January 10, 2008

Globalization is Good?

Globalization is one topic that seems to have gained much attention in recent years. Author Tim Harford looks at a few of the perspectives that people have with respect to how globalization appears to impact people domestically and worldwide. One of the considerations that Hartford looks at is in chapter nine of his book, The Undercover Economist, discuses the environmental implications with regard to globalization. Although many companies worldwide strive only to make the highest profit, often times a byproduct of looking for cheaper ways to produce is more environmentally friendly solutions. Some environmentalists may contend that with the increase in globalization we are also seeing an increase in the production from lesser developed nations who have little technology or desire to protect the environment because their number one concern is to make money. Hartford points out that this may not necessarily be true.

“And companies do not pollute for fun; the latest manufacturing techniques are often cheaper and less polluting at the same time. Energy efficiency, for instance, saves money and reduces pollution. This is why many companies regard environmental performance as part of general quality control and good efficient manufacturing. Even if it was possible to save some costs by cutting environmental corners, many firms build factories everywhere in the world using the same latest, cleanest technology from the developed world, simply because that kind of standardization itself saves costs.”

It seems that not only is globalization good for the market, it may also be ok for the environment. I know that this is not necessarily true in all industries or from all producers. If it is cheaper and more efficient to produce while still protecting the environment, then industries will buy into that type of behavior. I can’t think of any company that would spend more money to deliberately hurt the environment, and then still try to be profitable and stay in business.

What would I tell someone about globalization? I do not think that it is going away any time soon. Globalization will continue to be in our discussions and daily lives. The best thing for everyone to do is to ensure that they are aware of all of the facts before they make broad judgments that are not necessarily accurate or fair. Globalization encourages people to do what they are best at doing relative to the abilities of other individuals and nations. For the most part we are all better off in the long run with globalization. Any attempts to stop it or hinder it will just hurt those who are imposing the change. By stopping trade by means of various deterrents we are discouraging growth and the ability to make more money and consume more things.

I would like to have the option to benefit from trade. If China can make a television for less than a producer in the United States, then I will purchase it. It seems that it all comes around at one point or another. If we purchase more stuff from them, then they will have an increase in income and therefore the increased ability to then purchase more stuff from us. Globalization benefits those who are involved in it, and protectionism will hurt those who are involved in it. If a business or a producer is not able to stay competitive in their industry and needs protection, then they probably should get out and find something they have a competitive advantage in to invest their time and money into.

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