Effects of Globalization in China

When it comes to globalization people will ask some questions. What is globalization? It seems that people who know little about globalization are out of date and lag far behind modern trends. Simon Jeffery (2002) asserts that globalization is the mixing of cultural and economic influences from around the world that has been going on for the last five hundred years. With the development of the global market in China, globalization plays an important role that is undeniably because China has the fastest growing economy in the world.

Globalization provides good conditions for expanding international exchanges and strengthening mutual communication between different countries. Although there are many facets to globalization, the increasing acceptance of this concept has resulted in a certain homogenization of views, both economic and political as well as in cultural systems, but most noticeably in economics. (Diane Perrons 2004)

The most obvious impact of globalization is as an economic phenomenon, the promotion of free trade in goods, both exports and imports, accompanied by the exchange of labour and services. China has a long history of trade, from the Han Dynasty onwards the Silk Road was the artery of communication which extended across continents as far as Rome itself, then the capital of a world empire. However, throughout the Ming and Qing dynasties China pursued a policy of economic protectionism, leading to a long period of isolation that was brought to an abrupt end with the Opium Wars.

The resulting economic degradation enforced by the victorious British had such disastrous consequences for modern China that it was not until the advent of Deng Xiaoping and his reform and opening up policy that China’s development was accepted as inseparable from the outside world. (George T Crane 1999) In recent years the extent to which globalization has been gaining in popularity has increased at an amazing rate in China. The benefits of modern economic globalization since opening up are indisputably reflected in the nation’s booming economy so that China can only be considered undeveloped in comparison to the most developed nations.

However, globalization does not always pose equal benefits and risks to all nations. With the developing of the economy in China, the inequality between developing countries and developed countries has been increasing and the gaps between the very poor and the very rich are becoming wider. China has an overwhelming advantage compared with most of the developing countries in terms of finance and the level of technology, culture and science but it is still the superpower countries and other developed capitalist countries which control the main situation of economic globalization in the world. Many people believe that opportunists, both individually and nationally, use globalization purely as a means to increase their profits at China’s expense.

The advent of globalization in its present form would not have been possible without adaptations in national politics. Some view globalization as the means to create a form of world government or a union of governments, for example within the World Trade Organization, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which helps to regulate the relationships between different countries and provide guarantees for the rights of peoples affected by the increase of economic and social globalization. (Francesco Stipo 2007) Recently, it has become more noticeable how the Chinese political authorities regularly cite the advances in ‘socialist construction’ and the vitality of new economic growth as an indication of national success.

The association with other powers has encouraged the Chinese government to open up in all directions, by lowering tariffs, opening services to foreign competition, promoting exports and welcoming foreign trade the government has allowed a free exchange of ideas in all directions and helped China to become a more prosperous, strong, democratic and culturally advanced socialist country. Unfortunately, these benefits may carry a hidden danger. Since the end of the Second World War the United States has held an overall position of supremacy amongst the other nations of the world, a position which is enhanced by the power and wealth of the American economy.

Due to the influence of globalization and to some extent the assistance of the United States’ itself, the People’s Republic of China has enjoyed a period of incredible growth within the last ten years. Should this rate of growth continue at the predicted levels over the next twenty years, there is a strong possibility of a major redistribution of influence among the leading nations. China could become the main rival of the United States and challenge America’s position as the world’s leading superpower. (Charles E Hurst 2007) It will take great political skill from fundamentally opposed ideologies to avoid serious resentment and possible conflict as a consequence of such a drastic shift in the balance of power.

Alongside the other developments in globalization, there has been an increasing change to the original culture of China. According to David Held & Anthony McGrew (2002), national societies developed during a long period in which people were mainly content to live within their own native cultures. Although the spread of the world’s major religions can be seen as an early form of globalization, which brought new ideas and made many social impacts, this was a relatively slow process taking decades and centuries in China. People migrating from other countries and holding different beliefs naturally find it difficult to adapt to local customs but China has a long history of absorbing whole populations with diverse ethnic backgrounds.

As a result of the economic and political benefits brought by globalization, people have increased their standard of living and enjoy foreign products and ideas. Modern developments in communication are widely available even in the remotest regions and many people want to acquire the equivalent of a westernized urban lifestyle. On the other hand, those who are against this trend suggest that modern globalization creates an atmosphere where there is a possible danger of the original national culture disappearing and that it exerts a negative impact on the preservation of national characteristics. While globalization advocates an open face policy, many people see this as a threat leading to erroneous concepts and a lowering of ethical standards, a kind of selfish and individualistic lifestyle which is harmful.

For example, the preference for Hollywood films, shoppers buying from international malls, more people eating western food and staying in luxury hotels. Increasingly, people want the chance to live in foreign countries where they can have this lifestyle but the resulting ‘brain drain’ is considered a problem since it is mainly the educated and skilled workers who are leaving China. (Gregory Chow 2006) Globalization is changing an increasing number of people’s daily life in China and it is difficult to predict the eventual cost in cultural damage to such a traditional people.

To sum up, from what has been discussed about globalization, how does this affect China and her position in the world? Globalization could be identified as the means to end any conflict between different interests because different groups of people hold different views, ideologies, perspectives and methodologies. Globalization might have the impetuous to resolve the complicated competition between China and other countries.

However, China should take some measures to protect both the national and local culture and consider adjusting the economic pace in the rush to catch up with other countries. As to the result, it might be very difficult to safeguard against the worst aspects of globalization and to preserve China and maintain that unique heritage which is such a feature in the world.

Reference List:

JEFFERY, Simon (2002). What is globalization? http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/oct/31/globalisation.simonjeffrey

PERRONS, Diane (2004) Globalization and Social Change: People and places in a divided world. 1st edition, USA and Canada, Routledge

CRANE, George T. (1999) Imagining the Economic Nation: Globalization in China. New Political Economy, Vol. 4, No. 2

STIPO, Francesco. World Federalist Manifesto. Guide to Political Globalization. http://www.worldfederalistmanifesto.com

HURST, Charles E. (2007) Social Inequality: Forms, Causes and Consequences. 6th edition, Allyn & Bacon

HELD, David and MCGREW, Anthony (2002) Globalization/Anti-Globalization.1st edition, USA, Blackwell.

CHOW, Gregory C. (2006) Globalization and China’s Economic Development. Pacific Economic Review, 11.3.2006