The Character and Impact of Globalization Trends
Category : Globalization
The Character and Impact of Globalization Trends
Globalization of both the economy and the society has confronted the world over the past decade. A shift of focus and interest from the local market to the international setting has demanded innovation not just in corporate leadership as new information; forms of communication and technology are being offered to be utilized in encouraging and reinforcing interaction among individuals. (2003) stated that globalization has invaded our consciousness in many forms. Basically, it is an inclusive term for the emergence of a global society in which economic, political, environmental, and cultural events in one part of the world quickly come to have significance for people in other parts of the world (2004) and is often branded as the triumph of capitalism (2000).
Globalization represents the shift of the main venue of capital accumulation from the national to the supranational or global level ( 2000). In globalization, people around the globe are more connected to each other than ever before. Information and money flow more quickly than ever. Goods and services produced in one part of the world are increasingly available in all parts of the world. International travel is more frequent. International communication is commonplace ( 2004). However, this phenomenon has both positive and negative effects. Included in the negative aspects are the rapid spread of diseases, illicit drugs, crime, terrorism, and uncontrolled migration. On the other hand, globalization’s benefits are a sharing of basic knowledge, technology, investments, resources, and ethical values (2004).
As such, this paper is an attempt to illustrate and discuss the characteristics of globalization and the inherent impact of such trend.
Characteristics of Globalization
Globalization, has acquired considerable emotive force. Globalization has its own meaning from different individuals. For some, globalization is a process that is beneficial, i.e. a key to the future world economic development and also inevitable and irreversible. Others regard it with hospitality even fear, believing that it increases inequality within and between nations or organizations, threatens employment and living standards and thwarts social progress.
Globalization (or globalisation) in its literal sense is a social change, an increase in connections among societies and their elements due to, among others, the explosive evolution of transport and communication technologies. The term is applied to many social, cultural, commercial and economic activities. Depending on the context it can mean: (a)closer contact between different parts of the world (globalization of the world, global village), with increasing possibilities of personal exchange and mutual understanding between "world citizens", (b) or (economic globalization), freer trade and increasing relations among members of an industry in different parts of the world (globalization of an industry), (c) or some negative exploitation aspects of economic globalization such as evasion of legal and moral standards by moving manufacturing or mining and harvesting practices overseas (1998).
Globalization is a powerful real aspect of the new world system, and it represents one of the most influential forces in determining the future course of the planet. It has many dimensions: economic, political, social, cultural, environmental, security, and others (2004). In popular discourse, globalization often functions as little more than a synonym for one or more of the following phenomena: the pursuit of classical liberal (or “free market”) policies in the world economy (“economic liberalization”), the growing dominance of western (or even American) forms of political, economic, and cultural life (“westernization” or “Americanization”), the proliferation of new information technologies (the “Internet Revolution”), as well as the notion that humanity stands at the threshold of realizing one single unified community in which major sources of social conflict have vanished (“global integration”) ( 2002).
Globalization has become identified with a number of trends, most of which have developed since World War II. These include greater international movement of commodities, money, information, and people; and the development of technology, organizations, legal systems, and infrastructures to allow this movement. More specifically, globalization refers to:
· An increase in international trade at a faster rate than the growth in the world economy
· Increase in international flow of capital including foreign direct investment
· Greater transborder data flow, using such technologies such as the Internet, Communication satellites and telephones
· Greater international cultural exchange, for example through the export of Hollywood and Bollywood movies
· Reduction in global cultural diversity through assimilation, hybridization, Westernisation, Americanization or Sinosization of cultures
· Erosion of national sovereignty and national borders through international agreements leading to organizations like the WTO
· Greater international travel and tourism
· Greater immigration, including illegal immigration
· Development of global telecommunications infrastructure
· Development of a global financial systems
· Increase in the share of the world economy controlled by multinational corporations
· Increased role of international organizations such as WTO, WIPO, IMF that deal with international transactions
· An increase in the number of standards applied globally; e.g. copyright laws
Furthermore, globalization is an interdisciplinary concept used to mark the site of struggles between local and global economies and experiences given the contemporary transnationalization of capital, communication, and culture. In a globalized world, fragmentation walks hand in hand with homogenization. To many people all around the world, globalization has become synonymous to Americanization. In fact, a simpler definition of globalization states that it is the creation of a New World economic system (the American one). (2001) flatly used the term "McDonaldization" of the world as a synonym for globalization.
Impacts of Globalization
Globalization has its own style of offering extensive opportunities for truly worldwide development but it can be seen that it s not progressing evenly. Some nations or organizations are becoming integrated into the global economy faster than the others. Nations or organizations that have been able to integrate are seeing advance growth and reduced poverty. With the undying influence of globalization to the world, there are many organizations that are striving to adjust with these influences.
Globalization broadly refers to the expansion of global linkages, the organization of social life on a global scale, and the growth of a global consciousness, hence to the consolidation of world society. Globalization is historically complex; definitions vary in the particular driving force they identify. The meaning of the term is itself a topic in global discussion; it may refer to "real" processes, to ideas that justify them, or to a way of thinking about them. The term is not neutral; definitions express different assessments of global change. Among critics of capitalism and global inequality, globalization now has an especially pejorative ring (2001).
