some of the MDG targets weren’t met, it has still accomplished much in combating diseases, spread of education, and improving world health.
One of the most prominent parts of globalization, that people experience the most, is the spread of culture and knowledge. Because of international business and trade, states have been able to share aspects of their culture with the world. As mentioned before, South Korea has been able to spread itself around the world with companies such as Samsung and Hyundai (Dixon, 2011). Entertainment industries have also seen worldwide spread, through video games, film, animation, and literature. Food and clothing have also been spread around the world for centuries, beginning with the earliest trade between ancient states. The US, credited as the “melting pot” of the world has seen a wide array of cultures from around the world. In many eastern countries, “westernization” has been a subject of debate, as many states have started to adapt western culture and lifestyle, including fashion, entertainment, and beliefs. Though many believe it to be a sign of western dominance, it can be compared to how many common parts of lifestyle in the west have been taken from eastern ideas and developments (Sen, 2002). Many ideas, creations, and beliefs have been passed on from both sides of the world.
Since some of the earliest days of civilization, the spread and exchange of technology, ideas, and culture has been prominent. In more modern times, states continue to trade and exchange, but the relationship between states around the world has evolved. Now, through globalization, many states have come together to improve life around the world. Businesses have spread to be international, creating improved markets worldwide, and many states are more interconnected through technology. States have now been able to come together to resolve conflicts, preventing devastation, as well as improving conditions for states around the world. Through combined efforts, poverty has been reduced, general health has improved, and education continues to spread. From this, many states have been able to grow and strengthened, and people all over are seeing improved lifestyles and health. Through globalization, the world as a whole has seen lots of growth and progress. Though there is still war, poverty, and disease, globalization has helped to see a general improvement in how people live. Ultimately, the world has seen positive changes and effects through globalization, and the world continues to improve through globalization.
- Lamy, S. L., Masker, J. S., Baylis, J., Smith, S., & Owens, P. (2015). Introduction to Global Politics. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
- Rao, A. (2013). 4 positive impacts of globalization on world economy. thecollegian. www.kstatecollegian.com
- Dixon, J. (2011). Korea’s embrace of globalization. The Korea Times. www.koreatimes.co.kr
- Brown, D. (2001). 1956: Suez and the end of empire. The Guardian. www.theguardian.com
- Galatsidas, A. (2015). What have the millenium development goals achieved? The Guardian. www.theguardian.com
- Sen, A. (2002). Does Globalization Equal Westernization? The Globalist. www.theglobalist.com