Globalization and Its Impact on the Gulf States
Globalization refers to a collection of processes through which humans, goods, and concepts spread across the world to promote cohesiveness and interaction between different governments, cultures, and economies. Through globalization, nationalistic perspectives are opened up to a broader outlook of an interconnected world where capital, products, and services are transferred freely across national frontiers (Al-Khouri, 2010). The ultimate goal of the globalization is to create one economic unit that encompasses all countries, possibly without borders or governments. Globalization has, however, had significant implications on the economic, social, cultural, and political landscape of various regions such as the GCC states.
Globalization has enabled the GCC states to initiate an economic growth that has, however, become difficult to sustain. The GCC region enjoys high prices for its oil resources, yet its latest economic growth record is worse (Al-Yousif, 2004). Liberalization of trade among countries is a product of globalization, which provides hope for the sustainable economic development of this region. However, the high terms of trade volatility, occasioned by fluctuations in international oil prices, impede the GCC ’s economic growth. Also, the liberalization of trade has resulted in high unemployment rates, increased poverty, and a decline in government revenues (Al-Yousif, 2004). A sharp increase in migrants has also escalated the unemployment crisis while local graduates lack the requisite skills for decent employment. Global processes have also promoted the involvement of women into the region’s labor force (Al Dabbagh & Abdelhady, 2005). Increased access to global markets has motivated many Arabic women to venture into entrepreneurial activities. Globalization has influenced the social and cultural settings of the GCC states in various ways. In the past, women in the GCC states enjoyed limited human rights as dictated by culture (Al Dabbagh & Abdelhady, 2005). Today, women in these countries have improved their levels of education and can now access leadership positions. Besides, globalization has influenced the spatial pattern of cities in the GCC states and the way how they change (Haggag, n.d.). Also, both the economic and job market requirements of these states compelled them to acquire relatively high proportions of migrant workers from around the world. In fact, the GCC countries have a large immigrant population, ranking third in the world after North America and the European Union (Al-Khouri, 2010). Globalization is, however, held responsible for promoting inter-cultural associations among people from diverse locales, thus leading to an unprecedented demographic imbalance. The indigenous GCC population consider this situation as an invasion of their customs, and they are reluctant to accept their new status as national minorities. Public debate has, consequently, ensued based on the fear of cultural assimilation and the local people’s uncertainties regarding their identity. The contentious issues regarding globalization have been the object of various governmental policies and regulations. In the GCC States, the political effects of globalization are manifest in legislative acts aimed at restoring rooted tradition, securing ethnic or national identities, and safeguarding religious fervor (Fox, Mutawa & Sabbah, 2006). As the foreign population continues to rise, the nations in this region adopt forceful policies to enhance the nationalization of significant segments of workers in the private and public sectors. International pressure has also been exerted on the GCC countries to allow the expatriates peaceful settlement and equal rights, which has also sparked public debate (Al-Khouri, 2010). Finally, globalization has made it possible for Arabic women in GCC states to pursue politics and assume various leadership positions in government. The GCC states can take advantage of globalization and reduce its negative impacts in several ways. First, these countries should contemplate reducing the size of their respective governments and adjust them to international standards. For instance, the GCC is not actively involved in nurturing technical skills since most research and development initiatives come from industrialized nations (Al-Yousif, 2004). These GCC states need to gather knowledge and experience from the developed world to create a domestic think tank. Moreover, regional integration should be pursued to enlarge local markets and enable the member states to capitalize on economies of scale for faster and efficient industrialization (Al-Yousif, 2004). Through regional integration, trade between members of the GCC would expand after the removal of trade barriers. Also, such a economic move would strengthen the GCC’s bargaining position in world trade.
As a global movement toward unified communication, business, economy, and financial integration, globalization seeks to resolve the contradiction between the diversification of capital and its social, political, and national characteristics. However, globalization has both negative and positive influences on society. The GCC states are a perfect example to demonstrate how globalization has had several impacts on social, cultural, economic, and political fronts. These states can, nonetheless, adopt measures to capitalize on the benefits of globalization and counter its negative aspects.
Al Dabbagh, M., & Abdelhady, D. (2005). Women and globalization in the GCC: Negotiating states, agency and social change. Gulf Research Centre Cambridge. Retrieved from http://grm.grc.net/workshop/30_Workshop 7-Globalization and-Women.pdf
Al-Khouri, M. A. (2010). The challenge of identity in a changing world: The case of GCC countries. Retrieved from https://www.ica.gov.ae/userfiles/The Challenge of Identity in a Changing World.pdf Al-Yousif, Y. K. (2004). Oil economies and globalization: The case of the GCC countries. Topics in Middle Eastern and African Economies, 6. Retrieved from http://meea.sites.luc.edu/volume6/al-yousif.pdf Fox, W. J., Al Mutawa, M., & Sabbah, N. M. (2006). Globalization and the Gulf. London, UK: Routledge. Haggag, A.M. (n.d.). The impact of globalization on urban spaces in Arab cities. Retrieved from http://www.irbnet.de/daten/iconda/CIB5930.pdf
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- Oliver Tumbo (Author), 2020, Globalization and its Impact on the Gulf States, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/966950