In general, globalization may be defined as the process of integration and interaction among countries worldwide and the growing interdependence of their economies, populations, and cultures. Globalization is stimulated by international trade-in technologies, products, and services and the flows of people, investment, and information. That is why the development of transport and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) substantially stimulates the process of the world’s incorporation. The last several decades may be characterized by significant innovations, such as mobile phones, the Internet, fast trains, and low-cost airlines. These developments provide heightened connectivity and time-space compression that are essential in the modern world.
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People’s ability to connect and travel across the globe has currently changed their perception of distance, time, and potential barriers. This change was subsequently described as time-space compression or time-space convergence. In other words, individuals do not realize distances when they have an opportunity to cross them expeditiously and affordably. For instance, with the development of transportation and the occurrence of air travel and low-cost flights, a two-week journey in the past currently lasts barely two hours.
In turn, ICT innovations lead to globalization as well through their contribution to economic growth in the international context. Delocalization of manufacturing, money transactions, outsourcing, and the delivery of physical products from faraway places became available. The development of digital devices and collaborative technologies, such as messaging, video and audio conferencing, and online forums, allow people from different parts of the world to interact in real-time without meeting. And almost all people in the modern world from the most developed and poorest societies are connected by mobile phones and the Internet. Through online social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, people not only communicate and share common interests but organize to advocate for their rights and social changes.
Although globalization currently affects all parts of the world, this process cannot be equally intensive everywhere as it is a multifaceted and multidimensional phenomenon. There are several globalization indexes developed to evaluate its level in different countries. While economic and digital globalization is more extended, cultural and population global integration and interaction are still limited. Moreover, certain regions of the world are less involved in global processes or relatively unaffected by them.
Globalization implies the multiplicity of interconnections between countries, societies, and individuals that form the modern world system. By the process of globalization, activities, decisions, and events of one part of the globe have a highly substantive impact on individuals and communities from other regions. In general, this phenomenon occurred mainly due to the development of communication technologies and transportation. Despite the fact that in the present day, a prevalent number of states worldwide are influenced by globalization, there is no agreement of opinion concerning the inevitability and irreversibility of this process. Literature dedicated to globalization defines three main theoretical positions, globalism, transformationalism, and internationalism, that have different interpretations.
According to globalists, globalization is a tangible and inevitable process that increases global interconnections in all spheres of life. They point to an essential shift in the social relations’ geography and the operation of social processes on an international scale. For instance, the local conflict between Serbia and Yugoslavia in 1999 became a matter of international concern and resulted in the external intervention of NATO. Globalization has a substantive influence on the whole world making national boundaries virtually insignificant. It lessens national and local differences, sovereignty, and autonomy in order to produce a homogeneous global economy and culture. Globalists mention the existence of a modern global structure with well-defined riles that determine the operation of individuals, organizations, and countries. While positive and pessimistic globalists view the results of globalization in opposite ways, they agree that the development trajectory of this phenomenon is inevitable and irresistible.
In turn, transformationalists consider the influence of globalization described by globalists partially exaggerated. They argue that a substantial number of states remain, politically, military, and economically powerful. For example, particular countries refuse to devalue national currencies and sustain welfare expenditures in order to resist the substantial pressure of the modern global market. However, they admit that the material impacts of global interpenetration should not be underestimated. The autonomy of powerful states is limited by the power of transnational corporations that pursue their own commercial goals.
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According to the transformationalists, the outcomes of modern global interconnectedness are diverse, complex, and unpredictable. They do not share the common opinion concerning the positive or negative effects of globalization, however, it should not be regarded as an inevitable and final fixed point of development. There is substantial scope for local and national agencies, and the precise contemporary forms of globalization may be reversible by new progressive structures and a global system of democratic governance. Transformationalists state that although global institutions should be empowered, nation-states will retain their main role as accountable, legitimate, and territorially specific frameworks of policy. In addition, the interaction between global tendencies and the initiatives of local, national, and other agencies is highly essential.