What is globalisation?


What is globalisation?

Definitions of globalisation:

  1. 'The intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa.' (Gladdens 1990: 21)

  2. 'The integration of the world economy (Gilpin 2001: 364)

  3. 'De-terriorialization or the growth of supra-territorial relations between people' (Sholte 2000: 46)

  4. 'Time – space compression.' (Harvey 1989)]

Globalization equals liberalization:

(This entails a freeing up of economic transactions across the globe to create an open or, in Kenichi Ohmae’s term a ‘borderless world’. Thus political or territorial borders that separate states are thought to be increasingly irrelevant as they are transcended by transnational flows of goods, capital, currencies).

Globalization equals universalization:

(This is similar to the previous definition of liberalization, but it refers to all processes, especially cultural and NOT just economic).

Globalization equals Westernisation:

(This definition or rather vision of globalization refers to the expansion of the West to remake the whole world in the image of the West. In such a vision, globalization transcends and renders moribund all non-Western cultures and all non-Western forms of state and economy. This is very common among liberal and Marxist theorists of globalization. In its liberal guise, the expansion of the West is a good thing, bringing economically dynamic capitalism and liberal-democracy to all states around the world, for which we should all be duly grateful. It offers up the means to overcome poverty and tyrannical states. In the Marxist guise Westernisation is mainly a bad thing because capitalism is inherently imperialist. Thus globalization is really just the process through which the West or the North economically exploits the East or the South, leading to the economic expansion and enrichment of the North at the expense of the South. But whether a force for good or bad depending on your theoretical preference should not obscure the point that for most theorists globalization IS Westernisation.

Making sense of globalisation:

  • Everyday over $2 trillion flows across the world's foreign exchange markets.

  • Transnational corporations now account for between 25-33% or world output, 70% of world trade, and 80% of international investment.

  • An increase in non-governmental organisations (NGOs) e.g. Greenpeace or Climate Action Network.

  • An increase in transnational spread of ideas and cultures e.g. music, religion.

  • An increase in immigration and migration.

  • A higher recognition of transnational issues e.g. climate change.

  • Expanding jurisdiction of international organisations e.g. international monetary fund.

  • Could be known as an international interdependence?

Over the last 3 decades the sheer scale, scope and acceleration of global interconnectedness has become increasingly evident in every sphere from the economic to the cultural. Sceptics do not regard this as evidence of globalisation if that term means something more than simply international interdependence, i.e. linkages between countries.

Conceptualising globalisation:

  • A stretching of social, political and economic activities.

  • The intensification, or the growing magnitude, of interconnectedness, in the social sphere e.g. spread of weapons.

  • An increase in global interactions e.g. HSBC, in


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