9.7: Resistance to Globalization after 1900
Globalization vs Anti-Globalization
Globalization has many benefits, like shared cultural experiences and raising awareness about topics like humanitarianism. Sounds great, right? Well, there are some drawbacks.
Here are some reasons why people resisted globalization:
Unequal distribution of resources. A major concern about globalization was that the world economy favored the 2% of the population that could afford the luxury of consumerism. The rest of the world was left to work to manufacture the demands of the rest of the world.
Exploitation of workers’ safety and rights. Buyers who bought cheap products often did not know the labor conditions workers were put in to create the product. Workers of all ages were exploited. Many worked in unsafe conditions for unreasonably low wages. In the early 2000s, chocolate companies in West Africa used child labor in order to harvest their cacao for the yearly quota. An estimated 2 million children took part in this. Similarly, in 2013, the Rana Plaza Factory, an eight-story building, collapsed on workers and killed more than 1,000 people.
Environmental Damage. Environmental activists point to the unsustainable greenhouse emissions that were exacerbated by shipping processes. In Brazil, thousands of square miles were destroyed and cleared for cattle farming in the Amazon rainforest. This practice harmed the natural ecosystems and the indiginous people living in the rainforest. This was mainly done because meat being Brazil’s main source of revenue from exports.
Pop Culture vs Folk Culture
Pop culture is the popular culture that is adopted by society and is heavily influenced by trends and social media. Celebrities and influential individuals set many trends that society adopts. These trends are easily shared throughout the globe by social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Pop culture is also influenced by products like movies, art, film, dance, fashion, and literature.
Pop culture is not confined to one country. Fashion trends and films transcend borders, and so do their influences. One example is K-Pop (Korean Pop). K-Pop style and music has become popular in non-Korean speaking cultures. This pop culture has become globalized and has influenced their fandoms to adopt Korean culture and music.
On the other hand, folk culture is passed down from generation to generation and is less influenced by social media. Folk culture is typically influenced by tradition.
One example of folk culture can be seen in Amish culture. The Amish way of life is influenced by Christian ideologies and slow to adopt to modern technology. Amish culture is not influenced by the trends of modern day society because of their exclusion from modern technology.
Those who oppose globalization use social media to spread and perpetuate their ideas throughout the globe (ironic, right?). Anti-globalization activists use platforms like Facebook and Twitter to share their ideas. A simple like, comment, or share can help reach people from all areas of the world and bring attention to a specific cause. In Urumqi, China, more than 1,000 protesters clashed with police. This was because social unrest on Facebook and Twitter between those of Han ethnicity and those of Uighur ethnicity. This led the Chinese government to ban these social media platforms and introduce a substitute called Weibo, a social media platform that tracks “sensitive” content.
Other countries like Saudi Arabia use social media as a form of control. Saudi Arabia has been reported harassing its citizens with fake news and intimidation.
As we can see, social media can be used to spread ideologies, both beneficial and harmful.
So, now that we know why people resist globalization, let's look at how!
Anti-globalization activists claim business monopolies destroy the livelihood of small businesses. Small businesses cannot benefit from organizations like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) or World Trade Organization (WTO) in the same way that big corporations do. To combat this, a new movement arose to encourage some businesses, especially restaurants, to buy from their local small businesses.
Another form of resistance is civil protests. Critics have also pointed to the World Bank, an international organization, for favoring higher income countries. In 2001 and 2002 protesters in over 23 countries, including lower income countries, took to the streets to support the anti-IMF and anti-World Bank cause.
The anti-globalization cause also has social implications and often favor:
Human Rights—Fair treatment of workers and basic freedoms
Fair Trade—System that ensures that the person who provided goods gets a reasonable payment
Sustainable developments—Allows business to operate without harming future generations
Debt Relief—Countries do not have to risk economic breakdown in order to pay back the IMF