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Essay: Negative implications of globalization on immigration, labor and gender

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  • Subject area(s): Geography essays
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  • Negative implications of globalization on immigration, labor and gender
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Globalization continues to be a study with great controversy among scholars. There are disputes over the origin and overall definition of globalization (Turner and Holton 130). Understanding globalization is crucial to how it is used and interpreted in our society according to Scholte (67). This study has been used to explain cultural, economic, political, religious, and social aspects worldwide, so its meaning is significant. The interconnectivity between various borders is guided by studies of globalization. The Global North has continuously used globalization to control and impoverish the Global South. Policies of neoliberalism within this phenomenon have put wealth and resources in the hands of the few, while others are exploited. In this essay, I aim to explore the negative implications of globalization on immigration, labor, and gender. Furthering my analysis, by assessing the different methods that the working class is using to resist. I will first provide a background for the current discussion of globalization within the contexts of a capitalist society and neoliberalist ideology.

The Rise of Transnational Corporations

Eurocentric ideology view globalization as a trend of recent times downplaying “nonwestern contributions” (Nederveen 2) from earlier centuries. However, “The global is not new in any domain, and in some areas goes back for thousands of years, but its salience is new,” (“What is Global Studies”, 507). Globalization began some 500 years ago with the modern world system and European colonial expansion. There is a now a brave new world of capitalism that has developed through different epochs. It has been in waves of expansion through conquest, colonialism, and imperialism. In the Age of Discovery when the European nations were colonizing the Americas, it sparked the emergence of a trans-Atlantic economy and increase of trade between the West and East. Next came the emergence of the modern nation state and bourgeoisie defined by the American and French Revolution when industrial revolution was booming.

Pushing Globalization Forward

When the economic crisis happened in the 1970s, nations turned to the global stage to combat the recession. The crisis occurring today is an ecological, social, economic, and political devastation for most of the global society. New technologies have made it possible for a new organization of the economy to take place and policymakers have made it easier to use this technology to make capital moveable. A product now has the ability to be produced in different parts of the world with some parts coming from one area and then being produced across the globe. There are systematic changes that have been involved in globalization, a concept that has been around for years and now requires a modification of existing paradigms. It is not only led by corporations, states, and governments but also by consumerism and social resistance (Pieterse 23). People are beginning to discuss it in a larger context now because its effects are being felt worldwide. The development of new technologies and changes in production, labor, and transnational capital have pushed this new age of globalization forward. It is a war by the global rich and powerful minorities against the global poor, disposed, and outcast majority. No one can escape this world war, it is occurring globally. This capitalist globalization is a process. Nations are all being continuously linked to each other through capital flows and exchange in an integrated international market.

A Global Capitalist Society and its Effects on the Working Class

Globalization has made poor nations so dependent to where they can’t maintain autonomous economies, polities, and social structures. It is now a system that is bringing an integrated world into a single capitalist mode. The big changes come from a more transnational world than a national or international mode which has split the world into two classes: global capital and global labor. At this time, every corner of the globe is becoming commodified. It has been trying to eliminate democratic control by commodifying social life itself. An important note is that we are now seeing the maturation of the capitalism economy into a capitalist society (Robinson 17). The world is becoming more and more competitive due to these dehumanizing conditions of labor. There is also a new social structure of accumulation emerging. There is the economic component that is hyper liberalism that aims to make conditions for global capital completely mobile. These institutions in powerful governments makes it easier for corporations to dictate this global economy. There is a lot of consumerism in this capitalist society that further deepens this problem. The rich are continuously being rewarded while the global poor are used as scapegoats.

Immigration in the age of Globalization

The world is becoming more connected due to the effects of globalization. Transnational communities are rapidly increasing today more than ever due to the innovation of transportation and communication. Immigration has played a large role in creating these communities, however these immigrants are also being put at the center of many problems for the country of settlement. It has been constantly seen how transnational immigration plays a vital role in the global economy by providing a low-cost and flexible labor for the capital than native born labor. 60,000 migrant deaths have been recorded globally since 2000 because people are wanting to come to a country with better opportunities than the ones provided at their country of origin. Governments spend more money on trying to put up borders and privatizing detention centers than helping assimilate these immigrants to their country. Immigrant labor provides many benefits for the host country, far less than the benefits that the immigrant workers receive. Francisca Oyoga debates in her article on “Cruise Ships: Continuity and Change in the World System” by observing how governments aid white supremacy. In her article, she sees the difference in hierarchies in the workplace because staff members are usually white while people of color constitute the crew members and have the lower paying wages.
Immigration is rapidly increasing as well with many people moving to cities to find secure employment. In Los Angeles, there is a great population of homeless people residing in the streets with many of them having to pay the police or syndicates to let them reside in that space. There are millions of squatters globally living in dangerous conditions such as “swamps, and contaminated brownfields” (Davis 11-12) They are inhumane conditions that these people are living in and are subjected to because there are not enough jobs in these cities to provide for every citizen. The jobs are often very low-paid which makes them stagnant in their socioeconomic status. This also relates to the article “Globalization and Race in World Capitalism” (Robinson 3-8) that racialized hierarchies play an important role in understand how labor is controlled in the global economy. The government of the host country puts systematic institutions into place to make the immigrant vulnerable and subject to exploitation. They criminalize these immigrants similar to slum-dwellers which makes the public grow hatred to these immigrant groups.

