University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Globalisation and environmental sustainability
A global society is marked by new technologically integrated local and international relations which encourage the study of the effects of globalisation and as well as internationalisation of various disciplines in a society which are involved in social interactions. This interactions may be locally based or may involve international relations some of which have a close relationship to political philosophy, international economies, conflict analysis, international laws and policies as well as sociology.
Globalisation makes the world more productive and stable. In the past few decades, the global economy has become increasingly interconnected and integrated. This integration is quite evident in the international markets and it has been on a steady increase since the seventeenth century although in the last few years, globalisation has undergone revolution which has given rise to many controversial issues regarding its effects and impacts on the larger global society (Lindert, Williamson 2001).
Some researches have indicated that in the last two decades or so, the increased integration in the global markets has resulted in greater inequality in the way income is distributed among nations around the world. In connection to this, Bourguignon and Morrisson (2000) have also observed that combining inequality within and across countries has brought a significant rise in the global inequality since 1960 thus making the already poor countries poorer while the rich countries get richer through globalisation.
Globalisation refers to the way in which nations increasingly become interconnected with one another in terms of economic, political, technological, social and cultural aspects. More often than not, the word globalisation is used to refer to the economic aspect of a nation. Economic globalisation describes the integration of national economies into the international economies via trade, migrations, international market capital flows, foreign investments and increased use of technology.
The increasing rate of globalisation as has been experienced in the past two decades or so has led to rapid growth of global trade, financial capital flows, direct foreign investments and cross border trade transactions (Johnston, Taylor, Watts 2002). The major facilitators of this growth include improved transport and communication infrastructure, improved technological know-how, quicker methods of telecommunication and internet services. In addition to this, globalisation has been favoured by removal of trade barriers and policies across nations which previously inhibited international trade among nations.
This has now liberalised trade and encouraged more export and import transactions which promote globalisation. The establishment of international trade organisations such as world bank, IMF and WTO have also played a significant role in facilitating globalisation as they are devoted to promoting trade and investment across nations worldwide. The result of this kind of globalised trade is presence of multinational companies (MNCs) whose budgets exceed those of the economies of many nations in which they are situated (Atkison 1999).
Globalisation and sustainability. In the recent years, many controversies have emanated from the issue of globalisation. It is now seen an unnecessary evil which is threatening the social and environmental sustainability of the global societies. Globalisation is viewed by some people as an opportunity for national and international economic growth while others feel that it is a threat to economic prosperity, political sovereignty and cultural integrity (Jussilla, Cullen 2002).
People in developed countries are particularly concerned with the fact that globalisation poses a threat to unskilled workers who are bound to be left jobless with the increased technological methods of production in the contracting industries. On the other hand, the developing nations are mostly concerned about the loss of political powers and sovereignty as well as loss of economic prosperity which is bound to be brought about by globalisation.
According to Bhalla (2002) the whole concept of globalisation is surrounded by ideological issues both positive and negative which in the long run affect the people or societies in the globalised world. , the controversial aspect of globalisation can not be easily resolved. Globalisation and environmental sustainability. Environmental sustainability refers to the aspect of addressing the needs of the current global societies fully while being cautious not to compromise the needs of the societies which are to come,that is, future generations.
According Heinberg (2005), globalisation has directly or indirectly led to several environmental issues such as global warming, increased deforestation, depletion of the ozone layer, destruction of water catchment areas, biodiversity, most natural resources have reached or are nearing depletion levels, pollution of water, air and the entire environment among others. For instance, globalisation has enabled MNCs to invest in countries which have few or no environmental conservation by-laws and this results in high environmental degradation as well as depletion of natural resources.
However, the WTO in response to this effect has argued that the large amounts of income or capital flows earned from globalisation are capable of catering for the environmental degradation and this is bound to improve the quality of the environment to even higher standards that it were in before. In addition, globalisation has led to increased industrialisation all over the globe and this has resulted in the much dreaded effects of depletion of the ozone layer and global warming. Global warming comes as a result of release of industrial pollutants from the manufacturing industries into the environment.
Such pollutants include carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, oxides of sulphur and so forth. The effects of global warming are quite evident all over the globe as they have led to diverse changes in weather and climate resulting in drought and famines in some parts of the world among other effects. The depletion of the ozone layer occurs as a result of release of chemicals such as freons and fluorocarbons in to the air which react with ozone layer hence thinning it (Bellow 2001). However,there are several positive effects of globalisation in relation to environmental sustainability.
Precisely, globalisation has led to improved methods of energy utilisation, substitution of resources especially those occurring naturally, innovation of metal recovery and material recycling methods, dematerialisation of resources among other positive practices (Eiezen, Maxine 2006). Globalisation has particularly been putting great emphases on dematerialisation and this has helped industries to improve their efficiency in production, minimise and manage their waste production and reduced the production costs through use of cheap systematic procedures.
