The Good, Bad and Ugly Side of Globalization

By Kristine Brisenio

There are many theories on when and how globalization started. Despite these opposing theories, one cannot deny the fact that globalization had significant impact on how our ancestors lived. It continues to affect how we live and undoubtedly, it will continue to shape the future of the next generation.

Globalization, defined as “the process of interaction and integration among the people, companies and government of different nations, a process driven by international trade and investment aided by information technology.” Because of the globalization, countries which used to be divided by borders and seas, and existed simply on their own, became interconnected. Products which were exclusively enjoyed by a particular country can now be enjoyed by the rest of the world. Had it not been for the phenomenon called globalization, we wouldn’t have enjoyed our favourite imported coffee or chocolate. At the same time, other nations would not have been able to marvel the ingenious works of Filipino craftsman.

Aside from easier transfer of goods, air travel has also become more practical and economical. In the old days, flying was just too expensive that more than 70% of the population has not done it. In the US, for example, back in 1965, no more than 20% of Americans had even flown in an airplane. Fast forward to 2000, about 50% of the total population took at least one round-trip flight per year. In 1974, airfare from New York to Los Angeles (and vice versa) was at an astounding amount of US$ 1,400. Now, you could find one for less than US$ 300. We need not look far at our American counterparts. Nowadays, especially for millennials, traveling has been one of the identified life goals — a must do at least once, or twice a year to destress. With budget airlines offering even lower ticket prices through seat sales and discounts, one could spend a weekend overseas for less than US$ 500. (A local budget airline, for example, attracts patrons through its famous Piso Fare — you just need to be up online when the systems starts accepting reservations.)

Aside from air travel, huge developments have also been adapted to other modes of transportation. Now, we have automated subway systems that rely on technology and are said to give more assurance to the safety of the passengers. An American company is now developing driverless cars and few years from now, we might witness cars with artificial intelligence that can park on its own! Countries have also been supporting the use of green technology, eliminating the use of non-renewable energy that also causes pollution and has adverse effects on mother nature.

Exposure to other cultures through travel also allows individuals to have a global and culturally-sensitive mindset. It allows individuals to know, understand and respect other countries’ traditions, some of which might be totally opposite of what they grew up in. At the same time, it enables individuals to gain knowledge from the developed countries which could be used for their personal development.

Globalization also has an impact on education. Take the Philippines for example. Though we could say that our education system has been heavily influenced by our colonizers (Spaniards, Americans, and later on Japanese), a lot has changed since we became an independent country. Now, the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education conducts regular reviews to ensure that we are adapting international standards. Just recently, we have shifted to a K to 12 Program which covers Kindergarten and twelve years of basic education (six years primary education, four years of junior high school and two years of senior high school) as compared to ten years of basic education previously (six years primary education and four years high school).

Globalization has greatly affected how we communicate. I remember in the 1990s, applying for a landline was so tedious and expensive. My father used to be an OFW and our means of staying in touch would be through snail mails — some of which included cassette tapes where my father would share his stories. Our neighbor also had a landline (and during that time, only their family had a landline in our small compound) so we would schedule a one hour phone call every weekend. Things have drastically changed a couple of years later. Now, almost everyone has a mobile phone (some even have two or three handsets which mean two or three lines), and almost everyone has an internet connection. To announce important events in our lives, we usually just turn to Facebook. To keep in touch with our friends (some of whom might be working outside the country), we usually just use mobile applications that enables us to send messages for free — we just need to have an internet connection. This development also made us more aware of what is happening around us. Information, news, latest trends — all of them are right at our fingertips.

Despite these, globalization also comes at a price. For instance, because countries become more open to foreign workers, some locals argue that they are being deprived of jobs at their own homelands. Developed countries have also discovered that outsourcing certain parts of their processes to developing countries would result to more savings as labor in developing countries tend to be cheaper compared to the cost of labor in developed countries. Because of this, locals view it as if they are being robbed of opportunities as the jobs that were supposed to be vacant for locals are now being transferred to another country.

Some have also argued that globalization only has positive impact on developing countries and further increases the gap and inequality between the rich and the poor. Developed countries such as the US, China, Canada, Germany, Singapore and Japan continue to prosper whereas developing countries such as Ghana and Kenya continue to lag behind. The liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Papua New Guinea, the largest resource extraction project in Asia Pacific which extracts natural gas from PNG highlands where it is processed before being liquefied and transferred into ships for sale offshore promised to boost the country’s GDP. To-date, however, significant impact has not been felt and the promise is yet to be seen by the PNG nation.

Lastly, globalization also greatly affect a nation’s culture — one that defines a country and one that differentiates one nation from another. Nowadays, it is no longer strange to witness a table of friends who are eating together but not talking to each other, all because everyone is too attached to their mobile phones. Some children (or teenagers) do not know our folk songs, but can easily sing along Taylor Swift’s latest hit. Some of us have not mastered our own language, but are joining the Korean craze, studying the language and the hanggul. I seldom hear children in our neighborhood use the polite “po” and “opo” when speaking to elders. Some prefer to face their tablets or laptops rather than play tumbang preso, or agawan base or piko.

In closing, I would like to say that there are always two sides of a coin, and this is very true in everything in this world. There is no such thing as 100% good, or 100% bad, or 100% evil. The same is the case with globalization. Surely, it has some benefits but it also has negative effects. At the end of the day, it is up to us, and of course, our leaders, to decide which parts of these to take.

References:

  1. http://www.globalization101.org/what-is-globalization/
  2. https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/02/how-airline-ticket-prices-fell-50-in-30-years-and-why-nobody-noticed/273506/
  3. http://theconversation.com/papua-new-guinea-gets-a-dose-of-the-resource-curse-as-exxonmobils-natural-gas-project-foments-unrest-70780

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