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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 May, 2005, 17:32 GMT 18:32 UK
Is globalisation a force for good?
Picture of earth from space, with a dollar sign superimposed
Globalisation has made the world a smaller place, with increased trade, communications and workforce mobility.

It has touched every country, and its supporters say it increases wealth, consumer choice, and promotes democracy.

But critics say globalisation gives too much power to multinational business, weakening states and making underdeveloped countries poorer.

How has globalisation affected you where you live? Is it capitalism at its most dangerous or an opportunity for poor countries to become richer? What is its effect on the economy, culture , human rights and the environment?

We discussed the effects of globalisation in a special radio global phone-in programme, 'Globalisation: For Richer, For Poorer', hosted from London, Boston and Los Angeles. The programme was broadcast live at 1800GMT on Saturday, 21 May.

This debate is now closed. You can read a selection of your comments below.

Globalisation is balancing the demand and supply of goods around the world. It can be any type of goods that travel from one part of the world where it is cheaply produced to the other part of the world. In my opinion globalisation will lead to innovation of better products which are cost competitive and will lead to development of better products for the future.
Vijay, Salem, India

It connects people by the means of communication but also influences social division.
Rossitsa, Sofia, Bulgaria
On one hand, globalisation is inevitable, but on the other, it is for those who can afford it. We are facing an important stage of the world history, but no-one is sure what it will lead us to. It connects people by the means of communication but also influences social division. While some get enabled to improve their lives by new opportunities for travel, work and education, others are bound stronger to their unchanging low position. Globalisation is a major force which main quality is the free float of capitals(towards the less resistance actually) so the most important question is who will direct it and who will set the frame before its development. Nations should match the common interests and keep their cultural identity to share it with the others, not just obey the multinationals in a process of a worldwide commercial unification.
Rossitsa, Sofia, Bulgaria

Globalization is destroying the diversity of evolutionary alternatives for the human race; alternatives that could have been compatible with the conservation of human dignity and the development of individual potential and individual responsibility - an element so totally lacking in the emerging, new, non-societies. A large majority of human beings in all countries, both "developed" and "undeveloped", are funnelled through minimal educational opportunities and fed directly into production lines where thinking and participation are not cost-effective. There is nothing sadder than to see campesinos who now have no idea how to manage their own land, the names and uses of their plants and animals, no idea of their rights, and how to cooperate and develop within their own communities. These people now simply wait for instructions from some mightier "other" to determine the shape of their lives, and dehumanising jobs which allow people to eat and breed but not much else.
Annie, Tapachula, Mexico

Globalization is going to mean a faster rate of development for the whole world. The cost of generating and implementing new ideas plummets as a result of globalization and there are going to be many more ideas generated in the first place due to the democratization of information. This is a virtuous cycle which will transform the world in unforeseen ways, for both good and bad.
Roopesh Mathur, Lebanon, NH, USA

The low-wage countries to which globalising multinationals move production eventually become more expensive and the multinationals move on. When there are no more low-wage countries to move to - pretty soon, now - globalisation will have come to an end and the growing significance of transport costs will reverse it.
Tony Marshallsay, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Globalisation has brought about mixed effects in this global village of ours. It is one of the reasons why the gap between rich and poor countries is increasing continuously. Cheap labour in the Third World has caused multinationals to set up their plants in these countries. This has led to sheer exploitation of the labour force with rightful share of the earnings not being given them. This is something to worry about as it gives a picture of neo-colonialism to the Third World.
Shehzad Valliani, Karachi, Pakistan

Globalisation is inevitable. Protectionism is only a tactic. In fact, the rest of the world is heavily subsidising the consumers in the US. They complain the most but pay the least.
W K Wong, Hong Kong

Globalisation is the economic equivalent of evolution. It is necessary to promote economic growth to replace (as far as possible) the welfare state. Better give a man a fishing pole and tackle, than gift him fish as charity. As a businessman in the Third World, I welcome the challenges and opportunities of globalisation.
Anthony, Colombo, Sri Lanka

They dictate the price of goods
Thomas Nouck, African in Belgium
I think globalisation benefits the richer nations more. They dictate the price of goods, they influence the socio-economic and political aspects of poorer nations and even deprive them of their human capital, as many leave to enjoy better conditions in the developed countries.
Thomas Nouck, African in Belgium

3 months ago I had a manufacturing business in the UK. I sold my machines to Poland, moved my family to Cyprus and paid off all my debt. Now I have a far better lifestyle. This is globalisation at its best.
John Graham, Darynia, Cyprus

I have been to China recently and have witnessed the tremendous social and economic progress being made there and in other developing countries. Thomas L. Friedman was right when he said that those who oppose globalisation comprise the "keep the poor, poor coalition". Globalisation benefits us all, including those in developing countries. Those who would reverse this trend unwittingly advocate for the poverty and despotism of the past.
Nathan, Houston, Texas, USA

The furniture industry has taken a hit. My salary has declined by 14% since '97 due to a lay off and having to take a job at a lower pay-rate.
Robert, Pennsylvania, USA

