Globalization refers to "greater movement of people, goods, capital and ideas due to
increased economic integration which in turn is propelled by increased trade and
investment". - Australian global education forum.
Globalization "describes the process by which regional economies, societies and cultures
have become integrated through a global network of communication, transportation and
trade" - Wikipedia. Globalization is driven by a combination of economic, technological,
socio-cultural and political factors and has increased greatly in the last two decades due
to improved technologies and a reduction of barriers. Other influences include trade,
Foreign Direct Investment, migration and the spread of technology. Companies now try
to produce goods in countries with the cheapest labor. Finance has become more readily
available and companies have been able to borrow on the worldwide financial markets.
On the industrial scale there has been an emergence of worldwide production methods
and broader access to foreign products which has led to increased cooperation between
companies in different countries.
With regard to culture, for example, Hollywood films being shown in developing
countries there is a fear that local culture will be lost. Some say that multiculturalism
promotes peace and understanding between people and others view globalization as
bringing a shift to a new form of monoculture i.e. the obliteration of culture as we know
it today. Technical improvements in relation to the internet, Social Media and Global
Information Systems and global telecommunication systems infrastructure have led to
increased communication for many people but those who do not have access to this
technology are left behind.
Negative effects of Globalization include the fact that some countries have not been able
to take advantage of the opportunities that it presents. In certain countries the standard of
living has dropped. The environment has been harmed as agricultural, forest, fishing and
mining industries exploit inadequate environmental codes and corrupt behavior in
developing countries. The major economic powers have a large influence on instruments
of globalization such as the World Trade Organization and this can work against
developing countries. Companies move to countries where labor is cheap and if the labor
laws improve them up sticks and move to another location.
Some countries complain of decreased sovereignty in decision making as a result of
globalization. Migration has spread diseases such as HIV/AIDS and TB and modern
communications have spread an awareness of the differences between countries and
increased the demand for migration to richer countries. The continent of Africa has
suffered a "brain drain" because of migration.
I think it would be fair to say that the Western World has benefited from globalization but
developing countries have not been as fortunate.2. DEFINATION OF TERMS.
Ethics - The philosophical study of moral values and rules.
Ethics- The principles of right and wrong that are accepted by an individual or a
Ethics - A system of principles governing morality and acceptable conduct.
Globalization- refers to the increasing degree of the economic interaction among
Globalization- is the integration of trade, capital, labor market, technology and investment
throughout the world.
Globalization is the process of increasing interconnections of individuals, groups,
countries and companies brought about by technological, economic and political changes
Concern(s) - Something that interests you because it is important or affects you.
3. Social and ethical concerns, with examples and their relevance to Kenyan
economic situation- (both positive and negative concerns).
Globalization is a complex, interdependent phenomenon, which is changing the world's
cultures rapidly, especially African cultures, where people are caught in the midst of new
economic and transnational crosscurrents.
There are life-affirming changes on many fronts — improvement in national infrastructure,
travel, communications, technology and health care. But these changes are giving rise to
some new ethical problems.
Rapid and irreversible changes are taking place in all African countries, especially in eastern,
southern and central Africa, the three emerging economic superpowers in the region. There is
an ongoing expansion of huge corporations, accompanied by impressive communication
networks. A super cultural force of economic authority seems to have emerged, which
influences the policies of the nation-states.
Some argue globalization is not a new phenomenon and that it has been a part of human
history all along. It is true the quest for transcending one's own world has been native to every culture from the ancient times, but the present trends are different in that they are
multidirectional and intense, accompanied by emigration, transfer of technology, business
outsourcing and communications on a massive scale.
As a transnational process, globalization has produced far-reaching consequences for most
African cultures, whose traditional values have remained somewhat stable for millennia.
Some religious leaders are alarmed by the invasion of market forces, which is seen as a new
form of colonialism from the secularized West. Nevertheless, the governments in these
countries are equally aggressive and relentless in the pursuit of new opportunities through
partnership with the West.
A number of modern trends are easily noticeable in African societies leading to serious
A). There is a strong element of westernization and a synthesis of various global cultures.
