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Globalization and Environment
The driving force behind the phenomena that has become known as globalization is technology (Bhagwati, 2004). Improvements in computer hardware, software, and telecommunications have caused a geometric increase in access to information that has caused a corresponding increase in economic potential. Because of improvements in technology businesses throughout the world have been able to more easily expand their access to new products, ideas, and resources.
The advances in technology have produced many changes in our society. These changes have produced many positive benefits. They have created new jobs, promoted the growth of new markets and products, and increased international trade and investment. However, there have been corresponding costs. Workers in certain segments of the economy have lost their jobs as they failed to adjust to the demand for increased technological skills. The effect on the environment is another possible cost of globalization.
The environment has been a major concern in most developed nations throughout the world for some time. Legislative requirements and voluntary compliance have caused improvements in how western nations manufacture, market, and package their products. In developing nations, however, there has been concern expressed that such nations are more concerned with profits than with environmental matters. In these nations, economic activity has progressed unregulated and led to environmental destruction. As a result of this controversy two opposing camps have evolved. On the one side there are those who advocate slower economic growth so that measures can be put in place to protect the environment while on the opposing side are those who argue that free market and technological advances provide the best tools to solve environmental concerns by lifting people out of poverty and in the process have them realize on their own the importance of environmental concerns.
At the present time the issue is still being hotly debated but as globalization has expanded so has the level of international cooperation. Environmental issues that were once addressed on a nation by nation basis are now discussed between cooperating nations and the protection of the oceans and atmosphere is viewed as a mankind concern and not simply as a national concern. The sudden emergence of international organizations dedicated to addressing environmental concerns on an international basis is concrete evidence of the importance being afforded this matter (United Nations)
Concern with the environment is only one of the areas that globalization has impacted. The process has created the need for an internationally competent workforce that is proficient in world languages and sensitive to differences in other cultures and it has caused existing and new businesses to radically change their marketing approach.
Globalization has brought new ethnic and racial groups into the market place. For western nations this has meant that they must adjust their marketing strategies (Yucel, 2009)
. Instead of appealing to the white majority that they once directed their efforts toward businesses involved in the globalization process must now adjust their marketing efforts so that the new markets can be impacted.
With globalization the cultural differences between individuals is highlighted. As product lines like McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Google and Microsoft are seen everywhere throughout the world the fact that there are differences between us may seem minimal but the fact is that cultural differences remain nonetheless and the businesses that recognize these differences and adjust accordingly will be the most successful. The theory is that globalization will eventually cause a world society to develop but in the meantime the culture differences must be respected and businesses active on the world stage must honor them.
The integration of cultures as the result of globalization has raised some major ethical considerations. It was once possible to remain isolated within one's own nation and ignore the concerns and problems of other nations. Today national borders have less meaning and issues of trade, the environment, and health have connected everyone throughout the world in ways that were never conceived of twenty years ago. Along the way, a new world concept of what is fair and what is just has tangentially developed. A new ethical system, if you will, has emerged.
The range of issues is broad. Global warming, climate changes, economic interchange, trade liberalization, and issues of national sovereignty are examples of the areas that need to be ethically addressed. Historically, such issues were…[continue]
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