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NoonethinksglobalizationcanbestoppedorshouldbeboastsMikeMoore,DirectorGeneralof

theWorldTradeOrganizationandavidsupporteroffreecommerce(616).DespiteMooresenthusiasm,
globalizationisadelicateissuethathasbeenmetwithagooddealofcriticism,particularlywhenitis
evaluatedasamechanismforimprovingthelivesoftheworldspoor.Advocatesofglobalizationpaintan
optimisticpictureofthefutureinwhichtheunrestrictedlawsofcapitalismkeeptheglobaleconomyin
balancewhilesimultaneouslyprovidingaspringboardtosuccessfordestitutepeoplearoundtheworld.In
contrast,opponentsattackthewaysinwhichglobalizationallowscorporationstoexploitpoorforeign
laborerswithvirtuallynoconsequenceswhatsoever.Althoughittheoreticallyhasthepotentialtobenefit
thepoor,inpracticeglobalizationisfailingtoliveuptotheexpectationsofitssupporters.
Melon

Oneofthekeyargumentsadvancedbyglobalizationadvocatesisthenotionthatunrestrictedtrade
willallowcompaniestoproduceproductsmoreefficientlyandatcheaperpricesthaneverbefore.Ifthis
weretrue,itwouldbeahugeimprovementforpoorpeoplearoundtheworldwhowouldbenefitfromthe
increasedpurchasingpoweroftheirlimitedincomes.However,asMichaelShumanpointsoutinhis
economicanalysisofglobalization,theproductioncostssavedasaresultofexpansionbegintodiminish
whenacompanyreachesacertainsize(612).Althoughexpansionmaycontinuetobeworthwhilefor
businessmensolongasexpandingmarketsbringinmorerevenue,thenotionthatproductionpriceswill
continuetodropisnotnecessarilytrue.
Hoopla

Evenincaseswhereglobalizationdoescutproductioncosts,thebenefitsofsuchexpansionmaybenegated
byotherperipheralfactors.Forinstance,inrecentyearstheincreasingpriceofpetroleumbasedfuelshas
drivenupthecostsofexportingproducts.Populationincreasescoupledwiththedepletionofourlimited
oilreserveshascausedpetroleumpricestoskyrockettofourtimesasmuchastheyweretwoyearsago.
Worsestill,thisdemandisexpectedtoincreaseintheupcomingyearsatarateof20millionbarrelsofoil
perday(Shuman613).Incontrast,localproducerswouldbeabletoavoidtheseburdensomedistribution
costsbylimitingtheirsalestosmaller,moremanageableregions.
Doodad

Somemaytrytoarguethatthereducedproductioncostsresultingfromglobalindustrymanageto
outweightheadditionalcostsofincreasedshipping.However,evenifthisistrue,itisfoolhardytoassume
thatjustbecauseproductioncostsdropthatproductswillsuddenlybecomemoreaffordableforthepoor.
Companiesdonottrytolowertheirproductioncostsasaphilanthropicgesturebutratherasameansto
increasetheirownprofitmargins.Morethanlikely,globaleconomieswilltrytokeeptheirproducts
pricesrelativelycomparabletothoseproductsproducedlocally.Ifanything,companieswillonlydrop
theirpricestotheminimallevelneededtodrivetheirlocalcounterpartsoutofbusiness.Oncetheyhave
eliminatedtheircompetition,thereisnothingtosaythattheywillnotraisetheirpricesbackto,orinexcess
of,originallevels.
Horsebreath

However,intheeyesoffreetradeadvocates,thebenefitsofglobalizationarenotlimitedto
decreasedproductprices.Intheirview,thenewjobscreatedasaresultofglobalizationcanbethepoors
bestladderoutofmisery(Friedman611).Theirexplanationforthefactthatthereisstillwidespread
povertydespitetheriseofglobalizationisthatthepoorhavenotyettakenadvantageofthebenefitsofthis
newworldorder.AsthepresidentoftheWorldEconomicForumargues,Thenewdividinglinebetween
richnessandpovertyisnotbetweenthehavesandhavenots,butbetweentheknowsanddontknows.
Thebestwaytohelpthepooristoenablethemtotakeadvantageofaglobalknowledgeeconomy(Abell
620).Unfortunately,thisoverlyoptimisticviewpointgivestoomuchweighttothepowerofknowledge
alone.Itgoeswithoutsayingthatahighlyeducatedcitizenrywouldbebetterequippedtoreapthepotential
benefitsofglobalization.However,empoweringpoorpeoplepurelywithknowledgewillmerelygivethem
insightintothespecificinstitutionspreventingthemfromimprovingtheirfinancialstandingwhilefailing
togivethemapragmaticmechanismfordoingso.Inotherwords,globalizationfailsbydenyingthepoor
accesstotheminimallandandcapitalrequiredtoimprovetheirfinancialsituation.
Johnson

