Globalization

Globalization

It’s hard to find more widespread and controversial topic to discuss than the topic of globalization. Dozens of conferences, meetings, books and articles are devoted to it. It involves people of all walks of life: scientists, politicians, businessmen, journalists, religious figures and people of art speak and argue about it constantly.
Speaking about the origin of this phenomenon, it’s necessary to admit that some of the features of modern globalization appeared rather long time ago. The roots of this process go back to the times when formation of colonial empires laid the foundation of the first basis of international economical relations of this thousand of years. However, modern international relations that lay in the basis of globalization are different from those that were formed at the beginning of the era of Great Geographical Discoveries and formation of colonial empires.
At the epoch of colonialism the relations were mainly formed between empires and their colonies; they were practically represented by exchange of ready-made goods and products made in empire for raw materials and other colonial goods. The essential principles of contemporary global system are built on commodity-money relations between developed countries of the world.
As the World Bank states: ‘Globalization – the growing integration of economies and societies around the world – has been one of the most hotly debated topics in international economics over the past few years. Rapid growth and poverty reduction in China, India, and other countries that were poor 20 years ago, has been a positive aspect of globalization. But globalization has also generated significant international opposition over concerns that it has increased inequality and environmental degradation’ . Globalization is viewed not as the final stage of human progress, but rather an ideology ‘imposed on the world by transnational corporations and their fellows in governments and universities. These forces have elevated theories about market economics, free trade, consumer choice and economic ‘efficiency’ to the level of a religion – indeed, to the level of scientific fact, akin to the laws of physics – because it boosts their profits and expands their political control’ . The main globalization directions are promoting free trade which would lead to the liberalization of markets and their efficient functioning due to the competitive advantages, liberalization of foreign direct investments to increase the flow of capitals to the developing countries from the international financial markets (Agosin, 125), which of course finds reflection in the nature of multicultural and multination relations.
There are many different opinions on the matter of globalization. Some people view it as a favorable process that will lead to high economical development of all countries. Other people treat it with animosity and fright. They think that globalization will increase inequality between countries making some countries extremely poor and some extremely rich. The process of globalization gives us wide range of opportunities for the development of the world in a whole, but the process of development is uneven in different countries. Some countries join the global economy and integrate more quickly than other ones do. Countries that have been able to integrate into global economy display faster economical growth with decreased level of poverty, while the others are still trying to struggle against burning problems: poverty, low standard of living, corruption, environmental pollution and others.
So, what is the meaning of globalization? From the view point of politics and economics, globalization is the process of denationalization of markets, politics that leads to the raising of global economy. Globalization is a general meaning of the complex of relations between people, businesses, institutions and markets that appears in widening of production lines, technologies and financial instruments, in inevitable growth and strengthening of influence of international institutions, in global activity of international corporations, in considerably widening of size of the communicational and informational resources via Internet. (Barnet, 123)
Also the term globalization can be implied as the stable transformation of world space into one unified zone, where capital, goods and services can move without any obstruction. Hence, globalization implies formation of international political, scientific, economical and cultural space, so-called “global economy”.
Generally speaking there is nothing unusual about globalization. This term has appeared in common usage since the 1980s to show technological progress that has made international transactions easier and faster, both in the field of trade and finance. It has opened national borders of many different countries that were closed for centuries; it has made it easier and more efficient to communicate between cities, countries and continents. With the help of globalization markets became more effective, because globalization also promotes free competition which as we know makes the producers of goods and services provide consumers with better quality of their products in order to attract them. Competition is also one of the moving forces of technological progress. Creating united economical space globalization helps people to get a wider choice of import and export markets to use. (Barnet, 127)
So, to make a conclusion and give a clear definition of globalization we may say that globalization is a runaway integration of countries, economies, cultures, societies and all other aspects of people’s lives.
Now, let’s take a closer look to the economical aspect of globalization. The roots of globalization go back to the process of internationalization which has been developing in two directions- inside and outside. The development inside occurs when a certain country uses foreign good, services, technology and capital in the sphere of its own internal consumption. The development outside is characterized by predominance of orientation of countries towards world market. The main result of this process is not only interdependency of countries but also the integration of markets. There have been found several resources of globalizations during latest decades. One of them is technological progress that led to rapid reduction of transport and communication expenses and considerable reduction of expenses of processing, storage and usage of information. Informational services are directly connected with the progress in electronics and invention of electronic mail, as we call it “email”.
The second resource of globalization is liberalization of trade that caused the limitation of policy of protectionism and made global trade freer. As the result of it a lot of taxes and rates have been reduced, and a lot of trade barriers have been eliminated at the markets of goods and services. Other means of liberalization led to faster flow of capital and other factors of production.
