Globalisation can be viewed through different lenses. There is a political lens, an economic lens and a cultural lens. Confusion about how to define globalisation is usually just ‘a conflict of lenses’. One person will be talking about economic globalisation while the other will be talking about cultural globalisation. There is probably another technological lens under which the others function. Certainly political, economic and cultural globalisation have all been accelerated by advances in communication technology.
‘Wow, these spices have come all the way from India!’ In the good old days of mercantilism everyone understood globalisation the same way. Goods on British shelves came from the four corners of the globe. Business was global, and it has continued to evolve as such. Corporations are assumed to be multinational.
Political globalisation accelerated at the end of World War II. The United Nations is the bastion of global governance. Governing the global movement of people has become a new challenge for globalisation. And governance has overlapped with business as attempts were made to provide a rules-based framework in which to conduct business. The Bretton-Woods institutions are prime examples of global governance in the economic realm. The evolution of the GATT / WTO is the most famous effort to create global rules for conducting business.
Cultural globalisation has many monikers: McWorld and the new imperialism are but a couple. The homogenisation of culture attracts protests from governments and citizens. The French government famously protects in film industry from absorption by Hollywood. Western clothing brands and fast food have become ubiquitous in the developing world.
Globalisation started a long time ago. At least the economic part of globalisation did. The political and cultural parts only became evident in the 20th century with the advancement of communication technology.
Globalisation is the sort of topic that continues on for a while once discussion has started. There are lots of little avenues to explore. Your thoughts and contributions are welcome!
Here is what the Guardian’s Simon Jeffrey had to say about the definition of globalisation:
- Globalisation: World Trade Organisation (WTO) (knowledge-skills.com)
- Globalisation has turned on its Western creators (telegraph.co.uk)
- Occupy protests: a movement taking root | Katharine Ainger (guardian.co.uk)
- Promising the world (economist.com)