Sinan the “source of untold problems, destruction





Sinan Zeino (UNI: SZ2705)

Conceptual Foundations of International Affairs

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Essay 2- Question 2:

Globalization, Poverty and Underdevelopment










            There is no doubt that globalization
controls almost all aspects of modern-day society. It involves the political,
economic and cultural dimensions of states and it has changed the international
system significantly. As Huntington suggests, globalization increases
interactions and intensifies a consciousness of civilization, an awareness of
differences between civilizations and also commonalities within civilizations
(P.25 Huntington, 1993). Using this definition, no one can disagree that the
world has become more interdependent and interconnected, where the doctrine of
sovereignty is becoming less applicable, being superseded by market power and
global governance. States has become as one entity on many different levels.
Issues within the state do not arise in isolation and thus the solutions for these
must now be found in collective action rather than in individual state
responses, as in previous times. However, and despite the fact that
globalization has brought several countries together, it has also driven them
apart and created serious problems and issues around the world. The question of
whether there is a connection between globalization and the issues around
development and equality within states has grown widely in the past decade.
Scholars such as Stiglitz argue that globalization is the “source of untold
problems, destruction of native culture and increasing poverty (P.1 Stiglitz,
2002). In this context, and as globalization is an extremely contentious
matter, this essay is going to explore two core debates among scholars.
Firstly, between those who suggest that globalization is a real phenomenon and
believe that globalization creates economic development and promotes equality
within communities; secondly and in contrast, between those who claim that
globalization perpetuates inequalities and lead to poverty. The essay is going
to disagree with many scholars who are in favor of globalization and who claim
that globalization is moving the world forward. In addition, it will argue that
despite the attribution that globalization has produced benefits such as
emerging technologies, or the world-wide acceptance of markets, globalization
has created serious and challenging problems within states such as
underdevelopment, poverty, and conflicts.

giving everyone access to markets, capital and technology, globalization
promises to remove any deficiencies that generate and sustain poverty and
inequality. As such, globalization ought to be an influential engine for
economic catch-up in the developing world. And yet, the past two centuries of
globalization have witnessed massive economic divergence on a global scale.
Many of the theories concerned with globalization and poverty suggest that
globalization has been related to rising inequality between people and nations,
and that the poor do not always share in the gains from trade. Some scholars in
the international affairs arena like Collins and Nathan have suggested that
globalization has a tremendous influence on economic development. Nathan argues
for example that due to globalization, 800 million Chinese people have been
pulled out of poverty (P.8 Nathan, 2016). Other scholars such as Collins disagree
with the previous statement and indicate that globalization has made the middle
and lower classes of advanced industrial countries like China unhappy and in addition, it has increased
global inequality between and within countries.
According to Collins, The UN Development Program reports that the richest 20
percent of the world’s population consume 86 percent of the world’s resources,
while the poorest 80 percent consume just 14 percent (P.5
Collins, 2015). In addition, many scholars have emphasized the negative effects of
economic liberalization with relation to poverty figures. Some argue that
globalization has not helped people out of poverty, but has moved more nations
into poverty. As a result,
globalization poses a threat to development and equality and increases disparity between people (P.7, Stiglitz 2002).

