The End of Globalization?

The local food movement has been gaining steam (and followers) for the last couple of years, and as food prices continue to rise, people are looking for local sources that are often times cheaper in this economic climate in the U.S.. Driving this shift to some degree is the increase in fuel prices which has everyone's grocery bill a bit higher, while at the same time making it more expensive to even get to the store in the first place. These developments seemed to hit the individual and the family first, as evidenced by the recent economic downturn (decrease in car sales, decrease in home sales, etc., etc.). The effects of these cost increases seem to be "trickling up" as well. Larry Rohter of the NYTimes had an article today describing just this development. According to Rohter:

The world economy has become so integrated that shoppers find relatively few T-shirts and sneakers in Wal-Mart and Target carrying a “Made in the U.S.A.” label. But globalization may be losing some of the inexorable economic power it had for much of the past quarter-century, even as it faces fresh challenges as a political ideology.

Cheap oil, the lubricant of quick, inexpensive transportation links across the world, may not return anytime soon, upsetting the logic of diffuse global supply chains that treat geography as a footnote in the pursuit of lower wages. Rising concern about global warming, the reaction against lost jobs in rich countries, worries about food safety and security, and the collapse of world trade talks in Geneva last week also signal that political and environmental concerns may make the calculus of globalization far more complex.

At this point in time, it is still unclear what the lasting effects of the rise of oil prices will have on the world economy. The fact remains that much of what makes the world economic engine turn is the reliance on cheap labor and raw materials from one part of the globe is able to be transformed into products and transported to a different part of the world. How long this system will be able to maintain itself is up for debate. Will rising oil costs equate to products priced out of the range of too many people? Could this spark a return to local production? Could the local food movement be a sign of larger change looming in the not too distant future? If anything, it can be assumed that the corporate structure that profits off of the current system will be given every chance to maintain its profit margin, no matter where it's products are produced, and what those products are.

Read the rest of the NYTimes article here.
Print Friendly and PDF

No comments:

Post a Comment

Having trouble leaving a comment? Some browsers require acceptance of 3rd party cookies. If you leave an anonymous comment, it may need to be approved.