Globalization is a word that is very often heard but very rarely completely explained or made understood. It refers to many activities, including economic, taking place across the national boundaries around the world. This goes beyond the international trade in goods and includes the way those goods are produced, the delivery and sale of services, and the movement of capital. Pondering upon the fact that globalization leads to unbalanced society, Laurence M. Rothenberg (2005) puts out the reality in this way ‘This question would receive very different answers in Washington, Sao Paolo, Paris, Cairo, Johannesburg, Bombay, Hong Kong, and Manila. In fact, in each of those places this question would receive very different answers from different people— business leaders, government officials, agricultural laborers, the unemployed, or human rights activists. Indeed, simple answers to these questions, answers that people in different walks of life in different countries would agree on, would be virtually impossible to reach’. The answers, however, are needed to be evaluated from assessing the lives of people around the world. A close analysis of people around the world will probably force one to believe that globalization in fact is leading the masses towards an unbalanced society.
The type of globalization we are experiencing is sometimes portrayed as an inevitable, technologically driven process that we must adapt to in order to survive and prosper.
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For millions of workers, in the developing as well as the developed world, this has been translated into living with greater job insecurity and worse conditions. But the reality is that the globalization we have seen in recent decades has been driven by a laborious process of international rule-making and enforcement. Governments have made those rules. There has been a conscious political choice to pursue the policies that underpin the process. Of course, domestic economic, industrial and social policies also play a crucial role in determining living conditions, though poorer countries are less able to resist globalization due to their economically weaker position. In such given conditions most of the time the individual choices give way to societal choices making it hard for the poor people in the society. Viewing globalization as a process of interaction and integration, globalization is the acceleration and intensification of interaction and integration among the people, companies, and governments of different nations. This process has effects on human health, personal safety and well-being, on the environment, on culture, religion, and political systems, and on economic development and prosperity of societies across the world.
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Urbanization has transformed our societies over the centuries. People congregated in towns and cities took up different economical activities to survive and then flourish. ‘Historically speaking, these social and economic changes implied the consolidation of human activities in ever more concentrated human settlements, which facilitated production, trade and other forms of exchange between individuals. Improved communication technology is paving the way for a new spatial distribution of individuals – connected ‘virtually’, but sometimes physically remote’ (Jean Claude 2006). This metropolisation process is evident in the most industrialized countries (Bassand, 2004). Moreover, all over the world a trend of urban centers thriving economically more than the rural with an ever increasing margin is one area where the unbalanced growth is evident.
While the first tension of globalization is between individual choice and the societies’ choice, the second tension is between free market and government intervention. The free market is the aggregation of lots of individual choices, while government intervention is the practical way that societies decide on and implement the choices they make about their values. Thus, a free market determines what goods are produced and how money is invested in order to satisfy consumer demand (that is, the sum of all the individual choices). The free market also plays the crucial role in creating an efficient response to changes in the economy, when consumer demand increases or decreases for certain products, or when factors such as a decline in investment or damage to the environment changes the supply of money or products. The government, over here, is often required to provide key services, such as water, electricity, sewage, and garbage pick-up moreover mention police, fire, and defense forces. The patent rights given or accepted by government in many of the products as a result of globalization often cuts the freedom of private market in many countries for the regular people. One of the burning issues in the international arena is the inability of poorer countries to hold stable free markets which reward the innovative production that would be with in the affordability of its own poor citizens. Until and unless the governments are able to hold this stability in proportion the unbalance in the society will be worsening.
Finally, the third tension will be that of decision making by authorities which are international. In such decisions, it is most likely that the effect of the decisions will be direct on those people whose situation is not at all known to the decision makers.
In many countries a decision by the central government itself would be much distant from the common mans daily life and that would confirm the strangeness of an authority in a different country making important economical and social decisions for the people. For example, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank are viewed—rightly or wrongly—in much of Latin America and Asia as Washington-based cabals of bankers forcing American-style economic policy on societies that have different values than individualized capitalism (Laurence M. Rothenberg 2005).
These examples of the tensions of globalization are just a few of the cases where citizens around the world have felt threatened by the current process of interaction and integration. Above all ‘The rift between the rich and the poor has deepened over recent decades and only a few countries have been able to lift themselves out of poverty. The urban primacy in the economic field goes hand in hand with international disparities and more and more precarious urban centers owing to the growth of slums. Intensified trade linkages tend to consolidate this bipolar division of the urban world into winners and losers’ (Bolay, 2004). The above said studies and findings suggest one to completely agree with the statement that globalization leads to an unbalanced society.