Hardships of Assimilation

Immigrant experiences around the world are very discriminatory with nativists viewing them as a threat to security. Samuel P. Huntington argues in his essay about the role of Hispanic immigration as a threat to the American Anglo-Protestant identity. He discusses how “Mexicans and other Latinos have not assimilated into mainstream United States culture…” instead choosing to seclude themselves regionally and forming their own political and linguistic enclaves. However, Huntington fails to include the data on how the policies created by the government has made it extremely difficult for immigrants to assimilate into this country. Huntington believes the “single most immediate and most serious challenge to America’s traditional identity comes from the immense and continuing immigration from Latin America, especially from Mexico” (32) The main points he brings up in his argument about the lack of assimilation is due to contiguity, illegality, regional concentration, persistence, and historical presence. Mexico and the United States have a direct border which he explains is the reason there is such an intimate contact within family members and friends. There is also an increase of illegal immigration with Mexicans accounting for 69% of that statistic. They have established concentrations in specific cities throughout the country. Another connection between these two countries is that some of the regions now occupied by Americans were once a part of Mexico. All these reasons, Hungtinton claims, make immigrants not accommodate to the “dominant group” in the United States which will make the country break up into two distinct identities relating to this idea of multiculturalism and the fear of having multiple identities. With globalization comes the mixing of differing cultures, not the standardization of culture that McDonaldization thinking assumes. Globalization can lead to an increase in toleration and acceptance of different cultures but neoliberalist policies “wreak havoc” (Nederveen) by impoverishing and dehumanizing communities.

In their article, “Testing Huntington: Is Hispanic Immigration a Threat to American Identity?”, Citrin, Jack et al. show that Hispanics have a prevailing pattern of assimilation even if this country makes it difficult for them to achieve this. Huntington’s central topic around American identity is in the values of Anglo-Protestants but it is incorrect to assume this identity because customs evolve as the country’s population changes. As stated before, he draws a negative correlation between Mexican immigrant enclaves and assimilation. Huntington also brings up the lack of education and wage gap between native white men’s lifetime earnings and Mexicans. He uses economist James Smith’s data to suggest that progress fails in this community to provide a better life for their children and other generations. The third generation of Mexicans born in 1860s had 74.5 percent of white men’s earnings and the percentage rose to 80 percent between 1910 and 1920 suggesting only a small increase. However, their small progress in incomes should not take away that these succeeding generations have been able to close the schooling gap with native whites. This evidently shows that Mexican Americans are moving forward as fast if not faster than other ethnic groups (Levine 102). Huntington uses data to his advantage and to attempt to prove his hypothesis but lacks the ability to understand different points of view. There are far more incentives to not naturalize into the host country.

Gendered Immigrant Labor

The migration of women from third word to do “women’s work” is mainly from women of color and the hard realities they face are not talked about because of the color of their skin. The lifestyles of the first world of individualism and career focus is made possible by the global transfer of these workers who come from poor countries to more affluent ones. In the article “Critical Globalization Studies and Gender” the author Jean Pyle assessed the changing labor market and family roles of women and men in industrialized countries, there are gendered dimensions of globalization. Low wage women workers usually come from a flow of female migrants working domestic jobs, in virtual sweatshops, and as sex workers. Many times, it is an abuse of human rights working in these environments as these women are put in vulnerable and dangerous situations. The wave of globalization has created different components (5) of the political economy and most of them are distinctly gendered. One of these trends involves the reduced role of government in the market economy, focusing on production for external trade, making manufacturing firms multinational, structural adjustment policies, and a shift in the structure of power internationally. These changes of globalization have a gendered effect. They are made by societal norms and these societal institutions reinforce these roles. Many companies use this to their advantage, moving their companies to where women can easily be exploited both financially, physically, and with their mental health. Women who work in sectors such as sex work, domestic labor, and export-oriented production are subject to many dangers such as violence and these conditions affect the growth of these women for the future.

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