What are globalization pros and cons?


According Webster[1] and Schreiter[2] the term globalization was first entered the English dictionary in 1961. Economists, geographers, journalists and other academics and professionals picked up the concept later during the 1980s.

However, the idea of globalization still tends to remain hard to define, as Anthony Giddens[3] observed, “there are few terms that we use so often, but which are in fact as inadequately conceptualized as globalization”.

Persian speakers make a political statement in their choice between the terms Jahani-sasi and Jahani-shodan. The first word, ‘making global’ is associated with a US-led imperialist plan, while the second, ‘becoming global’, embraces connotations of an open process that can be shaped in various future directions according to Scholte[4]. However, as there is not any general acceptable definition available, it looks like most often, it is described rather than defined.

Some people see globalization as internationalization and growth of business transaction between countries and describe this as an intensified form of international trade. In that sense, advocates believe it brings positive benefits for consumers, helping to increase choice, drive down prices, improve services and generate more jobs and opportunities. But the opponents to internationalization blame this intensified form of international trade for changing the behaviour of consumers and creating a mass consumption and as a result, changing the ecosystem and causing environmental disaster.

Advocates for globalization, reveals that it is correct to indicate that during recent years, the consumption in developed countries has increased. In their opinion, that is not purely cause by globalization, but it is more likely due to miseducation and the wrong cultural perception. Even the environmental degradation is most likely caused by industrialization rather than globalization.

However, some see globalization as a liberalization of a process of removing authoritatively imposed controls on movements of resources between countries in order to open the economies and societies around the world. With this view, the people have more freedom to choose where they want to be or work and again, globalization provides more opportunity. Therefore, it can be seen as a positive force for change that has the potential to raise living standards and drive economies forward. At the same time, it provides more cultural diversity and gives people a chance to create better understanding about other cultures. It can also cause people to get closer to each other and reduce the risk of wars as well as promote democracy.

It is important to note though, that there are some people opposed to globalization who define it as universalization and describe it as a process of standardization and homogenization of world cultural, economic, legal and political convergence. For example, some economists have even reviewed globalization in terms of the degree to which prices for particular goods and services become the same across countries according to Bradford and Lawrence[5]. This is a complete misinterpretation of globalization as it does not actually have anything to do with universalization. By having access to other cultures and understanding how other people work, does not automatically equal universalization and start the process of losing of your own personal identity and culture.

Some critics of globalization believe as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization and in general, that wealthier western countries are largely influential in the course of the globalization development. They are also seen as the motivating forces behind the policy reforms that the developing countries had to implement as part of their structural adjustment programs under the supervision of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization. Therefore, this group believes that it is obvious that those countries and organizations will only promote their own interests, so they assume globalization is the intensive policy of the industrial western world, particularly of the multinational corporations, to maintain their interest and encourage a new form of colonization; this group defines globalization as westernization.  We cannot deny that there is some true in the statement above, however as more and more developing countries are applying for membership in those organization, they will be able to influence its policy and shape this process to benefit their development needs. As the former head of Iran’s National Center for Research on Globalization[6] said, Tehran should prioritize joining the World Trade Organization to promote their values and interests and at the same time, benefit from the positive development and the opportunities to attract more foreign direct investment in Iran.

As most opponents and conditional advocates of globalization are critical to its effect on environmental degradation and other social values which are important to developing societies, they mention that globalization advocates only discuss its positive effect on economy and ignore other negative effects.

We must agree that the economic policy is not only core human and social values, but the economy has not been the only force behind globalization either, however it is a social scientific phenomenon which its primary problem intended to solve, is economic, and as most governments have engaged in globalization development policies driven by the idea of economic progress to furnish all citizens with equal and appropriate opportunities. It is also meant to provide them with work, and to satisfy their essential needs, so that the course of their progress may be assured. This can be a good starting point followed by the pursuit of other important concerns such as cultural promotion, ecological care, democracy, and peace.

Finally Svend Hollensen[7] focused mainly on macro-economic effects, stated that globalization “reflects the trend of firms buying, developing, producing, selling and distributing products and services in most countries and regions of the world” in order to create competitive advantage and increase their market share.


Get the books:

Globalization: A Very Short Introduction by Manfred B. Steger, https://amzn.to/35VXS5V

Global Marketing Paperback – by Svend Hollensen https://amzn.to/3iM8xUv

Related article: Globalization and its effects on developing countries




[1] Webster (1961) Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged. Springfield, MA; Merriam

[2] Schreiter, R. J. (1997) The New Catholicity: Theology between the Global and the Local. Maryknoll, NY; Orbis Books

[3] Giddens, A. (1996) On Globalization, excerpts from a keynote address at UNRISD Conference on globalization and citizenship, 1 Dec 1996. www.unrisd.org

[4] Jan Aart Scholte, 2005, Globalization a critical introduction, Palgrave Macmillan, 2nd edition

[5] Bradford, S. and R. Z. Lawrence (2004) has globalization gone far enough? The costs of fragmented markets. Washington, DC; Institute for International Economics.

[6] Esfandiar Rahim-Mashaei the former head of Iran’s National Center for Research on Globalization

[7] Hollensen S. Global marketing, 4th edition 2007, Pearson Education Limited