This essay will focus on researching and defining the meaning of globalisation, as it is a much contested process, and look at the effect and consequences of social inequality in India. By doing this the essay will particularly focus on what the specific impact caused by the believed globalisation and how this effects different groups of people. The effects of globalisation are apparent throughout the world, with both positive side effects including opening peoples minds to other cultures and has eased trade between different countries (Nsibambi, 2001) but it has also had many negative consequences such as some values being destroyed as customs are diminished and it believed that globalization has increased sale of drugs throughout different countries (Nsibambi, 2001). The definition of globalization as stated by Held et al is `A process which embodies a transformation in the spatial organization of social relations and transactions, in terms of their extensity, intensity, volume and impact, generating transcontinental and networks of activity interaction and exercise of power' (1999: 16). Whereas it could also be portrayed as `the interlinking of different national markets' (Jalan, 1992: 150) Social Inequality could be described as a massive problem, especially in India where it is estimated that 80% of the population live on less than $2 each day (Fastblog, 2006). Social Inequality is described as occurring when `ideology and power combine in such a way as to make one group of people either superior or inferior to another group' (Sociology.org, 2007).
It is argued that technically any arrangement of a social hierarchy division must involve a degree of separation of social classes and groups, as it does in every country (Sociology.org, 2007). For example in the UK it could be argued that people are separated into classes such as lower, middle and upper depending almost entirely on either their jobs, income or family background, much as they are in America. There are two basic types of inequality; material and symbolic. Material inequality refers to inequalities between wealth, income and so on. Symbolic inequality refers to a difference regarding status and power (Sociology.org, 2007).
One major positive attribute of globalization in India is the increase in job opportunities, especially for women. In India in 1992 just 14.4% of the total labour force in the formal sector were female but by 2000 that number had significantly increased to 17.6%. There has been an even bigger percentage rise in women that employed within central government has increased from 2.51% of the total workforce in 1971 to 7.65% in the year 2000 (Parthasarathy, n.d.). It could be argued that it is the intervention of women entering into employment has helped to decrease the poverty level by 12% (Parthasarathy, n.d.). Whilst some, usually more educated women, have been able to enter employment this has increased social inequality as many women do not have the skills that are required to be able to get a job which covers the cost of their basic needs. Many women have recently become employed in call centres, as many companies from Western countries have moved their operations to India, as there are less health and safety regulations and labour is much cheaper. There are many problems attached to this as it means that many people work throughout the night due to the time difference between India and the UK or America. Research has shows that many qualified workers in India apply for jobs in call centres as the initial salary seems good and it is often believed that there will be opportunities for travel and promotion, and this is often not the case (ZDNet, 2003). It has been proven that over half of all employees in call centres operating in India quit due to the extremely difficult working conditions (ZDNet, 2003). The possible effect of this on social inequality could be that workers who leave jobs in call centres have no other income and then this would leave them at a higher risk of poverty and deprivation.