Is it so bad that my goods are cheaper and more varied as a result of globalization?
The material in the Globalization and the World Economy section of The Globalization Reader presents arguments that challenges all positions about the issue.
The article in part IV of the reader, “Is Globalization Reducing Poverty and Inequality” by Robert Hunter Wade, purposely leaves the reader feeling setback and frustrated. First, it hooks the reader into supporting the Neoliberal argument. Wade presents this argument by stating that globalization is helping to reduce poverty and inequality, and supporting that statement with comments about the falling extreme poverty numbers, successful and efficient economic integration between rich and poor countries, and the benefits of open trade and financial markets. Moreover, he lists the multinational organizations that are known to be responsible for this growth like the World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank. Then, Wade curbs the reader’s support with his explanation of the Left theorizations about globalization and by virtually discrediting every source in favor of globalization. That, in complete contrast, globalization exacerbating poverty and inequality by allowing rich countries to exploit poor countries.
Now, I am less confident about my thoughts on globalization. Before, I believed whole-heartedly in the invisible hand guiding consumers and producers to optimal production and income distribution. After reading the article, I am dissatisfied in my analysis of the economic effects of free markets and globalization on rich countries and poor countries. I feel it is like comparing apples to oranges. What do we, as consumers really know besides the price in the aisles of the grocery store? Additionally, as a rational decision maker in the market for a soft drinks, what can I reasonably expect of myself, especially in terms of social accountability of these potentially exploiting MNCs? Pay twice as much for a “fair-trade” soda?