Globalisation: What's the harm?
'The benefits of globalisation are more than great enough to compensate for the costs.'
Megan Evans | 21 January 2016

Globalisation is the new term for an old idea and can be described as “the world becoming closer together”. Critics of globalisation talk about the negative consequences, such as pollution, loss of culture and large levels of migration. However, the benefits of globalisation are more than great enough to compensate for the costs.


Improved communications and transport have been catalysts for globalisation. It is the development of communications technologies such as the internet, email and the mobile, which have been crucial to the proliferation of globalisation and ever-increasing integration, as they enable multi-national corporations to operate and develop. The increased accessibility of television networks has allowed larger and more effective marketing campaigns to reach the masses and thus promote the trade of goods.


Improved transport has not so much caused globalisation, but rather assisted in its growth. The development of bulk shipping, air transport and improvements in container transport has made the mass movement of goods even easier throughout the world. This can be seen by the fact that world trade has grown 14-fold since 1950. Critics will point out that this surge in trade has been devastating to the environment; it is undeniable that this increase in trade has increased CO2 emissions and been detrimental for the environment. However, without it, economies will see companies closing, lower standards of living and inefficient usage of resources. The implications of no international trade are thus far greater than the costs of global warming.


Many economists believe that individuals are motivated by self interest; hence it is not surprising that people will act rationally and choose to emigrate towards countries where they can expect higher standards of living. Globalisation has made this move easier and has therefore been linked with a rising scale of labour migration. Despite many criticising large volumes of immigration, it is in fact vital for many economies, including that of the UK. Based on figures issued by the Institute for Public Policy Research, 26% of UK doctors are foreign nationals. This demonstrates the UK’s reliance on the free movement of labour, that is made available due to globalisation. Many complain that immigrants are a “drain on our economy” but this is simply not the case. A study from UCL stated that European migrants made a net contribution of £20 billion to UK public finances between 2000 and 2011, proving that this element of globalisation has been of massive benefit to the UK.


Globalisation has helped web together nations into interconnected and interdependent communities. Some say that, as western products and firms reach developing countries, their culture and traditions will become more at risk. For example, the fact that in many Mexican villages more people drink Coca-Cola than water is evidence of cultural globalisation. However, it enables developing countries to benefit from the technologies developed in those like the UK and the US, as they are able to copy our research and development in order to catch up.


Of course there will be disadvantages, as with any process or practice, but overall globalisation is creating an interconnected society whereby goods and services, people and technology, as well as ideas, can be spread freely resulting in an interdependent and more prosperous, united world.



Issued under the Creative Commons License

James Routledge 2016