Economic "globalization" is a historical process, the result of human innovation and technological progress. It refers to the increasing integration of economies around the world, particularly through trade and financial flows. The term sometimes also refers to the movement of people (labor) and knowledge (technology) across international borders. There are also broader cultural, political and environmental dimensions of globalization that are not covered here. At its most basic, there is nothing mysterious about globalization. The term has come into common usage since the 1980s, reflecting technological advances that have made it easier and quicker to complete international transactions—both trade and financial flows. It refers to an extension beyond national borders of the same market forces that have operated for centuries at all levels of human economic activity—village markets, urban industries, or financial centers (2002).
Among the aspects, in which globalization has significant implications, it is that of culture that has implicit effects for such are abstract. Furthermore, the economic and the political aspects contribute in shaping such effects in the cultural dimension and vice-versa, as (1997) expounds, “Globalization has economic roots and political consequences, but it also has brought into focus the power of culture in this global environment - the power to bind and to divide in a time when the tensions between integration and separation tug at every issue that is relevant to international relations.” In this sense, globalization perpetuates the cultural dimension for the latter plays an indispensable role in enhancing and in limiting the phenomenon itself. Moreover, in relation to such merit of globalization, (1997) comments, “The homogenizing influences of globalization that is most often condemned by the new nationalists and by cultural romanticists is actually positive; globalization promotes integration and the removal not only of cultural barriers but of many of the negative dimensions of culture.” It could be deduced from this notion that globalization is significant to culture for the former is a unifying factor of the borderless society, which is an offshoot of the phenomena.
Fewer trade barriers and unprecedented technological advances have accelerated the pace of globalization. The advances in communication technology make it easier to enter the international market through the efficient marketing and advertising strategies that a number of international business organizations invest in by utilizing the services provided by the Worldwide Web (2001). Electronic data communication (EDC) facilitates the exchange of data at tremendous speeds; it sorts and integrates data with other information available to the recipients (businesses, banks, capital markets) from other sources. Individual countries and trading and currency blocs alike view the fast-moving e-business sector as having a direct impact on the countries’ and blocs’ competitiveness in the global market ( 1999). The tremendous growth of technological advancement has become the driving force of contemporary industries.
Although there are many criticisms that were pointed out to globalization, it cannot be denied that it has its own benefits. One of the benefits of globalization is it describes the ongoing global trend toward the freer flow of trade and investment across borders and the resulting integration of the international economy. Because it expands economic freedom and spurs competition, globalization raises the productivity and living standards of people in countries that open themselves to the global marketplace. For less developed countries, the benefits of globalization is obvious, globalization offers access to foreign capital, global export markets, and advanced technology while breaking the monopoly of inefficient and protected domestic producers. Faster growth, in turn, promotes poverty reduction, democratization, and higher labor and environmental standards. Globalization has produced enormous benefits for very large numbers of people (2004).
A mistake critics often make is to blame poverty and income inequality on globalization. But, in the majority of cases, these are more the result of domestic circumstances in individual countries. For years, industrialized countries put too much emphasis on pressing developing countries to open up their capital markets, and paid too little attention to helping them develop the domestic institutions required to use resources more efficiently and to create economic and social progress. Improving the legal and educational systems and social safety nets of developing countries ought to be global priorities to help these countries cope with and take greater advantage of globalization ( 2004).
Furthermore, the process of globalization is commonly recognized to be characteristic of contemporary international developments. Contemporary processes of globalization have several dimensions or faces: technological, cultural, religious, economic and political. None of these is in itself good or bad. All should be understood as ambiguous, with potential for good and evil, but in the current phase of globalization it is important to distinguish the different faces of globalization and identify with a potential to pursue the good. Globalization implies two distinct phenomena. First, it suggests that political, economic and social activity is becoming worldwide in scope. Secondly, it suggests that there has been an intensification of levels of interaction and interconnectedness among the states and societies (1991). Among these relations are those created by the progressive emergence of a global economy, the expansion of transnational links which generate new forms of collective decision-making, the development of intergovernmental and quasi-supranational institutions, etc. (1990 ). Consequences of globalization are controversial and not necessarily positive.
We often meet features of Americanization or globalization in our life. The United States of America have great influence on world’s culture, on its customs, values, and people. Some people want to look like Americans and they try to do what Americans do, wear what Americans wear, and try to live how Americans live. They believe that having acquired American lifestyle means they have an advantage over those who are not Americanized. Although they do not learn the language, they inherit the American customs and holidays, style of their life, their traditions.
American fashion is distributed internationally but is not made for international markets: they are made for the US market, by, for, and about Americans. Thus, one can conclude, to enjoy these easily accessible products one must be or become American and the more one consumes, the more one becomes American, thereby enabling increasing pleasure and ease in this consumption. Americanization is a case in point of a basic process of acculturation. It results in sounding the alarms of cultural imperialism and cultural alienation: one becomes what he/she consumes, because in order to consume he/she must become the targeted consumer. This is the equivalent of saying: because Science is a product of Western European civilization, then to become a scientist one must become westernized, i.e. adopt Western mores, values, and ways of thinking.