If you look at the tag on your shirt, chances are you would see that it was made in a country other than the one in which you sit right now. What’s more, before it reached your wardrobe, this shirt could have very well been made with Chinese cotton sewed by Thai hands, shipped across the Pacific on a French freighter crewed by Spaniards to a Los Angeles harbor. This international exchange is just one example of globalization, a process that has everything to do with geography.
Globalization is the process of increased interconnectedness among countries most notably in the areas of economics, politics, and culture. McDonald’s in Japan, French films being played in Minneapolis, and the United Nations are all representations of globalization.
What makes globalization possible is the ever-increasing capacity for and efficiency of how people and things move and communicate. In years past, people across the globe did not have the ability to communicate and could not interact without difficulty. Nowadays, a phone, instant message, fax, or video conference call can easily be used to connect people throughout the world. Additionally, anyone with the funds can book a plane flight and show up halfway across the world in a matter of hours. In short, the “friction of distance” is lessened, and the world begins to metaphorically shrink.
A general increase in awareness, opportunity, and transportation technology has allowed people to move about the world in search of a new home, a new job, or to flee a place of danger. Most migration takes place within or between developing countries, possibly because of lower standards of living and lower wages push individuals to places with a greater chance for economic success.
Additionally, capital (money) is being moved globally with the ease of electronic transference and a rise in perceived investment opportunities. Developing countries are a popular place for investors to place their capital because of the enormous room for growth.
The word ‘diffusion’ simply means to spread out, and that is exactly what any new found knowledge does. When a new invention or way of doing something pops up, it does not stay secret for long. A good example of this is the appearance of automotive farming machines in Southeast Asia, an area long home to manual agricultural labor.
As global awareness of certain issues has risen, so too has the number of organizations that aim to deal with them. So-called non-governmental organizations bring together people unaffiliated with the government and can be nationally or globally focused. Many international NGOs deal with issues that do not pay attention to borders (such as global climate change, energy use, or child labor regulations). Examples of NGOs include Amnesty International or Doctors Without Borders.
As countries are connected to the rest of the world (through increased communication and transportation) they immediately form what a business would call a market. What this means is that a particular population represents more people to buy a particular product or service. As more and more markets are opening up, business people from around the globe are coming together to form multinational corporations in order to access these new markets. Another reason that businesses are going global is that some jobs can be done by foreign workers at a much cheaper cost than domestic workers. This is referred to as outsourcing.
At its core globalization is an easing of borders, making them less important as countries become dependent on each other to thrive. Some scholars claim that governments are becoming less influential in the face of an increasingly economic world. Others contest this, insisting buy compare and contrast essay that governments are becoming more important because of the need for regulation and order in such a complex world system.
There is a heated debate about the true effects of globalization and if it really is such a good thing. Good or bad, though, there isn’t much argument as to whether or not it is happening. Let’s look at the positives and negatives of globalization, and you can decide for yourself whether or not it is the best thing for our world.