The Impact Of Globalization In China Essay Example

Kofi Annan once said, “It has been said that arguing against globalization is like arguing against the laws of gravity.” China’s air pollution has been negatively affected by globalization. Globalization is a process where many economies around the world can come together and become more connected. In a globalized economy, one country typically buys certain goods from other countries. Unfortunately, this has positive consequences along with negative consequences. China is an example of a country that has been negatively affected by globalization. 

In addition, China has a variety of widespread environmental issues; One of these issues is coal. China buys its coal mainly from Indonesia, Australia, and Russia. Consequently, coal has caused lethal air pollution in China. For instance, China consumes 2.5 billion tons of coal a year. One major city named Chongqing, in China has been affected by the coal in China. Chongqing is a major consumer of coal. Accordingly, globalization has caused these people in ChongQuing to breathe polluted air. Analytics from this city have said that this contaminated air can affect the growth of the next generation in that area. In total, Chongqing has 9 coal-based plants. These plants are some of China’s largest coal plants. Coal is mostly carbon. When this is burned, it reacts with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide. Then it is released into the air; the carbon dioxide heats the air in an unhealthy way. Globalization has allowed China to produce and consume all of this coal. As a result, 1.6 million people die per year in China. A study concluded that industrial coal-burning leads to 86,500 deaths at coal power plants in China. Data has said that coal is the leading cause of air pollution in China.  China is also the leading consumer of coal in the world. Their consumption has been doubled since 1998. Coal isn’t the only product of globalization that affects China’s air pollution. However, Coal is the product that affects it the most in their largest cities.

Furthermore, Oil is another product that China gets due to globalization; Oil has affected their air pollution in a negative way. China buys its oil from Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iraq, Angola, and Brazil. With this in mind, China consumes 12,791,553 barrels of oil as in 2016. They also produce 5.45 million BPD. Daqing has the largest oil field in China. In fact, they have an estimated 16,000 barrels of oil there. Daqing’s air mass index hit 999 on January 6th, 2020. All things considered, this is a very unhealthy Air mass index. On Average, oil production emits 10.3 grams of pollution. Oil has caused the city of Danqing to live a very unsafe lifestyle. In 2003, China was the 6th biggest producer of oil in the world and the 2nd largest consumer of oil in the world. Due to globalization, China is able to create this large amount of oil, and they are able to consume this large amount of oil. Air pollution can be made during any of the stages of making oil. Since China makes this much imagine how much pollution they create in a year. 

Moreover, Natural gas is another product from Globalization that has affected China. On this subject, they normally buy their natural gas from Russia. Beijing is the second-largest natural gas consumer in the world. In fact, in October 2020 Bejing consumed 173.54 billion cubic meters of natural gas. On Sunday, April 11th Bejing’s air quality wasn’t so good. Subsequently, natural gas mostly caused this. China is ranked number eight in the world as the leading natural gas producer. They only import 31% of their typical natural gas consumption. Major Cities in China such as Bejing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong have been affected the most by air pollution. In most power plants natural gas produces 50-60% less carbon dioxide than regular oil or coal plants. However, the combustion of natural gas releases methane and reduces air quality. Trade from globalization on natural gas from Russia has led China to this state. Air pollution has caused an estimated 49,000 deaths in Beijing and Shangai alone since January 1. 2020. If China doesn’t take action on their trading from Globalization, it could ruin their air quality permanently. 

In conclusion, Air pollution has left a negative impact on China due to globalization. Some imports from Globalization to China such as coal, oil, and natural gas have had an effect on China. Air pollution causes diseases such as cancer. Overall about 30.8 million people in China have died from air pollution. These big cities such as Chongquing, Daqing, and Bejing have been a major target from Air pollution. Globalization can strengthen a country, but it can also destroy one. “Globalization is incredibly efficient but also so far incredibly unjust”.

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Tracing the history of modern globalisation in China

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Huangpu River, Shanghai from a China Navigation Company steamship

A Sino-British project is examining the history of China’s first age of modern globalisation, enabling China and Britain to rediscover their interconnected past.

The ‘in-between’ nature of the Customs, at the interface between China and the rest of the world, has provided a remarkable opportunity to examine how globalisation played out in the century before China was closed off from the rest of the world in the 1950s.

Walking through the streets of Shanghai today, you see a city full of dynamism, enterprise and quirky creativity, a ‘must visit’ place that draws talents from across China and the rest of the world. Yet, in the mid-1980s you would have been struck by the fact that the former ‘Paris of the East’ seemed a gothic ruin, a melancholy reminder of a past that China had turned against after the 1949 victory of the Chinese Communist Party. China’s recent rapid take-off into globalisation, only a few short years after Deng Xiaoping, Mao Zedong’s successor, instituted the policy of ‘reform and open up’, shows that China was never entirely a closed country. History shows that wave after wave of foreign goods, people and ideas have rolled into China, been absorbed, and in turn have transformed its economy, patterns of consumption, lifestyles, imaginative life, architecture and spatial organisation.

Professor Hans van de Ven, Chair of the University’s Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, has been researching a key resource in tracing the history of modern globalisation in China: the Chinese Maritime Customs Service. In its almost century-long history between 1853 and 1950, the Customs Service kept records detailing how the key globalising commodities of the time – opium, sugar, kerosene, tobacco and arms – spread through China and were taken up differently in its regions. This little-studied institution was at the heart of China’s encounter with globalisation in the years between the Taiping Rebellion of the 1850s and the Communist assumption of power. The ‘in-between’ nature of the Customs, at the interface between China and the rest of the world, has provided a remarkable opportunity to examine how globalisation played out in the century before China was closed off from the rest of the world in the 1950s.

Seeded by a serendipitous encounter

In the late 1990s, while Professor van de Ven was studying documents at the Second Historical Archives of China in Nanjing, a chance conversation with Vice-Director Ma Zhendu led to him hearing about the recent acquisition of 55,000 files from the Customs that had just arrived by train from various parts of China. Out of this has grown a fruitful collaborative project involving historians in China and Britain that continues today.

Initial funding for the project came from the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, an organisation for international scholarly exchange that supports and promotes the understanding of Chinese culture and society overseas. This allowed the cataloguing of all 55,000 files in the archives; an effort that took a team of four Chinese archivists four years to conclude. Professor van de Ven and his collaborator, Professor Robert Bickers of the University of Bristol, simultaneously compiled databases from Customs data on China’s international trade, wages and arms trade. In 2003, an Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Major Research Grant allowed the employment of a research assistant and the recruitment of two PhD students. The project is now in full swing, with a website in operation( ), monographs being produced, guides to the archives being completed, databases in the final stages of verification, and 350 reels of microfilms now published to enable researchers worldwide to make use of the archives.

A unique institution in Sino-British history

The Customs was founded in Shanghai at the time when the Taiping Rebellion against the authority of the Qing government raged inland, and a local uprising drove Qing Dynasty officials out of the city in 1853. Bound by treaty obligations to ensure that foreign merchants fulfilled their tax obligations, the British, French and US consuls stepped in. They established a foreign board for the local Customs Stations to enforce trade tariffs. Although intended as a temporary measure, out of this small beginning grew a huge organisation whose influence rippled out across China and to the rest of the world.

The Customs managed nearly 60 harbours along China’s coast and rivers; collected about a third of the entire national revenue; established China’s national postal service; financed China’s legations abroad; assembled its contributions to international fairs and exhibitions; funded a Quarantine Service to protect China from pandemics; formed China’s coastguard and railroad police; and supported scholarly enterprises such as the translation of Western textbooks on political economy and international law.

