This essay mainly talks about whether globalization has destroyed nation-state. According to the author, globalization hasn't destroyed nation-state since now, but it may finally destroy it someday in the future.
The process of globalization started from centuries ago and has developed especially fast in the recent decades with the help of modern technology. Nation-state, as an abstract concept, mainly means a state, or country, that has defined borders or territory. It is a state in which people are of the same ethnic, with the same background, speak the same language and even with the same religion. Globalization has greatly changed the way people think and act. Many regional organizations have been set up, which pave the way for globalization. Also some global organizations came into being. When members of these organizations make their own economic and political policies, they have to consider the core principles of these organizations, so their flexibility of making policies has been reduced (James, 2000). With the development of transportation, the number of immigration also has risen. These immigrants will, of course, bring their own culture or religion with them. If a country accepts too many immigrants, its nation-state will inevitably be influenced. Multinational companies are opening their business worldwide, combing the mode of trading and production methods of both their own countries and the recipient ones together, which will also affect the nation-states. And due to the development of media, people have more access to the living style of other countries, and they will unconsciously accept some of their cultures and the way of living. The world is becoming a small village. Globalization brings threats to Nation-State.
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Globalization has developed for centuries and become inevitable trend. Globalization is the increasingly relations economic, political, social and cultural relations among nations throughout the world. Goods and services produced in North America can be soon available in South Africa. People can travel freely in the world. International communications are more convenient (Harvey, 1995).
Globalization stated as early as the 15th century with the development of capitalism. Actually, together with colonization, globalization began. Then the inter-imperial commercial activities started. The cooperation between developed countries like European nations, United States and Japan promoted the form a series of groups. The most distinctive one was EU which united most of the countries in Europe and made the economic cooperation among them more convenient (Kevin, 2002). Even though, EU held close ties with other countries, especially in commerce. Many big companies quickened their steps to develop towards multinational companies through FDI, joint ventures, outsourcing and so on. Many more regional groups such as NAFTA came into being. Developing countries also organized their own groups, such as ASEAN. These regional groups promoted the development of globalization.
In the last two decades, the rapid development of technology has made it easier for people to travel, communicate and do business globally. Thus the process of globalization has stepped up dramatically in these two decades. Two main driving forces are advances in telecommunication infrastructure and the rise of the internet. As economies in one country are becoming increasing dependent on other countries, there are opportunities as well as competition (Cooper, 1996).
What's more, globalization also includes the political, social and cultural aspects which all make the world a small village.
A nation-state is a state, or country, that has defined borders or territory. It is a state in which people are of the same ethnic, with the same background, speak the same language and even with the same religion (David, 2002).
According to the definition, it can be concluded that the US is not a nation-state. Though all the Americans live within the same territory, they are descendents of people from all over the world, so there is no specific culture among them. The United States is a melting pot, so the Americans, in the sense of nation-state, don't share a common nationality (Giddens, 1985).
Similarly, if there are only definite culture, common values and same religions, but no territory, there is no nation-state. When Europeans first arrived at the US, they got along well with the Native Indians. But when more Europeans reached there, they decided to set up a nation, so they occupied Native Indians' land. As a result, these people lost their own homes. Then Native Indians became nations with no specific territory, though they had the same background and shared the same culture.
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There are so many countries in the world, but most of them are not within the category of nation-state, because there are always immigrants. When the immigrants enter a certain country, it will definitely bring their own culture and even religion with them. If the amount of immigrants is small, correspondingly, the effect is minimal, so that certain country is still a nation-state. However, in the contrary, the influence of the immigrants on the country is substantial, then that country has lost its nation-state.
Iceland and Japan are both nation-state. But the reasons are different. Iceland is a country located in the northern Europe and its immigration rate is very low, so it has preserved most of its own culture. Japanese people consist of a nation whose sense of sense of nation identity is very strong, so the immigrants can't exert too much influence on it. The similarity of the two countries is they are both island countries, which may give us a little explanation about why they can be called nation-state. The case of Ireland is a combination of Iceland and Japan, because it has low immigration rate as well as a strong sense of national identity.
Whether nation-state can survive the globalization has aroused heat debate all over the world, and it will be discussed next.
Globalization has developed for centuries, especially fast in recent decades due to the development of technology. Many argue that globalization might destroy nation-state in the future. Some scholars even argue that after the Cold War, alliances and opposition have had no need to exist. This problem will be discussed next.
It is true that nowadays the economic, political and cultural systems of nation-state are different from what it used to be. According to Freidman (1997), a single global market and culture is created through the integration of trade, finance, and information.
