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1. What is globalization ?
Globalization broadly refers to the expansion of global linkages, the
organization of social life on a global scale, and the growth of a global
consciousness, hence to the consolidation of world society. Such an ecumenical
definition captures much of what the term commonly means, but its meaning
is disputed. It encompasses several large processes; definitions differ
in what they emphasize. Globalization is historically complex; definitions
vary in the particular driving force they identify. The meaning of the
term is itself a topic in global discussion; it may refer to "real" processes,
to ideas that justify them, or to a way of thinking about them. The term
is not neutral; definitions express different assessments of global change.
Among critics of capitalism and global inequality, globalization now has
an especially pejorative ring.
The following definitions represent currently influential views:
- "[T]he 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 . . . . the spread of free-market
capitalism to virtually every country in the world " (T.L. Friedman,
The Lexus and the Olive Tree, 1999, p. 7-8).
- The compression of the world and the intensification of consciousness
of the world as a whole . . . . concrete global interdependence and
consciousness of the global whole in the twentieth century" (R. Robertson,
Globalization, 1992, p. 8).
- "A social process in which the constraints of geography on social
and cultural arrangements recede and in which people become increasingly
aware that they are receding" (M. Waters, Globalization, 1995,
- "The historical transformation constituted by the sum of particular
forms and instances of . . . . [m]aking or being made global (i) by
the active dissemination of practices, values, technology and other
human products throughout the globe (ii) when global practices and so
on exercise an increasing influence over people's lives (iii) when the
globe serves as a focus for, or a premise in shaping, human activities"
(M. Albrow, The Global Age, 1996, p. 88).
- Integration on the basis of a project pursuing "market rule on a global
scale" (P. McMichael, Development and Social Change, 2000,
p. xxiii, 149).
- "As experienced from below, the dominant form of globalization means
a historical transformation: in the economy, of livelihoods and modes
of existence; in politics, a loss in the degree of control exercised
locally . . . . and in culture, a devaluation of a collectivity's achievements
. . . . Globalization is emerging as a political response to the expansion
of market power . . . . [It] is a domain of knowledge." (J.H. Mittelman,
The Globalization Syndrome, 2000, p. 6).
Conceptions of Globalization
In this Journal of World-Systems Research article, Leslie Sklair argues
that globalization encompasses a distinct set of changes, which can be
studied from four perspectives he labels world-systems, global culture,
global society and global capitalism.
In a series of articles, The Economist systematically examines different
aspects and views of globalization and argues that it is neither all-pervasive
This brief OneWorld guide argues that globalization is a strategy of
liberalization that becomes an economic nightmare for the poor.
as the End and the Beginning of History
Arif Dirlik, Duke University, argues that globalization is not only a
process but also a paradigm, a novel way of thinking about the world that
has contradictory implications.
A World-Systems Perspective
In this Journal of World-Systems Research article, Christopher Chase-Dunn
outlines the main claims of world-systems theory and argues that global
capitalism provokes socialist forms of resistance that can lead to a more
Challenges and Opportunities
G.B. Madison, McMaster University, reviews economic, political, and cultural
aspects of globalization to argue that a new form of capitalism is emerging.
Globalization or the
Age of Transition?
Immanuel Wallerstein, SUNY Binghamton, argues that globalization is a
form of discourse advanced by powerful groups that describes old features
of the world economy but ignores the uncertain transition the world system
is actually going through.
and Debates: Towards Defining Globalization
Global Policy Forum links to articles on globalization.
Paul Treanor argues that most analyses of globalization express a mythical
belief system falsely assuming that nation-states once were independent
and now have collapsed.
Globalization of Finance
Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve (U.S. central bank),
argues that the expansion of efficient global financial markets is largely
beneficial but also presents new risks.
The Lexus and the Olive
Book excerpts and columns by Thomas Friedman argue that the "new era
of globalization became the dominant international system at the end of
the twentieth century" in an irreversible process affecting everyone.
(back to the top)
- What is globalization?
- How does globalization affect women?
- Does globalization cause poverty?
- Why are so many people opposed to globalization?
- Does globalization diminish cultural diversity?
- Can globalization be controlled?