Sociology of Development

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1. What do you understand by Globalization? Discuss the features of present day globalization.

➢ Globalization

Globalization is not a single concept that can be defined and encompassed within a set time frame, nor is it a process that can be defined clearly with a beginning and an end. Furthermore, it cannot be expounded upon with certainty and be applicable to all people and in all situations. Globalization involves economic integration; the transfer of policies across borders; the transmission of knowledge; cultural stability; the reproduction, relations, and discourses of power; it is a global process, a concept, a revolution, and “an establishment of the global market free from sociopolitical control.” Globalization encompasses all of these things. It is a concept that has been defined variously over the years, with some connotations referring to progress, development and stability, integration and cooperation, and others referring to regression, colonialism, and destabilization. (http://www.gcsp.ch/e/) Globalization refers in general to the growth, or more precisely the accelerated growth, of economic activity across national and regional political boundaries. It finds expression in the increased movement of tangible and intangible goods and services, including ownership rights, via trade and investment, and often of people, via migration. It can be and often is facilitated by a lowering of government impediments to that movement, and/or by technological progress, notably in transportation and communications. The actions of individual economic actors, firms, banks, people, drive it, usually in the pursuit of profit, often spurred by the pressures of competition. Globalization is thus a centrifugal process, a process of economic outreach, and a microeconomic phenomenon.” (Charles Oman, 1996)

As the above definition indicates the impact of globalization is vast. Contemporary globalization has led to a greater volume of exchanges of goods and services and it has led to a greater variety of things being exchanged. This is a result of faster growth in world out put, world trade, and international capital flow during the past few decades compared to former days. The advancement of information and communication technology (ICT) reduced the geographic distance significantly and this accelerated the growth and development of knowledge.

There is a significant change in the relative power of world organization during the current phase of globalization. This means on the one hand, the international financial institutions such as IMF and WB as well as WTO become more power full. On the other, global institutions that have focused on more human centered interest such as UN, ILO have found their power and effectiveness relatively diminished. Thus, the more powerful institutions (IMF, WB & WTO) have pushed for increased use of markets and less government involvement in economies in order to achieve free flow of trade, investment of funds & less regulation by the national government.( Jan Aart Scholte, 2000)

The current process of globalization also resulted in the globalization of national policies and policy making mechanisms of national governments. This means, national policies including economic, social, cultural and ethnological areas which where under the jurisdiction of states & peoples with in a country, have increasingly come under the influence of international agencies and the big private corporations. Thus under pressure from these international organizations the national governments have had to restructure their economies that demands more trust on free trade and less spending en social sector.

The externalities associated with the current globalization have also had global impact on the environment. A new set of global “bads” have been produced for example, global warming, depletion of ozone layer, etc. (Indra Gandhi Open University, 2005, Pp 65-67)

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