This article deals with Globalization’ . This is part of our series on ‘Society’ which is important pillar of GS-1 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here.

When did Globalization started?

There is no agreement on this

  • 1st view : Since  old times as world was never isolated . There was trade & exchange of culture & ideas .
  • 2nd view : it happened during 15th & 16th century, when Europeans through colonialism connected new countries .
  • 3rd view : it was during Industrial Revolution due to invention of steam engines .

Finally although there is no agreement on the definition, everyone agrees that the pace of globalisation has increased during 1990s with the advent of internet & telecommunication .

Note – India’s concept of ‘Vasudeva Kutumbakam’ is in line with Globalisation. Hence, Indians are experiencing Globalisation since long .

What exactly is Globalization ?

  • Globalization is a process of increasing interdependence, interconnectedness and integration of economies and societies to such an extent that an event in one part of the globe affects people in other parts of world .
  • Due to globalization, the world has become a “global village”.
  • Due to globalization, the concept of sovereignty of states is diluting . MNCs are encroaching and sometimes becoming more powerful than States .
  • It has various aspects – social, political, economic etc. 
  • Whether it is beneficial or not is a matter of debate. It has both sides :-  
    • Some consider it the cause of the rising standard of living throughout the world.
    • Others think globalization to be soft underbelly of corporate imperialism that plunders and profiteers on the back of rampant consumerism.

Factors helping Globalization

International Trade Trade is the biggest contributor of Globalization . 
FTAs , Regional Integration & Global institutions such as WTO plays important role. in promoting globalization.    
ICT – ICT has connected offices situated in different parts of the world  .
– BPOs in India can do work for companies in US and EU at fraction of price .  
International Governmental Organisations Organisations like WTO , UN, European Union (EU), ASEAN etc. have integrated different parts of the world.  
Tourism People are travelling different parts => such surge in tourism was never seen before .  
International Sports CWG, Olympics, FIFA etc. plays important part in globalization .

Negatives of Globalization in general

  • Attack on sovereignty of nations by MNCs ,  institutions like WTO , IMF etc. and other powerful countries .
  • It has led to spread of terrorism, drug trafficking, piracy etc .
  • Globalization has negatively impacted Micro and Small Scale Industries . Eg : Women silk spinners and twisters of Bihar lost their jobs once the Chinese and Korean silk yarn entered the market. Weavers and consumers prefer this yarn as it is somewhat cheaper and has a shine.
  • Increased Insurgencies 
    • Adivasis uprooted from ancestral lands by MNCs  .
    • Support of diaspora to insurgencies  . Eg : Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers relied on the Tamil diaspora .
  • Environmental damage due to overfishing, forest depletion etc.
  • Disease Spread : Diseases spread like fire in the forest because of increased global connectivity & movement . Eg : Covid-19’s rapid spread during 2019-20.
  • Global Economy became too fragile corroborated by frequent depressions and slowdowns .
  • Inequality has increased . Capitalists have exploited the situation to their advantage .
  • Increased vulnerability of workers : MNCs keep on shifting their manufacturing bases based on cheap availability of labour. Eg : Nike shifted their production from  Japan to South Korea to  Indonesia , India and Thailand when labour became expensive in these economies.
  • Globalisation has given impetus to Culture of Materialism and Consumerism .
  • Exploitation of farmers
    • Globalisation has exposed the farmers to global competition .
    • WTO obligations regarding de-minimus limit has led to lowering of farm subsidies in developing nations.
    • MNCs are controlling farmers through Contract Farming .
    • Seed monopoly by MNCs like Monsanto .

Then how much Globalization is required ?

  • Outright rejection of globalization and a retreat into autarky is neither practical nor desirable as nobody wants to be the next Myanmar or North Korea.
  • Also nobody wants to be Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – who opened their border for all goods with same tax as on domestic goods — all had double-digit negative growth in 2009.
  • Countries that find the golden middle, like Chile and Singapore, tend to thrive .