Unique in many ways, the Customs was the only integrated national bureaucracy that continued to function through the many civil wars and foreign invasions that preceded the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. Although the Customs was always a Chinese organisation, foreigners dominated its upper echelons in rough proportion to a country’s significance in their trade with China. As Britain was the dominant trade partner, the Head of the Customs was British until the final few years of the institution, when it was led by an American. A cosmopolitan mix of French, British, Russian, German and Japanese staff worked together in the Customs, even as their countries went to war elsewhere or their armies invaded China.

Researching the files has yielded details of the complex roles that the foreigners performed within the institution. During the Boxer Rebellion of 1900, Sir Robert Hart, the Head at the time, secured the food supply to the city and effectively knocked foreign and Chinese heads together to end the fighting and restore central administration, thus helping to prevent the country’s dismemberment. (Unfortunately, he also negotiated an indemnity that crippled China financially for many years.)

The Customs was a pillar of foreign privilege in China, but China’s rulers also used ‘foreigners to control foreigners’, establishing Customs Stations with foreign Commissioners along China’s borders as bulwarks against foreign encroachment. Because of this role, Custom Houses appeared in some rather odd places, including along the mountainous border with Burma and the arid deserts of Xinjiang, as well as between Chinese and Japanese frontlines deep in inland China during the 1937–1945 War of Resistance against Japan.

More than a collector of taxes

The Customs was always much more than just a tax collection agency. It was well informed about local conditions, deeply involved in local, provincial and national politics, and also in international affairs. To some extent, its influence is still felt today. China’s Custom Houses and lighthouses often occupy the same place as those before 1949, sometimes still operating from the same buildings. Hosea Ballou Morse, one of the Chinese Customs Commissioners, and his wife were avid botanists whose samples continue to enrich Kew Gardens and helped make China’s flora popular in Britain. Many foreign Customs officials learned Chinese, wrote on Chinese history and translated Chinese books, some of which are still read today. As Chinese Studies became established as an academic discipline, universities around the world recruited Customs scholars: indeed, the founder of the Chinese Maritime Customs Service, Sir Thomas Wade, was the first Professor of Chinese at Cambridge. By tapping into the vast resources of the Chinese Maritime Customs Service, this research project is casting a fascinating historical perspective on the history of globalisation in China.

For more information, please contact the author Professor Hans van de Ven: ( [email protected] ) at the Department of East Asian Studies, or see the project website ( ), which was created by Professor Robert Bickers and hosts research tools and publications.

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effects of globalization in china essay

The Impact of Globalization on Chinese Culture and “Glocalized Practices” in China

  • First Online: 25 November 2020

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In this chapter, the author first reconstructs the concept of globalization from seven aspects: (1) Globalization as a way of global economic operation, (2) as a historical process, (3) as a process of financial marketization and political democratization, (4) as a critical concept, (5) as a narrative category, (6) as a cultural construction and reconstruction, and (7) as a theoretic discourse. So China’s globalization practice is a sort of “glocalization”. The same is true of modernity in China, which could be viewed as an alternative modernity or modernities with Chinese characteristics. The impact of globalization on Chinese culture manifests itself in the following aspects: (1) it helped form a sort of Chinese modernity, or a sort of alternative modernity; (2) the popularization of Neo-Confucianism in the current era; and (3) the “Belt and Road” initiative and the building up of a community of shared future for mankind. The author also tries to offer his reconstruction of globalization with regard to its “glocalized” practices in China, mainly from a cultural and intellectual perspective. To the author, in the global era, modernity has taken on a new look, which is of different forms in different regions and which will contribute to global modernity.

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Wang, N. (2020). The Impact of Globalization on Chinese Culture and “Glocalized Practices” in China. In: Rossi, I. (eds) Challenges of Globalization and Prospects for an Inter-civilizational World Order. Springer, Cham.

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Navigating complexity: globalization narratives in China and the West

Anthea roberts.

1 School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet), College of Asia & the Pacific, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

Nicolas Lamp

2 Faculty of Law, Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada

Relations between China and the West appear to be caught in a downward spiral. In the West, there is a widespread perception that China has unduly benefited from economic globalization, while in China, there appears to be increasing concern that the West is seeking to contain China’s rise. In this essay, we argue that the picture is more complex. We first discuss the highly varied ways in which China appears in Western narratives about economic globalization. We then sketch our understanding of how different narratives about globalization are playing out in China. Our approach highlights the diversity of perspectives within and between the West and China. How countries, companies, and individuals navigate this complexity depends not just on the rise and fall of narratives within the West and China, but also on how these narratives intersect and interact with each other.


Complex issues look different from different perspectives. In Six Faces of Globalization: Who Wins, Who Loses, and Why It Matters , we track the main narratives that have dominated Western debates about economic globalization in recent years. We argue that no one view holds the whole truth. Competing narratives identify different winners and losers of economic globalization while advancing different claims about whether these wins and losses are good or bad. However, a common theme, particularly since 2016, has been the growing pushback against the upbeat establishment account of economic globalization from narratives that focus on issues such the increasing class divide in Western societies, the West’s relative loss of economic power, and skyrocketing carbon emissions. In the West, globalization’s discontents have been growing in number and strength.

But the backlash against economic globalization in Western countries is not the whole story. Perspectives on globalization in countries outside the West differ significantly from the views that dominate Western media and political debates. As the Singaporean public intellectual and former diplomat Kishore Mahbubani notes, “for the majority of us, the past three decades—1990 to 2020—have been the best in human history,” as hundreds of millions lifted themselves out of poverty, and living standards soared across much of the developing world (Mahbubani 2018 ). Parag Khanna, the author of the book The Future Is Asian , concurs: “Western populist politics from Brexit to Trump haven’t infected Asia.... Rather than being backward-looking, navel-gazing, and pessimistic, billions of Asians are forward-looking, outward-orientated, and optimistic” (Khanna 2019 ). Globalization continues to have many supporters around the globe, particularly in Asia.

Where does China fit into this story? In this essay, we explore two aspects of this question: what role does China play in the Western narratives, and what role do these or other narratives play in China? We first explore the multiple ways China appears in different Western narratives—as a poster child, a villain, a scapegoat, a threat, and an indispensable nation. We then sketch our understanding of how different narratives about globalization are playing out in China, from the embrace of free trade as a driver of prosperity to increased concerns about the economic and security implications of rising geoeconomic tensions to a turn toward common prosperity instead of simple economic growth.

Our multi-narrative analysis highlights the diversity of perspectives not just within but also between the West and China—an approach that psychologists have found to be useful in understanding complex issues more holistically and in identifying potential pathways forward. 1 How countries, companies, and individuals navigate these complexities depends not just on the rise and fall of narratives within the West and China, but also on how these narratives intersect and interact with each other on the international plane and, in turn, influence domestic politics and policies in an iterative and recursive manner. 2 Narratives in the West about China can affect narratives in China about the West, which can in turn affect narratives in the West and so on. As relations between the West and China become more fraught, understanding this interplay becomes ever more important.

China’s role in western narratives about globalization

The relationship between the West and China appears to be caught in a downward spiral. The trade war initiated by former US President Trump has morphed into simmering hostility under the Biden administration. In quarrels over politically sensitive questions, such as an international inquiry into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic or relations with Taiwan, China has at times resorted to trade restrictions that its trading partners (such as Australia and the European Union) decry as economic coercion, prompting the lodging of legal challenges in the World Trade Organization and the development of anti-coercion instruments. The Chinese government’s decision not to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has further deepened estrangement between the two sides.

