covid 19

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As you read the required readings, Costs and Benefits of Globalization and Marshall McLuhan Foresees “The Global Village” summarize how these two readings come into play with what we are experiencing today with the Corona Virus.

Readings

Costs and Benefits of Globalization- Tejvan Pettinger

Globalization is a complex and controversial issue. This is a look at some of the main benefits and costs associated with the greater globalization of the world economy.

Definition of Globalization – the process of increased integration and co-operation of different national economies. It involves national economies becoming increasingly inter-related and integrated.

Globalization involves:

Greater free trade.
Greater movement of labour.
Increased capital flows.
Growth of Multi-national companies.
Increased integration of global trade cycle.
Increased communication and improved transport, effectively reducing barriers between countries.
Benefits of Globalization

1. Free Trade Free trade is a way for countries to exchange goods and resources. This means countries can specialize in producing goods where they have a comparative advantage (this means they can produce goods at a lower opportunity cost). When countries specialize there will be several gains from trade:

Lower prices for consumers
Greater choice of goods
Bigger export markets for domestic manufacturers
Economies of scale through being able to specialize in certain goods
Greater competition

2. Free Movement of Labour

Increased labour migration gives advantages to both workers and recipient countries. If a country experiences high unemployment, there are increased opportunities to look for work elsewhere. This process of labour migration also helps reduce geographical inequality. This has been quite effective in the EU, with many Eastern European workers migrating west.

Also, it helps countries with labour shortages fill important posts. For example, the UK needed to recruit nurses from the Far East to fill shortages.

However, this issue is also quite controversial. Some are concerned that free movement of labour can cause excess pressure on housing and social services in some countries. Countries like the US have responded to this process by actively trying to prevent migrants from other countries.

3. Increased Economies of Scale.

Production is increasingly specialized. Globalization enables goods to be produced in different parts of the world. This greater specialization enables lower average costs and lower prices for consumers.

4. Greater Competition

Domestic monopolies used to be protected by lack of competition. However, globalization means that firms face greater competition from foreign firms.

5. Increased Investment

Globalization has also enabled increased levels of investment. It has made it easier for countries to attract short term and long term investment. Investment by multinational companies can play a big role in improving the economies of developing countries.

Costs of Globalization

1. Free Trade can Harm Developing Economies.

Developing countries often struggle to compete with developed countries; therefore it is argued free trade benefits developed countries more. There is an infant industry argument which says industries in developing countries need protection from free trade to be able to develop. However, developing countries are often harmed by tariff protection Western economies have on agriculture. Paradox of Free Trade

2. Environmental Costs

One problem of globalization is that it has increased the use of non renewable resources. It has also contributed to increased pollution and global warming. Firms can also outsource production to where environmental standards are less strict. However, arguably the problem is not so much globalization as a failure to set satisfactory environmental standards.

3. Labour Drain

Globalization enables workers to move more freely. Therefore, some countries find it difficult to hold onto their best skilled workers, who are attracted by higher wages elsewhere.

4. Less Cultural Diversity

Globalization has led to increased economic and cultural hegemony. With globalization there is arguably less cultural diversity, however it is also led to more options for some people.

5. Tax Competition and Tax avoidance.

Multinational companies like Amazon and Google, can set up offices in countries like Bermuda and Luxembourg with very low rates of corporation tax and then funnel their profits through these subsidiaries. This means they pay very little tax in the countries where they do most of their business. This means governments have to increase taxes on VAT and income tax. It is also seen as unfair competition for domestic firms who don’t use same tax avoidance measures.

The greater mobility of capital means that countries have sought to encourage inward investment by offering the lowest corporation tax. (e.g. Ireland offers very low tax rate). This has encouraged lower corporation tax, which leads to higher forms of other tax.

Marshall McLuhan Foresees “The Global Village”

Today, after more than a century of electric technology, we have extended our central nervous system itself in a global embrace, abolishing both space and time as far as our planet is concerned.- Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964. http://www.livinginternet.com/i/ii_mcluhan.htm

Marshall McLuhan’s insights made the concept of a global village, interconnected by an electronic nervous system, part of our popular culture well before it actually happened.

Marshall McLuhan was the first person to popularize the concept of a global village and to consider its social effects. His insights were revolutionary at the time, and fundamentally changed how everyone has thought about media, technology, and communications ever since. McLuhan chose the insightful phrase “global village” to highlight his observation that an electronic nervous system (the media) was rapidly integrating the planet — events in one part of the world could be experienced from other parts in real-time, which is what human experience was like when we lived in small villages.

While McLuhan popularized this concept, he was not the first to think about the unifying effects of communication technology. One of the earliest thinkers along this line was Nicolas Tesla, who in an interview with Colliers magazine in 1926 stated: “When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this, but through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do his will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.”

Like Norbert Wiener and J.C.R. Licklider, McLuhan made a study of the extrapolation of current trends in technology, and specialized in the effects on human communications. He generally felt that the developments he described would be positive, but particularly worried about the potential for very sophisticated, manipulative advertising.

McLuhan’s ideas have permeated the way we in the global village think about technology and media to such an extent that we are generally no longer aware of the revolutionary effect his concepts had when they were first introduced. McLuhan made the idea of an integrated planetary nervous system a part of our popular culture, so that when the Internet finally arrived in the global village it seemed no less amazing, but still somehow in the natural order of things.

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