Globalization’ - A term that was seldom used before the 1990s, has now become a trendy, fashionable and widely used term. Its in common parlance. The term ‘Globalization’ basically refers to an overall economic system wherein raw-material & manufactured goods, technology, food, finance, intellectual property, etc., flows freely across countries & continents under the close supervision of international trade authorities. However, the quantities are not and may not be equal all the time. These days it also refers to the homogenization of language and cultural identity that accompanies this exchange of material, technologies and finances. But this process of Globalization is growing in strength every single day. However, the side effects of this world-wide strategy and structure remain very poorly felt and understood by most. And this is mostly because a majority of the impacts are indirect and cannot be seen immediately. And this is very significant and true with respect to the environmental effects and impacts
. This process of globalisation is more often inevitable ultimately leading to a complex structure wherein just few of the large multi-nationals and global corporations will eventually dominate global economic platform who will be under the scrutiny of a very small number of regulatory and advisory bodies. The issue is that these bodies are not run by a healthy combination of decision makers, sociologists, ecologists, etc., but just by few hard-core economists whose viewpoints are in sync with those of the multi-nationals and global corporations that they advise and scrutinize.
Globalization has been so rapid and unprecedented that its effects and impacts are being felt in the smallest and most remote human communities in developed, under-developed and developing countries. Well, the words developed, undeveloped and developing - all assume a concrete path and which is highly impossible to change towards a uniform economic condition that leaves no alternatives. Nevertheless, it would be stupid to just assume that globalization is an irreversible economic cobweb that is here to stay, although many of its major environmental consequences are likely to prove long-lasting. Immense power always creates an impression of permanence. But an even more powerful shield of formidable limiting factors is still acting to stop and modify the process of globalization, perhaps to put an end to it altogether and with great force. It is important to take a closer look at the environmental, social, economic and spiritual effects of globalization to maintain stability of environment and the society.
The impacts of globalization are numerous and severe. A detailed description of all the issues and impacts may not fit in to this article but some major effects and costs is briefly listed, which are as follows:
1. widening of the gap between rich and poor including individuals, countries and continents - it’s a known fact that the richest 25% on this planet consume 80%of the world’s resources.
2. the ever-rising power of multinational companies and global corporations and their multi-level world-wide inter-linkages of financial markets, causing regional instability from natural resource extinctions and rapid geographic shifts of production and financial assets;
3. dissolution of families, communities & culture;
4. weakening of democracy where it once existed;
5. social frustration leading to ever-increasing social crimes and population of offenders across borders (ex: the number of people in jail in the US has gone from less than 0.5 million in 1980s to 2.2 million in 2015; steep increases of such populations have also been observed in other countries, such as New Zealand - a once police-free weekend nation). And all this has been observed post the global free trade economy);
6. unregulated and rampant privatization and subsequent degeneration of health care, education and other social services;
7. reduction in overseas support & grant mainly generated by wealthy nations;
8. steep increase in the numbers of environmental refugees;
9. increase in regional conflicts and cross-border terrorism;
10. loss of many indigenous languages, culture, traditions and associated rituals (which once protected the regional & local environment & ecology);
11. crippling and elimination of local governing and control authorities over local events & activities);
12. loss of traditional knowledge and essential local skills and techniques;
13. degeneration of the complex and closely interlinked socio-economic fabric among local communities.
Thought globalization is not the only reason for these adverse changes, it definitely is the most significant underlying cause.