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Definitions of Globalization

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 Preface

Humans initially inhabited the earth in groups, colonies and tribes. As there population and quest for discovery and control of their planet grew, time brought them closer to each other all across the global sphere. The 16th and 17th century witnessed the unleashing of progressive nations in quest for more land and resources, resulting in widespread intermingling of culture and races. However it was not too far as just by the dusk of the 20 century economics, trade and knowledge started denting the barriers of nationalism. At this time technology played a very vital role and enabled a balance of resource and reach between the developed and the third world countries.  The 18th and 19th century strengthened the slogan of nationalization across the globe. Resulting in individual progress and race for better civic life, economy, military power and resource control with in nations. However by the end of the 20th century, many nations world wide realized that confined with in there own sphere of geographical boundaries seldom one of them has what all is required for the future. Thus in one way or the other they need to reach our to others and operate on a broader spectrum. Individual economies of nations proved to be the most vital factor in realization of this fact.

Thus the dawn of the 21st century brought about a new slogan for the world, this was proudly proclaimed as ‘Globalization’.

Definitions of Globalization

The first phrases of co-operation on a large global perspective were narrated by an American entrepreneur-turned-minister Charles Taze Russell who used the famouse economic term rm 'corporate giants' in 1897. (Russel 1897, p. 60-370)

Later on in 1960s till 80s economic literature and money markets seemed to have adapted to this new paradime of what we can call broad band economics   (Hopkins, 2004).

The United Nations ESCWA has written that globalization

"is a widely-used term that can be defined in a number of different ways. When used in an economic context, it refers to the reduction and removal of barriers between national borders in order to facilitate the flow of goods, capital, services and labour... although considerable barriers remain to the flow of labour... Globalization is not a new phenomenon. It began in the late nineteenth century, but its spread slowed during the period from the start of the First World War until the third quarter of the twentieth century. This slowdown can be attributed to the inwardlooking policies pursued by a number of countries in order to protect their respective industries... however, the pace of globalization picked up rapidly during the fourth quarter of the twentieth century..." (United Nations Annual Review 2002).

Saskia Sassen writes that "a good part of globalization consists of an enormous variety of micro-processes that begin to denationalize what had been constructed as national — whether policies, capital, political subjectivities, urban spaces, temporal frames, or any other of a variety of dynamics and domains." (Sassen 2006).

Tom G. Palmer (2002) of the Cato Institute defines globalization as "the diminution or elimination of state-enforced restrictions on exchanges across borders and the increasingly integrated and complex global system of production and exchange that has emerged as a result." .

Imprints of Modern Day Globalization.

Economic impacts

Once World War II ended, the politicians of the world specifically the developed countires started planning to over pass the national and geographical boundaries that confined the nations with in the sphere of nationaism and mapping locations. As the next leap of liberation for the developed world to recover from the affects of world war II could be a global economic market that would break down the borders hampering trade and increase economic prosperity and interdependence thereby decreasing the chance of another clash of global civilizations.

As a result of the efforts for a global economic platform Bretton Woods conference[1]

took place, it formulated an agreement by the world's leading politicians to make out a  system for international commerce and finance. Moreover a number of international institutions were are envisioned and layed down with the intensioin to oversee the processes of globalization.

Thus the first set of institutions that emerged to enable global economic ties and trade were the following:-

  • The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the World Bank),
  • International Monetary Fund.

The real out break of the global trade and bussiness took place owing to the advancements in technology and global communication becoming cheap yet vital for future corporate bussiness. Thus said technologies had reduced the costs of trade, and trade negotiation rounds, originally under the auspices of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), the end product of GATTS work resulted in the concept of free trade at global level. A few salient features associated with said concept are elaborated below:-

  • Promotion of free trade:
    • Elimination of tariffs; creation of free trade zones with small or no tariffs.
    • Reduced transportation costs, especially resulting from development of containerization for ocean shipping.
    • Reduction or elimination of capital controls.
    • Reduction, elimination, or harmonization of subsidies for local businesses.
    • Creation of subsidies for global corporations.
    • Harmonization of intellectual property laws across the majority of states, with more restrictions.
    • Supranational recognition of intellectual property restrictions (e.g. patents granted by China would be recognized in the United States).

The Uruguay Round[2] (1986 to 1994) played there part in creation of the WTO to ponder and resolve trade disputes among nations and also to setup a common acknowlegable platform for global trading. A few other multilateral trade agreements in history that paved the path for ecomonic globalization include the Europe's Maastricht Treaty and the North American Free  Trade Agreement. The Maastricht Treaty formally, the Treaty on European Union, TEU was signed on 7 February 1992 in Maastricht, the Netherlands after final negotiations on 9 December 1991 between the members of the European Community and entered into force on 1 November 1993 during the Delors Commission. It created the European Union and led to the creation of the euro ( Maastricht Treaty n.d).

The North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA is an agreement signed by the governments of the United States, Canada, and Mexico creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America. The agreement came into force on January 1, 1994. It superseded the Canada-United States Free Trade Agreement between the U.S. and Canada. In terms of combined purchasing power parity GDP of its members, as of 2007[update] the trade block is the largest in the world and second largest by nominal GDP comparison (North American Free Trade agreement n.d).

World exports rose from 8.5% in 1970, to to 16.2% of total gross world product in 2001 (Globalization n.d).

