What Is Globalization?
What is globalization all about? Democratization of technology and information, as well as free trade and open financial markets? Or pandemics, terrorism, and a challenge to tradition and cultural mores? Both. Like a coin, globalization has two sides.
Globalization in its broadest sense is "the crystallization of the globe as a single place." (R. Robertson)
It "involves the inexorable integration of markets, nation-states, and technologies to a degree never witnessed before – in a way that is enabling individuals, corporations, and nation-states to reach around the world farther, faster, deeper, and cheaper than ever before, and in a way that is also producing a powerful backlash from those brutalized or left behind by this new system." (T. Friedman).
Globalization is hardly a new phenomenon. Three centuries or so ago, globalization pros and cons were hotly debated by economists, politicians and philosophers of that time.
One of the earliest manifestations of globalization was increased international trade. The advantages it offered included the import of cheap and hitherto unknown foreign commodities, improvement in the methods of production and in labor productivity, the diffusion of innovations and technology.
On the other hand, the economic interdependence fostered by international trade made a country confronted with the vagaries of the weather or wars dependent on the other countries for food and other products.
What is globalization now? It remains the same highly controversial phenomenon that increases interdependence, interconnectedness and interchangeability and turns us into players on a single global arena.
For example, it was globalization that enabled the Asian economic miracle over the past half-century. And it is globalization that has ruined the well-being of individuals and nations in the course of the recent financial crisis.
Thanks to globalization, you as a customer enjoy more choices and lower prices for goods and services. But as a worker you suffer because labor market competition intensifies, jobs flee to cheaper locations, and factories skip across borders.
Globalization goes far beyond international trade and economics. As goods and services flow across borders, national barriers erode and traditional values and lifestyles change.
Moreover, growing international flows of migrants, increasing trade between nations, and expanding information technology seem to make further globalization irreversible. Its forms will change manifesting, however, the same essence. And there will be both winners and losers of globalization.
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