You are on page 1of 6

Persuasive Research Essay-- The Negative Effects of Globalization

Globalization has been defined as the continual process of


international trade and interaction, and it is viewed as the catalyst to a
multitude of benefits that we enjoy in our lives today. For example,
cheaper goods and services and a better quality of life for all. What is
not as apparent are the adverse working conditions as well as the
reduced quality of life in third world countries due to globalization. The
settlement of sweatshops and manufacturing companies in third world
countries, that are run by Western retailers, take advantage of people
for cheap labour. This has been detrimental to the lives of citizens in
underdeveloped countries by obligating them to work underpaid jobs,
reducing their quality of life, altering environmental conditions and
pressuring families to a point where child labour and suicide have
become a norm. Third world countries are negatively affected by
globalization because big Western corprorations exploit them through
economic, social, environmental, and psychological aspects.

The problem with settling sweatshops and cheap manufacturers


in third world countries is discussed in an article published on July,
2013 by Acumen Publishing Limited, written by Mohan Matthen, which
describes the horrific collapse of manufacturing building Rana Plaza in
Savar, Bangladesh. He brings concern to the roles of Western media

and retailers when he states in the article, "This has prompted some of
the wrong kinds of response from Western media. The discussion
revolves around the correct idea that Western consumers are crazy (in
both senses) to buy cheap clothes, and that retailers like Walmart,
Gap, Benetton, and, here in Canada, Joe Fresh provide these by
manufacturing clothes using near-slave labour working in unsafe
Bangladeshi facilities." (Matthen). It is immensely important to
recognize that successful Western vendors use employees in third
world countries to their advantage by setting up unrealistic
expectations for cheap factories. This pressures the service economy
because the factories need money to stay afloat financially and so do
their employees. Therefore workers are obligated to provide cheap
labour in poor and unsafe environments. Walmart, as one of the
biggest retailers in business, has a great advantage when exploiting
third world countries. They use their booming industry to exploit
underdeveloped nations through reduced prices: "[which contribute to]
the many effects Wal-Mart has on communities, workers, and society
as a whole. Among these efforts are calls for higher expectations of
Wal-Mart to be a good corporate citizen, for the company to do more
in contributing some of its immense wealth and power to help the poor
and exploited." (Figueroa). This shows how Walmart is one of the many
retailers that don't care about underdeveloped nations and their
workers. Considering the amount of revenue that successful Western

retailers profit, they would only lose a small fraction of their revenue to
help improve the working environments in underdeveloped nations.
However, there is no account for the price of the lives lost. These
working conditions and underpaying jobs continue to reduce the
quality of life for citizens living in these countries.
Since the jobs in these factories are underpaid, employees
struggle to support their families and this creates a situation where the
whole family is required to work for financial support. Most people from
farming communities migrate to work in urban areas in hopes of a
better lifestyle. However many are later obliged to live in substandard
housing and have limited access to basic sanitation and medication.
Apple in particular, as one of the major retailers for the Chinese
company Foxconn, takes little initiative towards the health and safety
of their workers employed in small factories. According to an
investigation conducted by the Fair Labor Association, it is reported
that there are "numerous issues related to inconsistent policies,
procedures and practices. The investigation revealed that a
considerable number of workers felt generally insecure regarding their
health and safety. The issue of aluminum dust was of particular
concern, as this was the cause of an explosion at the Chengdu facility
last year."("Independent Investigation of Apple Supplier, Foxconn").
Foxconn functions out of 3 locations around China, 2 of which locations
consist of over 99% of migrant workers. This shows the huge influx of

migrant workers into urban areas and the disregard for their livelihood
and quality of life in these multinational corporations.
Hazardous working conditions, low pay, and reduced social
status lead to a multitude of psychological issues for the workers at
these multinational corporations. Foxconn is also known for the
infamous suicides that had occurred at their facilities in early 2012.
This had become a threat to their workers and reputation. This led to
the point where they set up nets around their facilities to prevent
further attempted suicides. Even with the nets set up, there were mass
suicide protests where workers were planning to kill themselves en
masse (Moore). Work should never pressure the human mind to the
extent where they are desperate enough to think suicide is a viable
option to escape the mental torment they have to endure.
These same multinational corporations are responsible for a lot
of the environmental issues that develop where their industries are set
up. Apart from the regular waste produced by industries, there is
evidence of unlawful waste dumping in and around third world
countries by Western corporations. For example, many reports suggest
that European firms have used the waters off the shore of Somalia to
dump "...around 35 million tonnes of waste"(Milton), which had caused
unexplained illnesses and deaths when this toxic waste was washed up
on the shore. This occurred due to the tsunami in 2004 and the lack of

environmental oversight in third world countries like Somalia creates


an economic condition where large first world firms are able to abuse
the environment without difficulty. This is also another aspect of
exploitation in underdeveloped nations due to the greed of Western
corporations, which is only the case because of unchecked
globalization.
The comforts and luxuries first world countries enjoy should
never be at the expense of the environment, mental health, and
ultimately the lives of those in the third world. Unchecked and
uncontrolled globalization can only widen the gap between the first
and third world, making it even more difficult to bring all of humanity
to the standards that are enjoyed in the West. These matters too often
go unnoticed until tragedies like the Somali coastline disaster, the
Rana Plaza incident and the Foxconn suicide protests bring the issue to
the forefront, too often at the expense of countless lives. Therefore, the
definition of globalization should be changed to the continual process
of exploitation of underdeveloped countries by first world companies.

Works Cited
Matthen, Mohan. "Ethics in the Supply Chain." The Philosophers'
Magazine 15 July 2013. Print.
Figueroa, Meleiza. "Wal-Mart's Real Cost." Wal-Mart's Real Cost.
Solidarity. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.

"Independent Investigation of Apple Supplier, Foxconn." Report


Highlights (2012): 2. Foxconn Investigation Report. Fair Labor
Association. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.
Milton, Chris. "Somalia Used as Toxic Dumping Ground." <i>The
Ecologist</i>. Ecologist, 1 Mar. 2009. Web. 21 Nov. 2014. &lt;
Moore, Malcolm. "'Mass Suicide' Protest at Apple Manufacturer Foxconn
Factory." <i>The Telegraph</i>. Telegraph Media Group, 2 Dec. 11.
Web. 21 Nov. 2014. &lt;