I'm concerned at the cultural cost
Helen, London, UK
Globalisation is robbing countries of the richness of their own culture and tradition. If I go into a Starbucks in Germany and ask for a frappuchino - I get one. If I go into a McDonalds in Moscow and ask for a Big Mac, I get one. I'm sure that globalisation can bring positive benefits to all parts of the world but I'm concerned at the cultural cost.
Helen, London, UK

Globalisation has enabled me to work as a freelancer from my home in the EU, for clients that are based mostly in the USA. Sometimes I even hire freelancers from India to help me out.
Mark, Novo Mesto, Slovenia

It may have made the world smaller but has it made it fairer? A lot of local inequality hides behind the term globalisation. The shirt I wore 10 years ago was made locally in Sydney and for a just wage. The same or even better shirt I wear today, which cost me less, is made by paying workers in China a pittance. Globalisation is OK for First World consumers but very unfair for Chinese and other workers.
Paul Duffy, Sydney, Australia

Here in France we have been extremely adversely affected by globalisation. 15,000 people have left this area to search for jobs elsewhere. Exorbitant interest rates and overdrawn account penalties are charged by the banks. Food prices have tripled. Plumbers, roofers, and other trades have tripled their prices in the last 3 years due to the introduction of the euro. All aid to the poor have been cut drastically. Meanwhile, all around us we view corrupt politicians and the rich making and spending money like water falling from the sky.
Victor Compton, Cherbourg, France

The thing that scares me is the hunger for power that many of the big multi-nationals have. And the lack of moral accountability that seems to go with it. We've already got corporations that are richer than many countries and seem to be able to ignore the law when they see fit. Where will it end?
Dan O'Brien, Newquay, UK

The only thing new about globalisation is the name
Loren, Los Angeles, USA
The only thing new about globalisation is the name. 150 years ago railroads were constructed bringing new foods and labour-saving devices that could not have been dreamt of in a small village. Along with that the men who sold firewood were out of a job because coal was being delivered by train and retailed by one man and his employees. Each level of service or widget manufactured is done faster by fewer and we all have our needs (known and unknown) met with less effort. The major problem is the linking of all the economies when one of them derails all may follow and investors will panic and about 300-800 men from around the world will pick up the pieces at bargain prices. While we all revert back to the days of the village before the railroad.
Loren, Los Angeles, USA

Globalisation is good only to those with economic muscle. How can a local cement manufacturer in my country compete with another who produces it cheaply somewhere. Globalisation is a cunning game where only the strong shall survive.
Samuel Chibaya, Blantyre, Malawi

The policies of the WTO and IMF all work in favour of the developed world, it is they after all who came up with the idea. The Third World merely acts as a servant to richer nations. In my view globalisation only brings benefit to those who promote it, the big multinationals who have more influence to the way live out lives than national governments do.
Karsan Bhudia, Harrow, England

If globalisation is the product of the corporate search for greater markets in far-flung places to bring ever-increasing profit which can use to exploit more and more people, yes, it is dangerous. It does not make poorer countries richer - it makes them more exploited. It is simple really, it is anti-diversity, has no respect for local cultures, and belligerently rides rough shod over everything in it's way. Worst of all it leeches local hard earned cash into the vast black hole of multinational greed.
Linda Ashford, Birmingham UK

Any idea like globalization is a great idea as long as it is implemented responsibly, sincerely and honestly. The intent of globalization has been lost under a large blanket of greed, dominance and manipulation.
Shantanu Gadkari, Sunnyvale, CA

The playing field is not level
Jose Hernandez, San Juan, Puerto Rico
I have been personally affected. I lost a relatively good job in my home country of Colombia and my only solution since I saw none there was to emigrate to a more developed economy. Most countries in the developing world lack the roads, ports and education skills to compete. The playing field is not level and the richer are getting richer and the poorer are getting poorer. This will only lead to greater emigration from developing countries and that in turn will bring social problems in developed countries. The Third World is not ready for globalisation but multi-national companies are pushing governments to accept it.
Jose Hernandez, San Juan, Puerto Rico

The kind of globalisation that allows "efficient market forces" dictated by richer nations to run unbridled over the livelihoods of people in poorer countries is not in the interests of the planet. Even the United States, the major proponent of the concept, has systems in place to protect people from the lower rungs of the society, from being sucked into a vicious cycle of unending, multi-generational poverty. Anything less than this will result in the gradual but assured impoverishment of at least 40% of the world's population.
Afolabi Akinrogunde, Lagos, Nigeria

I just spent 2 months teaching English in Honduras. I was appalled when I travelled to San Pedro Sula and saw a bunch of Burger Kings, Wendys, Pizza Huts, and other such companies littering the main roads. What sickened me the most was that the buildings housing these companies were new and well-constructed, while those of many small businesses, residential buildings and homes were falling apart. Where is the justice in this? It further vexed me to learn that many textile factories in Honduras mandated that women receive a contraceptive injection every three months, as pregnancy is fair grounds for termination of employment.
Rebekah Devino, Maine, USA

