Globalization has created a real pathway for businesses to penetrate and exploit the potential of the Global South. It has also encouraged the emergence of a new working class with shared characteristics. The social class champions for better working conditions using unique and different ways from the structured processes that dominate the home countries of most global enterprises.
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For instance, the rise of wildcat strikes in the emerging economies defies the spirit of collective bargaining that defines employer-employee relationship in the Global North. This implies that the trend has pushed class conflict to the global level and significantly increased the possibility of social unrest. Because globalization is largely a reflection of capitalism, it has exacerbated the relationship between the proletariats and capitalists by promoting the spread of imperialism, exploitation, and neoliberal policies.
Southern Insurgency: The Coming of the Global Working Class provides a thought-provoking account of the way capitalism and globalization have escalated the class warfare between capitalists and workers in the Global South. According to Ness (19), the conflict is partly a result of the values of capitalism, which encourage the growth of imperialism as state actors endeavor to control the global market. The author also claims that exploitation and adverse working conditions are the norms rather than an exception in the South and that they are the common cost-cutting approaches that transnational corporations utilize to sustain competitiveness. Migration is another factor that Ness considers to have significantly increased the rift between the working class and transnational capitalist class. This is because migrants not only increase labor supply, but they also push down the wages.
Imperialism is one of the often-cited consequences of capitalism and globalization. It can be thought to be the erroneous belief by some global players that they have better values and practices than the locals. This explains the reason that most multinationals tend to utilize a one-size-fit-all business model across all the regions they operate regardless of the cultural diversity. Of course, this can be problematic in some areas, especially if the locals feel that the transnational corporation is a threat to their shared traditions and practices. In addition to the management systems, global enterprises also attempt to gain, nurture and sustain political influence in the host countries. Clearly, political interests create a means of improving collective bargaining, although the new class warfare defies such state-sanctioned tactics.
Moving on, there are varied factors that explain the positive relationship between imperialism and global class resistance. Firstly, the attempt to introduce and enforce management systems in the Global South can cause the global working class to resist change and further ruin the relationship with the global capitalists. Of course, this is because global business models overlook the cultural practices of the local, thus contributing to a conflict as the workers try to protect their established way of doing things. This provides a rational case for the need of global capitalists to take into consideration the shared values of the people in the areas in which they operate in order to foster the all-important cooperation.
There is also growing evidence that globalization has played a critical role as far as increasing global exploitation and resistance is concerned. In other words, exploiting the global workforce has become the only assured way through which transnational corporations are maximizing their wealth. This means that they provide poor working conditions to the proletariats in order to beat the intense competition that is the characteristic of global marketplace (Smith 48). Equally significant, exploitation is reflected in the deliberate move by the multinationals to ignore the need to develop and sustain relationship-oriented behavior with the employees. Of course, this could also be an indication that global businesses are doing little to address the social needs of the workers and help them to establish a sense of belonging and identity to the organization.
It is also important to note that there is a wide range of mechanisms through which exploitation has encouraged the growth of class resistance. For example, poor working conditions change the perception of workers towards the transnational corporations and make them think that they add minimal value to their organizations (Smith 112). They also see exploitation as an indication that their employers are only interested in their welfare at the expense of workers. They thus oppose attempts by the global capitalists to increase productivity. The suggestion is that global businesses need to develop effective programs to boost employee morale and engagement, and consequently reduce resistance.
Furthermore, Ness (75) argues that migration is a real threat to the employee-employer relationship in the Global South. The author observes that the trend encourages the global capitalists to exploit workers in the sense that it has a direct positive impact on labor supply. In other words, migration significantly increases the reserve of available labor while decreasing the bargaining power of the global workforce. This implies that it tilts the balance of power and that the employers are the main beneficiaries in that they are able to reduce wages without involving the workers. A further suggestion is that the trend has caused a realignment of the approaches the modern workers are employing to achieve their objectives.
Migration and resistance are not new in emerging economies like South Africa. The influx of economic migrants from the neighboring countries makes it relatively easy for the profit-oriented capitalists to constantly adjust wages. The major reason for this is that they often flood the labor market and compete for the limited resources with the locals. This means they further damage the relationship between global capitalists and working class by giving the employer an alternative form of labor. Economic migrants also drain the resources in the Global South although some are undocumented and do not pay taxes. Moreover, this is an indication that the benefits of globalization largely accrue to the capitalists and not the working class.
In summation, it can be easily seen that globalization has had mixed results in the Global North and South. The global capitalists are the greatest beneficiaries in that they use their power to increase exploitation and migration of the workers. For these reasons, the new global working class is utilizing unique approaches to tilt the power balance and negotiate for better working conditions. Going forward, it is important for the global capitalists to develop and implement policies that can enable them to improve the relationship with the workers. These should include the use of business models, including franchising and joint ventures, which allow the locals to have direct control of the business.
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