Cultural Impacts       

While globalization efforts in economic and trade were welcomed in more parts of the world, the cultural onslaught that it brought about faced different chalanges at different times. Initialy the american culture seemed to be spreading like a virus all across the globe. Yet with time the tools for said game have been understood by and large by other nations of the world as a result they have tailored the concept of global culture to there advantage yet keeping the spirit of naitonalism intact with in it. In this pretext, the western cultural industries, was understood at first as a process of homogenization, as the global domination of American culture at the expense of traditional diversity. However, a contrasting trend soon became evident in the emergence of movements protesting against globalization and giving new momentum to the defense of local uniqueness, individuality, and identity, but largely without success.( Osterhammel & Petersson 2005, p. 8). With time nations across the globe acknowledged the fact that in this new spectrum of globalization, numbers count a lot. Thus the eastern nations in particular took advantage of said system in the later part of the 21st century, in a way that was astonishing for the west and in some prespectives not envisioned correctly. Nations like the Chinese and Indians who have Millioins of there native countrymen living across the globe in different countries , irrespective of the fact that they hold the nationality of there resident country of there own, these nations utilized the spirit of nationalism in the global sphere to promote bussiness, trade, by keeping there people connected with there roots and culture. As a result the cultural on slaught of the western that seemed to be mesmerizing the world in the 19th and 20 century feels it self threatened by the re-precursive back lash of these new cultural identities that can be yet catagorised as nationalistic, yet operating at a global spectrum.

Implication on International Global Politics

While globalization has had its impact on economics, culture and thought process of the people in the 21st century, yet how does it impact on politics on regional, national and global level? This remains a big question mark for many think tanks.  The acknowledgeable facts pertaining to globalization as also stated above are that money, goods and manufacturing have become far more mobile than they once were, with the result that corporations are freer than ever to move, and finance to invest, wherever they choose.

This freedom has dampened the command and control of national governments over local industries  in controlling the activities of modern day mobile businesses, thus  while corporations and finance are well poised to dictate there terms to distinct governments by relocating their activities to locations; and buying the currencies of those states whose policies suit there interests and thus abandoning, or threatening to abandon, the remaining.

This new dimension of economic aggression has enabled global giants and corporate companies to exercise power and influence the policy making in countries. In said pretext few analysts state that the state system of control is on the verge of retreat (Strange 1996; Hardt & Negri 2000).

Yet few analysts have a different perspective to the phenomina of globalization. They  see the politics of globalization as a tension between struggle for prosperity and a struggle for preservation of identity and community and national values (Friedman 2000).

Another dimension to this thinking is that with time the state system had already started tailoring its control rights in the socialist system thorough acts of privatization, contracting out government work and creation of semi-independent government agencies, therefore it may not be just to simply label globalization responsible for lessioning of state control (Jessop 1993).            

The above referred theories of different think tanks if one could call them seem to be contradicting and confusing also to some extend.  However another thinker Ulrich Beck enlightens the phenomena of globalization in the following way:-

“The present day globalization needs to be understood as two consecutive eras in confrontation. Te first era quite simply as the first modernity, a time in which we all more or less played by the rules of national sovereignty, the writ of national governments ran within their boundaries and there they could do as they pleased. Within those boundaries, corporate and civil society were subject to the authority of the national state. In the current era, the second modernity, the power represented by national sovereignty can be evaded thanks to the 21st Century's freer flow of money, ideas, goods and people”(Beck 2005).

The above concept has been elaborated by Christopher Leo by labeling the present era as beginning of a "meta-game" of power, in which national power continues to play an important role, and the rules of national sovereignty remain operative, while, at the same time, the players are now able to play by the free-wheeling rules of the second modernity if they choose.

He further points out that so far, the primary player in the meta-game has been corporate capital, and notes that the capital and its political allies would like us to think that is all there is to globalization. He further narrates that globalization puts us all in the position of being forced to accept the hegemony of capital. Or, in his words, "The neo-liberal agenda is an attempt to capture the momentary historical gains of globally and politically mobile capital and fix them institutionally" (Leo 2007).

In light of all these concepts we may feel frightful at present that where this running stream of globalization would take us all. As our domestic boundaries diminish, cultural traditions and values fear challenged. Our national control and restriction also seems to be shaking, while all this is happening around us all. What are we really gaining from globalization and how our politics is getting influenced by it. The answer is today, no more societies and nations can remain under the shadow of ignorance and persistent state of monarchy and confinement as we could observe even in the 18th or 19th century. Technology as influenced life of individuals and masses to the extend that now knowledge about something is power. The most potent and modern day tools for control are media, broadband, and mass communication. One who can reach the people first can win there heart and thus commands there support. These simple phrases of modern day fact are rapidly becoming the golden facts of today’s diplomacy and politics world wide.

Conclusion

To conclude with globalization is a new galaxy of opportunities and problems all together. The key elements of this new world, there powers and affects are far less controllable then what was envisioned by the leaders who launched its drive. Yet it has given each nation a chance to prove its worth far beyond the boundaries of its geographical limitations.  On one hand it serves people to earn money and prosperity regardless of where they live and where they work. And on the other it has also threatened the nations that wish to keep there man and material in their own nut shells as they used to till the end of the 20th century. It has changed the concept of friend and foe and also revolutionized the meaning of human life on planet earth. May be now, we could all rise above our local, national and regional distinctions and ponder for us all as a human race.

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