“Globalization can usefully be conceived as a process (or set of processes) which embodies a transformation in the spatial organization of social relations and transactions, generating transcontinental or interregional flows and networks of activity, interaction and power” (Held et al., 1999). In other words, the world has seen a process of integration of economy, culture, society, politics, etc. through the shared advanced technologies. Obviously, that integration has resulted in both advantageous and disadvantageous worldwide impacts on many areas, especially economy and culture.
To begin with, it is universally accepted that globalization has significantly contributed to the present flourish of economy. In fact, foreign direct investment (FDI) all over the world doubled in 1996 ($553 billion) in comparison with that for 1990 ($239 billion) (“Economic Globalization”). The marked increase in FDI means many more billion dollars of profit would be gained by investing countries meanwhile those receiving investment could have an ideal chance to boost their economies. Besides, the international trade all over the world seems to enable every single person to have unlimited access to an astonishingly wide range of merchandise. Realistically, “the logos of corporate giants such as Coca-Cola, Nike and Mercedes are a common sight in cities on every continent” (“Economic Globalization”); the products from these leading brands are now available to anyone on Earth. Likewise, customers would definitely be offered a variety of goods, which are distinguishing in size, price or quality, displayed on the shelves in stores and supermarkets.
Nevertheless, the downsides that have derived from economic globalization should not be forgotten. Though this phenomenon has influenced all countries, those receiving the vast majority of benefit are the developed ones (“Economic Globalization”). Hence, the poor economic conditions of developing states are still unlikely to be improved due to the accumulation of power in rich nations. For instance, according to the World Bank, the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita of the United States rocketed from $23,954.5 in 1990 to $53,042 in 2014 whereas this figure of Vietnam modestly rose from only $98 to $1910.5 in the same period of time. This, simultaneously, has widened the gap between the rich and poor countries not only in economy but in many other aspects like education, healthcare, living standard, etc.
Apart from business and trade, the obvious sign of globalization in culture could be easily noticed as the process of integration has affected every country’s culture in various beneficial ways. Firstly, there is an obvious connection between globalization and civilization thanks to myriads of transmitted technologies, ideas and customs. Many ethnic groups in Vietnam, for example, after having acknowledged modern medical knowledge, did eliminate numerous depraved customs like marriage at very young age and polygamy (the custom of having more wife or husband at the same time). As a consequence, not only did this better their lives but also drive their polish and edification. In addition, the exposure to a wealth of peculiarities would probably enrich one nation’s culture and improve the living standard of its inhabitants as well. In today’s society, geographical distance among countries seems to be no longer a problem as the American can try sushi or mocha without travelling to Japan; South African people are able to listen to Adele via the Internet; distinctive people with different nationalities may belong to the same religion since they share a mutual belief.
Nonetheless, everything has both sides, and cultural globalization is not an exception in that besides the benefits, it has led to a few heated issues. On “The Shrinking Planet”, one of them is “the homogenizing effect” that might obliterate human distinctiveness. Owing to the transmission of ideas, meanings and values throughout the world, it is almost impossible for a state to maintain its own particularities. There are, in reality, several ten replicas of Eiffel Tower – the symbol of France, constructed in various places like China, Mexico and the United States (Luling, 2014). Thus, almost all the countries appear to be losing their unique features; in other words, human beings are all on the verge of living in a homogeneous society. Another culture-related problem is the conflicts mostly provoked by globalization. Because cultural values vary among countries, the inherent differences in the values, beliefs and thoughts would possibly create misunderstanding and disguise among individuals or groups and even clash or war on a global scale. In truth, hug and kiss as a way of greeting in European nations may be considered as sexual harassment in many Asian ones. On a global scale, numerous catastrophic consequences would definitely be led to in an event that clash and war result from cultural differences.
By and large, globalization is an inevitable process (or set of processes) which can be a blessing as well as a curse on all aspects of the world. Only by using appropriate methods involving sustainable development could individual, organization and government mitigate the detrimental effects of this phenomenon.