Global Stratification and its Impacts
Global stratification involves the unequal distribution of resources, power, and influence among nations across the world. It leads to extreme differences between the poorest and richest nations in the world. It has led to a few nations being very wealthy while the majority remains very poor (Barkan, 2012). Global stratification has both positive and negative effects on local culture in the developing world. The positive effects include; first, it creates much-needed jobs in the third world. This occurs when companies in the developed world outsource jobs to third world nations. For example, Nike is one of the multinational corporations with most of its operations outsourced to third world nations. One of these nations is Thailand (Nike, 2005).
Nike has been in Thailand since 1980 (Nike, 2005). The company has over 65 contract factory partners with over 48,000 local employees. It has large factories with over 5,000 local workers for the final assembly. The company also has stitching facilities in upcountry with more than 700 workers each. In addition to the creation of local jobs, Nike offers collateral-free loans for small entrepreneurs. Nike also invests in projects that increase participation in physical activities (Frank, 2002). These activities improve the living standards of the population in Thailand.
However, global stratification also has negative effects on local culture. First, it affects the living conditions in third world countries. In these countries, starvation and deadly diseases are common. Infant mortality is high because of the poor diet before and during pregnancy, illnesses, and other poor living conditions. This is because developed nations tend to exploit poor people. For example, Nike has faced severe criticism in Thailand for poor working conditions, low wages, and abuse of labor rights (Frank, 2002).
Global stratification also takes a toll on women as they are more likely to feel poverty and poor health and education. It also increases violence against women associated with poverty, poor education, and significant disparities in employment status. Also, global stratification causes social stratification in third world countries. This is because a nation’s position in global stratification affects local stratification. Eventually, global stratification leaves third world nations with low living standards and high economic vulnerability (Barkan, 2012).
The United States is among the nations positioned highly in global stratification. This is because the US is among the wealthiest, powerful, influential, and advanced nations worldwide. Just as the third world nations, global stratification also affects developed nations positively and negatively. First, global stratification in lowering prices in the US increasing consumer buying power. In the US, the manufacturing industry is declining. This is because most companies are increasingly looking for outsourcing (Duncan et al., 2009). As proposed by the liberal economic theory, outsourcing lower prices in the US. This, in turn, increases consumers’ buying power in the country. For example, by outsourcing to Thailand, Nike standardizes the prices of its product in the US increasing consumer’s buying power. Second, global stratification increases the demand for U.S exports. This occurs when outsourcing improves the economies of third world countries (Duncan et al., 2009).
However, global stratification has negative effects on the US. First, it leads to the loss of jobs in the US. For many countries in the developed world, outsourcing is vital. Cheaper supplies of services in third world countries is essential to maintain and gain markets (Duncan et al., 2009). The problem is that workers in the developed world lose out to workers in third world nations. For instance, Nike has outsourced thousands of jobs to Thailand, saving millions of dollars in the process (Frank, 2002). This number of lost jobs is distressing for workers in the US.
The biggest winner in global stratification is the developed world for several reasons. First, when the developed world outsources to the third world, they save millions of dollars. This is because third world nations offer cheap labor. Second, when consumer buying power is increased by lowering prices in developed nations, more jobs are created (Duncan et al., 2009). Third, when economies of third world countries are improved, the demand for exports from the developing world increases. This means that even when Nike outsources jobs to Thailand, the US still emerges the biggest winner. Of course, Thailand wins in the situation. Jobs are created and living standards are improved (Nike, 2005). However, the wages are too low to make a major impact. Again, multinational companies are always exploiting workers in third world nations. Therefore, the US emerges as the biggest winner in this situation.
Barkan, S. (2012). Global Stratification. In: Sociology: Comprehensive Edition. Lard bucket.
Duncan, R., Jancar-Webster, B. & Switky, B. (2009). Case Study: Is Job Outsourcing Good or Bad for Developing Countries? (pp. 1-4). In: World Politics in the 21st Century. Houghton Mifflin in Harcourt Publishing Company.
Frank, W. (2002). Successful Partnership for CSR Activities in Thailand: The NIKE Village Development Project. Population & Community Development Association (PDA), 1-20.
Nike (2005). Nike Thailand celebrates 25th anniversary. Retrieved from https://news.nike.com/news/nike-thailand-celebrates-twenty-fifth-anniversary