Globalization and Inequality

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Tsakas Spyridon

GLOBALIZATION AND INEQUALITY

It seems like every day in the news and newspapers there is yet another mention of globalization and whether or not it is good or bad. Does anyone really know what the term actually means or stands for though? There are many varying definitions of this term however the most appropriate since it is proposed by the World Bank would have to be the one cited by Branko Milanovic which states that it is the “freedom and ability of individuals and firms to initiate voluntary economic transactions with residents of other countries” (Milanovic 2003 World Bank). The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether or not globalization has aided or worsened inequality in the world. The focus will be on economic inequalities among regions, labor inequalities, poverty, debt, education, and health care. Globalization, contrary to popular belief, has made the gap between rich and poor countries even wider leading to civil unrest around the world. Globalization is not a newly discovered phenomenon. People have been trading across the globe throughout the course of human history. The flow of capital today is much more rapid than it was 100 years ago, or even 10 years ago for that matter. Due to the ambiguous nature of its definition it is hard to designate exactly when globalization began. The general consensus is that in modern history there have been three major periods of globalization. The most recent period has begun in the 1970’s and is still in progress today. “Nations with formerly inward focused policies have chosen to open their markets to foreign trade and investment… foreign assets relative to world income have jumped from 18 percent in 1980 to 57 percent in 1995” (Houck 5). Clearly this is indicating that capital is flowing much more rapidly and freely among nations, showing that globalization is taking place. According to Milanovic, the bulk of capital flows to developing nations today are direct...
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