            There is a big debate among scholars
around the interrelated circumstances where globalization causes and
exacerbates poverty and underdevelopment around the world. First, people cannot
gain from or invest in any global market if they do not have any capital. The
lack of fair distribution of costs and benefits greatly influences the
beneficiaries of globalization. The apparent trend of globalization is to favor
those with more resources and further marginalize those without (P.3 Collins,
2015). Small businesses, which are incapable of competing with big
multinational companies on an international scale lose from more economic
integration. The results of this loss cause a weakening in the country’s
economy and development. One of the defining factors of globalization is the
redistribution of capital among its parties (P.2-3 Bowles, 2000). Many
supporters of globalization redundantly argue that globalization “promotes
economic growth by creating jobs, increasing competition and lowering prices”
(P.2Collins, 2015). However, poor states lack capital to redistribute and are
therefore are not able to be participants in a globalized world. Secondly, the
uneven social and economic development increase the gaps between and within
states. As economies and societies are required to rapidly adapt to the changes
posed by globalization, some will grow faster than others, leading to an
increase of inequality within nations. (P.16-17 Bowles, 2000). Thirdly, from a
structural point of view, dependency theorists argue that the poverty of
developing countries is caused by the affluence and exploitation of the
developed countries (P.61 Ferraro, 2008). According to this theory, the very
structure and processes of globalization perpetuate and reproduce the disparate
relations and exchanges between the core of the international economic system,
comprised of the industrialized countries or the less developed countries.
Finally, globalization has significantly contributed to inequality by exerting
significant and uneven effects upon various types of social stratification
among, and especially within, states, including class, country, gender, race,
and age (P. 3 Collins, 2005). In this argument, and despite the fact that
globalization has helped in some cases to shrink the social gaps in certain
aspects, it has also tended on the whole to widen the gap in terms of
opportunities. This is due to the unequal distribution of costs and benefits,
which inclines to favor the already privileged and further marginalize the
already underprivileged. Overall, globalization is exacerbating inequalities of
resources, capabilities, and of the power to autonomously act in the
international political arena.

            One of the most highlighted issues
of globalization is its negative impact on the nation states, specifically on
governments, where they no longer have control over their economy, trade or
borders. Nation states may have in the past been in complete control of their
markets, exchange rates and capital but globalization has removed control from
national governments in such areas as economic and trade policy. Now,
trans-national companies are becoming increasingly authoritative towards the
economy, and the state is becoming less relevant. In addition, the main
objective of governments within nation-states has shifted from primarily
supporting its citizens to supporting global investors who supply highly sought
after foreign capital. Liberalization of financial and capital markets poses
risks to developing countries and lead to underdevelopment and inequality.
Another recognized effect of globalization is that it is often identified with
the process of Westernization. This is because European and American nations
are very strong competitors on the global market. In East Asia for example,
government took an active role in managing globalization and its effect on
economy. The steel industry that the Korean government created was among the
most efficient in the world,performing far better than its private-sector
rivals in the United States. Financial markets were highly regulated in the
country and research shows that those regulations promoted growth. It was only
when these countries stripped away the regulations, under pressure from the
U.S. Treasury and the IMF, that they encountered problems (P.2 Stiglitz 2002).
Consequently, globalization promotes a sense of interdependence among states,
which could create an imbalance in power between nations, especially that they
are different in terms of economic strengths. 
Therefore, managing these problems that globalization brings requires an
effective governance and this could be achieved in
many ways. Cooperation between governments and NGOs that provide expertise and
understanding of the nations’ context can provide comprehensive and sustainable
support (P.5-6 Collins, 2015). In addition, governments must regularly
re-examine their policies to ensure they can remain stable, even without much
outside business. State should play the main role in managing globalization and
the government should lead nation-states to address the issue of
foreign direct investments when necessary; they must regulate the degree of
international influence to allow in the economy.

            Many scholars
agree with the fact that globalization promotes violence and war and create the
conditions for tremendous loss of human life. They argue that the decline in
human rights, social justice and the rise of conflicts and wars are caused by
globalization. The inevitable outcome of globalization will be more wars,
especially in the developing countries where globalization has its harshest
effects. However, some may argue that globalization could promote peace where
NGOs and other organizations play a significant part in this matter. The
creation of international organizations such as the United Nations and the
International Monetary Fund for example, which are born under the globalization
umbrella, promote peace and cooperation among states “unhindered by ideology,
private capital flows to where it is best treated and thus can do the most good
(P.7 Mathews, 1997). Other scholars such as Snyder argue that due
to globalization and free trades, nations are now interdependent and cannot
risk war without the crumbling of their own economies and prosperity (P. 56-57 Snyder,
2004). In contrast, others may argue that the spread of globalization has contributed to
outbreaks of terrorist attacks and violence around the world. Scholars like
Sessen argue that Globalization increases complexity and complexity produces
brutality. (P.1 Sassen 2014). Additionally, violence caused by globalization
could also take different forms. The defender of globalization,
Bhagwati, acknowledges that globalization has led to a rise in international organized crime; he considers specifically the
exploitation of women across the world, arguing that more open borders allow
women to work away from home as domestic servants, where they are often subject
to abuse, especially in places such as the Middle East (Bhagwati, 2004: 89-90).