While an antagonistic view of the relationship has come to dominate public debates in the West, especially in the United States, just below the surface there are a variety of Western narratives that depict China’s role in the global economy in widely varying ways. Just as there is no one view of economic globalization, so too there is no one view of China and its role in the process. Examining these competing narratives not only provides a nuanced picture of Western debates but also highlights the contradictions and trade-offs that the West must navigate as it reassesses its relationship with China.

The establishment position: China as a poster child

Not long ago, the perhaps dominant view of China in the West was that it was a poster child for economic globalization’s successes. After all, here was a country that had managed to fulfill the aspiration shared by every “developing country” since that concept was first coined in the period of decolonization, namely, to follow the path trodden by today’s “developed countries” while at the same time contributing to the economic growth of its trading partners.

China stuck to that economic development path almost to a tee: it first attracted labor-intensive manufacturing industries, then moved up the value chain by acquiring advanced technologies, and finally evolved from imitator to innovator to attain technological leadership in important sectors, just as the United States and Germany had done in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In the process, China created the conditions for hundreds of millions of its citizens to lift themselves out of destitution in just a few short decades—a reduction of poverty on a scale and speed unparalleled in human history. Even as globalization has started to lose its luster in the West, the proponents of what we call the pro-globalization “establishment” narrative keep pointing to this historic achievement as a knockout argument for its benefits.

However, China not only benefited its own citizens by opening up to the global economy: its manufacturing prowess and its status as the largest and fastest-growing market in the world in many industries also benefited producers, service providers, consumers, and entrepreneurs all over the world. The prices of manufactured goods, from fridges to solar panels to clothing, have fallen dramatically as hundreds of millions of Chinese workers have joined the global labor force, producing large savings for consumers and allowing businesses to source cheap inputs and products, boosting their profits. Many multinational companies also generate a significant share of their global revenues from their businesses in China, supporting employment and R&D in their home countries. Technological collaboration has led to scientific advances and business innovation. On this view, China’s integration into the world economy produced an economic bonanza that showcased the potential of globalization to make (almost) everyone better off.

The right-wing populist view: China as a villain

In the 2016 US presidential election, Donald Trump garnered support among US voters by painting China’s role in the global economy in starkly different terms. In his telling, China had achieved its astounding economic success not through hard work, ingenuity, and sacrifice, but by cheating its way around international trade rules. By using export subsidies to prop up its own companies, engaging in theft of intellectual property from Western companies, and undercutting labor and environmental standards, China had been able to “steal” the jobs of hard-working American manufacturing workers, leaving behind “rusted out factories” and devastated communities marked by unemployment and despair. In this view, Chinese workers had won at the expense of American workers.

This right-wing populist view, which continues to resonate among many American voters, discounts the benefits of trade with China, such as access to cheap products and to China’s large domestic market, and instead highlights the costs, which it measures first and foremost in terms of the decline of US manufacturing employment and the social ills that have followed in its wake. Proponents of this narrative argue for reshoring manufacturing in the hope of reviving communities in America’s rust belt so that they, rather than Chinese workers, may flourish again. In this view, China has taken advantage of America and left it weak; bringing back jobs in coal mines, steel smelters, and auto plants is vital to rebuilding the country’s industrial strength and making America great again.

Left-wing and corporate power concerns: China as a scapegoat

Many on the political left share concerns about the effects of China’s economic practices on US manufacturing employment, but there is also another prominent theme in left-wing narratives: the charge that those on the political right use China as a scapegoat for problems that are in large part the product of domestic policies within Western countries.

On this view, blaming China for the malaise of the middle and working classes in developed economies obscures the role that domestic policy failures have played in widening the gap between the rich and the poor in many Western countries. From underinvestment in schools and infrastructure to restrictive zoning laws that drive up the cost of housing, from anti-union legislation to regressive tax codes, it is largely domestic policies that rig the economy in favor of an entrenched elite.

A key piece of evidence for this narrative is the fact that the socio-economic impact of trade with China has been highly uneven across Western economies. Countries with active labor market policies and developed welfare states have fared much better than those with lax social safety nets and few union protections: they have lower inequality, healthier populations, and less polarized electorates. Left-wing populists view the anti-China rhetoric in many domestic debates as a way of distracting from these domestic failures and demonizing an external “other” to cover class divisions occurring within these countries.

Some on the left also point to the complicity of Western corporations in China’s supposed misdeeds. After all, no one forced these companies to offshore their production to China or to source inputs from shady suppliers with questionable commitments to labor and environmental standards. Again, they argue that the culprit for the West’s problems can be found closer to home: in governments that negotiate corporate-friendly trade deals and in corporate cultures and governance structures that legitimize the offshoring of jobs while CEOs and shareholders reap billions. On this view, complaints against China often reflect an attempt to shift the blame away from ill-advised domestic policies and unscrupulous corporate actors.

The geoeconomic perspective: China as a threat

For all the economic establishment’s crowing over globalization’s success in reducing absolute poverty, it cannot deny that China’s integration into the global economy has failed to achieve another aspiration, namely, to transform China into a more democratic and pluralistic society. In other Asian powers, such as Japan and South Korea, successful capitalist development went along with a degree of political convergence with the West. Not so in China, which has instead charted its own course ideologically in a way that has contributed to growing geostrategic rivalry with the West and has undermined the assumption that engagement would lead to democratization.

Strategic distrust is at the heart of this fourth view of China’s role in a globalized world: a geoeconomic perspective that sees an emboldened and increasingly capable China as an economic and security threat to the West. On this view, the deep economic ties between China and the West are a source of vulnerability rather than opportunity. Instead of increasing the prospects of peace and prosperity, economic interdependence enabled China to close the gap on the West economically, technologically, and militarily while multiplying avenues for coercion, espionage, and sabotage. In absolute terms, both China and America may have benefited from economic globalization. In relative terms, however, economic integration has helped China catch up to America in a way that now raises deep economic and security concerns in Washington, DC and other Western capitals.

Instead of lamenting the offshoring of manufacturing jobs because of its effects on working class communities, the geoeconomic narrative focuses on the US–China battle for technological supremacy, with a particular focus on AI, quantum computing, and 5G telecommunications. It reasserts the importance of sovereign capabilities and supply chain security and resilience. As tensions between China and the West mount, so too do calls for Western companies to reduce their reliance on China and to decouple in various ways, first and foremost when it comes to critical technologies and critical goods. While the establishment narrative believed that trade would lead to peace, the geoeconomic narrative sees trust and peace as preconditions for trade, at least in areas in which being dependent on the trading partner would produce significant vulnerabilities. These concerns are leading to increased calls for reshoring and ally-shoring, as well as a revival of industrial policy.

Confronting global threats: China as an indispensable nation

For a fifth narrative, all complaints that the West may have about China must not obscure an inescapable reality: the gravest threat that humanity faces is climate change, and this threat cannot possibly be tackled if China is not on board. China is not only the largest emitter of greenhouse gases; it also plays a leading role in the production and deployment of renewable energy equipment. On this view, it may well be that China has not always played by the Western rules of the game, and it may also be that its security interests are not aligned with those of the West, but these are of secondary importance compared to the existential challenge of tackling the climate crisis.

For this narrative, China is an indispensable nation, and prioritizing cooperation with China is essential. Instead of falling into the trap of us-versus-them thinking, this narrative argues that China and the West must see themselves as engaged in a common fight to preserve a habitable planet. Only by working together can we effectively tackle global threats. The same logic applies to the fight against pandemics. Without the early scientific collaboration that took place after the discovery of the novel coronavirus and that facilitated the development of tests and vaccines, the COVID-19 pandemic would have claimed many more lives. On this view, we need more, not less, scientific and technological engagement between the West and China and more, not less, global cooperation.

