Advantages of Globalization

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People around the world are more connected to each other than ever before. Information and money flow quicker than ever. Products produced in one part of a country are available to the rest of the world. It is much easier for people to travel, communicate and do business internationally. This whole phenomenon has been called globalization. Spurred on in the past by merchants, explorers, colonialists and internationalists, globalization has in more recent times been increasing rapidly due to improvements in communications, information and transport technology. It has also been encouraged by trade liberalization and financial market deregulation.

Globalization offers a higher standard of living for people in rich countries and is the only realistic route out of poverty for the world's poor. Pro-globalization groups e.g. World Trade Organization and the World Economic Forum believe that globalization helps to reduce poverty and increase living standards as well as encourage a better cultural understanding. Also, due to globalization, there can be international co-operation to solve environmental and social problems.

Technology has now created the possibility and even the likelihood of a global culture. The Internet, fax machines and satellites have swept away the old national cultural boundaries. Global entertainment companies now seem to shape the understandings and dreams of ordinary citizens, wherever they live. Globalization leads to better cultural understanding and tolerance. Because of improvements in travel, more and more people are traveling to different countries, thereby spreading their culture to other parts of the world.

The beauty of globalization is that it can free people from the tyranny of geography. Just because someone was born in France does not mean they can only speak French, eat French food, read French books, enjoy French entertainment etc. A Frenchman -- or anyone for that matter -- can take holidays anywhere in the world, eat sushi, drink Coke or Cape wine, watch a Hollywood blockbuster, listen to kwaito or opera, practice yoga or karate ! The fact that we are increasingly free to choose our cultural experiences enriches our lives immeasurably. Now we have the opportunity to experience the best that the world has to offer.

Globalization not only increases individual freedom, but it also revitalizes cultures through foreign influences, technologies, and markets. Thriving cultures are not the ones set in stone. They are the ones that are forever changing due to inside and outside sources. Each generation challenges the previous one; science and technology alter the way we see ourselves and the world; fashions come and go; experience and events influence our beliefs; outsiders affect us for good and bad. Cross-cultural exchange can spread greater diversity as well as greater similarity: more gourmet restaurants as well as more McDonald's!

A bigger worry of anti-globalization groups is that greater individual freedom may come at the expense of national identity. But such fears are overdone. Natural cultures are much stronger than people seem to think. They can embrace some foreign influences and resist others. Foreign influences can rapidly become accepted, changing national culture, but not destroying it. Amartya Sen, the Nobel prize-winning economist, is quite right when he says that, "the culturally fearful often take a very fragile view of each culture and tend to underestimate our ability to learn from elsewhere without being overwhelmed by that experience."

Self-proclaimed opponents of globalization also argue that global integration is increasing poverty and inequality -- both within and between nations. Such critics propose "progressive solutions" including slowing down, controlling, and even reversing the globalization process. However, a closer look at the evidence shows that the anti-globalization case is based largely on false assertions. The wealth of evidence available...
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