We cant live in isolation and we can find a warning against isolationism in a parable about a well-frog- the ‘Kupamanduka’ that persistently recurs in several old Sanskrit texts. 

Socio-cultural Globalization & India

  • Cultural Globalization has increased cross cultural contacts  .
  • This can be seen in penetration of western food culture like McD, Pizza Hut, KFC etc. & western cloth culture .
    • Critics say that it is Westernization and not Globalization because of imbalance of transfer . 
    • But  MNCs also adopt to the local cultures eg McD don’t serve beef burgers,  Pizza Hut coming  with Indian flavors etc. .
  • In theory, globalization, by promoting economic growth in developing countries, tends to reduce poverty Some scholars have argued that ‘trade is good for growth, growth is good for the poor and so trade is good for the poor’ (Dollar and Kray, 2001). 
  • Cultural  Homogenization : we all watch the same television programmes, buy the same commodities, eat the same food, support the same sports stars . Hence, cultural diversity is being destroyed .
  • Use of  ‘English’  is rapidly increasing and multilingual speakers are  increasing as well.
  • There is rise of right wing parties  to protect local values & culture .
  • Globalization  has through greater exposure liberalized our attitudes, reduced our biases and predispositions about people, situations and communities worldwide.

Economic Globalization & India

Economic globalization comprises of two aspects :

  • Globalization of production 
  • Globalization of markets   

Positive Impacts

  1. Creation of jobs. Eg : Jobs in BPO sector .
  2. Bringing in improved technological process .
  3. MNCs are providing revenue by way of paying tax  .
  4. Global Corporations bring  better work culture  to India .
  5. Indirect impact is , to attract more MNCs to India, government invest a lot in infrastructure (roads, faster railway services and airplane facilities)  .
  6. It has led to IT revolution in India due to setting up of huge BPO sector providing services to their clients in developed world.

Negative Impacts

  1. Worsening of labour conditions as the chief aim of MNCs is maximization of profits (main thing that seduce MNCs to manufacture in India is cheap labour ) .
  2. MNCs repatriate their profits to respective countries rather than investing in India .
  3. Global Corporations are deriving small companies and artisans out of business.
  4. Big MNCs violate human rights & damage environment .
  5. Health sector has impacted greatly. Due to patent protection , price of patented drugs have skyrocketed .
  6. It has impacted the agriculture negatively because of creation of seed monopoly and dumping of food crops  by US & Europe .
  7. For its survival in the face of global competition, Indian industry has transformed itself from labour intensive processes to capital intensive processes by adopting global technologies and automatic machinery. This has resulted in high rate of unemployment in India.

Impact of Globalization on various sections of society

1 . Society as a Whole

Family structure

  • Globalization is promoting the value of Individualism  and has led to nuclearization of families .
  • New forms of families are emerging . Eg :Single parent households, live relationship, female headed households, dual- in career family (both husband and wife are working) etc.

Marriage values

  • Children are taking their own decision to select their own partners. 
  • Finding partners: younger generations have started depending on internet marriage sites like ‘, Bharat Matrimony’ etc. Family involvement in finding a groom / bride is reducing.
  • Marriage is now seen as contract rather than sacrament .
  • Due to globalization, we are observing large number of divorces.

Caste System

  • Globalization has also brought about information technology and the internet which have also helped, though indirectly, in consolidating and even promoting caste solidarity e.g. matrimonial websites help in locating same caste grooms . Similarly, caste based forums are mushrooming on the web and social media.

Social interactions and festivals

  • Due to value of Individualism , social interactions have reduced .
  • People prefer to celebrate Valentine’s Day rather than Holi and Diwali.


  • Youth is increasingly becoming westernized and consumerist in their thinking .

Food & clothing 

  • People have abandoned local foods & attracted towards  junk food which has  increased  health disorders .
  • Western  suiting’s are preferred by males but they are inappropriate  for Indian climate. 

Withdrawal of Government from Social Sector

  • LPG  Reforms led to general reduction of  state’s  public spending . State has now taken the role of regulator instead of service provider .
  • Government has placed large budget cuts on health, education and social security. 