How different narratives play out in China

The role that China plays in Western narratives is important, but so too is the role that these and other narratives play in China. Although the importance of both questions is equal, our ability to speak to them is not. As Western scholars who are deeply immersed in Western debates about globalization, we can speak confidently on the first question but only tentatively on the second. This asymmetry is true for many Western scholars—few of whom have lived in China or have Chinese language skills. This lopsidedness is something that will need to be rebalanced as global power dynamics shift.

We are also conscious that narratives operate differently in China than in the West, with the Chinese Communist Party and President Xi Jinping playing a much greater role in shaping narratives—both directly through their pronouncements and campaigns and indirectly through censorship and other limits on free speech—than governments do in the West. That does not mean that there is a single coherent narrative about globalization in China; instead, the Party may keep several narratives in tension to maximize its room for maneuver. But it does mean that those narratives do not emerge from and clash in open debates in the same way as they do in the West. It also means that some nonmainstream narratives are suppressed, while others percolate openly on social media but tend not to make the official Chinese newspapers.

With those caveats in mind, what have we gleaned from our reading of Chinese materials and our discussions with Chinese scholars and experts about how these narratives play out in China? As in the West, there is no monolithic view of economic globalization in China. Instead, we observe multiple narratives at play, as well as the relative rise and fall of different narratives over time.

The establishment view with Chinese characteristics: Win–Win globalization

In some respects, China has taken on the mantle of economic globalization’s main defender, embracing a Chinese version of the establishment narrative just as it was falling out of favor in the West. A signature moment for this narrative occurred in 2017, when President Xi took to the stage at the World Economic Forum in Davos to stand proudly against the rising tide of anti-globalization sentiment in the West, declaring that “We must remain committed to developing global free trade and investment, promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation through opening-up and say no to protectionism” (Xi 2017a ). This view encapsulates the win–win narrative about free trade according to which economic globalization is a positive force that has “powered global growth and facilitated movement of goods and capital, advances in science, technology and civilization, and interactions among peoples” (Xi 2017a ). (The narrative glosses over areas in which China has not globalized, which range from strict capital controls to limits on access to its domestic market in certain areas to the Great Firewall around its internet.)

This view acknowledges that economic globalization has played a crucial role in allowing China, along with many other Asian nations, to transform their economies and to boost living standards at a remarkable pace. The offshoring of manufacturing may have led to the decline of America’s rust belt, but it also fueled the development of a rising middle class in China, resulting in gleaming new cities and unprecedented prosperity for hundreds of millions. These enviable results arise not just from the opportunities presented by economic globalization, but from hard work by ordinary Chinese people and from good management by the country’s leadership in opening up gradually to the global economy while successfully navigating its whirlpools and waves. As a result, according to President Xi, China has “stood up, grown rich, and is becoming strong.” No longer the sick man of Asia, the “Chinese nation, with an entirely new posture, now stands tall and firm” (Xi 2017b ,  2019a ).

Given this positive framing, it is not surprising that the classic neocolonial narrative—which views economic globalization as a form of exploitation of the Global South by the transnational capitalist class that comes predominantly from the Global North—is largely absent in China, even though it has historically shaped attitudes towards globalization in other major developing countries, such as Brazil, India, and South Africa. Moreover, in the Party’s and Xi’s telling, what is good for China is also good for the world—a true win–win scenario. “China’s development is an opportunity for the world,” Xi explains, as “China has not only benefited from economic globalization but also contributed to it” (Xi 2017a ). For many years, China’s growth has lent momentum to the world economy, which became particularly important when it helped to offset the recessions in the West that resulted from the Global Financial Crisis.

Not only has China been the engine of global growth, but President Xi suggests that China’s experience can provide a model for other countries seeking to follow China’s development trajectory. “We will open our arms to the people of other countries and welcome them aboard the express train of China’s development,” Xi has declared, suggesting that China would not be jealous of the achievements of other countries, unlike certain other unnamed countries (read: the United States) whom Xi implies have reacted jealously to China’s rise (Xi 2017a ). China is able to supercharge the growth of other developing countries by providing global goods, such as fast and cheap infrastructure investment, making it a “leading dragon” in the tradition of Kaname Akamatsu’s “flying geese” paradigm of development. 3 A concrete manifestation of this outward looking agenda is the Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to bring infrastructure development and deeper trade and investment ties to Chinese trading partners from Asia to Europe to Africa.

The Belt and Road Initiative is a key building block of President Xi’s vision of a “human community with a shared future,” which embraces some features of the liberal international order created after the Second World War, such as the sovereign equality of states and noninterference in internal affairs, while also supporting changes to that order (a point we explore in the next section) (Xi 2019a , b , c ). Instead of being a predatory state engaged in debt trap diplomacy, as China is sometimes portrayed in the Western media, Chinese officials and media present their country as encouraging global development through foreign investment, infrastructure building, and (at times) debt forgiveness.

The anti-establishment view: against western hegemony

In a different—and decidedly more negative—vein, the Chinese leadership, along with Russia, sometimes adopts an anti-hegemony narrative which charges that the West is trying to use globalization to universalize its model of liberal democracy and market-led capitalism. This narrative paints the West as hypocritical and hegemonic. On this view, Western countries are hypocritical because they wrote the global rules and expect other countries to follow those rules while often exempting themselves from the same standards. And Western countries are hegemonic in that they use their power to promote a one-size-fits-all model of political, social, and economic organization. Proponents of this critical narrative insist that different models must be respected and that multipolarity, not hegemony, must be the global organizing principle.

The Global Financial Crisis led to a significant loss of prestige in China for the West’s economic model and boosted the Chinese leadership’s resolve to chart its own path. As Wang Wen, a Chinese Communist Party member and a former chief opinion editor of The Global Times , explains:

[I]n contrast to my university days, the tone of Chinese academic research on the United States has shifted markedly. Chinese government officials used to consult me on the benefits of American capital markets and other economic concepts. Now I am called upon to discuss U.S. cautionary tales, such as the factors that led to the financial crisis. We once sought to learn from U.S. successes; now we study its mistakes so that we can avoid them (Wang 2022 ).

But the narrative against Western hegemony goes well beyond a rejection of the US model. In a joint declaration adopted in 2016, Russia and China explicitly take aim at the Western—and in particular the US—practice of using unilateral sanctions and the extraterritorial application of domestic laws to shape international developments. For Russia and China, this practice represents an application of “double standards” and the “imposition by some States of their will on other States,” as well as a violation of the principle of non-intervention (Anderson 2016 ). In another joint statement adopted in February 2022—just before Russia’s attack against Ukraine—the two governments lament the attempts by “certain States … to impose their own ‘democratic standards’ on other countries [and] to monopolize the right to assess the level of compliance with democratic criteria,” among other “attempts at hegemony” ( 2022 ).

According to this narrative, economic globalization may be good, but Western hegemony is bad. Every state should be permitted to chart its own path to development, Chinese officials regularly declare. As President Xi states: “No country should view its own development path as the only viable one, still less should it impose its own development path on others” (Xi 2017a ). In the face of escalating pressure from the West, Chinese officials have insisted that China will not compromise its “core interests” or its model of development and will “struggle” against those who seek to contain its rise (Zhou and Zheng 2019 ). China suffered the “Century of Humiliation” at the hands of Western oppressors in the past, they remind national and international audiences. Now that China has grown strong, it will not allow itself to be the victim of such humiliation or containment again.

