Today’s world portrays vast communication and exchange across geographical borders, due to centuries of technological innovations causing places to “move” closer together. People can themselves physically move around the planet far quicker, by means of modern transport innovations. People can also communicate across ever increasing distances, due to modern media and ICT innovations. Although there has been a long history of human movement and communications spanning the world, it is in the last two hundred years that we have seen a dramatic “speeding up” of this. The geographer Nigel Thrift called this a ‘hyperactive world,’ a world that is ever more inter-connected. As he put it, simple distinctions break down between the ‘here’ and ‘there’, between the ‘local’ and the ‘global’. It is this that in many people’s views constitutes globalisation. These main concepts of time-space compression (due to modern innovations), globalisation and how these have spread unevenly and have caused inequalities across the globe, will constitute the main body of this essay. With the spread of transnational corporations we find that the goods we buy and consume are most likely to be produced in countries thousands of miles away, by workers we will never meet. The books, films, music and art that we admire as cultural beauties will too stem from a wide range of locations. Even the food we eat tends to be a conglomeration of national dishes from across the globe. So, in a sense, everywhere contains bits of everywhere else. Aside from this, these days our own worlds expand to take in many other places. This is due to the ease and relative in-expense of modern day travel, which allows us physically to travel the length and breadth of the globe, and the spread of technical innovations such as the internet, allowing us to contact anywhere in the world at the push of a button. All of this however begs the question, who are ‘we’ here, and is this situation the same for everybody, everywhere? (Philo, 2007) Globalisation is defined as, the economic, political, social and cultural processes whereby places across the globe become increasingly interconnected, where social relations and economic transactions increasingly occur on the intercontinental scale, and the globe itself comes to be a recognisable geographical entity (Wills, 2005). This however, does not mean everywhere in the world becomes the same, and it is in fact quite a highly uneven process as different places are integrated differently into the world, and each view that world from their own perspective. Although it has been around for several hundred years with the start of colonialism, globalisation today is characterised by the new and more effective connections across space (Held et al., 1999) in short, globalisation these days is very much associated with shrinking space and time, disappearing borders and thus, linking peoples lives more deeply, more intensely and more immediately than ever before (Wills, 2005). In the 1970s, geographer Donald Janelle expressed how times and spaces were in effect ‘getting closer together’, he called this ‘time-space convergence’. Peter Gould, another geographer, once remarked:
“In 1840 it might have taken a hundred days to communicate from San Francisco to London, or around 8,640,000 seconds. Today, a direct-dial telephone makes the same connection in about ten seconds, so in ‘telephone space’ this part of the world has shrunk by a factor of about 864,000.” The internet, the most recent innovation in technology and communications, and the pace of its development, allows people all over the world to be in contact at the touch of a button. It is in effect a global network connecting people through a series of wires. However these advantages do not come without concern, the internet has a highly uneven power-geometry (Massey, 1995) through the so called ‘electronic ghettos’ found especially in less economically...
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