2 . Female

Globalization affects different groups of women in different places in different ways. On the one hand it may create new opportunities for women to be forerunners in economic and social progress on the other it may take away job opportunities by providing cheaper avenues in the form of assembly line production or outsourcing.

Positive Impacts

  • Globalization has opened new avenues of jobs for women , which raises self-confidence and brings about independence.
  • Working from home and flexi hours are physically less burdensome .
  • Globalisation has posed a challenge to institution of Patriarchy .
  • Feminist movement has spread to India due to globalization, making women more vocal about their ideas.
  • Women in India are inspired by women the world over to fight for their rights. Eg : fighting for maternity leave .
  • Modern ideas like Equality of Sexes and Equal wages for both sexes have reached India  .
  • Due to globalization, India has signed conventions like CEDAW (Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women) .

Negative Impacts

  • Double Burden / Second Shift : Women are suffering two fold. As women in developing countries move into the work force, their domestic responsibilities are not alleviated. Women work two full time jobs.
  • Globalization exploit cheap women labour in countries like  India , Bangladesh etc. .
  • Globalization has exacerbated gender inequalities => no doubt women have been benefitted but men are benefitted more than  men .
  • Globalization has corrupted the value system of males =>  Due to objectification of women , cases of rapes and sexual exploitation have increased. 
  • With encroachment of MNCs , small women entrepreneurs have gone out of market. Eg : Women silk spinners  from Bihar aren’t able to compete against Chinese silk yarn  .
  • Male members have move to other nations (especially from Indian states like Punjab and Kerala) -Women has to pass almost whole of her life without her husband .

3 . Farmers and Agriculture

Positive impacts of globalization

  • Globalization has provided greater access to better technology like
    • high yield varieties .
    • genetically modified crops (GM crops) .
    • micro irrigation techniques.
  • Foreign investment in agriculture in contract farming  and food processing have helped farmers.
  • Globalization has given access to farmers to the foreign markets .

Negative impacts of globalization

  • With globalization farmers were encouraged to shift from traditional crops to export oriented ‘cash crops’ such as cotton and tobacco but such crops needed far more inputs in terms of fertilizers, pesticides and water.
  • Exposed to competition from World =>  good produce in Jamaica can make price of sugarcane to fall in India .
  • MNCs using IPRs to create seed monopolies . Eg :  Monsanto’s monopoly over BT cotton seed.
  • Due to WTO obligations and de-minimus limit , state support for agriculture has declined substantially . 
  • MNCs are controlling farmers through Contract Farming (due to monopsony in exotic products).
  • Crops grown in Contract farming  usually requires high doses of fertilisers and pesticides which damage environment .
  • Number of suicides have increased since LPG reforms in India . Eg : Vidharbha is called suicide capital of India .

4. Old Age

Loneliness Children are migrating either to work in MNCs in cosmopolitans or other countries . (also known as Empty nest syndrome)   
Economic Impact With new kinds of jobs and change in technology , they are not fit for employment in many sectors.  
Psychological Impact They are not able to accept encroachment of foreign values which has occurred at huge pace. This leads to clashes  between parents and children especially girl child  .  
Health Impact Due to agreements like TRIPS price of patented drugs have skyrocketed => this has impacted Old age the most.

5. New Generation / Youth  

Positive Impacts

  • New avenues of Job : New avenues of jobs have opened . Eg: IT sector , BPO , Sharemarkets etc. .
  • More political awareness : Due to idea of  individual  liberty, justice etc.  .
  • Rise of entrepreneurial spirit : Globalization has led to end of monopoly of Parsis, Marwaris etc. in the industry . India has seen the rise of startup culture & first  generation  millionaires (eg : Ola, Oyo etc.) .
  • Pressure for protection of children :
    • India has signed international  conventions  like   Convention  on  Child  Rights .
    • NGOs  & Social workers like Kailash  Satyarthi’s efforts  get global recognition .
  • Youth see themselves as global teenagers. They belong to a much bigger community than the community they were born into. The younger generation is embracing western popular culture and incorporating it into their Indian identity.

