Globalization: Key Concepts

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In the last decade, globalization has become one of the most frequently mentioned phenomena in the world. We hear about globalization almost everyday through the means of mass media, text books, research projects and so on. Thus, the term “globalization” is quite familiar to us, and we all acknowledge that we are in the era of globalization. However, globalization itself is a very wide, abstract, and at times even contradictory concept. Therefore, in this essay, my discussion will only focus on one of the key concepts of globalization, interconnectedness, which is the most important feature in the process of globalization. Thomas Eriksen, in his book, explains that interconnectedness is a result of globalization. Most of the world is becoming more interconnected in terms of economy, politics, culture, technology and environment. He concluded that ‘interconnectedness is a way of measuring success in a globalized society’ (Eriksen 2007:88). Firstly, in terms of economy, free trade and open markets today play the key roles in creating the network of our global economy. Transnational enterprises, multi-national companies, international banks, etc. are all actors in this network. Let’s take as an example the World Trade Orgnization (WTO); The WTO itself is evidence of economic interconnectedness. It was founded with the aim of dealing with regulation of trade; sometimes solving problems with the global market; and mostly, to negotiate and formalize trade agreements among nations. As a result, all the participating nations automatically interconnect through this process of interaction, and help each other achieve their mutual goals, including the development and unification of the world economy. The growing number of multi-national companies and their subsidies around the world is also a trait of our interconnected economy, where goods and services are consumed transnationally. Unilever, BP, McDonalds, Toyota, IKEA…are typical examples. In his book, Scholte writes that Unilever, one of the largest multinational companies, had more than 500 subsidiaries in 100 countries in 2004 (Scholte 2005:178); CNN Money ranked Toyota as the 8th largest multinational corporation in 2011, when the company marketed vehicles in 140 countries, and had revenues of $221,760 million (CNN Money, 2011). Likewise, consumer payments by credit card in the last decades also represent the interconnection of the world financial market. Instead of carrying a bundle of cash to go shopping, nowadays people can simply bring their small credit card (the two biggest multinational finacial services companies in the world today are Visa and MasterCard) which allows them to make purchases anywhere, anytime, as long as a credit card is accepted; not only in shops or supermarkets but also online. Futhermore, possessing a credit card makes it much safer and easier for its users to manage their spending, in addition to being more convenient. These are only a few of the myriad examples of transnational and multinational corporations in the world. We cannot deny that they are becoming more and more powerful today. Eriksen asserts that it suggests a tighter integration and closer networking in the global economy than before. (Eriksen 2007:75). As a result, it makes the world more interconnected and solidary, especially in economic development. Secondly, in term of politics, researchers indicate that the number of international organizations has grown immensely since the beginning of the 20th century. In 1909, there were 37 international non-governmental organizations (INGOs); by 2000, the number of INGOs had risen to 47,098 (Held, 2000:11-12). International co-operation in globalized society is an important instrument not only in social development, but also in diplomacy, or international relations. Disputes over political issues should be solved and discussed among nation-states in a peaceful manner. Sometimes, to gain mutual benefits, some coutries...
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