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The Truth About Globalization

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By Amit Dutt

APMCP Year 15 Online

In almost every class we have, the topic of Globalization is a recurring theme. Nevertheless, we never seem to debate whether it is a good of bad idea.  Though I am a pure capitalist at heart, I have mixed opinions on this particular matter. Here are some thoughts that I have on the subject:

How does the West view the developing world?  A clear example is shown in how Britain and the US make strenuous efforts to sell cigarettes to poor countries. Neither nation gives out health warnings against smoking as they do in their own countries. The developing nations need tobacco like a hole in the head. Imagine how their health services are going to cope in 20 years time with all the smoking related diseases that are being imposed upon them. But of course, we can then sell them expensive medicines that we have developed in the West. (Personal note: Now is a good time to buy stock in pharmaceutical companies that are doing work in lung cancer treatment!)

One could argue that nobody is forced to smoke, but this is not the issue. The issue lies in the fact that governments should mandate their corporations to operate in a responsible manner outside of their own markets and borders. It appears that governments in the West dont really care about corporate behaviour outside their own borders. The irony here is that these same governments give foreign aid to those same nations in which their corporations often cause damage. Does this mean that, in some cases, foreign aid is actually a reparation payment for the damaging effects of economic imperialism committed by companies from the West?   I believe so!

I think that most people are not frustrated with free trade as such, but how it is conducted. The current framework for international trade provided by multinational agreements can, at best, be described as unfair. The interests of the West are clearly favoured. Many people are also not opposed to capitalism as such, again simply how it is implemented. It is apparent to any dispassionate observer that far from upholding the principles of democracy and respect for all humankind, the needs of commerce have often served to thwart them. As we learnt in AP history, all one has to do is recall that Britain's colonial adventures in India, China and the East Indies were perpetuated by what was felt to be an inalienable right to force nations half way across the world to trade with them on their own terms.

All of this being said, I dont believe Globalization is as evil as many suggest.  In India, for example, the presence of foreign IT companies has led to the creation of a multi-billion dollar high tech industry. The result is a huge worldwide interest in Indian talent leading to a substantial growth in GDP. Its a solid example of how globalization has positive effects such as creating jobs and nurturing talent, which ultimately help to alleviate poverty.

Amit Dutt