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Globalization is the integration of world cultures and economies. Whether aware of it or not people everywhere are witnessing and contributing to the globalization process everywhere. It effects societies, politics and ways of life around the world and is driven by human migration, international trade and integration of financial markets.
Although recently on the rise due to tremendous technological advancements there is nothing new about globalization. Even in the Middle Ages explorers such as Ibn-e-batuta and marc-o-polo started it off with epic journeys and returning home with tales of different cultures and places.
Trade drives globalization today, modern transportation and telecommunications have made it easier to export and import from faraway places. “United in diversity” this is the motto of the European Union which began as an agreement between six countries with the goal of creating lasting regional piece.
The big “star” of globalization today is undoubtedly the internet enabling interpersonal communication and business transactions in a matter of seconds; it has revolutionized our world in only a few years.
Migration plays a major role in the world’s economy, the World Bank estimates show that migrants in developed countries sent home more than 223 billion dollars to their families in developing countries in 2005.
Some traditional descriptions of globalization and economic globalization include:
It is the process by which regional economies, societies, and cultures have become integrated through a global network of political ideas through communication, transportation, and trade. The term is most closely associated with the term economic globalization: the integration of national economies into the international economy through trade, foreign direct investment, capital flows, migration, the spread of technology, and military presence. However, globalization is usually recognized as being driven by a combination of economic, technological, socio cultural, political, and biological factors. The term can also refer to the transnational circulation of ideas, languages, or popular culture through acculturation. An aspect of the world which has gone through the process can be said to be globalized.
Economic globalization refers to increasing economic interdependence of national economies across the world through a rapid increase in cross-border movement of goods, service, technology and capital. It is the process of increasing economic integration between countries, leading to the emergence of a global marketplace or a single world market. Depending on the paradigm, globalization can be viewed as either a positive or a negative phenomenon.
Economic globalization comprises the globalization of production, markets, competition, technology, and corporations and industries. Whilst economic globalization has been occurring for the last several hundred years, it has begun to occur at an increased rate over the last 20-30 years. This recent boom has been largely accounted by developed economies integrating with less developed economies, by means of foreign direct investment, the reduction of trade barriers, and the modernization of these developing cultures.
Effects of Globalization:
Globalization has various aspects which affect the world in several different ways
Industrial – emergence of worldwide production markets and broader access to a range of foreign products for consumers and companies, particularly movement of material and goods between and within national boundaries. International trade in manufactured goods increased more than 100 times (from $95 billion to $12 trillion) in the 50 years since 1955.
Financial – emergence of worldwide financial markets and better access to external financing for borrowers. By the early part of the 21st century more than $1.5 trillion in national currencies were traded daily to support the expanded levels of trade and investment. As these worldwide structures grew more quickly than any transnational regulatory regime the instability of the global financial infrastructure dramatically increased as evidenced by the financial crisis of 2007-2010.
Economic – realization of a global common market, based on the freedom of exchange of goods and capital. The interconnectedness of these markets, however, meant that an economic collapse in one area could impact other areas. With globalization, companies can produce goods and services in the lowest cost location. This may cause jobs to be moved to locations that have the lowest wages, least worker protection and lowest health benefits. For Industrial activities this may cause production to move to areas with the least pollution regulations or worker safety regulations.
Job Market- competition in a global job market. In the past, the economic fate of workers was tied to the fate of national economies. With the advent of the information age and improvements in communication, this is no longer the case. Because workers compete in a global market, wages are less dependent on the success or failure of individual economies. This has had a major effect on wages and income distribution.
Competition – Survival in the new global business market calls for improved productivity and increased competition. Due to the market becoming worldwide, companies in various industries have to upgrade their products and use technology skillfully in order to face increased competition.
Cultural – growth of cross-cultural contacts; advent of new categories of consciousness and identities which embodies cultural diffusion, the desire to increase one’s standard of living and enjoy foreign products and ideas, adopt new technology and practices, and participate in a “world culture”.
The creation of the international criminal court and international justice movements.
Crime importation and raising awareness of global crime-fighting efforts and cooperation.
The emergence of Global administrative law.
Globalization has been happening for centuries and in spite of its dangers it is an immense force for growth and prosperity.
We will conclude this discussion by presenting an interesting work by Benjamin R. Barber “Jihad vs. McWorld – How Globalism and Tribalism Are Reshaping the World”.
Jihad vs. McWorld is the title of a 1992 article that was later adapted into a book by political scientist Benjamin R. Barber, in which he puts forth a theory that describes the struggle between “McWorld” (globalization and the corporate control of the political process) and “Jihad” (tradition and traditional values, in the form of extreme nationalism or religious orthodoxy and theocracy).
As economic liberalism is the force behind globalization, this critique is relevant on a much larger scale. Unregulated market forces encounter parochial (tribal) forces. These tribal forces come in many varieties: religious, cultural, ethnic, regional, local, etc. As globalization imposes a culture of its own on a population, the tribal forces feel threatened and react. More than just economic, the crises that arise from these confrontations often take on a sacred quality to the tribal elements; thus Barber’s use of the term “Jihad”.
Barber’s prognosis is generally negative – he concludes that neither global corporations nor traditional cultures are supportive of democracy. He further posits that McWorld could ultimately win the “struggle.” He also proposes a model for small, local democratic institutions and civic engagement as a hope for an alternative to these two forces.
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