This is facilitated by the spread of new technology, which provides cable television, cell
phone, movie, music and video games. The new synthesis of cultures in African countries is
so powerful it is beginning to obliterate the rather well-defined cultural boundaries as well as
the specific social identities of the people. This cultural synthesis has become powerful
enough to alter the traditional mindset of the people. In Kenya, this began to happen on a
large scale when the country introduced sweeping changes in its economic policies in the
early 1990s. How to be a global partner, without losing one's cultural identity, has become a
crucial question in Kenya. Some bemoan the resulting consumerism and loss of languages.
B). There is a growing middle class in countries such as Kenya, comprising of 40 million
people plus, with an unquenchable thirst for consumer goods. The spread of new capital has
provided opportunities for those who have skills to participate in the growth. More jobs have
been created in the country, and there is a sharp rise in salaries and personal incomes for
millions of people. But the widening gap between the rich and the poor in Kenyan societies
has become a serious problem. There are millions who do not have the technological skills to
participate in the dynamism of globalization; they are thus marginalized. Today, even many
remote villages have some access to a computer, phone or cable television, but when it
comes to improving their economic status, they do not have the same opportunities.
Traditional workers — artisans, shoemakers, fishermen and small-scale farmers — have been
thrown out of their occupations, thereby creating economic problems for these families.
C).The influences of foreign media on the people of Kenya have been significant. These
influences are positive and negative. Transmitting information across cultures instantly has
helped in exposing human rights violations and abuses of ethnic groups. For this reason, for
instance, the authoritarian government in Uganda or the dictatorship in Ivory Coast tries to
curb the foreign media because of ―Western ideology and politics,‖ and their ―unwholesomeinfluences in broadcasting.‖ But we must admit the fact the global media is changing and
shaping the worldviews of the traditional societies through transnational programs; no one
has control over the nature of information received. This is seen as a threat to indigenous
cultural norms and practices. Nevertheless, Enemy nations can spread propaganda through
the Internet thus negatively scaring away investors.
D). There has also been an increase in crimes against humanity and violations of human
rights by different corporations, traders, governments and persons. These crimes, includes
but not limited to, human trafficking, drugs and substances trafficking, smuggling, sale of
sub-standard goods and exploitation of labour. These crimes have adversely and negatively
affected the Kenyan economic situations as many fear the vices and thus many investors keep
off the markets thus leading to a decline in the level of investment and consumer goods
available to the Kenyan citizens. This results to low national income and per capita income.
E). Due to the vastness of the global market and for fact lack of effective laws and policies to
regulate and control the activities in the market, criminals and terrorists have had a simple
time in organizing and executing their criminal activities. This has been enhanced by the
technological advances as sharing of information and communication has become the most
simple and easy advancement. Terrorists have access to sophisticated weapons enhancing
their ability to inflict damage. Terrorists use the Internet for communicating among
themselves. These crimes have scared away investors and market players thus leading to a
decline in the levels of investments and this leads to markets that cannot fully meet the needs
of the consumers thus warranting government intervention or even leading to illegal market
structures in quest to satisfy consumer wants, for instance, smuggling and importation of low
tariffs goods from other countries leading to dumping of Kenyan products in the markets and
increase in prices of less available products. The increase in prices has reduced the
government's ability to sustain social welfare schemes in developed countries.
F). Due to globalization many people have moved in Kenya due to the ready market of their
products, availability of job opportunities and in search of even serene environment to settler.
