Cultural Anthropology

Why is globalization controversial?
Answered by HowStuffWorks
  • HowStuffWorks

    HowStuffWorks

  1. Globalization is controversial for several reasons. Critics believe that the integration of local and regional cultures into a worldwide system of shared beliefs and values will inevitably destroy the unique character and autonomy of each culture. They also believe that international organizations, such as major corporations, that drive the process of globalization have amassed resources and political influence that outpace even those of nation-states. Critics fear that these organizations act according to imperial policies and are unaccountable to individual or local consent.

    The non-profit consumer advocacy group Public Citizen opposes both governmental and corporate power in the sphere of international trade. In 1999, it published "Whose Trade Organization? Corporate Globalization and the Erosion of Democracy," a book about the World Trade Organization (WTO); it also staged huge demonstrations against the organization in Seattle Public Citizen, WTO History Project. Yet Robyn Meredith and Suzanne Hoppough of Forbes magazine have written, "The protesters and do-gooders are just plain wrong. It turns out globalization is good -- and not just for the rich, but especially for the poor" Meredith and Hoppough. Where groups like Public Citizen maintain that multinational corporations exploit the workforces and resources of developing nations, business advocates celebrate the march of McDonalds and Starbucks through formerly closed economies such as that of China.

    American attitudes toward globalization shifted in the early years of the 21st century. According to a Washington Post poll, in 2001, 60 percent of Americans approved of creating a global economy; a decade later that number dropped to 36 percent. And 33 percent of those polled in 2011 found instability in the global economy to be the biggest threat to world stability, ahead of international terrorism (21 percent), the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (12 percent), the "erosion of shared values" (10 percent) and climate change (7 percent) Washington Post and Pew Research Center.


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