We all say that the world keeps getting smaller, and with the internet and other modern technologies, it has indeed been shrunk down to the size of your computer screen! You can watch a live-stream of penguins from Antarctica or you can watch a shoal of fish in the Great Barrier Reef via webcams! You can even get a look at the Wonders of the World by just getting a high-speed internet connection and Google Earth!
In this rapidly shrinking world, we’ve all come across this word “Globalisation”, and though the word seems self-explanatory, no one seems to be actually sure of what it exactly entails! So maybe it’s time to start the new year with a fresh understanding of the topic to appear (and actually be!) smarter and whole lot cooler. Here are seven things you need to know which will help you hold your own in a conversation about Globalisation.
1. What does it mean?
Globalisation can be described as a process involving interaction and integration of people from different countries at the social, commercial and governmental level; for which international trade and investment and information technology have been catalysts. It has impacted the world as we know it today in almost every aspect imaginable: environmental, political, cultural, and economic just to name a few!
2. It is not a new concept
Globalisation as a concept is not something new. Though it has reached far greater scales recently, it has been a constant factor in our history. For millennia, humans have been engaging in trade and had developed trade routes between far off lands. Such an example of an ancient trade routes is the Spice Trade Route, which linked the Mediterranean region to India, Arabia, and South-East Asia, traversing the Red Sea.
Historically, there have also been instances of people investing, financially and otherwise, in businesses in other countries in order to protect their own trade interests, like when the Egyptians built cities and forts in the Arabian Peninsula in order to protect the Incense Trade Route. This was the predecessor of modern-day Globalisation.
3. It has several aspects
The most important aspects of Globalisation are commercial, social, and political. The commercial aspect is what drove men to expand their horizon and establish various trade routes and agreements, bringing the world closer together.
The social aspect involves cultural exchanges and enrichment. The tradesmen brought more than just merchandise from foreign lands, they brought other cultures, customs, languages, habits, and traditions to their homelands. Political ideologies and approaches also transcended borders, making their way across different geo-political landscapes through this process.
4. It has undergone explosive growth in the past decades
The advances in technology and evolution of policies in these last decades have provided an impetus to international trade, investment, and migration on unprecedented scales. There is a growing belief that our world is experiencing a new phase of economic development. To take an example, the global trade volume has increased by twenty-fold! And foreign investment has nearly double from 1997 to 1999, from $ 468 Billion to $ 827 Billion.
5. It has reduced economic inequality among nations
The term economic inequality refers to concepts such as equality of outcome, equity and equality of opportunity. Globalisation, and the resulting international trade, have affected economic inequality differently on different scales.
While income inequality within countries has increased, it has reduced on a global scale because developing countries have experienced exponential growth compared to developed countries. For example, the per capita incomes in India and China have doubled in last two decades. The same rate of increase took 150 years in the United States!
6. It has created a global playing field
Sports is a major cultural factor that can influence countries, their identities, and thus, the entire world. The Olympic Games have become a popular global event. Hosting, or even bidding to host the Olympics, seems to increase the host country’s exports, since the country sends a signal that it is open to trade, when it bids to host the games.
Moreover, it has been observed that hosting the Summer Olympics has a significant positive effect on the economic conditions of the city by creating jobs, an effect which lasts for several years. Globalisation has always improved the level of competition in sports on an international scale. The FIFA World Cup final in 2014 had an estimated one billion viewers world-wide!
7. It transcends geo-political boundaries
Globalisation has allowed humans to transcend national boundaries, literally and figuratively. It has allowed people from all over the world to come together and unite in their efforts for worthwhile causes. There are many examples of international cooperation on various levels, like the NATO and G8, which represent international military peace-keeping initiatives and international environmental treaties like the Montreal Protocol, which have successfully helped protect our environment.
There are, of course, many other aspects to Globalisation; however, these are the ones that are most pertinent and relevant for understanding this term. It has allowed people to come together and share their efforts, and thus, is one of the most crucial driving forces behind the progress made by man.
So this is Globalisation in a nutshell. Congratulations! You have just completed your Globalisation 101 and are ready to actively participate in any discussion about the topic.