Contributing Writer Pranathi Adhikari, ’20
Put simply, the public good that has come from globalization is not truly a public good. At its core, it is not beneficial to all. In theory, it exists and serves as a common good, but the disparity between availability and accessibility detaches the concept from its intended purpose.
It seems paradoxical how the same movement that allows far fetched ideas to become interconnected with one another solidifies the divide between socio-economic classes.
Rather, globalization perpetuates notions of indifference towards the needs of the common man-you! It serves as a medium of global enrichment, but not a valid method of accessing all resources the globe has to provide.
The most basic failure of globalization is the continuation of poverty.
In a world where our collective available resources are sufficient to feed the planet, why does extreme poverty to the point of inhumanity exist in the modern era? Furthermore, how has capitalism failed in serving the poor in a rich controlled business climate?
The answer to this question lies in the vastly different concepts of availability versus accessibility.
Globalization has made it such that the concept of availability goes largely unnoticed, partially due to the vast commodity of it. Anything is essentially available at our fingertips. Our blatant unappreciation for the mobilized world has distracted us from criticizing the adverse effects of the modern day economy. While we can receive an Amazon Prime shipment in as little as 24 hours, the reality of globalization is that when there is no profit, there is a lack of incentive to use globalization to benefit all.
Say, for example, that the world holds the maximum capacity of available resources that could ideally be mobilized to eradicate hunger. The world’s farmers currently produce enough food to feed 10 billion people. Not only does it include the entire world’s population, not just hungry, but it is enough to do so 1.5 times over.
In a world where access to food is so readily available, how is that the available food cannot reach the people who need it most?
Put simply, corporations have capitalized on the concept of availability but in doing so have inadvertently hindered the development of other places. The intricacies of this phenomenon can be seen through the Quinoa Crisis.
In brief, the Quinoa Crisis has deteriorated the diversity of crop yields in the Andean region throughout the trajectory of the crop’s boom.
In 2000, quinoa was sold for about 25 cents USD per pound. The boom resulted in prices increasing to as much as $4 USD per pound. However, the profits Peruvian farmers began relying on were short lived.
As quinoa rose in demand, Andean farmers began cultivating varirities of the crop that were easiest to grow for the purpose of importation. Thus, the overall diversity of crop species and quinoa itself became monotonous.
This not only put the economy at risk, but also put the evolutionary success of quinoa at success in the event of a failure of one quinoa type.
Furthermore, the commercialization of quinoa reached countries with the marketing strategies to produce it more cheaply and with higher yields. Countries such as Italy, China, and the Indian competed in the quinoa superfood market successfully, and added to the deterioration of the natively Andean industry.
In 2014, quinoa prices dropped back to about 60 cents USD per pound. How did such a cash crop become suddenly cheaper? The answer is capitalism.
While the increase in quinoa production did help the Andean farmers in the short term, it had serious impacts on the available food in the region itself, and proved to be a disaster in the making. As the superfood was exported, natives also had smaller quinoa intakes and began relying on imported fast foods, distancing themselves from produce and replacing it with quicker foods. These foods that are both accessible and available, but not in the best interests of the people.
The truth is- there is a lot of good that can come from globalization, but it is disregarded for this purpose.
Globalization could provide food for all the hungry people in the world, and in doing so diminish the rigid cycle of poverty. Instead, it has deliberately inhibited the ability to access the resources the institution strives to make available all around the globe.