The most prominent downsides of globalization are succinctly revealed below:
the populations in the highly developed economies loose their jobs as the corporations outsource positions to more cost-effective regions the populations in the less developed economies are exploited by outsourcing corporations companies that outsource transfer quality responsibilities to other countries, meaning that the quality of the final product could be compromised diseases are more rapidly transmitted from one region to the other there is a risk that the large corporations simultaneously conducting businesses in several global regions could come to rule the world due to their massive investments and gains (iloveindia)
the forces of globalization make it easier for national problems to take an international nature; the most relevant example in this sense is the emergence of the financial crisis in the United States and its expansion to the entire world globalization also increases the income gap between countries and social classes, making the rich even richer and the poor even poorer
corporations are tempted to fully benefit from the comparative advantages of countries and in doing this, they often disregard environmental concerns, further jeopardizing the health of our planet
The disclaimers of globalization, however forwarding the disadvantages of the process, also recognize that it does reveal some significant advantages. In order to ensure that these benefits are felt by as many international players as possible, several measures could be implemented. The most important of these measures is the development of country-specific approaches. The need to make usage of specifically designed advances to globalization is obvious in most global regions, but even more so in the Middle East and North African countries. The region is often perceived an as a uniform one, but fact is that it represents and agglomeration of states different in terms of political stability, economic development or socio-cultural norms. "The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is an economically diverse region that includes countries with a common heritage, at various stages of economic development, and with vastly different endowment of natural resources" (Abed, 2003). Unless we become able to understand the unique features of each individual country in the MENA region, chances are that our policies will not only generate populous dissatisfactions, but will also give birth to a series of economic, political and technological disadvantages that will generate numerous chain reactions.
The states in the MENA region have historically been characterized by enclosed economies, based on high levels of government intervention and the promotion of protectionist policies. The states are however beginning to change their approach as globalization allows investors to place their money in whatever region the want and help it develop. In this new economic order, the countries in the Middle East and North Africa have made increasing efforts to respond to the new global challenges. For instance, they have adapted their investment legislations in order to attract foreign investors. Countries such as Tunisia, Morocco or Egypt have even begun to offer incentives to foreign investors, whereas Syria and Iran still frown upon investments from outside the country. Algeria has for instance removed the barriers that were initially aimed to protect national industries and is hoping that the endeavor will attract new ventures. Another relevant effort made by the countries in the MENA area was to sign free trade agreements, either between them or with countries in other global regions. Additionally, the majority of MENA countries have gained the status of membership to the World Trade Organization (MacKinnon, 1997). All these point out to a region that is ready for globalization, but which must be addressed in a specific manner.
The past decades have witnessed massive increases in foreign direct investments in the Middle East and North African countries. Pessimists argue that the United States was the main financial contributor to the MENA countries as it was following its own agenda and had its heart set on the natural reserves of crude oil. However, fact remains that these injections of capital were only possible through the forces of globalization and that they have supported an achievement of political and economic stability. Despite this stability still, the actual rates of economic growth remain among the lowest at the global level. "In sum, while macroeconomic stability was maintained, the MENA region as a whole failed to generate high and sustained growth rates. In contrast to other developing countries, the region underperformed since the 1970s and, as a result, did not reap the full benefits of globalization and world economic integration" (Abed). It as such becomes obvious that the countries in the Middle East and North Africa were inadequately approached and that country-specific advances must be developed.
A relevant example of how the globalization issues could be overcome in the MENA region, as well as throughout the entire globe, refers to a development of regional integration initiatives. Despite the fact that the concept seems difficult to comprehend, it basically refers to intensified efforts that align the forces of globalization and the global economy to the characteristic features of a given nation. The most simplistic example in the MENA region refers to the cultural values. The people in the oriental parts of the globe fear that intense exposition to the American traditions could represent a threat upon their own values and lead to a demise of the oriental cultures and traditions. In order to address this issue through a country-specific approach, American corporations could for instance delegate representatives in the Middle East and North Africa to become informed of local cultures and only then develop their strategies, in accordance with the retrieved information. Such an approach to the country would be beneficial for both outsourcer as well as host country.
Then, as another means to increasing the chances of success for globalization within the MENA countries or elsewhere in the world, international investors could come to the country as help, not as burden. To better understand, take the example of a company wanting to open a plant in a Middle Eastern country, say for instance Saudi Arabia. They should at first identify the issues the country is facing at the time. Given that they were to look at the labor force structure, they could observe that the employment rates among women are low. Ergo, they could choose to open an organization that employs primarily women. Then, taking one step ahead in his research, the investor would find out that the Saudi Arabia women are extremely erudite and highly capable of fulfilling high responsibility-jobs. With all this information in mind, the investor could decide to not manufacture its products within Saudi Arabia and create an already highly controversial sweatshop, but could open a call center that hired educated and multi-language speaking Saudi Arabian women. The measures would be tailored to the unique needs of the Saudi Arabian labor force and would manage to resolve a national problem. In addition, it would create the feeling that the investor is interested in actually helping the country, not just exploiting its comparative advantage. The list of such country-specific approaches and regional integration initiatives is virtually endless and other examples at the top of one's head could refer to the integration of the Islamic banking concepts or the resolution of the scarcity of fresh water resources within the region (it is often said that the countries in the Middle East will enter wars not for oil and natural gas, as the developed economies are expected to do, but for fresh water).
Overall, the countries in the Middle East and North African region face the challenge of reduced rates of economic growth. They have managed to achieve and maintain sustainable political environments, but economic prosperity is yet to be fully achieved. Given these limitations then, it becomes obvious that the globalization efforts in the MENA zone must be centered on increasing employment levels, education levels all to culminate with increased living conditions "In sum, while macroeconomic stability was maintained, the MENA region as a whole failed to generate high and sustained growth rates. In contrast to other developing countries, the region underperformed since the 1970s and, as a result, did not reap the full benefits of globalization and world economic integration" (Abed).
Abed, G.T., Challenges of Growth and Globalization in the Middle East and North Africa, International Monetary Fund, 2003, http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/med/2003/eng/abed.htm last accessed on May 14, 2009
MacKinnon, C., Middle East Trade: Globalization Puts New Pressure on the Region, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Edition of June-July, pp.73-92
Pros and Cons of Globalization, iloveindia, http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/pros-and-cons-of-globalization-3507.html last accessed on May 14, 2009