Globalization can be conceived as a process (or set of processes) which embodies a transformation in the spatial organization of social relations and transactions, expressed in transcontinental or interregional flows and networks of activity, interaction and power (see Held and McGrew, et al, 1999). It is characterized by four types of change. First, it involves a stretching of social, political and economic activities across frontiers, regions and continents. Second, it is marked by the intensification, or the growing magnitude, of interconnectedness and flows of trade, investment, finance, migration, culture, etc. Third, it can be linked to a speeding up of global interactions and processes, as the development of world-wide systems of transport and communication increases the velocity of the diffusion of ideas, goods, information, capital and people. And, fourth, the growing extensity, intensity and velocity of global interactions can be associated with their deepening impact such that the effects of distant events can be highly significant elsewhere and specific local developments can come to have considerable global consequences. In this sense, the boundaries between domestic matters and global affairs become increasingly fluid. Globalization, in short, can be thought of as the widening, intensifying, speeding up, and growing impact of world-wide interconnectedness. Three broad accounts of the nature and meaning of globalization can be identified, referred to here as the hyperglobalist, the sceptical, and the transformationalist views. These define the conceptual space of the current intensive debate about globalization. The Hyper-globalists
What distinguishes the present era from the past, argue the hyper-globalists, is the existence of a single global economy transcending and integrating the world's major economic regions (see, for instance, Ohmae, 1990). In variously referring to 'manic capitalism', 'turbo-capitalism', or 'supra-territorial capitalism', these globalists seek to capture the qualitative shift occurring in the spatial organization and dynamics of a new global capitalist formation . Inscribed in the dynamics of this new global capitalism is, they argue, an irresistible imperative towards the de-nationalization of strategic economic activities. Today it is global finance and corporate capital , rather than states, which exercise decisive influence over the organization, location and distribution of economic power and wealth. Since the authority of states is territorially bound, global markets can escape effective political regulation. In this borderless economy, states have no option other than to accommodate global market forces. Moreover, the existing multilateral institutions of global economic surveillance, especially the G7,IMF, World Bank and WTO, largely function to nurture this nascent 'global market civilisation' . In this 'runaway world' nation states are becoming 'transitional modes of economic organization and regulation' since they can no longer effectively manage or regulate their own national economies. Economic globalization spells the end of the welfare state and social democracy. In effect, the hyperglobalists hold, the autonomy and sovereignty of nation-states have been eclipsed by contemporary processes of economic globalization. The Sceptics
By comparison the sceptical position is much more cautious about the revolutionary character of globalization (see, for example, Hirst and Thompson, 1999). Whilst generally recognizing that recent decades have witnessed a considerable intensification of international interdependence, the sceptical interpretation disputes its novelty . By comparison with the belle époque of 1890-1914, the intensity of contemporary global interdependence is considerably exaggerated. Moreover, the spatially concentrated nature of actual patterns of economic interdependence suggest that globalization is primarily a phenomenon largely confined to the major...
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