WTO, are you listening?
Martin A. Prowse, Ceara, Brazil
Globalisation, taken to its present extreme, is causing the overproduction of, for instance, exportable foodstuffs and the destruction of precious arable farmland. The only way out is a co-ordinated bilateral/multilateral worldwide system that will avoid waste and depressed prices. WTO, are you listening?
Martin A. Prowse, Ceara, Brazil

"Shifting production" has become a euphemism for firing moderately well paid workers in order to hire people at less than a living wage in a country with weaker labour laws. In some cases this has led to the employment of children while in others it leads to slave-like conditions. It is capitalism at its most dangerous and it is a chance for poor countries to gain a marginal reward for allowing the presence of ethically dubious trans-national corporations. In the end these countries will suffer when the corporation uproots itself to relocate to yet another nation which is offering even less stringent labour requirements.
Charles Lehrman, Asheville, North Carolina, USA

Globalisation - does it exist? In any case it is good for everyone to get linked with others, so for example, human rights could become better known by more people every day.
Eduardo Bravo-Godoy, Lima, Peru

Since the decline of communism, globalisation has roared onwards with nothing now to keep it in check. Unfortunately it is selective on who it actually benefits, many will fall as a few prosper. I ask a question. Who is going to "police" this onslaught before it's too late?"
Mick Spillane, Coventry, West Mids

It is benefiting small businesses such as my own
Joel Ross, Leeds, UK
Globalisation isn't just benefiting the large multinationals, it is also benefiting small businesses such as my own. Globalisation and technology are allowing me to compete with larger corporations who have a had a monopoly on markets for years!
Joel Ross, Leeds, UK

I've just read the article about the China's textile industry with great interest. It strikes me that we in West are great fans of globalisation when it's going our way, but when we're at the sharp end we're quick to complain.
Graeme Smith, London

In the 19th century, China refused to take part in world trade, so the West invaded the country and forced her to participate. Now, after two centuries, China is finally able to play the trade game as an equal partner, the West is worried. I say, you reap what you sow!!
Charles Simon, Zurich, Switzerland

Globalisation is the new style of capitalism
Mohan Das G, Bangalore, India
Globalisation has both advantages and disadvantages. It has helped the middle class in the underdeveloped countries, but not the illiterate masses, present there. They are untouched by globalisation. In fact they are endangered by it. Globalisation is the new style of capitalism.
Mohan Das G, Bangalore, India

Globalisation would have been the best step that the universe has seen to date if the rich, powerful, advanced and strong countries helped and supported the underdeveloped, poor and non-advanced countries to enter such a new and intricate era.
Nabil Abdel Ahad Abdel Baky, Cairo, Egypt

Look at globalisation as the way capitalists turn back the clock 150 years to undo all of the gains made by organized labour in the United States and Europe. For workers it's a lose lose arrangement where First World workers lose their jobs to Third World workers who are exploited in the most inhuman ways conceivable. For capitalists it is a win win arrangement where there is money to be made all around from selling labour to selling the products of labour at huge mark-ups.
Mark, USA

Fair trade could be a way out of this situation
Patrick, Biel, Switzerland
Globalisation is just one other power tool of big multinational companies and its description as a return to a medieval feudal system, as mentioned in this forum, seems a fairly accurate picture. Is it inevitable? If people from industrialised countries continue to have the same consumer behaviour like the last decades, yes. Fair trade could be a way out of this situation.
Patrick, Biel, Switzerland

Globalisation only works as part of fair trade, not necessarily free trade. Currency manipulation and factories, in which the employees live, eat and often die do not represent fair trade and ultimately hurt the very essence and objectives of globalisation. Free trade perpetuates poverty whilst fair trade will abolish poverty.
Brad, Chicago, USA

The way that globalisation works just benefits companies in the north. They are able to force market prices down to unfair levels and take advantage of lax employment legislation. I don't think that it is right to say that an artificial concept is something we can't change. Action needs to be taken by citizens, governments, companies and international organisations such as the WTO.
T. Redford, Edinburgh, UK

Globalisation has made my work as fresh produce trader possible giving also choices of consumption to Europeans which will not have dream about 50 years ago. I have seen by myself as well the important development of once isolated rural areas in the southern hemisphere which has help this communities to enjoy prosperity and a better live.
Mark Gimenez, Lijnden, Holland

Globalisation is too heavy for the average poor African farmers and our infant industries
Ebrima. A. Bah, University Of The Gambia

Globalisation is too heavy for the average poor African farmers and our infant industries. The fundamental failure of capitalism is its continued exploitation of poor African farmers and the lack of any genuine move to salvage the problem of poverty in Africa.
Ebrima. A. Bah, University Of The Gambia.

