On the Meaning of Globalization

Topics: Poverty, Economics, Economic development Pages: 5 (1827 words) Published: March 16, 2005
On the Meaning of Globalization

The technological development that characterizes the past two decades has triggered a communicational enhancement around the globe. Interconnectedness between people is greater everyday; goods, services, money, and information are exchanged between the furthermost parts of the world. International travel and communication now represent ordinary aspects of life. This phenomenon is called globalization. The term entered common vocabulary in the 1980's and it grew so popular that the economic, political and cultural background of today is now described as "The Era of Globalization." However, this term needs to be thoroughly clarified as it means different things to different people. To some, it is a natural phenomenon of wide-spreading economic, social, and political activities of different countries beyond their physical borders. In these people's view, the increase in free trade and international exchange of information, labor and technology represents a beneficial process of economic development. Yet, there are others who believe globalization can damage the level of employment, the social progress and the cultural identity of a country. As a result of these divergent views on the matter, the term "globalization" and the phenomenon it names are the subject of a very strong debate. Thus the natural question is "What exactly is globalization?" The answer is that there is no answer, or at least that there is no precise, commonly agreed upon answer. As David Dollar said in the article "Growth is Good for the Poor", "amazingly for so widely

used a term [globalization], there does not appear to be any precise, widely agreed definition. Indeed the breadth of meanings attached to it seems to be increasing rather than narrowing over time, taking on cultural, political, and other connotations in addition to the economic." Even though globalization cannot be defined in a precise way, there is a widespread description of it as "the growing integration of economies and societies around the world." Yet such a complex phenomenon cannot be properly explained by such a broad definition, as the process has implications that expand on many levels. Firstly, the evolution of systems of international transport and communication driven by technological progress has led to an increase in the circulation of money, goods, information and people. This kind of growing global interactions make possible for events that happen in one part of the world to have strong impacts somewhere else. Thus, the limitations imposed by political frontiers and geographical positions seem to fade away. Intense arguments on whether this makes globalization a positive or negative phenomenon take place all around the globe. On one hand, it is viewed as a necessary step towards progress. Supporters of globalization say that free trade does not alter any cultures, instead in contributes to their enrichment. Trade leads to prosperity, they say. The economic growth and poverty reduction in China, India, and other countries that were poor a few decades ago provide evidence of this. As to the cultural aspect of globalization, the promoters of this process say that a people's music, literature and art in

general get to be shared and valued throughout the world. However, opponents of globalization fear that the negative aspects of globalization exceed the good ones and see this phenomenon as one of the greatest dangers of the next century. They argue that even though globalization helps economic growth, it also creates considerable gaps between rich countries and poor ones, as well as between rich people and poor people within one country. Concern about the phenomenon of globalization also exists in highly developed economies. Workers in these countries fear that poorer economies can pose a real threat to their level of employment by offering labor force at a much lower price. Another fearful factor that enemies of globalization...
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