Challenges Facing Western Countries

Topics: Western world, Peak oil, Globalization Pages: 5 (1741 words) Published: February 27, 2014
Challenges Facing Western Countries

The global community as whole faces many problem, with developing nations having to confront a different set of issues than those of developed nations. Western societies have the luxuries of a high standard of living and general prosperity, but these luxuries also come with their own set of challenges and obstacles; a double edge sword requiring a fine degree of balance if they wish to maintain stability and sustainable growth. Having to deal with domestic issues such as an aging and shrinking population (which is typical of most developed countries) is just one of the obstacles western nations face. Issues on a larger scale, such as economic and environmental sustainability and the provocative issue of globalization, are also sets of complications that must also be held in check. The actions and decisions made by the developed world have a large impact, on not only themselves, but on the entire world as well. This is evident in the case of globalization, one of the significant issues at hand. In a time of interdependence, where economies are not fenced in by borders, but are linked across continents and oceans, relying on one another means that the problems are shared too. As economist Jagish Bagwati explains, globalization is the “integration of national economies into the international economy through trade, direct foreign investment (by corporations and multinationals), short-term capital flows, international flows of workers and humanity generally, and flows of technology.” In other words, it’s an amalgamation of the entire world’s economy into a singular flowing entity. The problem with globalization is not about the inevitability of the idea itself, but rather, the side effects that seem to take a backseat. Integration and assimilation of cultures and the loss of diversity are some of the side effects. In an effort to gain scale of economy in the global marketplace, resources are pooled to maximize efficiency; human capital is pooled together, mixed and pumped out as a homogenous mass, losing the uniqueness and distinctions that once was present in their separate cultures. This loss of diversity is also troubling; like with agriculture, without diversity, any single destructive event has the capability of taking out or interfering with the entire population, but in the case of the homogenous human resource, issues that affect the population can quickly snowball. The human monoculture is not as resilient or as effective as those with diversity since problems would only be viewed through a single perspective, and not through different lenses of the different cultures. However, it is not all bad with globalization. In an interconnected world, greater good can be achieved. Ventures like the International Space Station have been a great success and show that many countries working together can be a very effective method of breeding innovation and speeding development. Concerns with environment, pollution and climate change are also being dealt with cooperatively at the global level; it’s necessary for world to work together to create a viable future. Today’s technologies allows humans to communicate in real-time with nearly anyone in the world, and this ability can have the potential to organize, motivate and deploy the masses of interconnected populations to work towards a shared goal that benefits the entire world. These collaborative efforts are one the most valuable movements as a result of globalization that some people may not realize. For example, Wikipedia and those annoying text boxes used to prevent robots from filling in forms on the internet known as CAPTCHAS (where people are actually helping digitize books) are both examples of collaborate efforts used for the benefit of everyone and would be difficult to achieve without this network that is closely tied with globalization. Since western countries have advanced medical and pharmaceutical technologies, mortality rates...

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