The perceived need to take a stand against Western hegemony has become more pronounced in recent years as a series of crises have rendered the relationship between the West and China more hostile. Chinese officials and commentators charge that Western countries, instead of celebrating China’s hard-earned economic success, are engaging in Cold War thinking and have invented a “China threat theory” to justify taking geoeconomic measures to contain China’s rise. 4 These actions have led to calls within China to decouple from the West economically and technologically in everything from the internet and information flows (in which decoupling already exists to a large degree) to payment systems and technology (in which decoupling is suggested as a means of reducing Western leverage and Chinese vulnerability). On this view, China’s advances have pricked Western insecurities, leading to a backlash that China must now navigate.

Interdependence may be a source of economic gains, but it can also be a source of vulnerability. As hostility increases, those vulnerabilities have been front of mind for many in China. In increasingly securitized debates about interdependence, Xi has endorsed a broad notion of “national security” or “big security” that encompasses “economic security,” including “the security of important industries and key areas that are related to the lifeline of the national economy.” 5 He has increasingly invoked the importance of zìlìgēngshēng (often translated as self-reliance and self-sufficiency) with respect to core technologies and emphasized the need for indigenization of technologies (e.g., Made in China 2025) to prevent the United States and other Western countries from exercising a chokehold over key items, such as semiconductors. “Advanced technology is the sharp weapon of the modern state,” observes Xi. “We must make a big effort in key fields and areas where there is a stranglehold.” 6

Although some prominent Chinese thinkers view potential decoupling as “dangerous” and a “disaster for both China and the United States and the whole world,” an increasing number of elite Chinese thinkers have come to accept it as inevitable, particularly given US geoeconomic actions with respect to key Chinese technology firms such as Huawei, ZTE, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), and Hikvision. 7 This view has also been embraced by Xi, who has pledged technological independence in key areas: “Only by holding these technologies in our own hands can we ensure economic security, national security and security in other areas.” China’s 14th Five-Year Plan describes technological development as a matter of national security, not just economic development, marking a departure from previous plans. 8 Western sanctions against Russia after the latter’s invasion of Ukraine seem to have only confirmed these views about the need for China to protect itself from the potential weaponization of interdependence (Asia 2022 ). 9

The Chinese government has also embraced the importance of a dual circulation strategy, which aims to reduce China’s vulnerability to external shocks by increasing domestic consumption and reducing reliance on export-led growth.

Left-wing and corporate power concerns: the need for common prosperity

While there is much to be celebrated about China’s economic advances, danger lurks in the country’s growing inequality and rising corporate power. New Left and neo-Maoist groups in China have objected to the country’s market transformation, framing the World Trade Organization as the tool of a “‘soft war’ waged by Western powers, particularly the United States and the United Kingdom, to pry open China’s markets for the benefit of Western corporations” (Blanchette 2019 ). These views, although present, have not been mainstream in Chinese debates, perhaps partly because they have not been endorsed by Xi and the Chinese Communist Party. What has taken center stage in Chinese government policy in recent years, however, are efforts to curb inequality and corporate power in the name of realizing “common prosperity.” Achieving a fair distribution of the gains from globalization, and not just growth per se, has become a critical goal.

While the mantra during the Deng Xiaoping years was to “let some get rich first,” Xi now emphasizes the need to focus on common prosperity: raising the fortunes of low-income groups, promoting fairness in society, making regional development more balanced, and emphasizing the importance of people-centered growth (Xi 2021 ). Whether it is cracking down on the private education sector or bringing China’s technology giants to heel, the narrative of common prosperity calls for a Chinese society that is more egalitarian and less liable to the economic inequalities among classes and regions that have led to populist backlash in many Western countries, most notably the United States. Hypercompetition embodied in the 9–9–6 culture, which has caused some young people to rebel by “lying flat,” is out; more equitable and sustainable approaches are in.

Although this narrative has a lot in common with the left-wing and corporate power narratives in the West, it is also mixed with some conservative cultural impulses—such as a desire to crack down on celebrities and “sissy boys”—that are more reminiscent of right-wing perspectives in the West. This narrative is not just critical of Wall Street-style greed, but also of Hollywood-style moral corruption.

On the whole, common prosperity is not viewed as being in tension with a commitment to economic globalization, which may reflect the fact that all income brackets in China gained over the last few decades, even if some gained more than others. The common prosperity push is in keeping with the Party’s professed socialist values, with equality being seen as an important tempering force for some of the excesses of capitalism.

The interplay between narratives in the West and in China

What makes economic globalization complex is not only that it has many facets and looks different from different vantage points, but that its evolution depends on the (often unpredictable) interactions among many actors, including governments, companies, civil society, and individuals. The narratives about economic globalization circulating in the West and in China differ based on each side’s concerns and imperatives. But these domestic spheres are not isolated from each other. What is said and done within one group or country may be listened to and have effects in the other.

In some areas, the narratives in the West and China are mirror images of each other: the developments lamented by right-wing populists in the United States—in particular the movement of manufacturing jobs to Asia—are perceived as positive from the perspective of China and other Asian countries.

In other areas, the narratives clash with and fuel each other. The best example is the interaction of the Western geoeconomic narrative and the Chinese anti-hegemony narrative. In the West, concerns about a rising China have led to the increased securitization of debates about economic interdependence and to policies such as bans on 5G equipment manufactured by Huawei and export restrictions to curtail access by Chinese companies to advanced semiconductors. In China, these actions are perceived as examples of Western hegemony and as attempts to contain China’s rise, which in turn prompt the increased securitization of economic policies, in particular attempts to achieve technological self-reliance. This dynamic results in an amplifying feedback loop that has made geoeconomic framings ascendant in both China and the West in recent years, leading to increased pressures to decouple.

In yet other areas, Chinese and Western narratives seem to be running in parallel without much mutual reinforcement and amplification. Rising concerns about inequality and corporate power in both the West and China are giving rise to crackdowns on Big Tech on both sides through regulatory actions such as antitrust enforcement. In some ways, what is happening in one market could be seen as justification for the adoption of similar policies in the other market. For the most part, however, it seems that each debate is developing in a relatively autonomous way. The impetus for crackdowns in the United States appears to spring from domestic economic pressures, as well as a renewed appreciation of the importance of rigorous antitrust enforcement in the platform economy. And while President Xi seems to share concerns about the excessive power of platform firms, he is not justifying China’s crackdowns on the basis that the United States has engaged in similar actions.

Finally, on some global challenges, the two sides are largely in agreement. Both China and the West recognize the threats posed by the climate crisis and global pandemics. Even though they may disagree on the best strategies to adopt in response and on how to distribute the burden, these challenges provide opportunities for collaboration. Yet this insight is not easy to reconcile with the more conflictual narratives that are increasingly gaining hold on both sides. Ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in 2021, US Climate Envoy John Kerry tried to frame the climate crisis through the lens of the global threats narrative instead of the geoeconomic one when he declared that “climate is not ideological. It’s not partisan, it’s not a geostrategic weapon or tool. … It’s a global, not bilateral, challenge” (Buckley and Friedman 2021 ). Yet Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi responded that cooperation on climate could not be separated from the overall environment of US–China relations. “The United States hopes to transform cooperation into an ‘oasis’ in Sino-US relations,” he said, “but if the ‘oasis’ is surrounded by ‘deserts,’ the ‘oasis’ will sooner or later be deserted” (Lelyveld 2021 ).

