Globalisation - social implications
Globalisation of the world's economy brings costs and benefits. It has also produced a protest movement.
Students identify winners and losers in economic globalisation.
- What is meant by globalisation
- Why this process is occurring
- Good and bad economic effects
Read the story
Are you a globalised shopper?
Working individually students write down the brand names of the following products:
- The pair of trainers they would most like
- The last pair of jeans or trousers they bought
- The music player they would most like
- The mobile phone they would buy if they won the lottery
When the lists are complete, students swap papers and mark next to each entry either:
What have they discovered about their shopping habits?
Where do our clothes come from?
Working as a group the class conduct a mini-survey of the origin of their clothing. Check labels and try to get one country of origin from each student.
Students can use their results to answer these questions:
 Which is the most common country of origin?
 Where in the world are these countries, northern or southern hemisphere?
 Are these countries rich or poor?
Explain the following three points.
 What is the globalisation of Britain's economy?
In the past products were most often made in Britain, and then sold in Britain. Today it is very common for British workers to be employed by foreign owned companies. Shoppers buy goods that are often made in factories on the other side of the world.
 Why is globalisation occurring?
Wages for workers in poorer countries are lower than in Britain. That means that a company making training shoes can make the same shoe for less money.
The company then transports the shoes to a richer country (Like the UK). In the rich country the shoes are sold for a high price. The company makes a good profit.
 What is wrong with that?
It depends who you ask. In globalisation there are winners and losers.
Winners and losers
Read through the following list one at a time. After each group pause and ask students to make a note of whether they are winners or losers. They should write a sentence to explain why.
- The owners of British trainer factories
- British clothes shoppers
- Nike sportswear
- The government of China
- British Home Stores
- Workers at a British toy factory
- Workers in southern China
- Schoolchildren who want cheap trainers.
The big get bigger
Explain that a global market means more chances to make money but also more competition. There are winners and losers in all areas of society but normally bigger players continue to grow and newer and smaller companies struggle. This is because they do not have the money to advertise themselves globally.
What could globalisation do to British factory workers?
It has meant many job losses as the factories shut down or moved to areas in the world where wage costs are much lower.
Trace a map of the world. Label it to show where the groups' clothes are made. Annotate it with drawings or pictures cut from magazines.
Globalisation is generating increased wealth. But it is also generating great instability.
Why do people find change threatening?
Can globalisation be stopped?
- The German town of Heiligendamm is the venue of the 2007 annual summit of G8 countries.
- Thousands of demonstrators have converged on nearby Rostock in northern Germany.
- The majority of demonstrators are holding peaceful marches. Some have chosen to block roads with their bodies in an effort to stop traffic from entering Heiligendamm.
- Anti-globalisation is the umbrella term for a group of different protest causes, including
- Third world debt
- Animal rights
- Child labour
- Opposition to multinationals
- Imports from, and exports to, developing countries are nearly 100 times the size of the UK development assistance programme. Foreign direct investment outstrips aid flows.
- Opponents of globalisation say it leads to exploitation of the world's poor. They say it makes it easier for rich companies to act with less accountability. In the third world workers and the environment receive less protection.
- Those in favour of globalisation say increasing world trade should make everyone richer. They suggest that global phenomena like the internet can help those who are oppressed. Trade links can be used to encourage countries to respect human rights.