The Globalization Effects On Labor

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Globalization has become an important and frequently asked question in the field of international relations which gets no response. It appears that globalization is an ill-defined concept which means different terms to diverse people (Hurrell & Woods, 1995). Above all, the general term that I know globalization to be is “the continuous interconnectedness of people through communication, transportation, trade and ICT. Similarly, “globalization” is coined as “a process aimed at improving international movement of goods, services, labor, and capital” (Financial Times Magazine, 2019). It is important to note that, globalization has numerous impacts on the economies we have and no one can trade alone as in the past, in that effect, causing the industrial revolution to usher globalization which was an era that new inventions and trade and business techniques were being invented and discovered to make mankind live in a much better and safer society than it was in the past.

As Wolf (2014) noted: “From the beginning of the industrial revolution, the world has become increasingly connected whereas, it has seen a reduction in the cost of transport and the diffusion of information communication and technologies have given an exact meaning to the word distance whereas gross trade, FDI, capital flows and technology have alarmingly raised (Wolf, 2014, p. 22).

Additionally, Wolf (2019) stated that “globalization has come with many benefits and drawbacks”. Some scholars also argued that globalization is the makeup of the world today, which implies that when states make decisions they need to take into account the type of state. In the like manner, when talking about states the same goes with workers; have their conditions of labor changed over the years due to globalization’s entry into the marketplaces (Flanagan, 2005). In view of this, the essay discusses the impact of globalization on labour. The first part of the body, will highlight on the merit and demerits of globalization. Secondly, I will elaborate on the displeasures and matters of globalization regarding labor usually concerning the division of labor and global stability. Thirdly, I will highlight on the theories of international relations and explain how they view globalization impact on labor.



Before, I examine the impacts of globalization on labor, it will seem right to state out some benefits and drawbacks of this phenomenon called globalization. It includes quite a number of processes and results that seem to be positive in the long run than negative ones if one is to assess its significance in the global political economy (Edusson, 2019). Before you can actually know the impacts it will depend on the states before can know the effect on the

Firstly, globalization has caused unemployment of workers by their employers. Now, unlike before it has become much easier to lay a worker off and have no stress of finding a replacement. This is due to the fact that globalization has caused people all round the world to find jobs easily and at cheaper rate. Another impact that has also caused unemployment will be the fact that, technological advancements are doing the normal human labor and it will come to a time when robots will ultimately have control in the production of labor (Flanagan, 2005). Secondly, globalization has caused conflicts among international organization. This is due to the fact that, in as much as their job is to address issues that affect states, international organizations are still run by individuals who each have their own ideologies and personal-interest which could affect the decision making and actions meant to be fulfilled at a specific time period. The rise of multinational companies in especially third world countries has created conflicts between them. This is because local workers and international workers operate differently and globalization principles could be bias. For example: the AU has over 32 member states and that has made it difficult for international state actors to have similar interest and ideologies to come to a decision. Thirdly, globalization had been seen as the driving force to wipe out poverty (Edusson, 2019). This actually brings to mind a question as to whether the question of inequality that liberals try to hide from answering can ideally be answered. Some neoliberal scholars come up with the term neoliberal globalization to define the whole idea behind the ideology of liberalism with globalization (Shaikh, 2017, p. 41). First, they come to summarize the definition of liberalism as a complex interdependence, institutionalism mostly focused on international institutions. Within the circle of liberalism state is not the main actor and it somehow is the same role that globalization plays but often than not individuals get liberals view of globalization often mixed up that they want to widen the gap of inequality (Shaikh, 2017, p. 41). This is due to the fact that, most developing countries have had plenty resources but had no knowledge of how to use them. Hence, the people lived in improvished places since, the people were mostly uneducated and had no form of education, but when globalization was introduced, it led to a whole new education system that helped and made some improvements. As a result, some locals got employment or either went to the schools set up by the settlers (Edusson, 2019)

Aside the above, the drawbacks namely: security threats posed by globalization in terms of these activities of the fundamentalists and religious groups are far reaching and include cults and religious organizations. More also, it is due to this that most airports are tightened with security and also what makes the world a harmful place to live in, because it is these process and oversights that help fuel terrorist agendas


