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Volume 69, Issue 18, Thursday, September 18, 2003


Globalization grips the world

Jason Gaskamp
Opinion Columnist 

It is evident; globalization is a dominant aspect of our time. Earlier this week, UH held a debate on its effects. Public figures are either constantly speaking out against it or helping to promote it. Large corporations are, of course, backing it with every financial resource they can spare. And the government seems to be making it somewhat of a top priority.

It's already here in many aspects, whether you want to argue for or against it. Even the "War on Terrorism" can be seen as an adverse effect of globalization. Our country and those countries that support us with assistance, whether in the form of troops or information, can be seen as one independent force, while the terrorists are viewed as the other independent force. It becomes our collective "country" against their group efforts.

Of course, whether substantiated or not, we tried to give terrorism a face in the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq. But the implication is that the new enemy is not a single, defined area with an independent political structure. Instead, it is a collective group from many separate societies without a unified identity.

Globalization has changed not only the way we do business with each other, but has extended into the manner in which we approach hostile and dissident entities. 

Using such perspective as a basis, globalization is predominantly a definition of our social structure. This means it is almost futile to try to stall it, because it marks an evolutionary change in our political and economic systems and institutions.

Whether or not it becomes beneficial to those who adapt to it and participate in its arena is a totally different argument. Yes, globalization is seriously flawed. Yes, there are many ways poorer countries dependent on such markets are exploited for their labor and natural resources. Yes, the rich get richer while the poor get poorer. But these aspects of social suffering are really nothing new. The suffering of the poor and the exploitation of their labor are evident in things like minimum wage and class structure. "Low-income family" is a common definition for most Americans. And the notion that there is an ever-widening class gap between the rich and the poor is a fairly common description of our society. But we, as a people, work against these social ailments by voting, demonstrating and basically voicing our opinions.

The social realm of the globalized world must be no different.

Since class structure is a distinct characteristic of a developing country where some profit off others, then the development of commerce and interaction on a global scale will inevitably carry the "by-product" of a world class structure. Such effects are already present in the current treatment of Middle Eastern countries, where countries and citizens are marked by the world, primarily us, as rogue states and people in need of democracy. How much more blatant can we say they need to be "civilized"? We seem to also label Latin-America with an inferior distinction because it is full of "Third World" countries in need of our help.

Basically, we cannot help globalization. And it can honestly have incredibly beneficial impacts. But we must recognize the effects on the people and the natural development of class structure. We must recognize citizens of foreign countries as fellow neighbors instead of statistics. If we want to unify the world as one system, then we must establish one sense of citizenship as well.

After all, before man-made political structures, homo sapiens were basically equal beings of the world as a whole.

Gaskamp, a senior English major, can be 
reached at


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