The third resource of the process of globalization was the creation of international companies and corporations in which the level of production, consumption, export, import and income of a country depends on the decision of international centers situated beyond the certain country’s borders. (James, 45)
There are also some aspects of globalization, such as international trade, about which we’ve already spoken, capital movements, movement of people and spread of knowledge. The levels of these aspects are different in different countries. Of course highly-developed countries which integrated quickly have their aspects of globalization at a very high level. But what about countries that are just developing?
During the 20th century, global per capita GDP (gross domestic product) rose considerably, but with definite variation among countries. It is clear that the income gap between rich and poor countries has been widening for many years. And now it is hard for the developing countries to catch up and to integrate with the richer ones.
As we have touched the economical aspect of globalization it’s also necessary to take a look at the political aspect. What should do government? Should it influence the process of globalization or should it just stay away and watch? From my point of view government should carry out policy that will encourage integration into the global economy, but also it should take measures to help those who were negatively affected by the integration and globalization, for example, old companies and industries. In a whole the economy will be successful when the government pursues policy that supports globalization by encouraging to having open economy. Government should pay its attention to two important points. The first one is education and professional training, to be sure that workers have the opportunity to receive the right skills; and provide people with strong social safety to help people who don’t have a job.
Some people believe that globalization helps to promote democracy in the world. They are known as so-called pro-globalists. They think that the first part of the process of globalization, which was represented by the liberation of market, should be continued by a phase of creating world democratical institutions that will represent the volition of all citizens of the world. So, globalization is not only a process of liberalization of markets and opening borders of the countries, but it is also a process of development of democracy in the countries that are only stepping into the democratic world.
Speaking about globalization of cultures as one of the aspects of world globalization I must say that it’s also as important as the globalization of world economy. Of course, it doesn’t touch the standards of living in different countries or the rate of exchange of their currencies, but still we can not omit this point. Nowadays we all have access to the Internet and of course television and radio, that’s why we can get irrefragable amount of information about foreign countries and their cultures. To be well-informed of culture of a foreign country doesn’t mean to understand or accept it. It’s is impossible to have the same understanding of culture between people of different cultures. Even close cultures have differences between them that can not be and shouldn’t be erased by globalization. The majority of people noticed that over the past 5-10 years, foreign movies, television programs and music have become more available. That’s why in many of those countries, the globalization of culture has been rather intensive because people had more opportunities to learn about other cultures. (Roberson, 64)
Though some argue that there may be positive affects of globalization through spreading Western business values and cultural views throughout the world, the price of lost national identities and economic dependence of the future of developing countries on their willingness to adopt Western business culture and practices does not make it worth in many cases. Today one of the aims of globalization is providing balance of energy resources among all the countries in order to avoid energy crisis and stagnation. From this point globalization of national economies is very important. From the other side, it is of course obvious that developing countries with undeveloped industry and old technologies would benefit less from globalization as their products are more likely to suffer from open competition. This will first of all result on the economies and political situation of such countries, which makes globalization to be a risky process even for national sovereignty of some countries. It’s enough to remind example of Latin American countries which are called “banana republics” for more than 100 years because of dependence from American corporations. But in terms of global economy such practices are unacceptable due to a number of reasons. First of all, penetration of American and European capital to Latin America economies occurred under different conditions which exist today. From another point of view, rapidly developing countries rich in mineral resources have a high potential of creating alternative economical transnational organizations, where energy resources and products will be sold according to external price policies, which in many respects creates danger for the rest of globalized economy. Another very important and dangerous counter globalist tendency today is the spread of international Muslim terrorist, which opposes the spread of western values and stands for the shift towards cannons of Islam. That’s why a special role in globalizing community has to be paid to the preservation of national cultural uniqueness and identities, investments into national culture and ethnic studies. Only such practices will result equal benefits from globalization either for the USA or some small European or African country. Otherwise, both the economic and social consequences can be irreversible and it will not be difficult in the future generations to imagine a child in Tibet dreaming of Michael Jordan tennis shoes as the present for Christmas/


References:
1. Agosin, M. (1999). Globalization, liberalization and sustainable development: analytical perspectives, UNCTAD/UNDP, occasional paper, 125.
2. Barnet, J. (2000). Global Dreams: Imperial Corporations and the New World Order. New York: Simon & Schuster.
3. James, J. (1999). Globalization, Information Technology and Development. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
4. Robertson, R.(2002) Globalization: Social Theory and Global Culture. London: Sage.
5. Walljasper, J. (1996). Cultural Effects of Economic Globalization.http://globalgroup3.blogspot.com/2004/10/cultural-effects-of-economic.html>
6. World Bank, <http://www1.worldbank.org/economicpolicy