Globalisation is a force for good (although the motivation for international trade is not necessarily good). A staggering amount of people in China and India have been lifted out of poverty due to international trade. However, this gain has not been without loss to others. Unfortunately, there is no perfect economic system and one based solely on good intentions cannot deliver prosperity or fairness.
Scott Lewis, Chicago, IL

Globalisation is creating a level-playing field between east and west. It's here to stay. Change is constant. Globalisation enables countries across the world to share their best of services and goods. To be part of the success - don't try to resist the change, be a part of it by leveraging the opportunity to architect a new "world" of opportunities.
Partha, Belle Mead, New Jersey, USA

Globalisation has become something of a pejorative term, which is surprising given its original definition of the process of breaking down trade barriers and increasing the efficiency of transport systems to enable products to be produced wherever it is most efficient to do so. This is clearly a good thing, as it generates the best product for the fewest resources. However, while this increase in resources could be harnessed for the good of mankind, it is instead used to increase the wealth of the already wealthy, and increases the power of the unaccountable.
Adam Bell, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK

Globalization is nothing but another balancing act of nature
Nishant Dayal, Cincinnati, USA
Globalization is nothing but another balancing act of nature and therefore, inevitable whether one likes it or not. Just like every other thing, this too has its share of pros and cons and any amount of debate on it being good or bad is futile!
Nishant Dayal, Cincinnati, USA

Globalisation has its positive aspects, such as the communications revolution and the creation of the global village. But the negative side of globalisation is that trans-national actors like international terrorists have access to technology and can use it to do the world harm. Secondly, globalisation is not inevitable, it is an American creation that promotes American-like capitalism.
David, New Jersey, USA

Is globalisation a force for good? No. For example, Wal-Mart and Nike have been very successful at maximising profit by using poverty as a way or reducing costs and ignoring human rights. At the same time they have profited, they have exploited Third World workers.
Mark, Vienna, Austria

Globalisation is for me an acronym for Nietzsche's concept of 'uebermensch'. It has robbed my village in Ghana, for example of the ability to grow at a natural and systematic rate. Globalisation has forced it to make non-proportional jumps like in a discrete distribution.
Paul Agbodza, Ghanaian in Wien

Globalization started the day man walked out of the African jungle and began circling the globe
Steve Mac, Boston MA, USA
Globalization started the day man walked out of the African jungle and began circling the globe. To ask if globalization is a force for good is the same as asking if humanity, or society, is a force for good. It's interesting to note there was little clamour against globalization while the West was ascending and only appears now that others are doing exactly the same.
Steve Mac, Boston MA, USA

Globalization is neither good nor bad. It has positive benefits if the country is prepared to compete with bigger multinational firms. Also, it promotes competitiveness in local industries. Globalization is not entirely negative, indeed.
Ersa Arriola, Philippines

I always thought globalisation was a good thing. However lately I have begun to doubt it. Everything is becoming the same and with the ease of travel between any part of the globe. It has become too easy to spread disease and terror.
Alan N, Chicago, Illinois

As an animator in NYC, I've seen most of my industry shipped overseas. Studio after studio has been closed and countless jobs lost as production is outsourced to Korea and India. More and more, it's just a tiny pre-production team giving instructions to a distant workforce.
Alison, Brooklyn, NY, USA

As long as it helped the West in general, globalisation was good because the living standards were getting better in the West. Now emerging economies and the use of IT have forced a lot of competition on the West, now they are finding it tough. In the end if you are making money it is good. When its your time to roast over the coals then globalisation is not good.
Mukundan, Jharkhand, India

It is founded on cheap oil and that is rapidly coming to an end
Scott Gregory, Columbia, Missouri, USA
Globalisation is dead already. It is founded on cheap oil and that is rapidly coming to an end. There is no replacement in sight - NONE. The premise is that production can be concentrated in a few places, quite distant from consumption and that the energy cost required to transport products is not adverse to the economics of the transaction. Soon we will not be able to produce toilet seats or textiles in China and transport them around the world. The energy costs will be too high. We will have return to a more planned, local production for local consumption. It is inevitable.
Scott Gregory, Columbia, Missouri, USA

Globalisation has been good with the world coming closer. The problem is that the playing ground is not level. Rich countries need to open up their markets and remove subsidies to their farmers for real economic principles to drive the flow of resources.
Andrew Tumusiime Nyakwenegura, Ugandan student in Kansas, USA

I work for a major corporation in the import department. I can tell everyone here that as we cut costs when sourcing our products from cheap countries like China, we pass little savings to the customer. We virtually charge the same price for the product as when we sourced it domestically. Our primary goal is to increase our margins and maximize profits, same as with any other company. All the jobs we create overseas are minimum wage jobs. Do you think these workers get healthcare benefits or some kind of retirement package like a 401k from us? The answer is no.