The United States is not the only side that is trying to manage the tension between different narratives. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China has attempted to avoid taking sides. Instead, it has tried to balance its relationship with Russia (in which the two are brothers-in-arms and friends-without-limits in the narrative against Western hegemony) with its desire for continued economic integration with the West (as per the win–win establishment narrative) while building its own resilience and pursuing targeted decoupling (as per the geoeconomic and against Western hegemony narratives). China recognizes that it has much to gain from a continuation of the establishment approach to economic interdependence, provided that the rules are interpreted broadly enough to allow China to maintain its own development model. We can also see companies attempting to balance their economic interest in remaining in certain markets with growing concerns about how geopolitical tensions and value conflicts might require them to exit those markets suddenly, as hundreds of Western companies did after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

In recent years, events such as the US–China trade war, the COVID-19 pandemic, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have prompted commentators to proclaim the “end of globalization.” While these pronouncements are often made more for rhetorical flourish than for literal truth, they reflect an important phenomenon, namely, the fact that views about globalization—as captured in competing narratives—have been undergoing more profound change in recent years than in any other period since the end of the Cold War, when the economic establishment’s win–win narrative became preeminent.

As a result, globalization is not ending, but it is certainly changing. Responding to the populist backlash against globalization and motivated by growing security and environmental concerns, Western governments are seeking to strike a new balance between the efficiency gains that can be achieved through trade and investment liberalization, on the one hand, and the values of equality, security, resilience, and sustainability, on the other hand. The Chinese government is navigating very similar challenges, all while trying to find its footing as a leading economic and geopolitical power amidst growing skepticism and hostility from the West.

The relationship between China and the West will play a central role in shaping the future of globalization, but the relationship is highly complex, and its future development is deeply uncertain: possible future scenarios range from a political rapprochement and stronger cooperation on issues of common concern to radical economic and technological decoupling and even potential military confrontation. Understanding the main narratives about economic globalization in the West and China is a good way of starting to understand this complexity and beginning to think through how different narratives might intersect and interact in shaping the future of international economic relations.

As we argue in Six Faces of Globalization , when dealing with complex and contested issues, it is crucial to explore multiple perspectives. No single narrative can capture the multifaceted nature of such issues, and no perspective is neutral. Each narrative distills a certain set of experiences and tells part of the story; none tells the whole. Every narrative embodies value judgements about what merits our attention and how we should evaluate what we see; none is value free. You do not have to agree with every narrative—you may consider some to be wrong, empirically or normatively. But considering multiple narratives in a structured way helps everyone to be conscious of how their approach fits within the broader context and what they might be missing about what others are seeing and valuing.

Psychologists have recognized that complicating narratives by seeking to understand complex situations from multiple perspectives can help to move us past our tendency toward binary thinking and polarized disputes (Grant 2021 ; Coleman 2021 ; see also Ripley 2021 ). As relations between the West and China become more highly charged, and as the global challenges we all face become more pressing, the multi-perspective approach that we adopt and advocate for here becomes ever more important.


The authors are grateful for many conversations and exchanges that helped us develop the ideas presented in this essay. The commentators on our 2022 Global Law and Strategy Annual Lecture at Renmin University of China on December 16, 2021, organized and moderated by Yang Liu, provided extremely valuable input on Chinese narratives about economic globalization. Our conversation with Kaiser Kuo on the Sinica Podcast on January 13, 2022 encouraged us to sharpen our thinking about China’s role in the Western narratives. We would also like to thank Karen Alter, Jane Golley, Ben Herscovitch, Larry Hong, Lai Huaxia, Wang Jiangyu, Shi Jingxia, Dirk van der Kley, Sienna Liu, Ignacio de la Rasil, Shen Wei, Ken Yang, Chen Yifeng, and two anonymous peer reviewers for their insightful comments on our book and/or this article. At the same time, we are solely responsible for the views expressed in the essay.

The authors did not receive support from any organization for the submitted work.


The authors have not disclosed any competing interests.

1 In studies of peace and conflict, psychologists have found that leaders who demonstrate low levels of integrative complexity (i.e., the ability to see complex issues from multiple perspectives and integrate these into a more coherent whole) are less likely than their peers to produce negotiated outcomes and more likely to oversee violent eruptions. By contrast, leaders who are better able to understand the perspectives and priorities of different sides are more likely to find trade-offs and creative solutions that meet each side’s core concerns. See: Guttieri et al. ( 1995 ), Suedfeld and Tetlock ( 1977 ), Suedfeld et al. ( 1977 ).

2 For a similar theoretical approach, see Halliday and Shaffer ( 2015 ).

3 For the flying geese paradigm of development, see Akamatsu ( 1962 ). On China as the flying dragon, see Lin ( 2011 ).

4 For commentators on the “China threat theory”, see Xiang ( 2019 ), Liu ( 2018 ), Shi ( 2012 ), Lu ( 2013 ), Hu ( 2018 ), Xu ( 2019 ) and Yu ( 2018 ).

5 On big security, see Hu ( 2016 ) and People’s Daily ( 2019 ).

6 On self-reliance and mastering core technologies, Wang and Zhou ( 2018 ),CRI Online ( 2018 ).

7 See, for example, Yao ( 2019 ); Zeng ( 2019 ). See also Gewirtz ( 2020 ).

8 For Xi’s quote, see Xinhua ( 2021 ).

9 Including a discussion of a report prepared by China’s Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of State Security that analyzes what would happen if the US, Europe, and Japan were to react to a Taiwan emergency by imposing economic sanctions on China like they did against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. This observation was also presciently made by Taisu Zhang on Twitter: “I think it’s pretty obvious Western countries are (partially) treating the current conflict and ensuing sanctions as a trial run for measures they might take against China in the future…. I mean, they’d be crazy not to, and Beijing would be crazy to not perceive it as such.” See Zhang ( 2022 ).

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  • Xu, Jin [徐进]. 2019. The new “China threat theory” has three characteristics (新一轮“中国威胁论”具有三大特点). Sina. February 18, 2019.
  • Yao, Yang [姚洋]. Be alert to the interests behind China-U.S. decoupling (警惕中美脱钩论中的利益企图). August 13, 2019, .
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  • Zeng, Peiyan. 2019. US-China trade and economic relations: What now, what next (speech at the CCIEE-Brookings-LKYSPP International Symposium on US and China: Forging a Common Cause for the Development of Asia and the World, Singapore, October 30–31, 2019).
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Effects of Economic Globalization

Globalization has led to increases in standards of living around the world, but not all of its effects are positive for everyone.

Social Studies, Economics, World History

Bangladesh Garment Workers

The garment industry in Bangladesh makes clothes that are then shipped out across the world. It employs as many as four million people, but the average worker earns less in a month than a U.S. worker earns in a day.

Photograph by Mushfiqul Alam

The garment industry in Bangladesh makes clothes that are then shipped out across the world. It employs as many as four million people, but the average worker earns less in a month than a U.S. worker earns in a day.