Negative Impacts

  • Change in value system :  individualism had increased suicidal tendencies & loneliness .
  • Hyper consumerism : It has engulfed in feeling of relative deprivation .
  • Increased Competition : Now they have to compete not just with their countrymen but whole world .
  • Globalization  is also changing family institutions, and the nuclear family is increasingly the norm. Youth are not as close to their grandparents as were earlier generations and spend less time with the older generation resulting in loss of wisdom handed down from generation to generation.
  • Increased divorces : Marriage is now seen as contract .
  • Drugs : Globalization has brought drugs like heroin , smack etc. to India.

6. Art Forms 

  • Globalization has led to fusion of Indian and Western Art  forms  . Eg Fusion Music , Fusion Dance etc.
  • Packaging and branding of traditional folk and festivals .
  • Tourism to see Indian culture. Eg – Langar of Golden Temple to ruins of Hampi have become tourist destinations .
  • Yoga has become world famous . 
  • Foreign culture is also penetrating India and hence, right wing groups have revived cultural nationalism . Eg campaigns against Valentines Day etc. .

Glocalisation  vs Homogenization vs Clash of Civilisation

With increase in globalization, what will happen? 

There are three contrasting views regarding this :-

  1. With Globalisation ,  all cultures will become similar/ homogeneous.
  2. There is an increasing tendency towards Glocalisation .
  3. Clash of Civilisations will happen at large scale.

Glocalisation refers to the mixing of the global with the local.

Glocalisation = Globalization + Localisation

Arguments for Glocalisation

  • It is a strategy adopted by foreign firms  to enhance their marketability.
  • Glocalisation can be seen in following things in India,  
    • Netflix making Indian TV Series .
    • Foreign TV channels like  MTV and Cartoon Network using Indian languages.
    • McDonald selling Indian Burgers .
    • Many English movies are dubbed in Hindi  to increase the marketability and to cater to large number of audiences.
    • Bhangra pop &  remixes .
  • But ratio of influence of the western culture on local cultures is more .

Argument for  Homogeneity

Homogeneity due to globalization in India can be seen at 2 levels

  • Socio-cultural level:
    • Common values of Globalization like modernization, promotion of democracy .
    • Homogenous food habits (Mcdonaldization, pizza culture) .
    • Use of  ‘English’ as a global language . 
    • Creation of Global Celebrities like Britney Spears and Ronaldo .
  • Economic level:
    • MNCs – same large corporations having presence in whole world .
    • Same corporate culture .
    • Same production techniques .
    • Use of crypto-currencies like Bit-Coins .

Infact Globalisation is Americanization of the world .

3rd view – Cultural polarization

  • Samuel Huntington  dismissed the idea of a global monoculture as well as Glocalisation .
  • He was the proponent of phenomenon known as ‘clash of civilizations’ –  civilizational conflict would  occur between USA and China and between the West and Islam.

Does economic globalization promote prosperity  and opportunity for all?

Points in favour

  • The magic of the market : Economic globalization can  expanded opportunities and prosperity .
  • It let country to produce goods in sectors where it has ‘comparative advantage’, & import other goods thus benefiting from   economies of scale .
  • MNCs bring with them  access to modern technology in the developing world .
  • Economic freedom promotes other freedoms  : When people become rich , they demand for democracy and rights.

Points against

  • Deepening poverty and inequality : Winners are USA & MNCs and losers are people of developing country who are exploited .
  • Globalisation is the soft underbelly of Capitalism .
  • Globalisation promotes ethics of consumerism & feeling of relative deprivation.
  • Example of Bhutan : People are happy even without outside links .

Previous year UPSC GS Mains questions

  • Critically examine the effect of globalization on the aged population in India.
  • Discuss the positive and negative effects of globalization on women in India?
  • To what extent globalization has influenced the core of cultural diversity in India? Explain.

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