Globalization is probably one of the most difficult and controversial issues to deal with. A number of attempts were made by sophisticated researchers and philosophers in order to understand how to treat the process of globalization and whether it is possible to investigate it from different perspectives. However, not all ideas and suggestions were positively accepted by the society, and numerous discounts are still present in the chosen field.
In this paper, the works of two writers will be analyzed to comprehend why it is justified to understand globalization in terms of several dimensions at the same time and which dimensions remain to be the central ones in the system. Manfred Steger with his Globalization: A very short introduction and Nick Bisley with his Rethinking globalization are the two great contributors to the field of sociology and the role of globalization in particular. Their works help to define how it is necessary to treat the process of globalization and why it is important to consider its complexity.
The peculiar feature of Steger’s work is his desire to not only present a clear definition of globalization but also understand the mistakes of previous researchers and define their weak points. What he observes were numerous attempts to reduce the complexity of globalization and define only one particular dimension (Steger 14).
However, what is really important is to realize that globalization is of multidimensional nature in terms of attributes, and it has to be defined as a set of dimensions which aim at creating and stretching various independencies which promote people’s awareness.
This is why it is wrong to decrease the level of globalization’s complexity but it is necessary to define several dimensions which discover a true essence of the chosen concept. There are five main dimensions which are defined by Steger: political, cultural, ideological, economic, and ecological. Each dimension plays its own role in world’s development and differs from each other due to their purposes and impacts on society.
The process of globalization has already left its special mark on economic life of society: unbelievable spreading of economic relations around the whole world, development of new markets, transnational corporations and trading systems are supported. This is why it is not a surprise to define the economic dimension as one of the most important issues in globalization.
Economic relations predetermine the conditions under which people have to live. It is not enough to mention that economic order is important, but it seems to be crucial to admit that economic changes and conditions dictate the rules which have to be followed by the society.
In addition to the economic dimension, globalization is the process that considers certain ecological factors and needs. There are a number of ecological challenges the modern world has to face. Civilizations are not sure to solve the problems and improve the conditions they have to live under.
A kind of environmental degradation is the threat that cannot be overcome within a short period of time. It is a problem that has to be discussed on a global level. Current Industrial Revolution was the main factor of why environmental degradation has become an urgent issue nowadays. Earth’s environment was not a serious problem for several thousands of years (Steger 86), and now, it is a concern to deal with.
Unfortunately, it is not the only challenge to be mentioned. An ideological dimension is also an important issue of globalization. The point is that any ideology aims at providing people with particular ideas, norms, and ideals. The way of how people perceive the required information determines the scope of globalization, and the chosen dimension.
The chosen ideology may explain why a number of leaders truly believe that globalization is the only good thing to pay attention to and, at the same, is the step that may lead to negative outcomes which may destroy the existing society (Steger 96). This is why it is hard to define whether the impact of ideologies is pure positive or pure negative in regard to globalization, and it is a challenging task to understand how globalization may be controlled by society with its rules and norms.
The cultural dimension is not less important for the process of globalization. Though Steger defines it as a subordinate process that depends on the movements which are characterized by global markets (99), cultural changes influence the development of the world and people’s attitude to each other.
The role of cultural globalization is huge indeed: human consciousness undergoes considerable improvements so that human identity may be properly formulated (Steger 75). There are so many people who treat their cultures as something urgent and stable in their lived, this is why when something is changed from a cultural perspective, the rest ideologies and relations have to be changed with time basing on the cultural innovations.
It is necessary to admit that Steger defines two dimensions as subordinate processes, so, the cultural dimension is not the only one dependable process. The political dimension deals with the political interrelations which take place across the whole globe. Considerable growth of intergovernmental organizations, global governance, and state sovereignty promote the development of a new conceptual ground that will influence the process of globalization.
In his turn, Bisley admits that political aspect usually deals with the conduct of states and their attitude to the questions of war and peace (Bisley 5). The peculiar feature of this type of dimension is all about the attempt to establish a number of successful capitalist markets. In spite of the fact that such attempts are made, the political dimensions is still regarded as an important issue to pay attention to.
All the above-mentioned dimensions are hierarchically ordered by the both writers under analysis. In fact, this order means that nation states cannot properly perform their roles of protagonists and dictate their own rules in the world economy even under the most favorable conditions which they create. In spite of the fact that nation states are the integral part of the existing world economy, they cannot evaluate the effects of multinatonalism and find it obligatory to protect the already chosen welfare-state system.
This is why the ideas of technological change, international finance, or trade liberation usually proceed with particular rules which predetermined the traditional hierarchy of the current power. Even if some researchers admit that this type of hierarchical order is not as effective as it was several decades ago due to new trade rules and environmental problems, the dimensions of globalizations are still ordered.
This order came from the period when some European countries were eager to embody some new values and strengthen globalization tendencies. Steger defines these attempts as the development of a new capitalist world system under which it is difficult for capitalists to achieve the desirable expansion (Steger 28). This is why much attention is paid to the development of this type of economy so that nation states may control the investment capital under the conditions which are the most favorable for the chosen markets.
People truly believe that the nature of this economy will help to promote the ideas of free choice. However, Bisley underlines the fact that even taking into consideration the benefits of the offered economy, it is not enough to use the economic dimension of globalization as the only powerful body. The role of political dimension especially as it involves the nation state is still important.
The explanation to the above-mentioned statement is clear. For a long period of time, people tried to organize their political features and differences in accordance with the territory they belong to certain nation states (Bisley 3). National self-determination was rooted from the activities of the political leaders like Woodrow Wilson (Steger 59), as a result, the political dimension is defined as the one that is a dependent process as well as the one that may influence the development of other dimensions of globalization.
In general, considering the whole analysis of the dimensions of globalizations, it is hard to define the role of which dimension is more important because globalization has to be regarded as a complex process that is not complete in case some dimension is omitted, and only of the five dimensions perform the leading role in the system. People make a decision to use several factors to predetermine the process of globalization, and it is wrong to define the priority of a single body.
Bisley, Nick. Rethinking globalization. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. Print.
Steger, Manfred. Globalization: A very short introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. Print.