Criminals and terrorists have also moved in desire to find settlements in areas where
suspicion is less. This has led to congestion thus posing a great concern to housing facilities,
high congestion in urban centers, low levels of hygiene and sanitation facilities, social
amenities and even pollution of the environment. Companies have set up industries causing
pollution in countries with poor regulation of pollution. This makes the Kenyan market
places and urban centers filthy and this leads to use of a lot of resources in cleaning up, while
the resources could be channeled in other sectors. Polluting also leads to health concerns and
hence the investors are not willing to invest in dirty and filthy environment.G). Political
Some use "globalization" to mean the creation of a world government which regulates the
relationships among governments and guarantees the rights arising from social and economic
globalization. Among the political effects some scholars also name the transformation of
sovereignty. In their opinion, 'globalization contributes to the change and reduction of
nomenclature and scope of state sovereign powers, and besides it is a bilateral process: on the
one hand, the factors are strengthening that fairly undermine the countries' sovereignty, on
the other – most states voluntarily and deliberately limit the scope of their sovereignty'. In
this regard, many African states have lost their sovereignty as multinational corporations
conditionally invest in these countries. And in desire to attract more investors, most countries
ends up giving in to investor's conditions rather than the citizen's interest. Multinational
Companies and corporations which were previously restricted to commercial activities are
increasingly influencing political decisions
H). Fast food chains like McDonalds and KFC are spreading in the developing world. People
are consuming more junk food from these joints which has an adverse impact on their health.
This has resulted to more spending in health programs whereas such resources could be
channeled in the development of other sectors of the economy. This leads to low investment
and low income among citizens.
I). Globalization has led to exploitation of labor. Prisoners and child workers are used to
work in inhumane conditions. Safety standards are ignored to produce cheap goods. Job
insecurity. Earlier people had stable, permanent jobs. Now people live in constant dread of
losing their jobs to competition. Increased job competition has led to reduction in wages and
consequently lower standards of living leading to decrease in per capita income and national
J). Developing nations have outsourced manufacturing and white collar jobs. That means
fewer jobs for their people. This has happened because manufacturing work is outsourced to
developed nations like China and Japan where the cost of manufacturing goods and wages
are lower. Programmers, editors, scientists and accountants have lost their jobs due to
outsourcing to cheaper locations like India. This has also warranted the aspect of brain drain
as people move to search for jobs in well paying states and areas. This leads to low Gross
k). Local industries are being taken over by foreign multinationals, unfair competition of low
standard products, import of foreign varieties at cheaper rate has reduced value of Kenyavarieties and use of machines has lead to unemployment thus resulting to low standards of
living and per capita income
We must also appreciate the fact that globalization has had many and fundamental
positive impacts to our Kenyan societies. These include:
I). Cultural - growth of cross-cultural contacts; advent of new categories of consciousness
and identities which embodies cultural diffusion, the desire to increase one's standard of
living and enjoy foreign products and ideas, adopt new technology and practices, and
participate in a "world culture". This has thus resulted to understanding and cooperation
among states leading to increased market and capital flow among states and their citizens.
II). Informational - increase in information flows between geographically remote locations.
Arguably this is a technological change with the advent of fibre optic communications,
satellites, and increased availability of telephone and Internet, for example, social internet pages
such as facebook, twitter and 2go. This has greatly facilitated the exchange of ideas, research,
information and even market practices thus resulting to greater and effective awareness of available
product markets, prices and quality.
III). Social - development of the system of non-governmental organizations as main agents of
global public policy, including humanitarian aid and developmental efforts. More so,
especially in Kenya, where many are living below the poverty line, many non-governmental
organizations that are multinational, have provided both financial and moral support to
Kenyan societies, these includes, USAID among others. This has enabled many citizens to be
economically empowered and participate in production activities and this has lead to increase
in the national Gross National Product and Gross Domestic Product thus more national
income and per capita income.
The creation of the international criminal court and international justice movements, crime
importation and raising awareness of global crime-fighting efforts and cooperation, the
emergence of Global administrative law and human rights movements have lead to more
awareness of fundamental freedoms and rights and respect of these rights by government and
persons. this has lead to improvement in the level of law and order and even execution of
justice which in turn makes Kenya peaceful among itself and with other nations. This has
attracted more investors as security is the most fundamental aspect of investment thus leading to more jobs to Kenyan people and also availability of consumer products at
affordable prices. This has also lead to improvement in the living standards of people.
The spread and increased interrelations of various religious groups, ideas, and practices and
their ideas of the meanings and values of particular spaces. This has lead to interactions
through seminars, creative ministries, retreats among other religious forums. This leads to
understanding and peace among member states and communities thus leading to security that
in turn encourages investment.
VI). Education and e-learning.