In the past before the WWI, goods just flowed among the different places within the same nation or among different nations only on the condition that they are suzerains and colonies. So the goods exchanged are limited and consumers don't benefit much from that. However, the situation is completely different now. Goods can be exchanged within the whole globe, and people can get what they want. Along with that competition is greater and manufactories have to face competition both inside and outside, so they have to work hard to increase their productivity so as to reduce costs and improve the quality of goods. So the ultimate beneficiary is the consumers (Suzanne, 1996). Nation-state still has its place, but it becomes more difficult for it.
Now the international market greatly determines the national economic policies of governments. This market is a free one, deregulated of the economic sector and disengaged of government from the provision of goods and services. If a nation's economy wants to survive the tough environment, it has to conform to this market. In 1997, a severe economic crisis broke out in Asia. One article in Washington Post gave its review about this crisis and argued that nation-states are related to capital:
"The solutions (to the currency crisis) are not mysterious.Â They need sounder currencies, linked to the dollar, less public spending, lower taxes and less regulatory red tape, borders that are more open to trade and capital, and governments that are more candid, less corrupt and less apt to meddle in the private sector. ...A country that complies with conditions hospitable to capital will get that capital, which is continually scouring the globe, seeking the best returns.Â " (Glassman, 1998, ppA23)
A country's credit assessment can reflect its ability and willingness to pay back its debts. Different from individuals and companies that can be taken to court when they can't pay back the loans, it is impossible to take countries to court since there is no international courts that can trial a country. Economics is closely related to politics, so when considering a country can honor its debts, its political system, social stability and decision-making processes must be taken into consideration. Without globalization, nations can't borrow money from other countries. There is intense competition among nations on their abilities to have access to international assets.
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In the mid 17th century, the Treaties of Westphalis stipulated what the modern nation-state was based upon. After that, international relation had its own guiding principle, i.e. state sovereignty. One of the principles of sovereignty is "territorial integrity", and it is considered a serious problem when someone trespasses another nation. Because of globalization, people can move freely nowadays around the world (Mills, 1994).
During the process of globalization, many international and regional organizations have been set up. When a country has become a member of these organizations, such as WTO, EU, APEC, UN and NAFTA, only to mention a few, its flexibility will be reduced when making economic and sometimes even political policies. For example, most countries are members of UN. It strictly forbade a country to produce nuclear weapons. However, Iran and DPRK are now acting against this principle, so UN takes economic sanction against them. Then when these two countries are making their political policies, they must consider the principles of UN. It is the same with other nations whose political policies are stipulated not solely in accordance at their own will. Also, WTO, which has a great impact on its members' economies, will definitely affect their economic policies. For example, China joined WTO in 1995 and promised to open its market completely in the following decades. So Chinese government has to consider that point when stipulating foreign trade policy.
Many large multinational companies are exerting great influence on the recipient countries, because they can bring a lot of benefit to them, not only bring a considerable amount of revenues, but only creation plenty of job opportunities (Louis & Reich, 1999). These companies often can influence the recipient countries' economic and political policies, which will inevitable affect their nation-states (Dierks, 1997).
Globalization not only affects a country's economy and politics, but also its culture. With the help of media, people have more access to the conditions of other countries and will inevitably been influenced by them, especially when the developing countries get to know more about the developed countries, they tend to learn more from the living style or something else from those developed countries. English now is the international official language, so nearly all countries are paying increasing attention to the study of English. Language is an important part of the culture. Words are associated with culture concepts. When new words are accepted in a country, it means that the corresponding culture related is also being accepted. Language, as a messenger of culture, is affecting nation-state also. During the period of anti-Japan war, when the Japanese occupied some areas of China, it forced the children there to learn Japanese in order to change these areas into its complete colonies. From that, the role language plays in a diminution of nation-state can be seen.
To conclude, globalization has greatly influenced the economy, politics and culture of all the countries.
The global media is the 'roll booster'Â in spreading national culture worldwide, which also accelerates the erosion of national culture. In this information era, media is no longer limited to one city or country. It has become a global issue. Messages are transmitted across borders with the development of technology. Media plays an essential role in the process of globalization (Kirby, 1996).
