Globalization and Identity in the USA and Canada

Subject: Globalization
Pages: 9
Words: 2558
Reading time:
10 min
Study level: PhD


Globalization has fuelled the development of economic blocks among countries that originally lived thousands of miles away from one another. It has enhanced the development of economic integration between Canada, Mexico, and the United States of America through international trade activities. In a global world, with lots of different cultural influences, nationalists might feel overwhelmed. The notion of a newly emerging global culture more or less implies the loss of national culture. This fosters nationalist thinking, as humans tend to turn towards things they know and they understand. In opposition to a universal culture, national cultures have a common and coherent heritage. In general, people who speak the same language and have identical values do less to alienate other people and it is easier to find a common ground for relations of any kind. Even though there might be loyalties towards both, the universal and the national culture, the attachment to the latter is more deeply rooted in people.

Globalization in perspective

Multicultural societies can also foster nationalism differently. While the majority of people living in a state will still be ethnic nationals, people from other cultural backgrounds account for one dominant or more specific and many small minorities (Hall, p. 163). Since it might be hard for the majority to see or even understand the point of the minorities, this can lead to tensions between cultures. Nationalists fear the too strong influence of people from other cultures towards the political decision-making process (Hall, p. 165). However, in most liberal-democratic countries, the law does not protect the minorities and their opinion does not need to be taken into account when making a decision.

Various histories, the ideology of nationalism, ethnic origin, cultures and philosophy distinguish countries. Each country strives to defend and preserve its identity as it is seen to be a show of respect to the elders who worked hard to develop it.

America is known for its strength in business development and a culture of helping other nations (Hall, p. 166). This paper explores how globalization has enabled the American culture to be shared among Canadians and Mexicans.

Initially, America could not interact with its neighbors like Mexico. This prompted the Clinton government to commission the development of a perimeter wall to contain the movement of Mexican immigrants into America. There must be a reason as to why Clinton made the unpopular decision. It is worth noting that there is a level of conventionality that aims to convey the essence of internationalization as having the sense of the interdependence of the world and interchangeably of many elements in it. The various issues in globalization like directions of transformation, its dimensions have a direct impact on the nation’s identity.

In the case of the U. S., Canada, and Mexico, the movement of goods and services across these countries has been facilitated by the removal of trade barriers. The trading environment is characterized by trade agreements, trade policies, and trade barriers. The United States law is considered as a congressional-executive agreement under international law (Bergstrand, p. 145). NAFTA is the world’s biggest free trade area. It took away a substantial amount of every partner’s decision-making on certain aspects. They meet to pass legislation that is beyond the individual state (Arndt & Alex, Part I). This form of development tends to erode a country’s nationalist ideologies. It has enhanced the economic growth for the citizens and improved their living standards. Furthermore, this trading block is recognized by the world as a well-built foundation that enhances the future growth of the countries involved (Arndt & Alex, Part II and III).

There were doubts as to the effect NAFTA might have on the level of employment in the United States (Burfisher, p. 128). The American companies would benefit by capitalizing on cheap labor availability in Mexico hence unemployment to American citizens. This would promote the movement of capital from the United States to Mexico and Canada. Canada was seen to offer a new market for American goods and vice versa.

Effects of Globalization

Globalization has both positive and negative impacts on the environment. Most countries take pride in the environment they are nurturing. America, in particular, believes in keeping a remarkably clean environment as compared to its Mexican counterparts. With the advent of globalization, other members can get exposure from America. Globalization has brought about reduced poverty levels in some parts of Canada and strengthened the competitive capacity of the member states. There has also been a notable increase in the Gross Domestic Product of both countries, especially after the economic crisis of 1994-1995 (Gould, pp. 16-17).

Canada was not severely affected by the integration but Mexican farmers felt a reduction in food prices. This is attributed to cheap imports from the United States. Having established themselves as the country’s best producers of agricultural products, the impact from their American counterparts spelled doom hence destroying their key sources of livelihood. The workers lost their jobs in the assembly and manufacturing industries (Gould, p. 19). In addition to this NAFTA has led to a high level of inequality in Canada, the United States, and Mexico (Gould, p. 22).