Private investment in educating sector, growing demand for learning to improve
competitiveness in the face of globalization in employment and the technological advances
especially in internet, have lead to increase in the learning facilities, improvement in the
education and high number of people carrying out research in their field of expertise. This
has lead to improvement and innovation in the consumer wants. This is crucial and
fundamental in every economy as it's possible to produce goods that can compete in the
VII). Health Policy - On the global scale, health becomes a commodity. In developing
nations under the demands of Structural Adjustment Programs, health systems are
fragmented and privatized. Global health policy makers have shifted during the 1990s from
United Nations players to financial institutions. The result of this power transition is an
increase in privatization in the health sector. This privatization fragments health policy by
crowding it with many players with many private interests. These fragmented policy players
emphasize partnerships and specific interventions to combat specific problems (as opposed to
comprehensive health strategies). Influenced by global trade and global economy, health
policy is directed by technological advances and innovative medical trade. Global priorities,
in this situation, are sometimes at odds with national priorities where increased health
infrastructure and basic primary care are of more value to the public than privatized care for
viii). Spread of Technical Know-How.
While it is generally assumed that all the innovations happen in the Western world, due to
globalization, the know-how also comes into developing countries due to globalization.
Without globalization, the knowledge of new inventions, medicines would remain cooped up
in the countries that came up with them and no one else would benefit. But due to improved
political ties, there is a flow of information both ways. And this point - the spread of knowhow, can also be expanded to include economic and political knowledge, which too has
spread far and wide. The most obvious example of the spread of knowledge is that the Western world today are waking up to the benefits of Ayurveda and Yoga, while the Western
antibiotics and flooding the Indian markets improving the quality of life (and the longevity
too) of people in Kenya.
ix). Organizations for Environmental and Social Concerns
In cognizance of the damage that has been caused to our world over the years, the individual
nations have decided to come together to find a way to save our world from ourselves.
Organizations monitoring climate change as well as those which look at the welfare of our
animals and marine life, are undoubtedly one of the positive effects of globalization on the
Globalization has created many ethical problems that are beginning to surface with
a). First, there is a new phenomenon of individualism, which is challenging the social
cohesion and extended family system. This has been influenced by the quench to search jobs
in other states, invest, trade or even relocate in areas where ones desires are fully met. This
has further restructured the cultural norms and values of communism and socialism thus the
poor are marginalized and they are left to languish in adverse poverty. This leads to classes
of poor and rich, thus the economic structure of the country is altered.
b). Secondly, the newly emerging employment patterns and the demands of the
corporations upon their employees have been placing new strains on the family. As in the
West, the emerging patterns make the employee an ―adjusted person.‖ Kenyan cultures
always have valued sacrificial love for one's family and adherence to basic traditional values.
These demands of the employees have lead to disintegration of social ties and family break
ups posing family problems more so where the bread winner is the one to relocate. These
leads to increase in poverty levels and increase in population as these people end up marrying
again in the areas of work. This leads to increased need of social amenities and thus posing
great economic problems to the nation as a whole.
c). Thirdly, there is a destabilization of the family. Traditionally, the family system that
served as the nucleus of indigenous social value system and the locus of child-rearing is
beginning to break down under the burden of the new ideology of economic growth. This
situation has resulted from the need for adjustment to the new socio-economic trends set by
market economy and the changing behavioral patterns of the workers created by the
multinational corporations. The family is becoming smaller and dispersed.
d). Due to increase of population in the Kenyan markets and lack of effective laws to curb
some illegal businesses that are of social nature has lead to increase of these businesses, they
include, prostitution, abortion, child trafficking, sale of pornographic and sex movies, drugs
and substance abuse. These are of great concerns in relation to ethics of most communities in Kenya. Deadly diseases like HIV/AIDS are being spread by travelers to the remotest corners
of the globe. These have lead to illegal networks thus resulting to moral decline and
unaccounted incomes in the national income calculating thus the figure given as national
income levels and per capita incomes are erroneous and thus leads to inaccurate and
improper planning as some problems are imaginary.
e). Kenyan laws, institutions and even the general public, have lost the integrity to curb such
vices as corruption and bribery. These ends up draining the countries resources to the chosen
few thus resulting to decline in the national incomes as many activities are not accounted for
and yet they are operating in the Kenyan markets.