Put simply, globalization is the connection of different parts of the world. In economics, globalization can be defined as the process in which businesses, organizations, and countries begin operating on an international scale. Globalization is most often used in an economic context, but it also affects and is affected by politics and culture. In general, globalization has been shown to increase the standard of living in developing countries, but some analysts warn that globalization can have a negative effect on local or emerging economies and individual workers. A Historical View Globalization is not new. Since the start of civilization, people have traded goods with their neighbors. As cultures advanced, they were able to travel farther afield to trade their own goods for desirable products found elsewhere. The Silk Road, an ancient network of trade routes used between Europe, North Africa, East Africa, Central Asia, South Asia, and the Far East, is an example of early globalization. For more than 1,500 years, Europeans traded glass and manufactured goods for Chinese silk and spices, contributing to a global economy in which both Europe and Asia became accustomed to goods from far away. Following the European exploration of the New World, globalization occurred on a grand scale; the widespread transfer of plants, animals, foods, cultures, and ideas became known as the Columbian Exchange. The Triangular Trade network in which ships carried manufactured goods from Europe to Africa, enslaved Africans to the Americas, and raw materials back to Europe is another example of globalization. The resulting spread of slavery demonstrates that globalization can hurt people just as easily as it can connect people. The rate of globalization has increased in recent years, a result of rapid advancements in communication and transportation. Advances in communication enable businesses to identify opportunities for investment. At the same time, innovations in information technology enable immediate communication and the rapid transfer of financial assets across national borders. Improved fiscal policies within countries and international trade agreements between them also facilitate globalization. Political and economic stability facilitate globalization as well. The relative instability of many African nations is cited by experts as one of the reasons why Africa has not benefited from globalization as much as countries in Asia and Latin America. Benefits of Globalization Globalization provides businesses with a competitive advantage by allowing them to source raw materials where they are inexpensive. Globalization also gives organizations the opportunity to take advantage of lower labor costs in developing countries, while leveraging the technical expertise and experience of more developed economies. With globalization, different parts of a product may be made in different regions of the world. Globalization has long been used by the automotive industry , for instance, where different parts of a car may be manufactured in different countries. Businesses in several different countries may be involved in producing even seemingly simple products such as cotton T-shirts. Globalization affects services, too. Many businesses located in the United States have outsourced their call centers or information technology services to companies in India. As part of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), U.S. automobile companies relocated their operations to Mexico, where labor costs are lower. The result is more jobs in countries where jobs are needed, which can have a positive effect on the national economy and result in a higher standard of living. China is a prime example of a country that has benefited immensely from globalization. Another example is Vietnam, where globalization has contributed to an increase in the prices for rice, lifting many poor rice farmers out of poverty. As the standard of living increased, more children of poor families left work and attended school. Consumers benefit also. In general, globalization decreases the cost of manufacturing . This means that companies can offer goods at a lower price to consumers. The average cost of goods is a key aspect that contributes to increases in the standard of living. Consumers also have access to a wider variety of goods. In some cases, this may contribute to improved health by enabling a more varied and healthier diet; in others, it is blamed for increases in unhealthy food consumption and diabetes. Downsides Not everything about globalization is beneficial. Any change has winners and losers, and the people living in communities that had been dependent on jobs outsourced elsewhere often suffer. Effectively, this means that workers in the developed world must compete with lower-cost markets for jobs; unions and workers may be unable to defend against the threat of corporations that offer the alternative between lower pay or losing jobs to a supplier in a less expensive labor market. The situation is more complex in the developing world, where economies are undergoing rapid change. Indeed, the working conditions of people at some points in the supply chain are deplorable. The garment industry in Bangladesh, for instance, employs an estimated four million people, but the average worker earns less in a month than a U.S. worker earns in a day. In 2013, a textile factory building collapsed, killing more than 1,100 workers. Critics also suggest that employment opportunities for children in poor countries may increase negative impacts of child labor and lure children of poor families away from school. In general, critics blame the pressures of globalization for encouraging an environment that exploits workers in countries that do not offer sufficient protections. Studies also suggest that globalization may contribute to income disparity and inequality between the more educated and less educated members of a society. This means that unskilled workers may be affected by declining wages, which are under constant pressure from globalization. Into the Future Regardless of the downsides, globalization is here to stay. The result is a smaller, more connected world. Socially, globalization has facilitated the exchange of ideas and cultures, contributing to a world view in which people are more open and tolerant of one another.

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Effects of Globalization

Definition of globalization, drivers of globalization.

Globalization is defined as interaction among different countries in order to develop global economy. It entails political, technological, cultural and political exchanges which are facilitated by infrastructure, transport and communication. Some of the traditional international theories of globalization include Ricardian theory of international trade, Heckscher-Ohlin model and Adam Smith’s model (Scholte, 2005).

For globalization to take place, it must be driven by certain factors. The first factor that drives globalization is competitiveness in the market, which focuses on aspects such as global competitors, interdependence among countries and high two-way trade. The second factor that drives globalization is the government.

The government drives globalization through regulation of marketing activities, provision of technical standards that are compatible and elimination of restrictions imposed on trade and investment procedures. The third factor that drives globalization is cost.

Cost in globalization deals with efficiency in sourcing activities, world economies and emerging technological trends. The fourth factor that drives globalization is market, which covers ordinary needs of customers, channels of world markets and marketing techniques that can be transferred to different regions.

Globalization is associated with both positive and negative effects. Its first positive effect is that it makes it possible for different countries to exchange their products. The second positive effect of globalization is that it promotes international trade and growth of wealth as a result of economic integration and free trade among countries.

However, globalization is also associated with negative effects. Its first negative effect is that it causes unemployment. Since companies compete with their rivals in the market, sometimes they are forced to sack some of their employees in order to reduce salary costs and instead maximize profits. This is common in developing countries, where large numbers of unemployed people live in urban areas.

The second negative effect of globalization is that it promotes terrorism and criminal activities because people, food and materials are allowed to move freely from one country to the other. Individuals with evil intentions take advantage of this freedom and carry out terrorism activities and other crimes (Negative Effects of Globalization, 2013).

Negative Effects of Globalization. (2013). Web.

Scholte, J. (2005). Globalization: A Critical Introduction. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

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IvyPanda. (2023, November 21). Effects of Globalization.

"Effects of Globalization." IvyPanda , 21 Nov. 2023,

IvyPanda . (2023) 'Effects of Globalization'. 21 November.

IvyPanda . 2023. "Effects of Globalization." November 21, 2023.

1. IvyPanda . "Effects of Globalization." November 21, 2023.


IvyPanda . "Effects of Globalization." November 21, 2023.

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effects of globalization on air pollution in china

The Effects of Globalization on Air Pollution in China

There are many different reasons why globalization has been detrimental to air pollution in China. Small-scale rural factories are among the major polluters, and there is increased spending on public health. These factors all combine to make the country’s air quality worse. Fortunately, China is making strides to combat air pollution. Trade liberalization and increased public health spending are two of the most effective ways to reduce the problems.

Table of Contents

Impact of globalization on air pollution in china

Air pollution in China is a growing problem, with three out of four city dwellers living below the air quality standard. Acid rain, a major cause of poor air quality in the 1990s, is now affecting only one-tenth of the country. The increasing output of industrial waste gases like sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide is a contributing factor. In 2002, China ranked first in the world in SO2 emissions, and in 2004 it was third in the populated areas.

According to a study published in 2011, the effects of coal consumption in western countries were linked to 108,600 premature deaths in China. Of this number, ten percent came from pollution imported from the US and seventeen percent came from Europe. Those numbers do not include the costs associated with chronic illness caused by air pollution. The study also shows that China is paying a huge price for this dirty air, with some estimates putting the total at more than 4,000 premature deaths a day. Meanwhile, the social unrest in recent years has been attributed to pollution, with complaints amplified by social media.

The rapid growth of the Chinese population has increased the local demand for more vehicles, as has the need for more exports. Despite the growing number of vehicles, air pollution in China is a significant problem. In order to address this problem, China has taken new steps and introduced laws to limit the damage caused by globalization. But, as a major consumer of coal, China has been importing coal from its neighbors.

Small-scale rural factories are major polluters

China has been a large emitter of carbon since 2006, accounting for 28 percent of the world’s total emissions. The country is also investing heavily in renewable energy, acquitting $127 billion in 2017 alone – 45 percent of the world’s total. China has signed the Paris Agreement, which commits to reducing its carbon intensity by 40 to 45 percent from 2005 to 2020. In 2017, China reached this milestone, and similar requirements will be imposed in other sectors as well.

Environmental problems in China are limiting its GDP growth. According to some estimates, the lack of water in China costs the country $36 billion in lost industrial output annually, and acid rain causes health effects worth $13 billion a year. Currently, China is suffering from an epidemic of asthma and other respiratory problems – two diseases caused by air pollution. But with no immediate solutions in sight, environmental problems could derail China’s economic development.

