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Globalization and International Economics

Fiona Whitefield

As a child of a Chinese immigrant, eastern medicine has always had a strong influence on my life. Every morning I use skincare products sold by FANCL, a popular Chinese organic skincare brand, and when I get sick I use mostly natural remedies that my mom taught me. In recent decades, such traditional eastern health practices have increased their market influence and become more accessible in the US. In 2007, 38.3% of adults in the US were using complementary and alternative medicine (Barnes et al, 2008). The spread of medical information by immigrants and the export of Chinese health products has allowed me to easily use eastern health practices in my daily routine.

My grandparents were raised in a poor village in rural China and likely never heard the term “globalization,” but they understood the benefits of participating in a global economy. After the Communist Revolution began they fled to British-occupied Hong Kong, which enabled my mom to receive a quality STEM education and become fluent in English. Had my mom been raised under communist isolationism, she likely never would have learned English or been able to find better employment opportunities in the US. 

Globalization has had a net positive impact on the US economy. It is now considered common practice for US companies to reduce costs by making foreign investments, such as hiring employees and manufacturing products overseas. While these practices can decrease investments and employment in the US, in the long run, productivity can be expected to increase as technology exchange becomes more efficient and workers take on more specialized jobs. A 1999 paper by Hall and Jones suggests productivity growth has a significant impact on long term growth in GDP per capita (Hall and Jones, 1999), which we can expect to see translated to standards of living in the US.

Sources:

Barnes PM, Bloom B, Nahin R. CDC National Health Statistics Report #12. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults and Children: United States, 2007. December 2008.

Hall, Robert E., Jones, Charles I., 1999, “Why Do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker Than Others?” Quarterly Journal of Economics 114 (1), 83-116.

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