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This report will discuss the role of globalization in providing and
transfer new and advanced technologies which, despite their
importance, can be damaging to the environment.
The report will be covering elements such as what we mean by
globalization as a phenomenon of changes? What technologies mean? What
are the factors of globalization that supported it and what are the
features of it.
What is Globalization?
There are various definitions of "Globalization", and the effect it
has on the world. Globalization can be defined as a phenomenon of
major changes in the conventional world. These changes include many
atmospheres such as the economic, cultural, political and technical
ones, in addition to a major change in the personal aspect of our
life. These changes leading to unified impacts all over the world.
Driven by many factors such as economic and technology and shaped by
governments and institutions rules and regulation, globalization is an
expansion beyond nations and geographical borders.
Main aspects revolutionized the globalization and speed it up. The
majors are the developments of transportation, telecommunication and
Globalization started to be felt directly after the WWII when
transportation and telecommunications advanced rapidly to what it is
today. This helped to reduce the cost of an facilitate transport of
goods, services, means of production, technologies as well as people
(researchers, student, and experts) between the different countries
and regions. Together with this, Information and computer technology
developed in parallel to transportation and all those together led to
the world becoming a smaller place.
One might think that smaller place is good, and actually it is, if not
for the disadvantages of globalization. I will not say that I am
against globalization, I am not. I do believe that globalization
together with the development of technologies is very important for
human welfare, but I feel that the misuse of those technologies and
the fact that policy making is in the hands of elite countries
(capitalists and developed countries), together with the fact that
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distribution of sources and income as people tend to exploit the
opportunities as soon as they arise. . All this and others are why
globalization have many bad effects.
What is Technology?
Technology as on of the main driving forces of globalization can be
defined as human innovation in action that involves the generation of
knowledge and processes to develop systems that solve problems and
extend human capabilities. Technology involves also he innovation,
change or modification of the natural environment to satisfy perceived
human needs and wants.
Many new technologies and innovations emerged in the last 30 - 40
years, some of which played major role of underpinning the
globalization. The advancement of technology and its increased
availability has emerged as a significant result of the processes of
globalization. An example would be transportation and
telecommunications technology which have greatly reduced the barriers
of space and time. Transportation and telecommunications development
led to what is known know of economic globalization and free trade.
Free trade leads to increasing of production to cope with competition,
and eventually more depletion of natural resources and more
Features of globalization:
Although globalization is wide spread phenomenon, still it is
constraints by some factors such as political affairs, economical
abilities and cultural differences.
But despite these constraints, globalization's image is very obvious
in our world, whether economically, politically or socially. The
argument is weather the earth's limits/ finite nature can cope with
the globalization. Some of the main effects of globalization are:
* The efficiency effect:
Free trade and de-regulated market are the image of the economic
globalization. Underpinned with technological development, increased
competition in efficiency in production and selling has occurred. The
competition drives countries to increase production and their exports
/ imports practices, especially the developing countries, in order to
survive among the others. It is a result of this above scenario that
the depletion of natural resources and emission of industrialized
wastes have increased.
But this factor can be reached from another angel; resources
efficiencies is an advantage as using more efficient technologies will
eliminate wasting resources and losing energy.
* The expansion effect:
This factor is determining another side of the efficiency factor. It
is a fact that efficient technology together with wide spread of
cheaper means of transport lead to increase in the use of the sources
or the technology in enormous numbers. This eventually has more
environmental impact than using polluting devices in a limited
* Competition effect:
This can be demonstrated by the effect of globalization and developed
technologies in countries compete to enhance their infrastructure
build and cope with the modernization. Building more roads, buildings,
Dams, highways, airports, etc definitely has environmental impacts of
increased waste and emissions.
* The sell-out effect:
This effect, as I believe has the major impact on environment in
addition to what it causes of exploitation and inequalities between
As agreed between academic and commentators globalization resulted of
enlarging the gap between the rich and the poor countries. Poor or
better call them developing countries, in order to provide the
countries need, tend to import many goods and services. Paying for
those goods and services is done from the income of exporting the
country's primary commodities. This is clearly applied to the
countries with weak manufacturing base.
But, and for reasons like; the rapid technological development in rich
countries, the move of the rich country's economic activity towards
services instead of manufacturing and because protectionist trade
policies are operated by rich countries. For those reasons, the demand
for primary commodities from the poor countries is deteriorating and
eventually their prices go down.
For overcoming this, the poor countries respond by increasing their
production and sale. "Thus, at its most basic level, there is
increased resource exploitation either directly (e.g. mineral mining,
logging in the tropical rainforests), or via degradation emanating
from the processes used to create or extract the primary commodities
(e.g. land degradation in agriculture, and air and ground pollution
from mineral extractive processes)". [Working with our environment,
Them 4, page 28].
* The transport effect:
The interconnected expanding world lead to growing in transportation
infrastructure, with all the environmental implication related to
travel and transport.
* The geographical effect:
The economy situation and the global division, together with the use
of technology in manufacturing and transportation enabled
multinational companies to relocate significant part or all of their
manufacturing operations to cheaper labour countries. (e.g. Nike
subcontract the manufacturing process to factories in Southeast Asian
countries). Hazardous wastes, which accumulate from the production are
both difficult and expensive to dispose and hence are often dumped in
those countries. The shifting part also includes exporting the wastes
to poor countries.
Globalization has a dark side. But it can also bring tremendous
opportunities and benefits. Technologies can also be beneficial to the
environment; this is particularly true of the biotic pesticides and
the new technologies of saving land and water. There are vast
possibilities in terms of energy and material conservation, new
environment-friendly products applications in non-crop agriculture
such as newer possibilities of agro-processing and waste recycling.
The real issue is not technology or globalization as a technological
paradigm. It is institutions and rules that create powerful incentives
and preconditions for sustainable development to take place. Equally
important is the nature of incentives and deterrents for positive and
* Working with our Environments: Technology for a Sustainable Future
(T172), Theme 4, Sections 1 - 5.