Globalisation is like a giant wave that is destroying world's different cultures. The winners are the strong ones. I pray Allah's mercy for the weak ones. That is the only thing they can depend on.
Nuri Bulut, Nashville, TN

When globalisation means disrespect among human beings and towards the environment it becomes a destructive force. In underdeveloped and developing countries it has allowed abuses to become larger and increased the economic gap between rich and poor.
Walter Del Castillo Locatelli, Stockholm, Sweden

Globalization in this context is not in itself bad, but rather lopsided
J Piva, Canada
Firstly it is unfortunate that the term 'globalization' has been linked to a narrow economic concept based within a capitalist framework. Its contemporary definition makes for a skewed understanding of what should be meant by globalization. Nonetheless, globalization in this context is not in itself bad, but rather lopsided. It turns out that the nations that currently have the economic clout are the ones making the rules and defining where the 'starting line' should be. But as it is, those economically healthy nations have already started the race and taken a substantial lead, and in capitalism, capital is hard to beat.
J Piva, Canada

Globalization is simply another economical step, like industrialization. There are problems with globalization that can cause significant problems. Since production isn't the only thing that can be outsourced right now. Companies turn in to cheaper workforce not only for production but also for services. That outsourcing especially in the IT sector, brings instability to the country that is loosing jobs. Yet for developing countries it helps. Not only they get major international investment, but also competition on world market.
Tomek, New York, US

I work at a major tourist resort in Las Vegas so I have directly benefited from globalisation. I meet people who come from all over the world, who come to Vegas for some R&R and of course a little more! My father is an immigrant from Mexico who came to the US to make a better life for himself. I listen to music from all over the world from Europe to Japan to Latin America and I love to travel abroad. These are all products of globalisation, now tell me is there anything wrong with any of that?
Marco, Las Vegas, NV, USA

We are now going into an age when commercial activity is replacing culture nearly everywhere on the globe and large corporations are dictating state policy and directing money internationally to maximise profits. Ultimately I think the world will be richer but less happy as citizens loose their culture and sense of national identity.
Andrew Watson, Skegness, UK

Globalization seems to be in effect, the establishment of worldwide sweatshops. Some countries have experienced an improvement in job opportunities and others in a degradation of the same. But once accomplished, workers everywhere will suffer. I have no faith in the corporate sponsors of this movement to treat workers as anything but "live meat."

Nothing sheds light on the effects of globalization as much as hunger and starvation. Scores of people in the third world, once fed by their small farms, have been forced out of work and off their land by huge agribusiness. These huge companies then sell their food back at prices too high for these same people to buy it. For them globalization means no land, no food, hunger and possibly starvation. There is enough food in the world, unfortunately it is sitting in a silo.
Molly, Seattle

Citizens and corporations in the advanced countries collectively bear the economic costs of near-universal education, plumbing, electricity and so forth. Culturally non-egalitarian India provides none of those things to its masses, giving its educated elite an insuperable cost advantage. If it is allowed into the world trading system on its own terms, it will force the world to adopt its social policies to survive.
John, New York, USA

By and large it has made lives of ordinary people better
Keya Sen, Dubai, UAE
Globalisation has been a positive factor in almost all countries by enabling many more people to have access to information and goods, and has provided global mobility to skilled people. Drawbacks are there, but are remediable. By and large it has made lives of ordinary people better.
Keya Sen, Dubai, UAE

Globalization is an objective phenomenon and we cannot halt it. It's a powerful means of spreading democracy and wealth throughout the world, but in a different scale. That means we should counter the negative consequences of a globalizing world - digital divide and poverty. As globalisation started initially from the industrial world, we have certain obligations to help the poor and deprived - that's what global governance should be aimed at.
Dmitri, Moscow, Russia

Globalisation to me has escalated the human drive of acquisition in wealthy nations. More and cheaper goods are available, because of corporations moving their operations to countries where labour and environmental costs are lowest, and profits highest. Their greed feeds our greed, often to the detriment of the cheap-labour-workers, who lack democratic rights within the workplace.
Suzanne, Victoria Australia

Like many have said, globalization is going to occur whether we like it or not. But as individuals we are able to choose whether we want to support it or not. I myself have chosen not to shop at large chains, avoid fast food, and try to buy local whenever possible. I wish more people were familiar with fair trade. Farmers around the world need our support.

Globalisation as a concept is neither good nor bad. Unfortunately, what has been imposed on the world by the few under the disguise of "globalisation" brings lots of gains for them but suffering to almost everyone else (as Chomsky puts it, tough love - love for the rich and tough for the poor). It is also a mistake to say it is an inevitable process - it is not a law of nature but a human-devised/imposed system and therefore can be changed by people - just look at the Fair Trade/Trade Justice programmes.
Jon T, Oxford, UK

No, only the vulture capitalists have really gained from it. The US is being de-industrialized as I write. Last Friday, the GM plant in Baltimore closed its doors and put 1,100 workers out on the streets. Only the elite gain from Free Trade and globalism, not the great mass of the working class.
Bill Hughes, Baltimore, MD, USA

Many good paying jobs have been lost to foreigners. The local citizens are deprived of a job. Small and medium businesses have also been swallowed up. Globalisation is not good.
Thaddeus Loo, Singapore

Globalization is a vicious and destructive process that adversely affects national economies all over the world. It is not a natural process by any means, but one based on illusion and fraud. Globalization is not producing a more harmonious and more productive world, but a world of distortions and malinvestments that accompany the elimination of local production everywhere.
Hugo Salinas Price, Mexico