Economists argue that such integration has not been able to reduce poverty substantially in Mexico, and they operate on an economic roundabout (Heckman, p.155). To benefit from this integration, Canada has had to provide tax breaks to Americans, fewer environmental regulations, and reduced social security payments. The situation was quite tough in Mexico as the employees would not be allowed to form or join unions.


America has been the leading producer of goods and services in the North America block. Why should it engage the neighbors yet it had enough of what it needed. The basic reason lies in the fact that its interest was the market in Canada and cheap labor in Mexico. The term globalization depicts, in its original sense, a world that is becoming increasingly interdependent economically, culturally, and politically. The globalization of activities between the three countries did not lead to a change of trade, except for a few industries that included textile and apparel; in this case, the laws were formulated to favor the United States firms which preferred the Mexican manufacturer to Canadians’. The World Bank report showed that NAFTA imports were of an almost similar amount to non-NAFTA exports (Cherunilam, p. 308).


Agriculture is a topic of controversy within NAFTA. The three nations did not negotiate on how to handle agricultural matters. They only signed separate agreements. Canada signed an agricultural agreement with the United States, putting in tariff quotas and significant restrictions on their products (Cherunilam, p. 304).

Mobility of persons

Globalization is a key contributor to the most imminent threats to national identity. In modern society, people can move freely than before. There has been a high level of migration across the borders of these three countries (U.S., Canada, and Mexico). In the year 2006, 64,633 Canadians got access to work in the United States courtesy of NAFTA (Asean Studies Centre, p. 236). Canadian authorities estimated that 24,830 United States citizens had been permitted to work in Canada as of December 2006 (Asean Studies Centre, p. 236). Most of them had gained access through NAFTA. They left their respective countries to work in new places adopting foreign cultures and languages. With the continuous integration process, the American culture has been diluted as illegal immigrants find their way into the country. It has had to contain the negative developments from the Mexicans.

There has been an emergence of a multicultural society in America and Canada. These are attributed to social integration that is even propagated through the internet. These cultures are hybrid as the Americas, Mexican and Canadians intermarry. The fear of American is the threat posed by developments into the horticulturist’s society as it is a threat to its nationalist ideology. It challenges the significance of a common heritage and belief.

Controversies and Criticism

There are quite a several controversies in the North American Trade Agreement. The existence of such critics and controversies helped in shaping the international relationships among the three countries. Their political, economic, and legal identities were shaped out of such interactions. Some of these controversies include but are limited to:

Dispute in Canada

The Canadian government cannot cap the sale of Mexican and American products in the country at any one given moment. This implies that the government cannot control its trade even in the future. This provision applies to Canada’s natural resources like rivers and lakes. This creates fears as to the possibility of damaging the Canadian ecosystem and water supply. Other fears originated from the negative effects NAFTA had on the law-making process in Canada. The federal government banned the import of preservatives. Under NAFTA agreements, an American company filed a suit arguing that its additive was not a danger to human and animal health. It argued that the ban was causing massive damages to their company. Furthermore, an argument on Canada’s decision to impose a 27 percent duty on lumber imports on Canadian softwood, was to end being resolved by Stephen Harper, the new Prime Minister of Canada, who negotiated with the United States. A resolution was achieved on July 1, 2006. In addition, domestic resistance in Canada led to shelving the settlement policy (Asean Studies Centre, p. 240).

Canada filed various motions in a bid to eliminate the duty. The United States was, however, not satisfied with the decision of the NAFTA panel and vehemently opposed it. This had no impact on the countervailing anti-dumping and duty orders. However, on July 21, 2006, the U.S. Court of International Trade realized that duty imposition was opposing U.S. laws (Asean Studies Centre, p. 245).

Economic Integration

The first four years proved to be quite difficult for the North American partnership. It became difficult to enjoy the shared benefits among the three states due to war.

