Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Ethics Paper: Globalization

And here's my paper on Globalization. :) This is also for TSETHICS class under Prof. Manny Dy for the Ateneo Graduate School of Business (AGSB).


Globalization has been a topic of interest way back when I started high school, and it still continues to be an interesting topic to date. Back then, we were just told that this phenomenon is inevitable, and that we should prepare for it because it affects us not only as individuals, but as a country. As I entered the corporate world, the more I realized that I am part of the process and that globalization affects me in a lot of ways. The advances in information technology and communications have paved the way to make the world a smaller place. Connections are as easy as pies even when the other party is on the other side of the globe. Indeed, through the years, globalization has happened and is still happening.

Being a part of a multinational company, I have always had the notion that globalization is one of the good things that has happened. The free market created new opportunities and new ideas for business minds from all over the globe. It also allowed firms from the less industrialized countries to tap into more and larger markets around the world. As a result, it led to more access to capital flows, technology, human capital, cheaper imports and larger export markets. Because the world has become a smaller place, small businesses also become part of bigger production and supply chain networks that are the main conduits of trade.

After reading the articles of G.B. Madison and Oliva Blanchette, my views have somehow changed. I still think that globalization has its positive points because of the opportunities it offers, but I was probably looking at it from a different perspective. It can’t be all that good, it also has its challenges. Ideally, globalization would be beneficial because as the world is inter-connected, the glory of one becomes the glory of all. Yet, what happens when it’s the other way around? Just like the domino effect, the downfall of one also causes the downfall of others. This can be clearly seen during the recession period, where the market hit a slow-down and businesses from America to Europe to Asia have all been hit. Globalization is indeed a double-edged sword—it can pave the way for roads to success, or it can start an avalanche of failure.

According to Madison, globalization affects the economic, political, and social dynamics of the world. There are certain advantages of this phenomenon that are beneficial to society, especially to the first world countries and dominant powers. As we shift towards having a global civilization through worldwide connections, prosperity can be achieved. This is because as we get to know other cultures, we are also given a glimpse of how other people live and interact. This allows us to have a better understanding of others and when people understand each other, there is harmony. In addition, the transformation of the marketplace into one global arena results to a single, integrated free market where developing countries are given more opportunities. This means more jobs, more income, and a better standard of living for people. Moreover, the changes brought about by globalization also signal the people to adapt to the changes so as not to be left behind, thereby creating a global culture. For some, this international market is utopia.

Unfortunately, not everybody becomes happy with globalization. In order to compete and to play in the field, organizations resort to all means necessary even at the expense of their morality. Often, the underdeveloped and poor countries are the ones to suffer the most because the bigger and more powerful countries or businesses resort to oppression and deprivation of human rights just to be able to keep up. For instance, China resorts to below minimum wage workers just to be the perfect manufacturing country with the cheapest labor costs. Other countries also resort to child labor and other unjust practices to gain competitive edge. And in other cases, poor business ethics and moral standards have propelled some organizations to create x-deals so they could flourish in the international market.

Another effect of globalization is that because of the rapid advancement of civilization, our resources are slowly being exploited, resulting to global scarcity. Mother Nature is there for as long as we protect her, but the fast-paced lifestyle has also caused a rapid destruction of Earth’s natural resources. The global market means global consumers, and global consumers multiply the depletion of supplies by a hundred or a million fold. For those stricken with poverty, this means being exploited by the rich. As such, inequality is growing and poverty is worsening. The rich are getting richer, while the poor are getting poorer.

These situations make me think twice about globalization. Is it indeed something good? Will it bring us positive results? If yes, how much are we willing to sacrifice just to be able to keep up? Despite the numerous advantages offered by globalization, is our humanity the price we have to pay to cope with this global phenomenon? The rich people obviously benefit from globalization, but more often at the detriment of the poor. The interests of the powerful countries and organizations have replaced the focus for the environment, for human rights, and for social justice. Therefore, those who want to play in this global space should also take a step back and carefully analyze at what expense they are doing when joining the international marketplace. In today’s society where wealth and power play very important roles, people should not forget that money is still material and that there are greater ideals that need to be pursued; i.e. happiness, love, world peace. We are only human, mere mortals, and a time will come where we will have to leave this physical realm. While we are still here, we should not forget how to live, not just have a better standard of living, but to actually live – allowing our souls to thrive instead of be trampled on, and building relationships in our societies instead of destroying them. In an ideal world where our humanity is preserved, where societies live in harmony, and where we care for Mother Nature and allow her to flourish, then perhaps globalization can be considered as truly good.

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