The Globalization of America: Empowerment or Inhibition?

January 21, 2009

This is a famous NASA photograph of Earth published in the 1960s. Some believe this image visually communicated the “smallness” of our planet to the world and resulted in renewed efforts to develop a global community among nations.

This is a famous NASA photograph of Earth published in the 1960s. Some believe this visually communicated the “smallness” of our planet to the world and renewed efforts to develop a global community among nations.

Globalization became a “buzz word” in America during the 1990s. But, like other terms, it carried different meanings for different people. For the purposes of this blog, I’m referring to globalization as the process of developing political, economic, and social networks based upon communication, cooperation, and interdependence.

Some of these networks have already been formalized and are operating now. Economic examples include contracts among transnational corporations and nations—defining a global marketplace such as NAFTA and institutions for regulation and service such as the World Bank. Global political systems have already been formed such as the United Nations. Transnational military organizations also exist, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Examples of the “social closeness” that has developed across the globe might be illustrated through celebrations in Paris and London of the inauguration of American President Barack Obama. Some argue that this has resulted in a more politically stable and economically prosperous world.

But are the consequences of globalization all good? Let’s look at the example of the American trend of industrial “outsourcing.” Southern textile industries have been relocating to Central and South American countries. The American automotive industry is now competing against foreign-produced and foreign-owned car manufacturers. American electronic manufactures are contending with foreign manufacturers. Let’s discuss these issues:

1) Some sociologists argue globalization has injured the American economy by exporting American jobs. Others hold that parts of the American economy have evolved past material production and “outsourcing” has ensured the continued flow of products into the United States, while bring in new employers such as BMW, Hyundai, Mercedes, and Michelin. Do you think globalization has helped or hurt the American economy? Why?

2) Some sociologists believe globalization has decreased the probability of America involving itself in armed conflicts. Some of these social scientists argue economic and social interdependence decreases nations’ tolerance for the disruption of war while simultaneously providing peaceful avenues of dispute resolution. Others contend dependence upon other nations increases the likelihood of involvement in those nations’ affairs. Examples might include the nation of Rwanda sending in their military at the request of Congo’s President Kabila to help stabilize eastern Congo. What do you think? Would continued globalization decrease or increase America’s involvement in foreign affairs? Would such involvements place the United States at risk or help ensure its security? Why?

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One comment

  1. I believe America had one of the strongest economies before globalization. We made our products here, we fixed them here, we developed them here, and researched and designed them here. There was pride in the fact that our products were, “Made in the USA.” Our inclusion in the global economy sent a signal worldwide that other nations economic endeavors were on par with ours. Possibly that their capabilities were on the same level. In a utopian society, everyone would approach globalization fairly. I don’t think this has been the case, generally speaking. We gave away our leverage, and positioned ourselves for mediocrity. The impetus and motivation behind most American workers died; it left with the patriotic sense we infuse into our work ethic.

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