In addition, the use of improved technological methods has made companies to adopt newer and more efficient methods of energy utilisation and as a result, the energy requirements in industrialized countries have substantially reduced in the recent years. Moreover, many non-renewable energy resources have been substituted with renewable sources of energy and this has greatly reduced the risk of depletion of such resources in the near future.
Although the improved technology has great positive effects on the environmental sustainability, globalisation is negatively associated with the exportation and use of technologies and activities that can have detrimental effects on the environment. All these environmental effects of globalisation have either a direct or an indirect impact on the global societies. Lack of clean water for instance is a negative effect which is likely to cause diseases and suffering to the larger population.
On the other hand, improved energy efficiency, advanced technology and industrialisation translates a greater advantage to the people living in the globalised world in terms of better quality consumer products, free exchange of goods, capital and services between nations among others. Globalisation and social sustainability. On the aspect of social sustainability, globalisation plays a very important role in terms of improving or lowering the social status of the people living in globalised world.
Experts have argued that globalisation tends to impose a greater disadvantage to the poor countries while at the same time it favours the already developed nations (Bellow 2001). They add that although globalisation is believed to favour free trade among nations, it lead to much inequality between the developed and the under developed countries since the developing countries are unable to compete favourably with the developed countries in the international markets (Agyeman, Bullar, Evans 2003).
In addition, the increased use of technology is bound to render many people jobless especially the unskilled workers, since most of the work which was previously done manually by the people is now easily done by machines. This reflects negatively on the society especially in the poorer countries since when people do not get jobs to do, they are likely to suffer from starvation, poor health, illiteracy among other social problems (Walker 2005). On the positive side, globalisation allows free movement of people across nations as they trade and this has promoted cultural diversity, intermarriages, tourism and so forth.
This has further promoted peace,understanding and unity between individuals as well as nations. It is thus clear that globalisation has some critical impacts on the social lives of individuals an groups living in the industrialised countries. Identities and powers based on globalisation and sustainability. The last one decade or so has presented a turbulent phase for the global societies marked by globalisation and resurgence in the identity politics or religion based politics.
Globalisation being a process of ongoing capitalism-industrialisation has had some adverse effects on the poor strata of the society. According to Heiberg (2005), the nature of globalisation is contradictory in that it divides the world as much as it unites it. Movements fundamental to globalisation are based on empathy, ideology and identities. The lives of people living in global societies are largely shaped by conflicting trends of globalisation and identity and current events in the world indicate that community identities are threatened by the forces of globalisation.
One effect of globalisation on the societal political structure is the emergence of socialist states which came into being in the mid-20th century ushering in the beginning of an industrial society. The intensified rate of globalisation has led to a rise of America as a lone super-power in the world, decline of the power and authority exercised by the United Nations, decline in the amount of Non-Aligned movement, a rise in Fascist-fundamentalist politics among countries and worsening of the problems experienced by the poor in the society.
While globalisation is believed to result in a democratic world economy, the political democracy system in the world is stifled in form of emasculation of the potential world government. As the national economies become more and more globalised, the world political powers become more and more centralised into one or a few nations of the world. This power monopoly is a negative effect of globalisation as it leads to a decline in democratic norms and projection of identity politics. Identity politics involve competition over scarce resources which could in principle be taken to mean struggle for political power or economic wealth resources.
This kind of competition seems to favour only the rich and mighty residing in the wealthy and powerful countries leading to a form of discrimination. As a result, globalisation makes the people in rich countries continue becoming richer as those in poor countries become more poor by the day. In this case it is clear that although globalisation is capable of empowering a nation both economically and politically, the power distribution is unequal and this puts some nations at a higher political power advantage than others.
Conclusion. Beyond doubt, globalisation has led to significant increase in per capita income of different nations which have fully accepted this process and applied effectively the technological advancements which come with it. It can however be seen that, globalisation has pushed most developing or Third world countries along the path of diminishing sustainability and this has not in any way been improved by the recent regulations made in the globalisation processes.
For instance, the deregulation of global trade in the recent past has led to a decrease in the environmental and social-cultural constraints associated with globalisation but this kind of deregulation has failed to address the issues of sustainability. In conclusion, it is clear that the current globalisation process is quite unsustainable but with a few policies to govern it properly, the process is capable of bringing much success in the long run to all nations world wide as well as to people as individuals in the globalised world.
Reference. Atkinson, G., Dubourg, R. , Hamilton, K. , Munasinghe, M. , Pearce D. , 1999. Measuring sustainable development. UK: Edward Elgar Publishers. Agyeman, J. , Bullard, R. D. , Evans, B. , (eds. ). 2003. Sustainability: Development in an Unequal World, London: Earthscan. Bello, W. F. 2001. The Future in the Balance: Essays on Globalization and Resistance. Oakland, Calif: Food First Books. Bhalla, A. S. 2002. Globalisation and Sustainable Development: A Southern African Perspective”, International Journal of Technology Management & Sustainable Development, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 40-57.