Melvia A. Hasman
The world is in various stages of social, economic, and demographic transition. Economically and politically, the world has changed more rapidly in the past few years than at any time since 1945. The emerging global economy is both competitive and interdependent. It reflects the availability of modern communications and production technologies in most parts of the world. So, do we need to be concerned about the future of the English language in the 21st century? According to The Economist (1996), English continues to be the world standard language, and there is no major threat to the language or to its global popularity. But, changes are coming.
An international economy
Two factors drive this global marketplace. First, many manufactured products have one or more foreign components. Ford cars and IBM computers are just two examples of this. Second, more than half of all imports and exports, which governments label foreign trade, are transacted between domestic companies and their foreign affiliates.
The increasing globalization of the marketplace is forcing companies to pay more attention to international developments. Domestic firms are adjusting their structures and methods of operation to fit a broader and rapidly changing economic environment. They are increasing their geographic outreach because more of their suppliers and customers are located on various continents. For example, last year Johnson and Johnson sold more products outside the United States than in the United States. Hewlett Packard, like many companies, lost money when the Asian economy collapsed.
Joint ventures are no longer just theoretical possibilities. Mergers and acquisitions, like Chrysler/Daimler Benz and MCI and British Telecom, increasingly cross national boundaries. This trend is expected to con-tinue into the next millennium.
This internationalization is...