News companies including companies dealing with newspapers, film, satellite, cable, television and internet seek opportunities to expand their empires all over the world, especially those in western developed countries. The expansion leads to the accusation from the people that they eliminate the cultural borders between nations and want to penetrating western culture into the whole world (Ash, 2002). With the globalization, the erosion of national culture is imperceptible and unconscious. The global media does threaten the Chinese culture (O'Rourke, 2002). More and more western films and TV programmes are entering Chinese market which has brought great challenges to Chinese national culture. Along with these films and programmes are not the films themselves, but also western people's life style and culture. The new style of life and culture becomes the fashion of Chinese society. For example, a lot of Chinese abandon the traditional Chinese culture but imitate what they learn from the media. They eat food in KFC and drink Coca-cola and Coffee instead of dumplings and tea, not totally because these things are really delicious but because they are popular and represent a modern life style. Hollywood commercial films are famous and competitive worldwide with many world-famous stars. To meet the taste of public, the Hollywood films are the learning models for many Chinese directors. Chinese directors are bringing in more American elements into Chinese films. Many scenes in the film have affected Chinese people living style. Meanwhile, Chinese audiences are increasingly evaluating films according to the standards of Hollywood films. Nowadays, the young Chinese are fans of Superman, Spiderman, and Transformers as the American teenagers. The Chinese Children are much crazier about Mikey Mouse, Bobby moppet than the Suwukong or any other famous characters in Chinese traditional culture. It is really sad that Chinese Children know learn about Mulan, a traditional Chinese story from Disney cartoon film.
In this circumstance, a lot of countries try their best to prevent their culture from being eroded. To what extent, global media can affect a country's national culture has a close relation with that country's society and legislation. Chinese government pays enough attention to what kind of media can come into Chinese market and lays strict limitation on that. All foreign things that enter Chinese market will have to be filtered by the Chinese market. Once the BBC reported that "Chinese authorities switched off a BBC satellite transmission after accusing the corporation of violating its contract about what it can broadcast." The BBC also said that all the licensed foreign channels have to broadcast through a state-owned satellite so that the government can prevent the news that it thinks improper from being broadcast. Australia is different from China. A large amount of low-cost American contents are broadcast on Australian television. Once an Australian network has sold it advertising time, they have to present enough attractive and suitable programs to attract enough audience so that they can cover the advertising cost and make a profit. It is much expensive to buy programs locally than those from the US, so they buy more US series which cost only 20 to 30 percent of the equivalent local ones. So global media has greater influence on Austria than on China (Cunningham & Jacka, 1996).
From the above, it can be seen that global media accelerate the erosion of national culture, but it is also limited by that country's policy and legislation.
National culture is an essential part of nation-state and it provides a protection for nation -state. Strong culture can better protect its nation-state than weak culture can.
Japan is a strong-culture country with high-context culture. Who you are-that is, your values and positions or place in society- is crucial in this kind of culture. Japanese people pay more attention to relationships. And the effect of hierarchy system still can be seen. The subordinates must obey the superiors, and the younger people show complete respect for the older one. FDI to Japan is more difficult than to other countries, because Japanese people they believe more their own companies and are more willing to do business with their Japanese counterparts. In Japan, shared feelings of obligation and honor take the place of impersonal legal sanctions. With less FDI, foreign culture can enter Japan more difficult. On the contrary, America is a low-context culture, and it is willing to accept more FDI which inevitably bring in cultures from all over the world, so the US is not a nation-state with a definite culture. Instead, it remains a melting pot.
Japan has a long history just as China does, and it has a strong sense of national proud. It is a country with a strong culture, which means that it is not easy for other countries to erode its national culture. This distinctive culture makes it different from other countries and important for its nation-state. It can protect the nation-state from being destroyed.
The stronger a country's culture is the more important role it plays in the protection of its nation-state.
Globalization is an inevitable trend. It is changing people's way of living greatly. Not a single country can get rid of its influence if it wants to survive. Globalization may affect not only the economic life, but social and cultural life as well. On the one hand, globalization has greatly accelerated people's steps into a happy and wealthy life. With the help of globalization, people have improved their ability in doing and thinking. They may think of things they could never think of in the past and let their dreams come into being. On the other hand, the globalization brings different cultures together, which cause both integration and repulsion. In this sense, nation-state seems to be eroded since all countries are related to other countries and influenced by each other. For example, a catholic country may not only celebrate their own religious holidays, they may celebrate Chinese New Year or Hindu holidays because of the importation of foreign immigrants and their cultures. All these make a country lack in her unique features and global media plays an important role in the erosion of national culture. Globalization makes the world becoming smaller and smaller. With this trend, it can be concluded that though globalization hasn't thoroughly destroyed nation-state yet, it will in the future.