Globalization is just another phenomena arising out of human activities and market forces. There will be a net overall gain, but these gains may not be evenly spread around. If you are in the right place, then good. If not, then it's just your luck. It's not about good or bad.
TT Lim, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Globalisation is neither good nor bad, It's just an unstoppable tendency
Andres Wang, Taipei, Taiwan
Globalisation is neither good nor bad, It's just an unstoppable tendency. It's good for those people in the right place, at the right time (China, India) and bad for the other vast majority of poor people who will become poorer.
Andres Wang, Taipei, Taiwan

No. It's a force for maximising corporate profits and power. Anyone who believes it is a force for good are either naive or simply greedy.
Ally Binns, Glasgow, Scotland

Is globalisation a force for good? Yes. For example, Wal-Mart and Nike have been very successful at globalising cost and risk and maximising profit. At the same time they have profited, they have provided Third World workers with many hours of gainful employment.
M Smote, Little Rock

Two years ago I was paid a fairly good salary. This year I am making about the same amount of income I made in 1990. My income fell by 15 years.
John D Morgan, Chicago, USA

Although some Americans have benefited from globalisation and as a society we are wealthier, the social upheavals caused in many industrialized areas of the country and the number of people displaced in my home state make me think globalisation has been oversold and an overall negative for American society.
John Van der Meer, Columbus, Ohio

Globalisation is turning this world into a homogenous Huxleian nightmare
Prashant, Toronto, Canada
Globalisation is turning this world into a homogenous Huxleian nightmare. It is turning people and cultures into sterile, acquisitive nightmares and promoting the spread of uninhibited, barbaric, commercial activity. Cultures are dying fast. As NG Krishnan of Bangalore pointed out, India invented the concept of zero. However, India also introduced the world to some of the earliest philosophical speculations. And now it is reduced to imitating culturally and intellectually-backward societies like the United States.
Prashant, Toronto, Canada

With globalisation, came less job and economic stability, longer working hours and erosion of pay. The only people benefiting from globalisation are people who are driving it, ie CEOs and politicians.
Gene, New York, USA

How can globalisation be a good or bad force? It is just something that happens. Of course some people perceive that it brings benefits and some people think that it undermines local values and economies. It depends how it is done. It is wrong to generalise as each case has to be judged on the individuals involved as this defines the actions each takes. When it goes wrong personal greed (on both sides) is usually the cause.
Michael, Penshurst, UK

As a mainframe programmer, I have been affected by global outsourcing. I have been unemployed for nearly a year and cannot land another programming job.
Ian Elliott, Whittier, CA, USA

Like Ian in California, I am a mainframe programmer. I am currently being forced to train up my own replacement in Bangalore. Is globalisation good? Ask my kids when I am made redundant, forced to sell the house, dump all their toys and move them into a 1-bedroom council flat.
Fred Smith, Essex, UK

Like it or not, globalisation is inevitable and inexorable so we'd better get used to it
P Bolton, US
I think there are both positive and negative ramifications of globalisation. For example, the world is truly a smaller and wealthier place, but globalisation has compounded the poverty in sub-Saharan Africa, for example, which makes it easier for despots to exploit. Like it or not, globalisation is inevitable and inexorable so we'd better get used to it!
P Bolton, US

Is globalisation a force for good? Does it really matter? Hardly. My old job went to Guadalajara, and the job I'm working now will go away soon too. Am I bitter? Nope. I've decided to do something about it. I'm back in school and will soon earn my degree in international business. Next semester, I go to Guatemala to learn Spanish. Whining about it only makes you look pathetic. It's here to stay. Get used to it.
Shawn, Charlotte, NC USA

I am so far lucky. I have a white collar job and have been able to grow my income through hard work and education. I am also starting a business to help supplement my income as I fear the prosperity may end sometime in the next decade and must be willing to more independent and self supporting. I think the majority of established countries will feel the effects within the next ten years.
Charles Nichols, Tampa, USA

Mankind has always traded with one another. Now it's just on a massive worldwide scale. Look around the world - the nation states with democratic political systems and capitalist, market economies have been the nations that have done the best for their people. Increasing global capitalism will eventually mean less international welfare and foreign aid dollars.
Janet, Edmonton, Canada

Globalization is one of the best things that happened to countries like India
NG Krishnan, Bangalore, India
Globalization is one of the best things that happened to countries like India. India is able to reassert itself - one its core strengths is the textile sector thanks to the opening up of the equitable global trade. India, where the zero is invented, is again in the news for its excellent mathematical brains, visible globally as software engineering. Thanks to the opening of the global trade, India has achieved an enviable lead in pharmaceutics and auto manufacturing sectors. All these achievements in a remarkably short period of time could not have come about with out globalization
NG Krishnan, Bangalore, India