Granted,itisunrealistictoexpectthateventhemostsophisticatedeconomicplancouldprovide
theseresourcestothepoorovernight.Manyusethisassupportfortheargumentthatthejobsresulting
fromglobalization,howeverexploitive,aretheonlyoptionsavailablefortheworldspoor.Globalization
advocatesarecorrectwhentheyarguethatputtinganendtoglobalizationthislateinthegamewouldruin
thelivesofmanywhodependonsweatshopworkastheironlysourceofincome.Howevertrue,this
argument,whichonlyanalyzestheoptionsavailabletothepoorcurrentlyensnaredinaninescapable
economictrap,failsasajustificationforinstitutingglobalizationinthefirstplace.
Normal

Guatemalaseconomypriortoglobalizationstandsasacaseinpoint.Previously,alarge
proportionofGuatemalaspopulationwasmadeupofpoorfarmerswhobarelyekedoutanexistence
growingwhattheycouldontheirrelativelysmallplotsofland.Intodayseconomy,theseindividualsare
stilldirtpoor.Theonlydifferenceisthattheirlandhasnowbeenseizedbylargecorporationssothatthey
cannotevengrowsubsistencecropstofeedtheirfamilies(Abell621).Thisproblemisdeepenedbythe
factthatthesecorporationsrestructureanentirecountryseconomyaroundtheproductionandexportofa
fewbasiccommodities.Thishasdowiththetheoryofcomparativeadvantagewhichshowsthaton
average,countriesthatspecializeonanexportparticularlysuitedtotheirregionhaveahigherGDP.While
thismightbenefitwealthynationsthatcandependonarelativelystablelevelofhighvolume,highprice
exports,agriculturallybasedeconomiesincountrieslikeGuatemalaareatthemercyoftheevervacillating
supplyanddemandoftheirsinglecropexports(Abell622).Bypreventingtheestablishmentofaself
sufficient,diversifiedeconomy,globalizationmakesitvirtuallyimpossibleforthepoortoimprovetheir
standardofliving.
Costman

However,evenifthepoormighthavebeenbetteroffbeforeglobalization,therealityisthatwe
nowliveinaglobalizingeconomy.Focusingtoomuchonthepastisawasteoftimesince,atthispoint,
puttingacompletehalttoglobalizationwouldonlyservetodenythepoorthejobsthattheydohave
withoutprovidingnewonesintheirplace.ThatispreciselywhathappenedwhenNikewaspressuredinto
closingitsplantinCambodia.Inhisdefenseofglobalization,AnthonyKristofspeculatesthatanumberof
the2,000workerslaidoffwereforcedintoCambodiassexslaveindustryastheironlyothermeansof
makingaliving(627).Unfortunately,Kristoffslackofsubstantiveevidencetoprovethiscorrelation
reducesapotentiallyvalidargumenttoamereemotionalappeal.Evenso,Kristoffisrighttopointoutthe
economichardshipsthatareinflictedonforeignlaborerswhenglobalcorporationsshuttheirdoors.
Followingthisschooloflogic,manyglobalizationadvocatespointtosuchtragediesasadefenseforthe
statusquo.
Hepcat

