Globalization describes the recent and rapid process of intercontinental economic, social, and political integration. This worldwide integration allows people to travel, communicate, and invest internationally, as well as allowing companies to market their products and helping them acquire raw materials easily. Through global participation, companies are also able to share advanced technology and enjoy the economies of scale. As much as globalization is a benefit to a majority, it is also a disadvantage at some point, since some cultures may be hurt while environments may suffer due to pollution.
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According to Ferendinos (2009, pp. 4), globalization can be categorized into five categories; this include internationalization, liberalization, universalization, modernalization and respatialization. Internationalization actually depicts cross-border relationship between countries, whereas liberalization defines globalization as the process of creating an open world economy by removal of state restriction on movement between countries, resulting to an increase in the price of labor. Liberalization also improves the total factor productivity growth. On the other hand, universalization describes globalization as a process of spreading a range of products and experiences all over the world, and finally, modernization describes globalization as the global reach of social structures of modernity, which include capitalism and industrialism.
Globalization creates conditions of free movement of goods and services and by doing this, it offers greater opportunity to economically stronger companies, which are then able to secure a competitive advantage globally. Globalization in a world economy is accompanied by increased economic independence in the world. This involves the sensitivity of individual companies to changes taking place on a global scale. Global dependence can either be unilateral, which involves the dependence of a specific country on the global economy. It could also be bilateral, which involves the dependence of a country on global economy and of the global economy on that country (Bozyk 2006, pp.3). Importantly, globalization benefits the society, since it contributes to increased average global prosperity. This way, globalization increases labor productivity and contributes to factors of production.
Globalization relation to the production, distribution, and consumption of food
Globalization has a major impact on food worldwide due to changes in technology, which are resulting to greater availability and diversity of food. Many of these changes are associated with urbanization, increase in income, market liberalization, and foreign direct investments. In addition, competition for a market share of food purchases tends to intensify due to emergence of competitive fast food firms. Moreover, the globalization of food production allows access to high fat, high sugar and energy-dense food.
Today, developed countries are moving away from the common methods of cultivation of plants and preparation of diets that were based on grains and vegetables, to consumption of processed foods. Generally, this is driven by the fact that processed foods are much cheaper than fresh foods (Stern J 2009, pp 93). For instance, if we compare a cornflake, which is made from corn, where one only needs milk to complete the meal with a healthy complete meal made from fresh vegetables, cornflakes cereals appear to be much cheaper than the healthy meal.
Due to globalization, NGO's are insisting on food safety in food production whereby, farmers are not allowed to use excess chemicals and in case of use of chemicals, they must be clearly identified. Though organic production is introduced to farmers around the world, not all farmers benefit by this method of farming. Some farmers hence result to usage of powerful chemicals on crops that could affect the consumer, since some chemicals stay intact. Due to technology, fresh vegetables and grains can be exported to other countries via shipping or plane due to the emergence of refrigerators; for instance, refrigerators enable the yields to reach their destination as fresh as they were harvested. Due to technological advancement, there is presence of genetic modification of plants, which are able to produce yields of the same size and shape, which are durable and do not spoil quickly especially in fruits production (Duram L 2010, pp 202).
Modern technology has also affected food production and distribution such that, technology advances allow food that is grown anywhere in the world to reach any consumer in the world. Food can now be distributed to the markets, supermarkets, and even retail shops. Globalization has also made it possible for food availability in many countries to be similar. Changes are also facilitated in ways by food production based on intensive agriculture, new food processing and storage technologies, longer product shelf life, the emergence of food retailers such as fast food outlets and supermarkets, advertising and marketing of certain products.
In the case of cereals production like corn, the united state uses a lot of ethanol to produce massive amounts of corn. This has led to many forests being turned into corn plantations. However, much of the corn production is profitable, it leads to rise of prices in corn purchases, rise of fuel, as well as interfering with the environment especially the deforestation. According to Elmendorf (2009, pp 8), the high prices in corn also affect other food commodities that may contain corn.
In addition, he argues that the high prices of corn can increase other food prices by indirectly increasing the prices of other crop as soybeans incase farmers decide to grow soybeans on corn allocated land. In addition, ethanol production consumes a lot of water than other naturally grown crops, these plants are also said to cause air pollution. Corn is a common product, which is evenly distributed around the world, and it can be found in retail shops, supermarkets, and in open markets. Despite the fact that it is mostly produced in the united stated and exported, it is able to stay fresh for sometime due to the refrigeration facilities. In addition, changes in global food market has led to increased food consumption and changing patterns of food production due to high demands. Globalization has also reduced poverty through the introduction of organic farming to farmers in developing countries, which is safe to practice. It has also led to emergence of multinational food companies that make fast foods (Vaidya, 2006, pp 395).
The fact that globalization and trade liberalization result in decline of food production is a threat to food security. Globalization is transforming the process of food production, food distribution, and food consumption in terms of food security. Globalization can also affect food security by enhancing knowledge of food aid. In case of extreme food-insecurity and insufficient import capacity, food aid may be provided in order to supplement the scarce food imports. The changes brought about by globalization have resulted in diverse food that is available throughout for those who can afford to buy. In addition, there is emergence of home-prepared foods that are ready to eat, and meals that are consumed away from home. Nevertheless, this change in food production system has its effects, such as overweight cases due to high level of junk-food consumption and diet related diseases.
Due to the emergence of food storage systems like use of a fridge, health issues are arising depending on how long the food is refrigerated. When fresh food is stored for a long time, even under low temperatures, it is not fit for consumption. However, with globalization, there are many ideas that are acquired on production, distribution, and consumption of food worldwide.
Nevertheless, according to an article by Kim (2007), the agricultural sector within developing countries is essential to world agricultural trade. However, Globalization has played a big role in contributing to food exportation, which in turn leads to declining food security in the third world countries. For instance, large acres of land are converted into high value cash crops for export, industrial zones, golf courses, and tourist resorts. Another effect of globalization on the environments of developing nations is the loss of native flora and fauna due to the conversion of wild lands to farmland and pasture for industrial agriculture.
Change of land use declines the capability of the farmers to produce their own food, as well as often having terrible effects on the environment, like soil erosion and deforestation where more land is required. In addition, there have been many challenges to agriculture and food security. The challenges include reducing barriers to trade and larger markets on a global scale. As a result, there is demand for a new division of labor and a trend towards production based on exports.
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