According to Mc. Brien and Mc. Williams (2015) these authors took a look at what goes into considering labor relations in chapter 9 of their book entitled: “Global Political Economy Evolution and Dynamics” and it included individuals being entrusted to various jobs dependent on their sex in the “production processes.” In addition to that, various social orders and monetary frameworks have various methods for sorting out who does which specific occupation” (p. 191-193). For example: “ in some states women cannot be free to work anywhere that they please and it was an eye saw for a woman to be seen working. During World war two, right after the men were able to come back, women were told to go back homes. Now, that globalization has set in women have rights and have taken the center stage and are up to greater things as stated earlier although the tides of globalization rise not all tides will affect some boats. In China, Thailand and Malaysia forced labor can be found in a wide varieties of products make it into global supply chains in some circumstances, the laborers are migrants trapped by debt, forced to work in terrible working conditions and usually prone to violence. Before, an innovation is made these are what some people go through before an I- phone is assembled, there would be a search for cheap labor and then it is done under harsh conditions which are undocumented. Usually, the workers are made to pay off a debt or are simply working to getting accepted into the country or getting legal documents which unfortunately does not get materialized (O'Brien & Williams, 2016). Another instance is in Thailand overfishing has increased competition, pushing down wages and working conditions. As a result fishing companies have turned to migrants from Cambodia and Burma to serve as cheap labor. They are usually kept for in bondage for quite a long time and subjected to poverty, illness and abuse (O'Brien & Williams, 2016).


This topic seem to be one of much interest because whenever one thinks of globalization impact on labor, the first thing that comes to mind is a boat sending goods overseas and technological changes and so on. However, there are people in the background who are hardly heard of or even seen and these are the workers of these corporations and states and without them the process is incomplete. Certainly, another issue in the global division of labor is the fate of the gendered division of labor, since, globalization concerns the nations of the world every labor practices cannot be practiced so there would be a need for an agreed negotiation to work with such as: Labor laws and working conditions. In page 191, chapter 9 of “The Global Political Economy Evolution and Dynamics”. Since globalization came into existence, the work force cannot count themselves out of the equation because they have been affected in so many respects (O'Brien & Williams, 2016). For example: there could be different approaches to allocating tasks to specific individuals or groups. In some cases, work would be based on the race, such as the apartheid era in South Africa or the pre-civil war era in the southern states of the United States. In both instances violence was enforced respectively to allocate tasks. In other circumstances, “unofficial discrimination may maintain a division of labor, many western societies wish for division of labor based on merit and operating in response to impartial market forces but ethnic, racial, class and gender divisions continue”.

Now, it would seem odd to talk about the division of labor to people in this contemporary time. This is due to the fact that people working conditions was what was considered to have an impact on international peace and security. This become an international concern which call for an international organization to deal with labor issues- ILO (International Labor Organization). The work of the United Nations Organization agency is to promote social justice and promote acceptable work ethics by setting international labour standards. Above all, the purpose of the ILO was to improve working conditions so that labor unrest would diminish and communism up rise would rise no more (O’Brien, 2000, p.194). This organization is solely for the implementation for the labor standard laws that would help man live in peace with each other and keep employers and laborers in check.

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Ha-Joon (2019) realizes that globalization set off the race to the bottom which has to do with the concept that developed countries come down to develop developing nations or basically use that excuse to further their ambition (p.1). This brings a question to mind could globalization just be western agendas spreading all over the world. It seems that, the wages and hours of work are systems that work in the developed nations cannot work in the developing nations as scholars such as: Chang had already lamented about this stage and how society has gone far ahead. And has not helped in any way to give these countries a fair chance to catch up. In the long run, globalization touches all areas but it has hit some harder than others. It would not be an oversight to see globalization as the spread of capitalism because it seems to spread its values across nations.

However, globalization can be seen as the engine that fosters labor through its cosmopolitan setting. This is to say that, over the years, developed countries have brought in work ethics which have in turn affected the way that developing countries also conduct their labor. This is to strengthen the point that, countries in the Sub- Saharan region or Africa have taken on the work life of; working from nine to five instead of the normal practice that developing countries exercise and are comfortable with, globalization has led to a cosmopolitan world in that one’s culture influence on another. We now live in a world where many cultures are within reach or far apart from themselves and are still inter-connected due to globalization. Presently, if one is to take a walk down a supermarket, the individual would be met with a variety of options to choose from because each individual has their preferences and that is the same way globalization has brought about labor laws or practices that will benefit the developed nations and the developing nations will have to adopt them. (Edusson, 2019)

Each country has got its own culture. Culture pertains to the way particular people do things as well as their values and believes. Incorporating all cultures to form a global one is not easy. For instance, gender equality is not recognized in some legal systems, and they do not allow women to lead or engage in business. Before globalization, many countries would not allow females to acquire education, and even if they did, they were supposed to do jobs such as teaching or nursing(Edusson, 2019). The quote above is to stress on the labor practices that, international organization such as transnational corporations have brought about, one can say that, on the international scale there are policies such as: freedom of association, reduction of child labor, non- discrimination, abolition of house labor, measure of job safety. Unlike, before nobody really cared about how they conducted business which in turn brought the only main motive was to get money in the long run and prosper but with globalization in practice particular practice had to be abandoned (Flanagan, 2005)