WhatpeoplelikeKristofffailtoaddressisthat,regardlessofthecircumstances,unbearable
conditionsareunbearableconditions.AsauthorsTomHaydenandCharlesKernaghanputit,nitpicking
overthedifferencesbetweenunlivablewagesandsexualslaveryarenotaboutofferinganyonealadder
up,butaboutwhichringofDantesinfernopeopleindevelopingnationsareconsignedto(629).Theratio
ofmoneyconsumedbymarketing,distribution,andprofitstothebusinessownersisatrociouswhen
comparedtotheamountofmoneyreceivedbythepeoplelaboringtocreatemanyoftheproductswe
consume.ProducersofHarvardbaseballhatsreceiveamere1.6centsforeachhattheycreate.Those
samehatsarelatermarkedupto$17apiecewhentheyaresoldattheHarvardUniversitygiftshop(Hayden
629).Theextremenatureofthisinequitymakesitvirtuallyimpossibleforthepoortoimprovetheirlives
letalonemaintainthematall.
Sanitize

Intheory,aworkerwhointelligentlysavesthelittlemoneythatheacquirescanbegintheslow
processofimprovinghisfinancialstatus.However,whenexaminingthenumbersinvolved,the
impracticalityofthissituationbecomesstrikinglyapparent.AsJohnD.Abellpointsoutinhis
globalizationanalysis,TobuyanSUVhe[theaverageGuatemalanfarmworker]wouldhavetosharehis
purchasewith21coworkersandtheywouldeachhavetosavetheentiretyoftheirpaychecksfornine
years(623).Incontrast,theownerofalargeplantationcouldbuyapproximately12SUVseachyear
(Abell623).Granted,mostGuatemalansdonotrequireorevendesireSUVstobehappy.However,
AbellsargumenthasmoremeritifyouusetheSUVmerelyasaunitofmeasurement.Rewordingthis
informationinaslightlydifferentcontext,globalizationhasdeterminedthatthevalueofasingleSUVis
supposedtocoverthefood,housing,medicalandeducationalneedsof21workersandalloftheirfamily
membersfortheentiretyofnineyears.Thenotionthatanyonelivingunderthesecircumstancescould
somehowputasideanyoftheirpaltryincomeasastepladdertoprosperityiscompletelyludicrous.
Xena

Anotherargumentadvancedbyglobalizationsupportersisthattheestablishmentoflarge
corporationsinforeigncountrieswillgivewealthygovernmentsanincentivetoincreaseforeignaidand
improvethehealthstandardsofthepoor.Unfortunately,thisidealcouldnotbefurtherfromthetruth.
Instead,theUnitedStateshastendedtofavorslashingtheestatetaxesofthewealthyratherthan
substantiallyincreasingaidtoneedycountries(Krugman632).Ifanything,weonlyoffertheminimal
amountofaidtokeepenoughpoorpeopleinexistencetoprovidemarketsforoursoftdrinks,snacksand
cigarettes[whichtheyconsume]likethereisnotomorrow,muchtothedetrimentoftheirhealthandwell
being(Abell624).Craftymultinationalcorporationshavemanagedtoundercutthewellbeingofpoor
nationsbygettingthemhookedonunhealthyfoodsthattheycannotreasonablyafford.
Orange

Althoughglobalizationasitcurrentlyexistsisfailingtoimprovethelivesofthepoor,itis
possiblethatitcouldbebeneficialifreformed.Defendersofthestatusquoarguethatpressuring
corporationstoimprovetheworkingconditionsofsweatshopswillcausethemtopulltheirbusinessesout
offoreigncountriesentirely.Whilethatmightbetrueiftheywereforcedtoraisetheiremployeewagesto
meetAmericanstandards,suchdraconianmeasuresarenotneeded.Forinstance,textilemakersin
Bangladeshsaythattheycouldadequatelysupporttheirfamiliesiftheirwageswereraisedtoamere34
centsperhour.Economicimprovementisnotsomethingthathappensovernight.However,thelongterm
benefitsofglobalizationwillneverberealizeduntilthepoorareabletoearnlivablewageswhileworking
intolerableconditions.
Yoyo

Ratherthantryandrationalizetheexploitationthatisentrenchedinglobalization,stepsneedtobe
takentorevisethepoliciescurrentlybeingused.Corporationsneedtobeheldaccountablefortreating
theiremployeeshumanelyandcompensatingthemwellenoughtoaffordreasonableeconomicstability.In
thelonghaul,globalizationmayendupbeinganexcellentstrategyforcombatingpoverty.However,
withoutreformdesignedtoalleviatesomeoftheimmediatehardshipsfacingthepoor,theseloftygoalswill
neverberealized.