With the advent of the inhaveet and massive computing systems that are nevertheless small in physical scale, the world is becoming an ever-shrinking globe. National boundaries are becoming blurred as people in other countries, notably Mexico and India, begin working for companies in the United States. Globalization and the resulting process of outsourcing have been a hotly debated topic in the media, political and social circles for the past several years. It is typically viewed as a necessary and unavoidable key to future world economic development. Although this process is unlikely to change and reversal seems impossible, considering the effects this process has on the individual as well as the nations and organizations involved, very few people, organizations or states stand to benefit as a result.
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Globalization has caused the outsourcing of many thousands of American jobs overseas. Despite the apparent threat to local businesses caused by outsourcing, developing nations are eager to accept the influx of big business as the international corporation operating in the right third world country can substantially increase the GNP. Outsourcing offers extensive opportunities for truly worldwide development but it is not progressing evenly. Because companies expand into new markets based on how well that market can meet their own needs, this process sees some countries becoming integrated into the worldwide economy much faster than others. As would be expected, those countries that have been able to integrate are seeing faster growth and reduced poverty. “A larger number of developing countries have made only slow progress or have lost ground. In particular, per capita incomes in Africa have declined relative to the industrial countries and in some countries have declined in absolute terms” (International Monetary Fund Staff 2002). In addition, the growing power of these corporations as they come into developing nations has had a wide impact on the policies and restrictions that are created. The effect of having fewer restrictions in terms of humanitarian, environmental, and operational procedures has led to an economy that rewards cutthroat business practices at the cost of a great deal of progress in these areas made in more advanced countries.
Of course, all this change filters down to ultimately affect the individual citizens in a very real way. No longer sure of their livelihood thanks to increased competition for fewer jobs available, the globalized economy has made it difficult, if not impossible, for the poor to dig their way out of their poverty while increasingly helping the wealthy add to their fortunes. In addition, the jobs that do become available are not always jobs that would be open to residents as they might require skills or knowledge that were not previously necessary. “Those with jobs know that they could lose them at any time. Downsizing by companies moves the bulk of workers into the contract and temporary employment” (Salmons & Babitsky, 2002). This increased competition for jobs has led to a Westernized way of living that emphasizes fast lifestyles and a constant pressure to keep up with the latest advancements and social opportunities to have a chance at the best jobs. “In this world of intense competition, social networking is everything. Who you know and how they can help you is the coin of the realm. The result is that we increasingly isolate ourselves into gated communities and exclusive membership organizations” (Salmons & Babitsky, 2002). Increasingly, the world is operating upon a Western definition of the ideal life, neutralizing cultural differences to be politically correct and to avoid cultural clashes, and changing the roles of family members to bring them into the capitalist ideology. The pressure to become a part of this infamous ‘rat race’ filters quickly into the society, realized by adults, and then distributed down to the children. “Parents increasingly feel that they must help their kids learn how to get in the race as early as possible to increase their chances for the best jobs and a good life in the future” (Salmons & Babitsky 2002). Those who don’t fit into the model, who don’t buy into the set standard ideals, or who refuse to relinquish their cultural heritage for the benefits associated with blending in are quickly lost to the bottom of the income stack. “The gap between social classes widens as a result of this voluntary sorting” (Salmons & Babitsky, 2002).
The phenomenon of globalization was facilitated by and has been enhanced by the internet which has produced new types of crime such as identity fraud. U.S. consumers can be scammed by people in other countries who are beyond the reach of the American legal system. Online fraud continues to be a problem that places consumers’ money and investments at significant risk. “In September 2003, the Federal Trade Commission reported that 9.9 million U.S. residents have been victims of identity theft during the past year, costing businesses and financial institutions $48 billion and consumers $5 billion in out-of-pocket expenses” (Kay, 2004). These figures are equally disastrous for consumers on the other side of the Atlantic in Britain. “Online banking customers lost £22.5 million in online banking scams in the first half of this year, up 55 percent from the same period of 2005” (Francis & Gilmore, 2006).
With the ill effects of outsourcing acutely felt in some areas of the world, it might be questioned as to why any organization, nation, or individual would consider encouraging its spread. However, it could be argued that outsourcing has been in existence ever since the first two countries established communication with each other. The only difference now is that the advances in technology and communication have enabled the business to be conducted over longer distances in less time, enabling this kind of interaction to occur regardless of geographic location. In addition, there are benefits to be gained through globalization as countries such as Asia see a dramatic improvement in their GNP, which is further transferred down into the general populace. Although there is still poverty in these nations, it can be argued that the poor are living better quality lives as a result of the influx of capital and resources. The question, then, is not how to stop outsourcing, but rather how to make outsourcing work in such a way that it does not break down the cultural ideals, family structures or provide corporations with unchecked controls over developing nations even while it works to benefit the world economy.
- Francis, Clare & Gilmore, Grainne (2006). “Online Banking Fraud on the Rise” Times Online. Web.
- International Monetary Fund Staff. (2002). “Globalization: Threat or Opportunity.” International Monetary Fund.
- Kay, Russell. (2004) “QuickStudy: Phishing” Computer World. Web.
- Salmons, Jim & Babitsky, Timlynn. (2003). “Shamrocks and Nanocorps: Business Model and Technology Innovation to Bridge the Digital Divide” 2002 Northern Montana Technology Exposition [keynote presentation]. Web.