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Q.               Explain how changes in technology have contributed towards globalization of markets and of production?

Answer:

People around the globe are more connected to each other than ever before. Goods and services produced in one part of the world are increasingly available in all parts of the world and international travel is more frequent. This is called "globalization."

It is a process in which people, companies and governments of different nations interact and integrate. It is a trend in which economies integrate to form a global economic system. (Hill, 2009)

               There are two aspects of globalization:

  1. The globalization of Markets
  2. The globalization of Production

The globalization of markets is the merging of different and explicit markets into one enormous marketplace. (Hill, 2009)

The globalization of production is using of goods and services from different locations around the world to take advantage from the difference in cost and quality of factors of production e.g. labor, land and capital. (Hill, 2009)

Many institutions have been formulated to help manage, regulate and police the phenomena of globalization and to promote the establishment of transnational treaties for global trade. A few are as follows:

  1. The World Trade Organization (WTO)
  2. The International Monetary Fund (IMF)
  3. The World Bank
  4. The United Nations (UN)

These institutions act on an international level to regulate and tackle any problems that the different countries, companies and individual may face when undergoing globalization e.g. The IMF provides monetary services and acts as a last resort for the members in financial distress.

Now the question is how instead of what. How does globalization happen? What drives globalization? There are many drivers or rather changes that result in globalization. Generally, there are two macro drivers of globalization. These are:

  1. The declining trade and investment barriers between countries
  2. Changes in technology

The lowering of barrier to trade and investments allows firms to base production at the optimal location for a particular product or service. This allows a firm to design a product in one country, produce its components in another other country, and then export the finished product around the world. This lowering of trade barriers has facilitated the globalization of production lowering the cost for labor, land and capital.

The technological changes are not just limited to the automation of the production line but it also includes the advancement in infrastructure and connectivity. The most important innovation has been the microprocessors. The global communications have also been revolutionized by developments in satellite, optical fiber, and wireless technologies. The rapid growth of the internet is the latest expression of this development. Improvements have also occurred in the field of transportation technology resulting in the development of commercial jet aircraft, which has reduced the time for transit this means New York is closer to Tokyo than ever.

Globalization is not only resulting from declining trade barriers or changes in technology but upon scrutinizing two other factors come into play. These are Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and increasing international trade.

Globalization is not a straight line event rather it has been maturing from many decades and the implications of this phenomenon are being strongly felt now. This has been going on since the 1960's. In the 1960's the US dominated the globe's economy and the international trade picture and it also led the front when it came to FDI, similarly the US multinationals ranked high in international business (Hill, 2009). This has all changed due to globalization and other countries, firms and individuals have risen to compete in the global market place.

Much has changed in the demographics of the world when looking at world GDP and trade. China did not have a share in the worlds output in 1963, now has 11.5 % of the GDP in 2007 and 7.2% of the worlds export in 2006. This shows the tremendous effect of globalization in the current world marketplace. China in 2008 was listed as the 3rd largest Economy based on Nominal GDP. The share of world output generated by third-world countries has steadily increased since the 1960's. There also has been a persistent growth in cross-border flow of FDI and it does not come as a surprise that China has been the largest receiver of FDI (Hill, 2009). When looking at the percentage share of total FDI from 1980 to 2006, the developing economies have had a boost from 2% in 1980 to around 14% in 2006 whereas the US had an enormous 40% share of FDI in 1980 which now has almost reduced by fifty percent to 23% in 2006.

There are many facets to globalization and on a closer look there is the multinational enterprise. A multinational enterprise (MNE) is a type of business which has operations in two or more countries. A multinational enterprise can also be referred to as an International Corporation. MNE's have powerful influence over local as well as the global economies and play an important role in international relations and globalization.

In the past the western market was closed for many economies but that trend has changed and many markets have opened up for the western market to invest in. The collapse of communism in Eastern Europe has created a host opportunities for export and investment. The biggest opportunity emerged in China due to economic developed even with the continuing communist control. Also the change in democracy and the free market reforms in Latin America have also given a possibility for investment from foreign investors.

Going over all what globalization has to offer, a question comes to one's mind that a shift towards a global marketplace a good thing? There many views on this particular question. Many experts believe that globalization is helping prosperity by providing more jobs, lower prices of labor, materials, land and thus resulting in more profitability. Whereas other experts suggest that globalization is not beneficial as managers who are managing transnational and multinational organizations have to take into account a lot more factors as compared to stereotypical administrators (Hill, 2009). Managing an international business differs from a typical business in four notable areas:

  1. Differences in countries require companies to employ different practices in different countries.
  2. Administrators face greater and complex range of problems.
  3. Companies have to follow the different limits imposed by different governments in countries and have to work within those limits.
  4. International business requires converting funds and is very susceptible to fluctuations in the exchange rate.

To overcome these insights about managing international organizations managers have to use un-structured solutions and practices that may require additional resources in terms of labor, capital and land. This brings us to our next thought, why so many experts against what globalization have to offer.

Globalization has occasionally been regarded as a solution to problems like underdevelopment, malnutrition and violation of human rights, and important human rights institutions have been set up and incorporated into the global human rights regime. Governments are finding it increasingly difficult to violate their citizens' human rights without attracting the attention of the media and international organizations as a result of developed telecommunications and global interdependence. Indeed, overall human rights practices have improved worldwide during the last decade or so. However, this improvement has neither been universal nor linear.

Globalizationi.e.the growing interpenetration of states, markets, communications and ideas across borders is one of the major informants of the contemporary world order. International agencies for the protection of human rights are now more developed while an emergent global civil society facilitates avenues of appeal for citizens repressed by their own states. But assaults on fundamental human dignity continue, and the very obliteration of borders and promotion of transnational actors that had originally sponsored the global human rights régime may also generatenewersources of human rights abuse. Even as they are more widely propagated and accepted, the rights of individuals have come to depend increasingly on an entire range of actors and forces - from the multinationals to the missionaries.

Unelected global institutions like the World Bank, international peacekeepers or environmental NGOs administering protected areas increasingly control the lives of the most powerless citizens of economies that are weak.

We've talked about what globalization is, what the key component drivers of globalization are, how it affects the production process. In doing so we've talked about the MNC's (MNE's) and also how the demographics have changed since globalization started. This also has provided us with a picture of how managers who are working for transnational organization take into account different factors for their, planning, organizing and leading decisions. Advancement in technology did not globalize the production and marketplace but it has increased the momentum of globalization manifolds. Although globalization is widely considered as a positive phenomenon but as always everything has its virtues and vices. It all depends on the perspective one employs to look at globalization.

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