Globalization and the Developing World

Jane Oberhauser

Jane Oberhauser,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 9 November 2016

This semester, I am taking a non-engineering class called “Globalization and the Developing World”. (GEOG 1310) The class was recommended to me by a friend because of the passionate and knowledgeable professor and interesting content.

It’s a class taught by the geography department, and it’s similar to a human geography class I took my sophomore year. As the name suggests, this class looks at the effects of globalization on the developing parts of the world. This is especially interesting to me as an engineer who would love to “Create for Good” somewhere in a developing part of the world.

This class has been interesting and challenging. It’s not challenging in the way that my conceptually difficult classes are, but it forces my eyes open to the incredibly awful things that happen in the world. We had a section on child labor, where we learned that children are often paid incredibly small amounts for working day in and day out in unhealthy working positions and conditions.

We are currently learning about the unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This poses an interesting moral conflict, where all of electronics that we are using and designing as engineers contain a mineral that almost solely comes from this area. The mineral is fought for and genocidal wars are waged because of it. This all goes back to globalization when we realize that everything here is so interconnected. How can I currently be typing on a computer that is full of this mineral that caused so many unfair deaths? How should I feel about this? It makes me feel sick, but what am I to do?

These things, and many more injustices in the world, make my soul crave for justice to come. When or how that will happen isn’t in my hands, but I do want to do whatever I can to help. In my everyday life, I can buy products that are certified fairly traded. In my engineering future, what if I could design an inexpensive rug weaving loom that allowed children to sit in ways that don’t deform their growing bodies? Those are just small examples, but I’m thankful for this class opening up my eyes.

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