Posted: July 19th, 2023
World Health and Globalization
The process of globalization has seen a massive expansion of the known trading world, in which nations both industrialized and undeveloped interact across sea lanes and through major trade routes. By no coincidence, trade routes quite frequently occupy the countries of the developing world, where colonizers enter into and exploit such lands for financial gain. This is a pattern that was observable both during the explosion of colonization through the 17th and 18th century and today, where trade liberalization has opened such nations to the interests of their larger and more powerful counterparts. A consistent marker of this pattern has been the correlation between such geographical patterns of the spread of disease which is invoked.
As a negative repercussion of the simultaneous introduction of foreign bacteria to which natives may not have developed immunity and the relative absence of infrastructure or medical wherewithal to prevent the spread of such bacteria, trade has often brought with it epidemic. Truly, such epidemic has impacted the impoverished of the world with a far greater intensity than it has impacted those who benefit most from such trade. As the text indicates, “after enduring wave after wave of epidemics, the disease-hardened descendants of these caravan traders, horsemen, and sailors brought about an unprecedented human catastrophe when they began traveling to the Americas after 1492. The indigenous population of North and South America, which had lived in comparative isolation, then became victim to perhaps the greatest mass loss of life in human history.” (3)
This is a pattern which is sadly still evident today, as those popular destinations for overland trade also become petrie dishes for the incubation of fast spreading communicable disease such as the cholera which prompted this discussion. Indeed, “cholera has had an adverse impact on economic development in many countries. In one example, 376 cases of cholera were confirmed between November 12 and 23, 1998, in a single town in northeastern Brazil. Close to 44,000 cases were reported in a nine-month period spanning 1997 and 1998 in Uganda.” (33) to an extent, even as such nations gain greater access to medication and healthcare facilities as a function of globalization, its more adverse effects levy a huge toll on the lives and economies of the nations which are allegedly intended as targets of aid and assistance in this new world order.
One of the conditions that appears most to have highlighted our collective fears of the spread of infectious disease is the reality that transportation ease, increasingly diverse domestic populations and high-density living circumstances have made this a threat to developed nations as well as to those in the developing phases. Indeed, significant evidence exists to suggest that today, the threat of epidemic is a universal one, with the inherent border porousness implied by globalization invoking greater collective concern about the real dangers implied by biological hazards such as these. The text identifies one practical reason that this is the case, indicating that “One of the particularly threatening aspects of this compression of time is that people can now cross continents in periods of time shorter than the incubation periods of most diseases. This means that, in some cases, travelers can depart from their point of origin, arrive at their destination, and begin infecting people without even knowing that they are sick.” (3) This means that an epidemic can be spread from multiple “ground zero” locations before it is even clear that the condition in question has come to reflect so significant a threat of proliferation. To the practical interests of preventing the disease’s further spread, this denotes a real and substantial challenge to public health and safety administrators in the developed world. Quite to this point, the text reveals that the United States has experienced a greater level of infectious disease uptake in the last decade, a product both of its increasing proportion of immigrants and the speed with which such disease can be spread throughout the world. Naturally, we may make observations as to the ethical implications of an interest only heightened by the degree to which developed nations such as the U.S. are impacted, but it has truly raised consciousness about the correlation between global trade and the spread of infectious bacteria.
nother impact of globalization is that of expanded markets. It implies that businesses that had previously only sold to domestic buyers can sell their offerings to other nations. A good illustration of expanded markets is the auto sector. Before the collapse of the Berlin Wall, inhabitants of nations under communism could only access cars that were manufactured domestically or in communist member nations. This was because of existing trade barriers with the West. After the collapse of communism, Western nations expanded their markets to former communist economies. In turn, this expanded their profit potentials (Markovic?, 2012).
Following globalization, the business arena has been altered dramatically in recent years. These changes are profoundly affecting organizational efforts to become successful. As such, organizations are identifying and focusing on factors that affect their success. One factor that seems to be getting more attention than others is stakeholders, particularly employees as they are the people within the firm. Organizations have realized that their chance of success relies on learning to get the most out of their employees (Markovic?, 2012). This realization has significantly impacted the practice of strategic planning. Experts project that the role of stakeholders is expected to see more changes in future. Therefore, new business entrants must understand the importance of organizational success in gaining a sustainable competitive advantage.
The idea that slowing down the pace of globalization may reduce the spread of infectious disease is a distorted way of viewing the challenges that are reflected today in the global health crisis. Indeed, though globalization has been a catalyst to this spread, the real cause should instead be regarded as the failure to proceed with globalization on truly equal terms. We may take as an example the grievance cited by the Health and Globalization report, which denotes that it is not specifically foreign labor but the intolerable conditions with which such labor is treated that stimulates the spread of disease. As the text denotes, compounding the problems of increased mobility of people and food-borne illnesses is a nexus between these two concerns within the United States. Within the food service industry in the United States, a high percentage of food preparation tasks are carried out by immigrants from developing countries where intestinal infections are endemic, and the new jobs immigrants hold often provide low wages, and little or no health insurance or paid sick leave.” (12) Such agencies as the World Health Organization and the International Monetary Fund must be charged with the duties of equalizing labor conditions throughout the developing world so that the trade liberalization process diverges from the exploitive path which it has taken. Its parallels to the nature of colonialist of centuries past is illustrating not just a threat to the health of the developing world but, indeed, a serious danger to the health of the emergent “world community.”
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