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To what extent has globalisation positively influenced global society?

In an ideal world a global society, that stems from the increasing interdependence and interconnectedness between countries and cultures (Holton, 2000), would see people share a common culture and quality of life. This appears to be a noble goal but, the world we currently live in is not ideal by any standard.

The concept or process of globalisation is driven by worldwide economic activity according to Harvey (2002) and the International Chamber of Commerce (2005) specifies the relevance of open markets, competition and the free flow of goods, services, capital, and knowledge. Waks (2006) adds that global markets and the development of technology have had a huge influence on the cultural aspects of society. Giddens (1991) and Robertson (1992) argue that globalisation is the process through which people in their own city, country or community are easily connected to the rest of the world which can create more connection and understanding of different cultures or distant events.

These definitions shed a positive light on globalisation, and further examination can clarify to what extent the consequences of this process have positively influenced global society. This essay will compare advantages and disadvantages of topics like economic activity, poverty, family, culture, and health, and show that a transformational stance is the most realistic approach to the suggested dilemmas.


A free flow of goods, services, capital, and knowledge creates opportunities for a worldwide economic output, and because international markets are bigger than domestic markets, countries can produce and trade more amongst each other. This capitalist approach has been championed by modernisation theorists and globalists which believe it is a way to create more jobs for more people to help them out of poverty (Parjanadze, 2009).

The production of goods in a global society is a multi-process operation and often the consecutive stages are executed in different countries. The contracts for the jobs usually go to the companies that offers the best price which creates worldwide alliances, global products, and an even bigger growth in flow of capital and knowledge: hyper capitalism (Scholte, 2005). For certain parts of the production process, the companies that can offer the best price are from lower wage countries. An example is the garment factories in Bangladesh. Bangladesh has known extreme poverty but since its independence from Pakistan in 1971 their per capita income has increased from 133 USD to 2500 USD in 2021 (The World Bank, 2022). The rise of the number of sweatshops in the country has created more jobs, especially for women, which is the first step for families out of extreme poverty and with that life expectancy and living conditions improve (Sachs, 2005). The World Bank (2022) currently defines extreme poverty as a person living on less than $2.15 a day and states that between 1985 and 2015, 600 million people worldwide came out of extreme poverty. Unfortunately, there has been a decline in progress since 2020 because of the Covid19 pandemic, the war in the Ukraine and rising inflation.

Globalists recognise the positive effects of a global market on extreme poverty.


However, sceptics argue that that worldwide economic activity offers little protection for national economies, for workers’ rights, and there is a significant negative effect on countries that are excluded (Waks, 2006).

The import of goods produced in lower wage countries, mainly in the East, has caused a loss of the manufacturing industry in countries like the UK. A GMB Union study showed that 600000 manufacturing jobs have vanished in the UK between 2008 and 2018 (Inman, 2018), more factories keep closing and skills are lost (Alexander, N.D.). The low wage and low skilled workers that do these jobs have lost more rights and protection, often due to the territorial constrictions of their jobs which have given the employers the upper hand in negotiations (Scholte, 2005) and domestic regulation has been stripped in favour of international rules by for example the World Trade Organisation (Bounds, 2022).

Certain countries experience exclusion of this global trade and as such extreme poverty. Sachs (2004, 2005) sets out potential causes like the physical geography of the area, unfavourable geopolitics, less productivity because of pervasive occurrence of disease, and insufficient distribution of technology. In 2020, 9 of the 10 poorest countries in the world were in Sub-Saharan Africa (World Population Review, 2022). This area is more isolated from trade with for example Europe because of several factors. A high percentage of the population lives inland because the soil is better, the load of malaria is not as heavy, and people were historically afraid to live close to the coast because of decades of slave trade. This has made the transportation of goods from the ports to the people more expensive and thus less favourable (Sachs, 2004). Centuries of colonisation and slave trade has left the area exploited, restructured without regards for existing cultural and political units, continuously manipulated by foreign major powers, and with little global aid compared to other poor areas in the world (Sachs 2004, 2005).

From sceptics’ point of view, globalisation has had negative economic effects on certain industries and countries.


Globalists have linked family planning and declining birth rates to prosperity that comes from global economic growth. Having less children puts less financial burden on families regarding housing, education, and other costs (Nargund, 2009). With smaller families and more people choosing to live by themselves, individualism has increased and Islamia (2022) argues that that leads people to a desire to better themselves in favour of the global economy, and more freedom and happiness. Globalisation has made travel, migration, and online connection easier as well which has stretched social relations, increased consciousness about different cultures, and diversified families and friendships. Migration has been a helpful solution in underpopulated areas to help take care of the older and vulnerable population (Dokos, 2017).

However, based on Weber’s theory of the family (Blustone, 1982), the trend of stepping away from family, and its safety, ethics and values has shown to cause social anxiety, competition, and conflicts (University of Regina, 2002). Individualism is more prevalent in Western societies and globalisation has been erasing collectivism more and more (Islamia, 2022). This hegemony of European-American or western culture has forced itself upon other nations and cultures, dangling an insubstantial promise of more economic prosperity in front them. In certain countries these improvements have not happened despite having an influx of American products like Coca-Cola, McDonalds, and US entertainment into their culture (Obeidat, 2018).

Looking at families and cultures, globalisation has created opportunities for growth and connection, but has also laid out the groundwork for Americanisation and social conflict.


Another polarising topic that has as many defenders as critics in its relation to globalisation is health. The ease with which goods and people can travel, and knowledge reaches more people via global communication media, has improved many health services all over the world (Scholte, 2005). Technologies can be developed and distributed at lower cost and human rights are monitored better (Labonte, 2015). The positive effects of the global economy on jobs in poorer countries have brought about increased life expectancy, lower child mortality and healthier overall lifestyles (Sachs, 2005).

However, the same ease that connects people is also an ideal transmitter of viruses and diseases. Scholte (2005) describes how since the 1980’s travel has accelerated the spread of diseases like AIDS. According to the World Health Organisation (2021), 25.7 million people were living with AIDS in 2018, of which almost two thirds of new infections occurred in The African Region. Sub-Saharan Africa is already economically disadvantaged and underfunded, and the prevalence of disease exacerbates its problems and conflicts.

Even though wealthier areas might have more health resources, they are not spared from the quick spread of viruses via human travel. Since recordings started in February 2020, Statista (2022) reports that there have been 23461000 COVID-19 cases in the UK until August 2022. Lockdowns and other health measures that have been implemented worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic have caused extreme poverty to rise again since 2020 (World bank, 2020). In the UK this has had the most impact on women as they were furloughed more (White, 2021).

As with the topics economic activity, poverty, family, and culture, one can point out many positive influences on health stemming from globalisation. Unfortunately, the negative sides can be so detrimental to humanity that they cannot be overlooked and should continue to be examined and considered in global policy creation and decision making. A transformational approach can keep an open mind to the positives of global trends and knowledge while simultaneously anticipate and react to the consequences on a local level (Parjanadze, 2009).


While globalisation has had many positive influences on worldwide poverty, social relations, cultural diversity and consciousness, and improvements to global health services, it has not all been good. Poverty has not improved in certain areas because of nations’ inability to become a worthy player in the global market, or even increased because of quicker spread of disease, and loss of manufacturing industries. Families are smaller, have broken down, and individualism and westernisation have caused more conflict both social and individual.

This shows that globalisation has positively influenced society to a moderate degree, but a transformational point of view is more realistic to be able to stay open to and deal with the many disadvantages that come along in this process. A society cannot be truly global if there is too much dominance from one culture and too little authentic support for another.



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