             Supporters of globalization deny the argument against
globalization that it entails cultural homogenization or cultural imperialism.
They claim that culture across the globe is not a one-way relationship. Kant
describes this relationship as the plurality of language, religion, and by
extension national identity, that exists in the world and essentially assures
cultural diversity, regardless (P. 113-4 Kant, 1991). In addition, they argue
that global culture is not just of one
background, so the opposition to cultural globalization lies in opposition to a
multicultural world which exists alongside the national culture. Taking
the European Union as an example, the EU states
have to combined become one of the most interconnected markets in the world and
this has not led to a decrease in cultural diversity amongst its communities. 
Rather, diversity has expanded; for example, the European Union accepted more
than 1 million asylum seekers, with 35,711 people reaching Europe by sea since
the start of 2016 (BBC, 2016).  In addition, and in the view of Cohen,
“Europe sharpens these distinctions more than eliminates them” (P.136Cohen,
2007). In contrast, many argue that globalization
in fact leads to homogenization of culture; a form of ‘McWorld’
homogenization where it is perceived to be caused by the nature of global
capitalism and the interconnectedness of the world economy (Barber, 1992). For
example, there is much evidence that the Americanized ‘global’ culture demonstrates
how culture is converging; despite local objections it appears that the world cannot resist it.  One
example is television programming, where only select countries are involved in
selling programs on the international export market (P. 358-60 Held, 2000).  

            In conclusion, globalization can be
seen as a double-edged sword which works for developed industrial countries but
leaves developing countries floundering to even qualify as competitors, as they
try to gain economic independence from the very nations trying to “help” them.
As identified in the given examples of this essay, globalization has had and
continues to have far reaching implications in several parts of the world. The
execution of globalization has motivated nations to heighten their awareness in
order to protect cultures, traditions, and nationalities from surrendering to
outside influences. There needs to be a more democratic approach to
globalization in which both parties can truly benefit, one that integrates the
interests of both the larger and smaller countries involved in the process.
This will help remove the negative connotation of being a form of modern day










Samuel Huntington, “The Clash of
Civilizations,” Foreign Affairs (Summer 1993).


Andrew Nathan, “The Puzzle of the
Chinese Middle Class,” Journal of Democracy (April 2016).


Mike Collins, “The Pros and Cons of
Globalization,” Forbes (May 2015).


Joseph Stiglitz, “Globalism’s Discontents,” The American
Prospect (January 2002).


Vincent Ferraro, “Dependency Theory: An Introduction,” in Giorgio Secondi
ed., The Development Economics Reader (London: Routledge 2008) pp.


Samuel Bowles,
Globalization and Redistribution: Feasible egalitarianism in a competitive world
Department of Economics University of Massachusetts Amherst, Ma.2000


Jessica T. Mathews, “Power Shift,” Foreign Affairs (January/February


Jack Snyder “One World, Rival Theories” Foreign Policy, No. 145
(Nov. – Dec., 2004), pp. 55-66 by: Washington post. Newsweek Interactive.



Saskia Sassen, Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy,
(Harvard University Press, 2014) pp. 1-46.



Jagdish Bhagwati, In Defense of Globalization
(New York: Oxford University Press 2004) pp.3-28, 51-68, 221-228.



Immanuel Kant, Perpetual
Peace, in Reiss, H. (ed.) Political Writings, Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1991


“Migrant crisis: Migration to Europe explained in seven
charts.” BBC News, BBC, 4 Mar. 2016,


Dara Cohen, (2007) Globalization and its
Enemies, Cambridge: MIT Press.

Barber, B. R. (1992, March 01). Jihad vs. McWorld. Retrieved
December 11, 2017, from


Held, D., McGrew, A., Goldblatt, D.
and Perraton, J. (2000) Global Transformations, Cambridge: Polity.