“Globalization (or globalisation, also mundialisation or mundialization) is a common term for processes of international integration arising from increasing human connectivity and interchange of worldviews, products, ideas, and other aspects of culture. In particular, advances in transportation and telecommunications infrastructure, including the rise of the Internet, represent major driving factors in globalization and precipitate further interdependence of economic and cultural activities.” definition from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Globalization
Globalization has it’s wholesome points and it’s unwholesome points. Having the standards for such things as healthcare, worker protection, education, human rights, and environmental issues applied evenly across the world can be wholesome, provided it is a raising of these standards. we can not allow the lowering to the lowest available standard, to be the thrust of globalization.
In healthcare there is a growing push to turn this into an economic engine of commerce. Yes doctors, nurses and all the other highly trained staff must be paid equitably according to local standards. Having developed countries recruiting doctors from poorer nations to fill their own vacancies, speaks of their inability to provide accessible and affordable education. Today medical research is more focused on finding treatments to manage conditions, than to cure diseases. This is a direct result of for profit motives of corporations, which are designed to produce an economic return for their shareholders. We need to find ways to fund the research necessary to cure disease, while eliminating the need to pay ever larger profits, instead funneling the resulting profits back into more research. The World Health Organization is trying to become more flexible in it’s approach to existing and potential problems, but it needs our input and our support.
Standards for workers vary from country to country, and there is a push in many developed countries to change the 40 to 45 hour work week to something longer. Also countries are now changing the retirement age from 65 to 67 or eliminating mandatory retirement, then wondering why the youth are suffering disillusionment about the future. When they are looking at ever increasing numbers of the under 30 age group in many countries, having achieved a University degree, yet having to take menial service jobs which don’t require the level of education these people have obtained. Safety standards need to be raised, with technology and our knowledge of preventing injuries, there should be fewer injuries and deaths, not just transferring these to countries with lower standards.
Education should be a basic right for all human beings. Yet sadly in many countries child labor is rampant, while in others certain groups such as girls are denied more than a basic education. If mankind is to progress, we need to give everyone access to education, and prevent advanced educational opportunities such as University from becoming a privilege only the wealthy will be able to provide for their children. UNESCO needs to be transformed into a body that can help provide these opportunities, guaranteeing education to all citizens, regardless of race, sex, creed or religion.
Human rights are defined by most of the world, according to the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted in 1948. As citizens of the world, and believing in a better tomorrow is possible not only for ourselves but children everywhere, we need to embrace and ensure our governments uphold these rights. Enforcing them not only within our own borders, but ensuring that the countries we trade with, uphold these rights as well. If you have never read, or it has been awhile, perhaps it’s time for a reminder: http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml
Global warming, food shortages, lack of potable water, contaminated land, and many other environmental issues threaten our survival as a species. The world can’t sustain the western standards of living, let alone having everyone else attempt to attain these standards. Fresh water bottled now sells in many countries for more than the cost of gasoline per liter. The security of the worlds food supply is becoming threatened, from ecological disasters from practices such as clear cutting, deforestation and building cities over our most productive farmlands. Industry that creates tracts of land that can’t be used afterwards can not be allowed. These so called brownfield sites, have to be reclaimed, and also new ones prevented. Having corporations move these activities to other jurisdictions, while failing to clean up old sites is a recipe for even larger disasters.
Globalization needs to have a new definition; To the setting of sustainable international standards, that promote peace and prosperity for people today and for those generations that will follow. Standards that promote local production for local consumption, and trade in specialized products produced in an environmentally neutral manner. Nagarjuna a third century philosopher summarized the Buddhas teachings in one word, ahimsa, or nonviolence. However this does not mean avoiding involvement, or doing nothing. When we purchase goods made with child labor, or other exploited workers, we are contributing to the violence committed against the. To truly promote peace we need to conquer greed, and that starts within our own hearts. There is a story of the Dalai Lama walking through a shopping center exclaiming “I don’t need this, I don’t need that”. Perhaps it’s time for all of us to examine what we have, what we think we need, and when we make our next purchase, ask if we are promoting peace and co-operation. Every purchase you make helps decide the future of every living being, will your choice be a wholesome one?