Globalization is a process of world wide connectivity through which the regional economies, societies and ways of life are joined together through trade and communications. It is the joining together of the local societies to the international community through the processes of trade, migrations, transportation and communication, business ventures and technology advancement. Globalization may also be described as the increased connectivity and reliance or interdependence of human communities on one another across the national borders. However, Held and McGrew (2003, p.4) discount the deterministic view of globalization as a process of connecting humanity by viewing it as a spatial process that generates intercontinental and interregional flows and networks. Moreover, it is the process in which the local and the national societies join into one global society in which there is a common market for goods, services, capital, and technology and to some extent labor. This paper will discuss the meaning of globalization and the factors contributing to the global transformation process.
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Globalization has been made possible by the advancements in the fields of technology and the change in human behaviors or ways of life. According to Mandela (1995, in Commission on Global Governance, 1995, p. 2), the contemporary world is taking a new shape, thanks to advancements brought about by globalization. Increased technological know-how has led to the rise in the rate of interactions through telecommunications advancement and the use of the internet. This is also increased by the developments in the transport sector where the rules regulating across the border movements have been modified to allow for free movement of people. Transportation has become cheaper and the modes of transport more advanced, reliable and faster (Scholte, 2000, p 20).
There are different opinions that have sparked the debate about globalization. The globalists argue in favor of historical development while skeptics take an different approach that describes globalization as the creation of free markets and expansion of Anglo-American capitalism on global economies (Held and McGrew, 2003, p. 5). In this case, globalization is seen as internationalization with the main aim being the economic and political expansion (Scholte, 2000 p 15). The increased global communication through the use of the media has compressed the socioeconomic and political space within the regional communities creating the integrated global community. This has led to changes in people’s way of life through the processes of acculturation and assimilation. The culture change has opened up people to the new ideas and ways of life and this has led to the increased demand for goods and services that are not found within their national borders therefore increasing the across-the-border trade which has resulted to increased globalization.
Apart from the media, the use of the internet has broken the national barriers even in the countries where there is control over global interconnectivity. However, globalization goes beyond social unification to include the structural reforms in all global institutions that touch on economic, political, cultural, and technological aspects (Camilleri, 2002, p. 256). Over the years, structural adjustments have been witnessed in healthcare, education, communication, finance, environment and political diplomacy, thanks to the active participation of major world transnational institutions, World Bank and IMF and the intergovernmental associations.
The internet has also led to the increased rates of global trade since the seller and the buyers transact from the comfort of their offices or homes. There also some websites that host trades and markets such as the e-bay. The result of this is creation of global culture with instantaneous connection seeming more attractive for global community to enhance its global consumerism (Beyman and Dunkerly, 2000, p. 15).
The increased levels of production have led to rise in demand for labor. This has led to great mobility of the work force as the potential employees look for jobs that suit the most. The increased setting up of the multinationals has led to greater interaction through the emergence of the expatriates. The workforce in the multinational especially the professionals are sometimes transferred to other branches situated outside their national boundaries. Networks for managing labor on a global scale have come up which include the International Labor Organization and labor unions.
There has been a great advance in the field of transport which has increased mobility. The use of trains, airplanes, cars, ships and other means of transport have developed and increased. People can easily move from one place to another faster and at cheaper rates. This has greatly contributed to the global exchange of goods and services since these can be delivered to areas where they are needed relatively faster.
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The advancement of the specific regions has led to the demand for goods and services not produced in these areas. This has led to the idea of specialization where people concentrate on what they are best at. People concentrate on what they can produce most economically and rely on the others to supply the rest leading to the rise of the global markets.
Surplus production has led to the need for the producers to find avenues to get rid of the surplus. This has been found through international trade where regional producers market their wares to the international buyers and this has increased connectivity in the economic sense; more so given that companies are able to segment their products based on the diverse cultures characterized by “notion of ‘difference’ and ‘foreign-ness’” (Beyman and Dunkerly, 2000, p. 19).
Human advancement has led to changes and modifications in their ways of lives. This can be seen in the view they have towards people from other communities or nations. The fact that we are all human beings has led to interconnectivity in that what harms people from a given region has multiplying effects which reach the people from other regions. This has led to a need for cooperation in an effort to avert, control and manage the causes and effects of these. Help during the time of disasters and a calamity is a good example.
Survival of the human beings is largely controlled by the nature of the relationships they have with themselves and with others. Institutions offering guidance on how to achieve this have come up including the United Nations. Introduction of the electronic money transfer has encouraged globalization. Transactions are easily done across the borders. The need for investment in the developing economies has led to opening up of the borders in order to attract the foreign investors.
As people are advancing the need for cooperation has increased. This cooperation on the other hand has led to the demand for more connectivity among the people in the world hence globalization. People needs lead them to cooperate in order to meet these needs. Need for education leads to the increased education opportunities which include online studies. Globalization has therefore led to joining of the local and the national societies into one global society in which common market for goods, services, capital, and technology and to some extent labor are prevalent
Beyman, J. and Dunkerly, D., 2000. Globalization: the reader. London, Athlone Press.
Camilleri, J. A. and Asku, E., 2002. Democratizing Global Governance. NY, Palgrave Macmillan.
Held, D. and McGrew, A., 2003. The global transformations reader: an introduction to the globalization debate. Wiley-Blackwell.
Mandela, N., 1995. “A New World.” Our Global Neighborhood: The Report of the Commission on Global Governance. Oxford, Oxford University Press.
Scholte, J., 2000. Globalization: a Critical Introduction. Basington, Macmillan press limited.