The governments’ of involved countries faced various challenges and complexities when drafting the way forward for NAFTA. Some of these challenges emerged from the United States’ understanding of the world. The United States had readdressed its foreign policy agenda to embrace globalization. Secondly, the public opinion on Canada and Mexico enabled countries to be in terms with the change to engage with the United States. Finally, economic inequality posed significant challenges as all the three nations had their share of economic inequalities.

As the globalization process took its guided shape, NAFTA presented win-win conditions to the three nations with its problems too. It enhanced international trade and ensured that business and market integration is achieved. Bilateral alternatives between Mexico and Canada provide another level of business integration in this region. Massive cooperation emerged between the south and north of NAFTA. Recently, they have shown significant cooperation and progress. The mention of the Fox government also builds up tension among the member states. Problems arose especially in the Unite States as it sought to match its foreign policy with that of other countries. This finally gave rise to mutual understanding among NAFTA members.

A small program of conversation began to comprise the workers from other sectors, the high levels of specialization proved to be so attractive and tempting hence increasing bilateral relationships in the region as advocates strive to achieve their laurels. From such a perspective, it is evident that the present state of affairs is not strong and stable at the national level.

It is worth noting that such activity concerns the two countries, America and Canada. In the year 2006, they both held their federal elections. This creates two aspects of difficulties. Analysts can deduce Canada’s conservative party as the return of U.S strength in NAFTA hence a blow to Mexico. If Mexico won, North America’s interest could decrease drastically.

The US and Canada have enhanced their cultural identity by accommodating one another for the past two decades. This has been a daunting task but finally, it is bearing fruits as more employees freely move to work from one country to another.

Market Integration

Increased activity in the business world has become a cause for worry among the nations that have maintained the conservative culture. They fear losing their cultural heritage or a reduction in the importance they have on the residents of the states. Such nationalist feels overwhelmed in a world of different cultural influences. Market integration is defined as trade between different countries. It arises when the flow of factors of production between countries is based on the same terms of trade as prevails within party states. Canada enjoys the advantage of economies of scale, competition, and trade. The consumers end up enjoying lower costs of various products (Rugman & Hodgetts, p. 430).


In conclusion, one could argue that there are a lot of existing threats globalization poses to nationalism. Participation in international organizations and the loss of parts of a state’s sovereignty over its territory, as well as regional integration, erode nationalist ideology (Hall, p. 164). A global market that links all economies with one another and the availability of products from far away countries also account for social linkages and changes in cultures. Technologies like the internet and other forms of media- be it music, films, books, or television- transport and export national cultures into even the remotest parts of the world and are capable of significantly changing cultures. However, the most salient feature of globalization is migration. The movement of people and their culture accounts for a more and more heterogeneous way of becoming hybrid culture or multiculturalism that eventually can lead to world culture. On the other side, in a global world, many features of nationalism seem to have a revival. Increased migration fosters xenophobia among people. Mixing cultures and newly emerging hybrid cultures make it hard for people to find their identity and let them turn towards their own culture. Nationalism accounts for secession movements around the world, especially in Eastern Europe. External extinction pressures towards cultures like in Estonia also foster nationalism to preserve the culture. Problem-solving and political decision-making in multicultural societies can also foster nationalist thinking if the majority culture feels left out or underrepresented by the government. As history tells us, globalization can also cause the economy to slow down or even fall into recession. During these times, people mainly focus on their own culture and well-being. As their expectations towards the global economy have not been matched, they turn towards their state as the last resort of help. They have greater trust and higher loyalty towards people with a similar cultural background.

Multicultural societies can also foster nationalism differently. While it might be hard for the majority culture to see or even understand the point of the minorities, this can lead to tensions between cultures. Nationalists fear a far too strong influence of people from other cultures towards the political decision-making process. However, in most liberal-democratic countries, minorities are protected by the law and their opinion needs to be taken into account when making a decision.

The international market in NAFTA countries has changed since its inception. It has mapped the economic, social, and political growth of the Mexican, American, and Canadian people. The success in the agriculture trade between Canada and US can now be measured. This would go a long way to building the relationship between the two countries and their neighbors in the future.

Works Cited

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