Globalization is a controversial term referring to the concept of increased human interaction and interdependence across the globe. As individuals, we are no longer isolated and unaffected by the actions of distant others. Human society is increasingly interconnected and interdependent. Our actions now impact others on a global scale. Our use of technology, our consumption patterns, our relation to the natural environment, and our decisions to go to war have far-reaching consequences. These consequences reverberate across the globe.

Opposing Viewpoints

To understand globalization as a controversial concept, it must be examined from multiple worldviews. Worldviews consist of the ideas that inform our perceptions of the world in which we live. One worldview, the free market or neoliberal view, describes the ongoing global trend toward the freer flow of trade and investment across borders and the resulting integration of the international economy. Because it expands economic freedom and spurs competition, globalization raises the productivity and living standards of people in countries that open themselves to the global marketplace. This definition focuses on the economic aspects of globalization. It sees globalization as a beneficial process that enables free markets to provide for individual freedom.

Institutionalists agree with the neoliberals that globalization is a positive benefit to humanity. However, institutionalists believe that regulation and international cooperation are essential to retain the stability of the global system. Institutionalists argue that globalization has created a world characterized by complex interdependency (all countries are connected so they all rely on each other for economics, politics, and general well-being). Given complex interdependency, institutionalists argue that countries must create mechanisms to enhance cooperation and understanding to solve collective problems. These problems include economic decisions, environmental problems, conflict and security, and other issues that affect more than one country. Institutionalists recommend international agreements and institutions to provide for better cooperation and understanding of globalization. These mechanisms offer a way to increase communication among actors to deal with collective issues associated with globalization.

The critical worldview of globalization is not against the idea of globalization per se, but is opposed to the contemporary form of capitalist globalization. Instead, critics work to achieve dramatic social change through the promotion of social justice. They argue that capitalist globalization represents injustice, domination, and exploitation. Capitalist globalization oppresses the majority of the world's people; it also destroys the Earth's natural environment. Many critics argue that economic globalization is a form of imperialism. Under imperialism, "core," or "rich," capitalist countries exploit the labor and natural resources of "periphery," or "poor," countries. Globalization is the process of capitalists enriching themselves at the expense of human rights and environmental health.

Some critics, though they resist the contemporary form of globalization, believe that globalization does not have to be a negative process and that it can increase understanding and acceptance of cultural diversity. Globalization could be pursued to enhance universal humanism and collective solidarity. With increased interaction and understanding, humanity may relieve itself of xenophobia (fear of foreigners). These fears often serve as a catalyst and justification for conflict, war, and oppression.

Justin Ervin and Zachary A. Smith
MLA Citation

Ervin, Justin and Zachary A. Smith. "Globalization." ABC-CLIO Solutions, ABC-CLIO, 2022, Accessed 22 Jan. 2022.

View all citation styles.

Back to Top

© 2022 ABC-CLIO, LLC