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Globalization And Acculturation

Negative Consequences of Globalization and Acculturation

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Globalization is certainly one of the most progressing and inevitable processes in the modern world that gradually affects all the aspects of human life. The term of globalization is usually applied to an economic system in which the production of goods and services flows freely across the global borders resulting in a similar economic strategy in all parts of the world. However, globalization is closely connected not only to the economic activity, but also to the similitude of language, social and cultural influences that accompany this gradual change of material, viewpoints and money in the ever-changing world. This noticeable economic strategy has its own rules and logic that leads to both advantages and a great range of negative consequences in geopolitics, economics, socio-political, and environmental systems of nearly every country in the contemporary world and, therefore, it is required to be aware of all these negative changes in order to prevent their further development and acceleration.

As the experience of mankind shows, one of the important factors that increase the processes of further pollution of the ecosystem is the growth of the population and the acceleration of the process of industrialization in the developing world. The scope of globalization has been increasing so rapidly that its overall side effects can be felt even in the most remote districts in the developed and undeveloped countries as well. These negative consequences include many aspects such as decreased genetic diversity in the agriculture field leading to less variety of agricultural crops and livestock, shortage of wildlife, the growing development of exotic species, air, water and soil pollution, consequently considerable climate change, the extensive use of resources, and massive social disruption (Figge 863).

The life of people and the state of the economy depend on the purity of air, the scale of water, food and energy resources, raw materials, and fossil fuels given by the natural environment. They largely determine the limits of human capabilities, the limits of the ecosystem overload, and the survival limits of mankind itself. The processes of globalization, transnational and global environmental problems, as well as international relations and world politics meanwhile, have a significant impact on both the condition of the environment and further activities of all the governments. Moreover, most environmental problems have a boundary context, and their solution requires mutual efforts of all the parties.

The process of globalization tends to have a significant impact on the environment as well as on the contemporary environmental policy in many countries worldwide. Therefore, there is likelihood that international trade can considerably worsen present condition of the environment in case environmental costs and side effects are not taken into consideration. The ignorance of these costs can result in environmental degradation. Moreover, in order to initiate the trade and economy sector, the states can change the environmental standards not in favor of the population. In this case, the neglect of environmental costs can give competitive advantages for a state and, consequently, the countries with weak environmental management, including China and India, are highly likely to have environmental degradation.

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Another important international aspect of environmental issues is global waste trade: the export of waste to more developing countries is at the moment the most favorable way of its utilization (Fan 272). As a result, a considerable amount of European rubbish, mainly paper and plastic, is imported to China for further processing. However, existing methods and technologies turn into serious environmental and social consequences for the country, including air and water pollution, hard working conditions, low wages, and a high quantity of workers. Despite significant restrictions on import of the processed goods and a complete ban on the import of non-recyclable waste, corruption, as well as the physical inability to verify all the imported garbage makes the problem very relevant.

Electronic garbage, exported in huge quantities from developed countries to China and India is especially dangerous for the environment. Its rough method of processing results in contamination of water and soil with heavy metals, acids and other dangerous substances, serious health problems among the local population, as well as the emergence of new garbage dumps. It is certainly difficult for the market to manage all the environmental and other side-effects of globalization as there is much social, biological and physical pressure on this international system. It is required to analyze current consequences of this economic process and keep all the dangerous side-effects in public in order to develop some alternative achievable socio-economic system.

Globalization should not be perceived as only economic integration, because its political, information and cultural aspects are also of great importance. The scale, irreversibility and inconsistency of the process of intercultural interaction caused by globalization, result in the growing interest of scientists in the study of its nature, laws, and trends. This desire for unlimited growth, expansion and infinite assimilation of any foreign cultural material is inherent in any cultural system, which has been repeatedly revealed in human history from the ancient Eastern empires to the very recent past.

Cultural contacts are essential components of communication between people, because during cultural interaction each person reveals their own identity and peculiarities and interlocutors mutually adapt by borrowing the best features of each other. The changes caused by these borrowings force people of one culture gradually adapt to the other culture, mastering and using new elements in their lives. In addition, nowadays there is a huge need to adapt to new cultural conditions, especially in terms of business communication and working abroad. Many employees have to travel abroad and in order to achieve success they should not just adapt, but become full members of a new society and culture. As a result of this rather complex process, a person achieves compatibility with a new cultural environment and hence acculturation to a greater or lesser extent.

The modern societies have to interact in order to develop and gain success in terms of trade relations. However, interaction within trade relations often results in creating new social systems where different communities are integrated due to the same necessity of resources and goods. The general theory of acculturation is a model that unites the cultural and psychological factors involved in the process of acculturation. According to this model, the process of acculturation is influenced by cultural factors such as the properties of groups before contact, the nature of intercultural relations, and the cultural changes that followed the contact. Psychological factors used in the model include behavioral changes, acculturation stress, psychological and social adaptation. The theory of acculturation strategies pays particular attention to the behavior of participants in the intercultural contact and seeks to predict the long-term consequences of the intercultural contact based on the behavioral strategies chosen by the participants in the acculturation process. However, nowadays the concept of acculturation is not only perceived as a group phenomenon, and now researchers consider it to be at the level of an individual’s psychology presenting the process of acculturation as a change in the value orientation, role behavior, and social attitudes of the individual (Johnson 984). There are several strategies for acculturation of an individual and the choice of a strategy of behavior involves two main problems: the maintenance of culture (recognition of the importance of preserving cultural identity) and the participation in intercultural contacts (inclusion in or exclusion from other cultures) (Johnson984).

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Critics of cultural globalization consider acculturation a threat to the identity and diversity of cultures, they also predict a tendency to homogenize and fuse cultures (Johnson 984). Since most modern spiritual and material goods are of the Western origin, globalization consequently turns into a kind of Americanization or Westernization (Johnson 984). However, globalization can develop in the opposite direction, paying attention to the complete fragmentation of previously integral cultures and this may lead to growth of intercultural conflicts. Cultural globalization is a complex and irreversible process which has considerable impact of new information and communication technologies on education and the state of everyday culture. One of the negative consequences of acculturation is information disorder and the loss of criteria for selecting information. There is a clear gap between the technological potential of informational awareness of the society and the individual and the qualitative characteristics of globalization in relation to the state of culture. The global information and communication systems have fundamentally changed the conditions for cultural exchange and interaction, education, business, interpersonal communication, more and more successfully erasing spatial, temporal, social, linguistic and other barriers, forming a unified information space.

The main negative aspect of globalization and acculturation is the possibility of losing individuals cultural identity and consequently a minority culture can be absorbed and gradually changed with another more prevailing culture. Globalization is one of the most crucial processes in the modern world, which brings both advantages and difficulties for the global community. However, globalization and acculturation strongly connected to it may lead to a great range of negative consequences for geopolitics, economics, socio-political and environmental systems of nearly every country in the contemporary world. It is required to be aware of all the possible disadvantages of these processes and take this knowledge into consideration in order to prevent undesired negative consequences of a larger scale.

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