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Globalization and ethics
Globalization can be defined as the interaction and integration process amongst people, governments, and companies in different countries in the world. With the advent of globalization, the ethics of the societies are fast changing and being affected by it. The process of globalization has been facilitated by and speeded by the advent of increased communication and the internet, where the movement of goods and information can now be exchanged feely amongst the nations at high rates. In addition, the movement of people across the nations has been increased and they can now move with ease, aided by the increased technological improvements in the transport and communications sectors of the world. Globalization enables the world to operate as a trade unit having no social or political barriers and constraints. (Asaju, 2002).The process of globalization however has its impacts on the aspects of the planet and some of the areas either affected positively or negatively include the ethics, cultures of the world, economic developments, and political systems of the world, the environment at large as well as the well-being of the humans as well. The effects of globalization are positive or negative to some nations and people depending on their stance on the globalization. This brings controversy between the proponents of this phenomenon and the opponents of the same.
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One World: The Ethics of Globalization
Some of the advantages of globalization as stated by the proponents include:
- The increased flexibility of the multinational companies to operate freely across different nations;
- Increased free trade and liquidity of capital enables investors to invest in developing nations;
- The globalization enables the media to bring the world together due to communications technology and therefore information is shared amongst the nations, individuals, and companies worldwide.
- For the transport sector, flow of goods and people is increased and the rates are also increased, interdependence across the countries is increased due to the interaction that is brought about by globalization.
On the other hand, some of the disadvantages as reported by the opponents of globalization include:
- Brain-drain of skilled personnel for skilled and also non-skilled jobs as they move in search of better paying jobs in other developed and developing nations,
- The rising of power control by a handful of nations due to development levels and resources availability,
- Decreased environmental conservation measures as developed nations exploit the non-developed ones who do not have strong regulatory rules.
- In addition, there is an increased likelihood of breakout of civil or open among nations for the purposes of fighting for control of resources that are available.
In his book ‘One World: The Ethics of Globalization’ by Peter Singer, he looks at the ethics as resulting from the effects of globalization. He recognizes that globalization enables the world to become one large community brought together by common goals and linked by the same aspirations. Due to the advent of technology and communications, the world has become one large society with guiding principles running the society, Peter Springer notes that the rules and regulations are enforced by certain specific governing bodies that are located in developed countries that impose their perspectives and principles to all nations that are member states. He also looks at the effects that globalization has on the ethics of the societies. He notes that national sovereignty lacks the moral principles (p. 148) to carry out the required measures.. By this, he insinuates that the ethics of globalization have been contaminated and thrown to the dogs. On the contrary, he says that the geographical boundaries that mark the nations act as a hindrance to the clarification of ethics. This is because he says that a neighbor is indeed everyone, all those who are compatriots and non-compatriots. Therefore, the physical boundaries of the nations may lead to discrimination of other people who are not compatriots and instead favor those who are compatriots, and in this way, the ethics of globalization are played down. This statement makes some sense as compatriots are better treated and their rights well respected as compared to non-compatriots (p.164)
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In this book, Peter singer looks at policy discussions that are centered around four topics namely income and equality, the environment with the focus being on the greenhouse effect, human rights protection and finally the international law. He looks at how various nations of the world interpret the law and how well they are implemented. He describes that some powerful countries have been boosted by the globalization wave and they are the ones who use these laws to their advantage and this gives them a competitive edge over the non-developed countries.
As for the issue of environmental protection, it can be noted that the more developed nations are the ones that consume a lot of energy and the manner in which they dispose of the wastes ends up affecting the developing nations. Due to high rates of industrialization, emission of gases that contribute to the green house effect, that is global warming, are increased, and the resultant is that both the developed and the developing nations are equally affected. Hence, these developed nations ought to take responsibility so that the developing nations could borrow a leaf from them in the conservation of the environment. The stance by the United States not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on global warming in 2001 has been widely criticized by many nations and foremost since, it is responsible for over a quarter of all the greenhouse gas emissions. However, India and China, which are highly industrialized nations, did not express intentions of participating in the Kyoto deal, of which they ought to have done since they are responsible for the emission of greenhouse gases too! Probably this is the reason that the United States rescinded in its ratification of the Protocol. The Protocol took effect from 2004.
On the issue of human rights protections, he delves in to the United Nations (UN), which is the concerned global body in this sector. He notes that the United Nations is note very strong when it comes to overriding a Nation’s sovereignty over humanitarian interventions. He says that the UN does not have powers to intervene expressly in the humanitarian interventions, which need to be done without necessarily consulting the particular government in power. In some cases, permission is denied and the UN therefore is incapable of acting in any way. Globalization therefore has not factored this in the UN operational activities.
The renowned Bioethicist, Peter Springer, argues that there are dangers and issues that are brought about because of globalization. He acknowledges that with the advent of globalization and increased interconnectivity of the people to the rest of the world, the responsibilities of the sates and nations to its citizens become increased more and more in order to stem the inequalities that consequently arise. However, globalization has affected the ethics of the world, either negatively or positively. He goes on to state that there is a great need to revisit the idea of state independence and come up with better developed ethical code of conducts that are internationally accepted which will benefit both the developed and the developing nations in the same way. To this effect, he has a point in a way that these countries need to all agree on the principles that will govern them as a global entity, and that they focus on the ethical principles that apply to all member states.
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He notes that the economically well off countries and politically powerful nations usually override the right s of their developing and weak counterparts hence leading to a contaminated moral ethics field. He focuses on the World Trade Organization (WTO) in its quest to provide a level-trading field for the nations globally, with no discrimination of any nation. The trade barriers between these nations on the importation and exportations of goods and services ought to be revised to enable free trade amongst these nations.
On the issue of international law, he has a point to note in that the more developed nations are well off and are more powerful, hence the laws are better executed and implemented whereas those developing nations would need some aid to do so. The application of international law as governed by the United Nations and the protection of human rights globally ought to be applied across board and should involve all member nations’ decisions alike.