Chinese firms have developed ways to circumvent environmental regulations, and foreign companies should stay away from such risky practices. Multinationals must consider both the incentives and power distribution in China’s political system. If their corporate strategy does not take environmental protection into account, it could become a nightmare. They must also be prepared for the risk of political instability and intellectual property rights violations. Nonetheless, multinationals must not let this deter them from investing in environmental protection in China.

Trade liberalization

There are several studies on the relationship between trade policy uncertainty and air pollution in China. Some have found that trade policy uncertainty reduces the growth of PM2.5 concentrations in Chinese cities. Others have found that the effect is greater for SO2 than CO2 emissions. While the results of these studies are mixed, one study suggests that trade policy uncertainty may have a positive impact on air pollution in China. This study uses data from two-hundred and sixty-six Chinese prefecture-level cities.

The relationship between trade liberalization and environmental quality has long been a subject of debate. While there is little evidence that trade does not impact the environment, many studies show that trade can improve the environment. China’s increased trade has led to increases in domestic air pollution in several areas, including greenhouse gases, SOX and NOX, as well as NH3, which causes PM2.5 pollution. While this is generally good news for the environment, there are still concerns over pollution-causing practices and their impact on the local environment.

Fortunately, most of China’s major export industries do not contribute to air pollution. In fact, as the export bundle evolves, the proportion of cleaner sectors increases. In 1995, textiles and apparel constituted the largest share of exports. By 2005, office and computing machinery and communications equipment had the fastest-growing share. Both sectors are cleaner than textiles and apparel. In addition, they are among the most popular manufacturing sectors in the world.

There is no clear evidence that trade liberalization causes air pollution in China. Evidence on this issue is mixed and depends on the time period, countries studied, and pollutants considered. Some of the most relevant studies on the relationship between trade and environmental pollution are Dean (2001) and Copeland and Taylor (2004). These studies rely on time-series data on air pollution in China and SEPA. The study’s results are useful for corroboration of trends, but the methodology used to calculate them is flawed.

Increased spending on public health

As the world increasingly turns to global health initiatives, China’s commitment to health has grown, particularly in Africa. The African Union (AU) has consistently included health cooperation as a key theme in their frameworks, while China has also made commitments to provide health assistance in Africa. Similar evolutions have been observed in the south-south fora as well. In addition, China’s increasing commitment to global health initiatives has resulted in the creation of several governmental and non-government health programs in the region.

The number of deaths caused by environmental pollution in China has increased by 13% per year since 2010. According to the WHO, Chinese city dwellers have blood lead levels that are double the dangerous level, endangering children’s mental development. Furthermore, exposure to air pollution during early childhood increases the risk of respiratory diseases. Exposure to air pollution during pregnancy and early childhood can lead to low infant weight and increased morbidity.

Universities have also played an important role in China’s domestic health reforms. They have partnered with local governments to develop innovative health solutions, evaluated their impact, and provided expert advice to government departments. In response to this growing engagement with global health, universities in China have established centres for research on global health. The GHSP has supported research on China’s large-scale programs, reviewed China’s experience, and published findings for an international audience.

In addition to the environmental impact, China’s rapid industrialization has caused an environmental crisis that threatens the health of its 1.4 billion people and the global fight against climate change. As the world’s largest source of greenhouse gases in recent years, China suffers from extreme air pollution and water scarcity. Its carbon-intensive industries are also responsible for soil contamination and water shortages. These problems will only get worse in the coming decades.

Population growth

The rapid urbanization of China’s large population poses a significant challenge for its environmental management. While ambient PM2*5 concentrations in the whole population are well below the WHO Air Quality Guideline, 81% of the population lives in regions with concentrations that exceed WHO Interim Target 1. Therefore, an adaptation of a sustainable urban planning strategy is of paramount importance to the Chinese government. Here are some key issues to be addressed.

Developing countries like China have been grappling with the challenge of air pollution, and they have been slow to respond. The government has relied on command-and-control methods to curb pollution. But these have been costly, and China is entering the next phase of the “war on pollution.” In this new era, effective pollution reduction measures must be cost-effective while simultaneously reducing costs. China can achieve both goals with market-based approaches to air pollution control.

Rapid economic growth has resulted in serious air pollution problems in China. Despite many measures to combat pollution, these problems are largely based on a combination of factors, such as topography and weather patterns. In Beijing, for example, coal-burning industries to the south and east have caused the region to experience elevated levels of air pollution. The high concentrations of coal-burning industries are carried into the city by the wind and trapped by mountains to the north and west.

The study also finds a relationship between air pollution and mortality rates. The study found that the age-standardised death rate in China was the highest in Xinjiang and Hebei and the lowest in Shanghai and Beijing. However, the overall death rate remained high because of population growth and aging, even as the exposure and mortality rate decreased. This suggests that air pollution has a direct impact on the health of China’s population.

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Climate change and air pollution in china.

by  Wei Guo   (ELP 2016) | Master's Student, National School of Development, China

China’s economy continues to grow at a rate of more than 7% annually, as it has for more than two decades. Like any country now or in history experiencing an economy boom driven by manufacturing industry, China’s economic growth has an environmental dark side. China now boasts five of the ten most polluted cities in the world, and on PM2.5 side, even the tenth worst city in China is five times polluted more than the first in US.

effects of globalization in china essay

Unfortunately, after more than 15 years of this rapid growth without public awareness of environment problems, it was not until several extreme air pollution events occured since 2013 that Chinese public and authorities started to think about actual or potential deterioration of environment due to economic activities. I started to do research on environmental economics in 2012, which was a dull subject then, but now there has been an explosion of interest in the environment. Ironically, extreme air pollution is driving new visions of sustainability and new formats of interaction between political authorities and the people. The following picture is a typical air pollution disaster in Beijing, China, however, this is not an extreme case in Beijing’s winter. Every winter in the past three years, Beijing residents have suffered visible air pollution at least this severe or even more severe than this.

effects of globalization in china essay

In the past few days with fantastic and impressive ELP lectures, what impressed but also humbled me most, is China’s public ignorance to climate change around us. Air pollution and carbon dioxide are different things in China. For example, Chinese people start to care about clean coal, but “clean” here means low sulfur. One Chinese clean energy target is to increase natural gas to 10% of the power mix, but policy makers ignore its environmental effect on global warming. The Chinese government has been under pressure internally to take action on air pollution to bring improvements in air quality, but this only brings a limited glimmer of hope in climate change. Even if data tells us that China’s overall mean annual temperature has significantly increased over the past few decades, from China’s past experience, it’s sad to admit that, in lack of severe meteorological disaster events in big cities, Chinese public awareness of climate change is unlikely to rise remarkably. In fact, in a survey conducted by China Center for Climate Change Communication (jointly established by the Research Center for Journalism and Social Development of Renmin University and Oxfam Hong Kong) in 2012, 93 percent of respondents say they know at least a little about climate change, but only 11 percent say they know a lot. Not knowing that he is ignorant, is double ignorance.

effects of globalization in china essay

Luckily or unluckily, in the future, the Earth's warming will lead to more frequent emergence of extreme weather and climate event, and China will not be immune. The Chinese public and authorities will attach better importance to climate change and make this challenge a priority. This is a challenge and a chance for environmental scholars, for leaders, and for the world as well.

(1) (2) (3) Tang G, Ding Y, Wang S, et al. Comparative analysis of China surface air temperature series for the past 100 years[J]. Advances in Climate Change Research, 2010, 1(1): 11-19.


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