I am from Schenectady New York originally, born into a long line of engineers who have worked at General Electric Power Systems since the early part of last century. In the past 15 years, what was once a bustling town has been laid to waste after the company moved more than 50,000 jobs off-shore. A few years ago, I had the opportunity of interning with GE as a web application developer and discovered quickly that manufacturing jobs were not the only ones at risk. Nearly all of the programming jobs have been moved to India already. Even worse, many of my co-workers there were 'contractors' or immigrants paid substantially less than their American counterpart. While globalisation certainly provides developing markets with the capital they need to grow, the reality is that investments in these new markets come at the large expense of both the abandoned market as well as the new because the wealth is not simply re-distributed there. It is instead horded at large commissions by the corporate executives half-way across the globe.
Ben Ipsen, Burlington, Vermont, USA

The industrial revolution and political stability gave the UK and other Western nations a century long "artificial" boost in influence. We are now seeing a reversion to the historical situation of the world trade giants being the most populous countries. I doubt they'll be complaining about it.
Roger, UK

It never ceases to amaze me that the majority in Europe can on the one hand support the EU (a kind of continent-wide "globalization") and be so vigorously opposed to globalization. It's the same thing at a larger scale. Do you think that EU membership is good for the poorer countries of central and eastern Europe? Yes? Well why wouldn't globalization then be good for the world's less developed countries? The countries that have embraced free trade and globalization (China, India, etc...) have thrived. Those that are left out due to protectionist trade policies, corruption, instability, (much of Africa and the Middle East) have not.
Peter, USA

Globalization is a change, and that change will have many consequences, both beneficial and otherwise
Sam, Arlington, VA
Globalization is not really a new phenomenon. The discovery of Australia, the Americas, and other such explorations are all part of globalization. I do not think it can be labelled "good" or "evil." Globalization is a change, and that change will have many consequences, both beneficial and otherwise.
Sam, Arlington, VA

Globalization promotes the exploitation of natural resources and local workforces around the world, weakening relationships by making them impersonal. It forces democratic governments with globalised economic standards and protocols on those who have thus far not been directly involved. Human beings are no longer in touch with nature, it is now viewed in terms of it's economic potential for profit.
Adam, Saskatchewan, Canada

Globalization benefits every nation. By increasing competitiveness, you increase efficiency, which has the double benefit of increasing wealth production and decreasing costs (which indirectly gives all of us a pay raise). Are some people going to lose out with freer markets? Yes, but some people will lose out whenever a policy is made (outlawing scams makes scam-artists lose). Instead of focusing on the anecdotal "losers," we should keep our focus on the overall "winner,", ie our communities as a whole. Isn't government supposed to make decisions based upon the greater good? As a side note, it astounds me that demagogues have persuaded such a large portion of the population to masochistically label corporations "evil" - the very corporations upon which our retirements, jobs, economy, goods, etc are largely dependent.
Jeff, Charlotte, NC, USA

It is true that capitalism and globalisation will bring the third world out of poverty. But at what cost? The Third World is slowly becoming the employees of the first. With one hand, Globalisation will take you out of poverty, and with the other, it will stop you making any real achievements for yourself.
Andrew Hyde, Harare, Zimbabwe

Globalisation is just a new form of the medieval 'feudal system'. Multinationals are run like kingdoms without borders, and the owners are rich enough to fund governments into office (making them comparable to the lords/ barons chosen to enforce the king's law), while the rest of us are the 'peasants' (wage slaves), and have no say in how the 'kingdom' is run. There is no such thing as democracy when governments are only making laws to help the multinationals that fund them.
Franchesca Mullin, Belfast, Northern Ireland

They reduce their costs by hiring cheaper labour in less developed areas of the world
Nigel, Fujisawa, Japan
Large corporations and the rich elite are the only ones to benefit. They reduce their costs by hiring cheaper labour in less developed areas of the world. Free trade agreements then enable them to reduce their import costs. Despite the vast savings they're making the price of their goods on the street continues to rise. They just make larger profits.
Nigel, Fujisawa, Japan

I do not understand all these anti-globalisation groups and protestors. Globalisation, free markets, free movement of people, goods and services have only proved to be very beneficial for the economies all over the world. Look at the new members of the EU, at China, for example and you will see that globalisation is a force for good.
Valentin Rimdjonok, Ottawa, Canada

I went to Cairo on my hols and saw how much globalisation has ruined the city. The Sphinx was facing fast food outlets only 400 metres away. Cola cans and plastic bags flooded the streets. It really irritated me. Globalisation did bring better medical care but the commercial world has done a lot of damage to the valuable historical importance of the country.
Tom H, Stockport, England

Capitalism has done more to bring people out of poverty than any other system
Stephen, Jacksonville, FL, USA
Globalisation is great! It would seem to me that most people have some sort of retirement savings (which are usually invested in corporations). Also, Capitalism has done more to bring people out of poverty than any other system. Case in point: China and India. It would seem that those who are concerned about the poor would embrace capitalism based on the empirical evidence. As to those who have lost their jobs to "globalisation", too bad! What makes you think you deserve to have your job? Do you think you are better than a Chinese or Indian person? That is racist and arrogant. I'm an American with competitive spirit and I understand that my job is only an exchange for skills which my employer finds value. Otherwise, I would do something else, and not whine about it.
Stephen, Jacksonville, FL, USA

