Monday, 24 October 2005

Globalization is Good

Have you ever boycotted a product or company? Have you stopped buying products made in Vietnam or Taiwan? Maybe you shouldn’t. By doing so, you might be contributing to the continuance of poverty in these countries. This was the message in a program we watched today as part of my International Tourism and Globalization module. The message was that the anti-globalization movement is the enemy of the poor. Now, this is a highly biased message, but there were many points worth a ponder, I think. We often picture under-paid workers in sweatshops when we think of Nike shoes made in Vietnam, but did you know that the monthly rate of pay for a worker in the Nike factory in Vietnam is $54/month, as opposed to the local average of $18/month for most other jobs, which affords the worker a much better quality of life and contributes to the overall economy of Vietnam being on the rise. American multi-nationals, on average, pay eight times more than local companies. Nike workers also receive free or subsidized meals as well as company sponsored activities. Another way Nike is helping Vietnam is by giving micro loans to local people wanting to start these own businesses. This is paving the way for the industrialization of the country. Anti-globalization protestors would have you think otherwise, and perhaps sway you to boycott these products. On one hand, the protestors are most likely holding these companies responsible by raising awareness and in doing so, holding them accountable for their practices, but they will not tell you that in the past 15 years, the amount of people living in poverty in Vietnam has been halved. According to this program, one way countries remain poor is as a result of resisting globalization.

What do you think of the government subsidizing farmers? The European Union (EU) spends half of their budget on farmers! This ends up having a detrimental effect on farmers in Kenya, as there is so much foreign product imported that they can not sell what they themselves grow, and are kept in poverty. It takes away their change to compete, especially since the EU import tariffs are so high that Kenyan farmers can not afford to sell their products to European countries.

Your views?

1 comment:

Suzer said...

I know we must take a world view on globalization and can see much good coming from providing work for the world’s poor. Globalization is here to stay and politicians who pledge to stop it are just making empty promises. Along with that, however, the U.S. has to use it’s knowledge and expertise to keep it’s own people working as the jobs traditionally done here move out of the country, or some day, down the road the U.S. will be home to the world’s poor. It’s not a small problem and the solution isn’t simple.

Commented by muddiah on October 25, 2005 at 11:28 am

from my aunt:

Interesting facts about Nike in Vietnam. I wonder about the movement of companies out of the US to countries such as Vietnam. I can see how this helps Vietnam but what about the effect on jobs and salaries here in the US? In order to benefit the quality of life in Vietnam or other places it puts the US workers in dire straights.

Commented by Suzer on October 26, 2005 at 8:56 am

Something else to take a look at:

Globalization is just beginning

Commented by Suzer on November 1, 2005 at 9:57 am

Also, something having to do with free trade vs. trade justice:

Haven’t read through it all yet, so not sure how it relates to fair trade.

Commented by Suzer on November 1, 2005 at 10:29 am

That was deep….I never thought of it like you expressed it, one reason is because the media or protestors don’t show you the up side. Us in America would think that $54.00 is nothing but I guess in a country like Vietnam it’s like being in middle class….this was definitely something that makes you go hmmm


Commented by Suzer on November 2, 2005 at 11:46 am

I can’t say that I have boycotted a product because of where it was made. I don’t even look at Abercrombie Fitch, but that’s for other reasons. Only over the past couple of years have I gone back to eating table grapes again, for years I refused to eat them and raisins in protest to the treatment of the farm workers. … but I guess that is a bit off of your topic…

I wish I had the luxury to choose the origin of the products I consume, but the truth of the mater is I can’t afford to look at any tag but the price tag… I guess maybe I wish the American government would not allow products made in inhumane conditions into the country so I couldn’t be tempted by the low price… and I guess maybe that’s a cop-out… Thank you for giving me that to think on…


Commented by Suzer on November 3, 2005 at 9:02 am