f). There is increase in moral decline as regards to ethics of many Kenyan communities: many
unmarried girls and boys have even gone to the extent of sharing apartments and lack of respect to
ladies and the elderly has alertly increased. This has been due to the westernization of Kenyan
cultures resulting even to indecent dressing codes, public indecency of even kissing in public and
other obscene behaviors. This has made the Kenyan people and the communities lose their identities
as a whole.
g.) Tax Evasion Practices - used specifically to evade tax such as transfer pricing (i.e.,
where prices paid between affiliates and/or parent company adjusted to affect profit
allocation) including the use of tax havens, where any profit made is in low tax jurisdiction,
adjusted interest payments on intra-firm loans, questionable management and service fees
charged between affiliates and /or the parent company. Some traders ends up evading tax
thus robbing the government and the general public income leading to low provision of
public goods, for example, education facilities and infrastructure.
Though globalization has yielded these social and ethical negative concerns, we cannot
do away with it. As we have seen it has had even more merits I terms of economic
development is concerned which includes:
1. Globalization has created the concept of outsourcing. Work such as software
development, customer support, marketing, accounting and insurance is outsourced to
developing countries like India. So the company that outsourced the work enjoys the
benefit of lower costs because the wages in developing countries is far lower than that of
developed countries. The workers in the developing countries get employment.
2. Developing countries get access to the latest technology.
3. Increased competition forces companies to lower prices. This benefits the end consumers.
4. Increased media coverage draws the attention of the world to human right violations. This
leads to improvement in human rights among others.
However, the few noticeable negative concerns need address and the following can be used to
address the concerns or even minimize the severity of the effects.a. Formulation and implementation of proper and policies to curb illegal business activities
and other market crimes.
b. Cooperation among states to fully address the threat of terrorism by training security
personnel in the latest technologies and advancements.
c. Formulation of proper labor laws and regulations to curd the problem of exploitation of
workers and the improvement of working standards.
d. Communities should now embark in emphasizing their cultural norms but also revising
and repealing those outdated norms that are no longer beneficial.
e. Governments, social groups and religious groups should also through forums and
seminars educate it citizens on the need of the Kenyan communities cultures and fairly
shun those bad western cultures.
f. Prostitution and such other vices as child trafficking and abortion should be banned and
laws put in place to bring criminals to book.
g. Government and other organizations should take the initiative of making citizens aware
of their basic human rights and consumer rights to avoid exploitation and violation of
h. Development of institutions and policies of integrity to curd corruption and tax evasion
and bringing defaulters to justice they deserve without affection or ill-will.
i. Protection of local industries through fixing of quotas and tariffs, and imports control
mechanisms in order to warrant employment to local citizens.
j. Formulation of proper standards and quality laws and institutions of integrity to curb the
effects of substandard products in Kenyan markets.
k. Multinationals should pay their fair share of taxes and cooperate with the local
governments in developing equitable laws and other back ground institutions.
It is difficult to ascertain the extent to which churches and other religious parties and
communities are aware of this cultural synthesis, social and the ethical challenges the
communities are facing. The need for cultural analysis and a communal ethics is urgent. The
family always has borne the brunt of social welfare in these societies by looking after the
young and the elderly, without institutionalizing them. The need for a proactive strategy to
deal with the crisis of the elderly never can be ignored. The ethics that deals with
transnational problems must be collaborative and life-affirming, which sees people as more
important than profit.
These were some of the positive and negative social and ethical effects of globalization. I
know that globalization has also created many positive and negative economic effects, but I
believe it's always better to look to the future with optimism and hope. Tomorrow, hopefully,
we will be able to minimize or even eradicate the evil forces that give globalization a bad
name. Thus we will be able to move forward with peace, harmony and prosperity as the
sovereign republic of Kenya.References:
1. Thomas pugel(2007), international economics, 14
2. Jennifer A Zerk, Multinationals and Corporate Social Responsibility – Limitations and
Opportunities in International Law (2006, Cambridge University Press) 309.