In countries like those in Africa there is a major problem about money. I feel if the Africans were given a chance and if every major business sponsors 15 Africans in their businesses and skills then in return the Africans can promote the sponsor. In a way everyone's helping each other. This way we can see what Africa has to offer the world. Africa was a major trade destination in the past and in my opinion still is. All it needs is a boost.
Ayisha Zahir , 16, Dubai

Globalization is a disaster for the middle classes of developed countries
Gerod Wattier, Carnation, WA USA
Globalization is a disaster for the middle classes of developed countries. Good living wage jobs are exported to India and China and replaced with low wage service industry jobs. It is destroying the middle class. Only the corporate elite benefit from globalisation.
Gerod Wattier, Carnation, WA USA

"Globalization" is merely a term assigned to our new world order where future shock is already here. It is neither good nor evil; it is the new reality. We either adapt or fall back. What individuals haven't seemed to realize yet is that we also have power. We have the power of our pocketbooks, the power of our vote (some of us), and the power to take care of and help each other survive and cope. When we as individuals start uniting and using our power, you will see corporate power being balanced by the common people. Yes, I have been adversely affected by globalization. But my experiences will make me stronger and I will prevail!
T Massaad, Texas, USA

I work in computer programming and training, and was laid off about 2 years ago during the recession. Since then I became an independent contractor, doing the same job as before, but for about twice the money. I have been at my present contract for over a year. It is ironic however that this has happened because the company I work at cannot hire full timers, because they want to offer low-paying permanent jobs with few employee benefits!
TP, San Diego USA

You pay for what you get
Andrew Malden, Milton Keynes, England
Capitalism doesn't help anybody who can't help themselves. 70 of the largest 100 economies in the world now belong to multinationals, driven by profits for shareholders. By definition they cannot help the poor. You pay for what you get. If you can't pay, you get nothing. Poor countries can't compete with western governments who subsidise loss-making farmers. We (as supposed capitalists) should put an end to this unfair practice. Another concern is the power that these firms can have over government.
Andrew Malden, Milton Keynes, England

Globalisation is all about money. It's the stage of capitalism that sees the corporation rising above the state and indirectly dictating policy. It is misrepresented as something that will aid economic growth for all. Here in Mexico it is easy to see that the so-called "free trade" that exists with the US and Canada, is free for those who control the capital and resources, but not for labour: just try crossing from Mexico to California to look for a job.
Tom Hunsberger, Canada/ Mexico

Globalisation has been very good for countries such as India, China and Malaysia who have seen good investment in their young and educated and creation of thousands (locally) well-paid jobs. However, the focus of this investment being in South and Far East Asia means Africa and Latin America are being ignored ever increasingly, which is a very worrying trend.
Bhupinder Kahlon, London, UK

I believe that the main role of every state is to include as many people as possible in its "social contract", this meaning that individuals promise not to kill or rob in exchange for being provided by the society with the means to live with dignity. In poor countries this seems -so far - an unreachable aim, which is even more impaired by globalisation's and trans-national companies' cost and job cutting causing exactly the opposite (leaving more people out of the contract).
George H, Medellin, Colombia, SA

If not for the greed of the multinational corporations, globalisation may be good. As it stands now we can say without much trouble that we have a capitalist greed system. Make product in underdeveloped countries at terribly low wages and sell same product in developed countries at prices as if the product was made locally. Result: much higher profits.
John, St. Jean, Canada

The world is not a level playing field
Knox, Atlanta, GA, USA
If one perceives globalisation as a process and not a geo-political strategy, it is inevitable. Yes, I have been "injured" by it. The opportunities for meaningful employment and the compensation I am able to demand for my services are less due to competition from "cheaper" resources in other countries. The world is not a level playing field and won't be for some time to come. While things are such, I try to survive, seize opportunities to thrive if and when I can, and add my voice, my vote, and my efforts towards the global establishment of universal human rights, for these will be the cornerstone of any fair outcome from the process of globalisation.
Knox, Atlanta, GA, USA

Globalisation is a reality, much like transatlantic travel. You can't put the genie back in the bottle. Whether it will be good or bad depends upon all of us and how we adapt, progress, and learn to live in this richly multicultural world. Multinational businesses, while not all kind to the environment or compassionate toward the work force are here to stay. They bring improvements along with their faults. It will be (indeed, is) governments' role to regulate such businesses and keep them honest.
Chris, US

Globalisation is a good thing but people should know when to stop trying to make even more profit. It is starting to get out of hand and ruin our environment.
Jonny, 14, Stockport, England

There are now more things to buy and fewer good jobs to be had. I'm not wealthy enough to know anyone who has prospered due to globalisation.
J. S. Toth, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

Like almost everything else, it can be used for good or bad. The good side of globalisation is what we are seeing in China right at this moment, with improved freedom and trade and living standards. However, there is also a very nasty side to globalisation, which we see particularly when American companies tell Third World government soldiers to shoot workers campaigning for better safety standards.
Mark, Brisbane, Australia

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