Furthermore, some countries are usually the hub of other cultures and usually take the term of a “rainbow nation.” A notable country would be South Africa as it has a lot of immigrants within its borders just like how America is the land of the free. This in turn causes some major harm to the host country and its citizenry, I will mention a few demerits of globalization on labor such as: immigration demerits. Many citizenry of Syria seek refuge in nearby countries in order to avoid war or protect themselves from it. That is for a good cause, but the country harboring the refugees feel it is hostile to its citizens and the economical state of the country. This is because instead of the safe nation to allocate all of its resources to the state and its people, it shares the resources between both the immigrants and the country’s citizens making them not to enjoy the resources at its full potential. An example of this is the U.K. taking in many immigrants and refugees in thereby causing a strain on the state’s economy that lead to the Brexit Initiative. Another issue that can arise from this is immigrants taking over the jobs in a state distant to them (Peace, Nag, & Aallaoui, 2019). For example: Nigerians having jobs in South Africa that led to the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians. To name a few impacts: one could be the attack created hate in the minds of Nigerians having a negative impression of South Africans. (Peace, Nag, & Aallaoui, 2019) goes on to cite some Nigerians who are refusing to go back to Nigeria saying that, going back home is going to a place of hardship and she rather believes conditions should be handled to make South Africa safe again. As a liberal there is no way that the world can expand and do business without the process of globalization being very evident.


Everyone has a concept that works for them and I will look at neoliberalism and Marxist analysis briefly for this paragraph. More importantly, globalization and global governance go hand in hand with each other, it also a subject to a variety of meanings, this is to say it has different interpretations to different people. Hurrell and Woods (1995) stated that, globalization has an agenda set on widening the gaps on inequality but to other scholars such as: the reviewer (Leiteritz) of the mentioned names in this paragraph wrote a book called “Globalization, Inequality and World Politics” identified that these authors fail to acknowledge according to Leiteritz, he views that globalization does not treat all equally and that can be seen by the way the world has coined a term called North- South Relations. Even if there would be a balance, it would a challenge to the world of politics. There is a struggle to be seen that countries are trying to adapt to conditions that do not work best for them. It can be seen through the eyes of a Marxist that work relations are taking the form of: colonialism or imperialism which interprets the world of politics as more harmful than good to those who are working (Leiteritz, 2000). As a result, workers have had their labor rights infringed upon and that explains the Marxist analysis that sees globalization as encouraging the slave trade system through the exchange of labor and products. That is to say, Marx’s “commodity of fethism” had been illustrated and showed how: “Within the Marxist tradition there lies an assumption that behind the façade of numerous forms of pre capitalist society, a hidden basis for the state and state authority riveted to material conditions and form of surplus” (Freund, 1988, p.30 & Gill, 1995, p.402).

The above quote had identified how the slave system exists in these modern times through the Marxist analysis (Freund, 1988, p.30 & Gill, 1995, p.402). As more and more, nations have become interconnected through the international integration of businesses in different economies free trade will benefit all nations. Furthermore, neoliberals believe that countries with liberal trade policies experience much higher economic growth than countries with protectionist policies. Neoliberals believe that:

“Restrictive trade policies comes with poverty, unemployment, and economic crises are as a result of state intervention and trade union activity limits from working effectively” (Shaikh, 2017, p. 41).

One can reminisce when countries where nation-states and trading with protectionist policies only concerned about their markets. Nonetheless, the world has become a global village more now than ever before by illustrating the way countries and people of the world interact and integrate (Uri Dadush, 2019). However, in the words of Leiteritz, (2000) it can be said that these authors: O’ Brien and Williams failed to admit that the liberal theory does not address inequality (O'Brien & Williams, 2016, p. 960). And also, they comment that when attempting to bolster the labor rights seems hard in a liberal economy because for a liberal economy to flourish the government would need to adapt a laissez faire approach (O'Brien & Williams, 2016).


To wrap it up, it could be said that workers have made a contribution to the process of globalization and this paper has shown how their process emerged over time. As, I stated in my introduction, workers have been in the background and yet have made states and corporations become what they are today. Despite the fact that, all the cruel means they face due to globalization they have been able to work out a suitable way to be heard through trade unions and the creation of the (ILO) UN agency. Above all, there are people in the background who are hardly heard of or even seen and these are the workers of these corporations and states and without them the process of globalization is incomplete. Also, the impacts of globalization has been two sided and it could only be explained in their own terms depending on where they find themselves in the global labour market or which international theory best explains what they face. I believe that globalization was already in existence but it was just about how to bring the laborers interest on board that was an issue. Globalization however has brought massive improvements as well as deprived workers in the global political economy.

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