At the end of November 1999, Seattle saw major governments meet at a WTO ministerial meeting to discuss various trading rules. Seattle also saw free speech cracked down on in the name of free trade. Enormous public protests ensued. There were many differences in the perspectives of developing and industrialized nations on the current reality of free trade and how it affected them. It resulted in a WTO failure to agree on many issues, without adopting any resolutions. Developing countries were sidelined and one delegate even physically barred from a meeting.
Globalization is deeply controversial, however. Proponents of globalization argue that it allows poor countries and their citizens to develop economically and raise their standards of living, while opponents of globalization claim that the creation of an unfettered international free market has benefited multinational corporations in the Western world at the expense of local enterprises, local cultures, and common people. Resistance to globalization has therefore taken shape both at a popular and at a governmental level as people and governments try to manage the flow of capital, labor, goods, and ideas that constitute the current wave of globalization.
And while globalization has helped economies and societies expand and broaden, it's also made them more homogenized, critics charge. Case in point: The growth of international chains that results in the same restaurant – a Starbucks or a Shake Shack – on every corner, or the same retailers – Apple, Nike, The Gap – in every town. As these examples suggest, the so-called cultural exchange has been largely one-sided: American goods and culture have spread to other countries more than those of any other nation, often to the detriment of smaller, indigenous brands and outfits that can't compete with global giants, as mentioned above. So, countries end up with societies very similar to one another.