Globalization

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Globalization is the process of increasing interaction among people, businesses, and governments worldwide, in which traditional political, cultural and economic barriers may break down. It is a controversial process, some believing that it makes new resources and opportunities available, while others believing that it destabilizes working social systems in the interest of alliances and financial cooperation that has no popular legitimacy. Globalization has a significant effect on traditional nationalist politicomilitary doctrine, and even on the role of quasi-states. Transnational companies may effectively wage economic warfare.

It is not that globalization is new, but the scale of globalization is new, accelerated by technology. International trade, to say nothing of invasion, has been a form of globalization for millennia, such as the Silk Road across Central Asia from East Asia to Europe. In some cases, corporate "pseudo-persons" may take the role of colonialist powers. Job loss, "brain drain", and resource exploitation are all concerns.

Acceleration suggests that the current wave of globalization has qualitative differences. Since 1950, for example, the volume of world trade has increased by 20 times, and from just 1997 to 1999 flows of foreign investment nearly doubled, from US$468 billion to US$827 billion. Distinguishing this current wave of globalization from earlier ones, author Thomas Friedman has said that today globalization is “farther, faster, cheaper, and deeper.”[1]

Not by economics alone

Global expansion is most often thought business-driven, but there is a significant cultural and religious aspect. Benjamin Barber describes the class in his book Jihad vs. McWorld, in which he proposes one current of "a current narrowly conceived faiths against against every form of interdependence...against modernity itself as well as the future in which modernity issues. The second paints that future in shimmering pastels, a busy portrait of onrushing economic, technological, and ecological forces that demand integration and uniformity and mesmerize people everywhere with fast music — MTV, Apple Inc. and McDonald's — pressing together into one homogeneous theme park....caught between Babel and Disneyland, the planet is falling precipitously apart and coming reluctantly together only at the very same moment.[2]

On the economic front, globalization has accelerated when even nominally Communist states such as China and Vietnam accept market economies and allow foreign investment. Increasingly free trade is a major factor.

In the Pentagon's New Map, Thomas P. M. Barnett sees technology as defining the new relationships, and splits the world into a "connected core" and those countries not connected to the core. [3] The political philosophy of neoconservatism considers Western liberal democracy the panacea, although this is not always compatible with business interest: Francis Fukuyama wrote
we may be witnessing..the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind's ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.[4]

Fukuyama is Huntington's student, but disagrees with some of his mentor's views in his book, The End of History and the Last Man. Samuel Huntington, however, sees, in The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order, the world as inherently multicultural, with too much pressure to homogenize as a recipe for war.[5]

Information technology, first radio, then television, then the Internet, reduces barriers.

Religion can be globalizing force, especially the jihadist movement, whose goal is to bring regions, or the world, into the common culture of the Dar al-Islam, "House of Islam", rather than the Dar al-Hab ("House of struggle/war"). Even within this context, there is different opinion if an Islamic culture can be generally modern, or if it must follow the Salafist belief of staying at the lifestyle demonstrated by the Prophet.

Important proponents of globalization

While the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were intended to help stabilize the world economy after the Second World War, they are also targets of anti-globalization sentiment. Many see them as a means of imposing Western-style capitalism without considering local culture, including local economic traditions.

Regional agreements

Controversies

Globalization is deeply controversial. Some claim it provides opportunities in poor countries, while others claim it exploits both the poor and rich, often for the benefit of pseudo-governmental organizations not accountable to the governed.

Globalization is of deep concern even in rich countries. Offshoring of jobs has been a major issue in the United States, just as the idea of legal and illegal foreign workers and the associated immigration policy. Some manufacturing jobs keep migrating to places with lower labor costs, as from the United States to Mexico to China to Vietnam.

References

  1. The Levin Institute, State University of New York, What Is Globalization?, Globalization101.org
  2. Benjamin Barber (1996), Jihad vs. McWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism are Reshaping the World, Ballantine, ISBN 034538304, p. 4
  3. Thomas P.M. Barnett (2005). The Pentagon's New Map: The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-first Century. Berkley Trade. 
  4. Francis Fukuyama (Summer 1989), "The End of History", The National Interest 16 (4), p. 18
  5. Huntington, Samuel P. (1996). The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. Simon & Schuster.