Some commentators believe that globalization – defined as the global movement of ideas, goods and people – increases economic opportunities in developing nations but also creates cultural side effects. How do you assess this argument? Based on your assessment, what policy or stance do you think your home country should adopt towards globalization?
I would not argue against the notion that globalization creates cultural side effects because it might just be true if looked through particular pessimistic views, rather I will explain to the proponents of such an idea how globalization has blessed the world, why we cannot want its goodies without experiencing its shortcoming and how such challenges could be opportunities.
The former UN secretary-general Kofi Anan once said at the UNCTAD Conference in 2000 that “The main losers in today’s very unequal world are not those who are too much exposed to globalization. They are those who have been left out.”1 Wherewith Africa is the most prominent example.
However, in an attempt to appraise globalization as far as developing nations are concerned, it has been more of a blessing than a curse. The global movement of people has added manpower to production, consumption increment to markets and most of all, innovations in countries with open borders.
While some of these developments became solutions to widespread problems in the world. Benefits have also been derived from the knowledge, wealth and inventions of other countries as imports of medicines and new health care systems have improved living conditions. Modern technology and new methods of production have also moved production forward efficiently which has enhanced national prosperity and poverty reduction.
Globalization did not only reduce poverty, hunger, and inequality, but it also increases the standards of living across the world while it continues to diminish illiteracy in developing nations, especially Africa. The movements of goods across borders have also improved market competition which has offered affordable options for the poor.
Globalization is a light that enlightens people as I have seen in my home country Nigeria; where aged men and women who could not read have learnt to operate mobile phones, listen to the radio on the same phone and some even using social media, thereby staying abreast with information. It is also promoting gender equality since the televisions have shown likely notions of possibilities in other worlds.
Despite these blessings of globalization, however, cultural assimilation is perhaps the fear of those commentators who see potential or real cultural side effects. Nonetheless, the thought that developing nations are losing their cultural stance is really not as it seems.
Although one will have to first understand that globalization does not have a culture, and should not be mistaken with westernization, rather it should be seen as a platform to sell out every culture other than chickening out. The West, Asian and the Indians are putting their customs in the world through movies and ideas, we can do the same. It is a free world where values could be adopted. Even Nigeria has begun putting its culture to the world through its entertainment and fashion industry.
We should not hold negative views of a structure that is beginning to transform our existence; Nigeria and Africa should embrace globalization much more because isolation and regulation cause poor countries to remain poor countries.
Reference; Norberg, Johan, In Defence of Global Capitalism. Stockholm: Timbro, 2001.