Broad Theme- Globalization – Essay Example

Globalization. Globalization was a buzz word of the 1990’s and a phenomenon that was both hailed as a bringer of prosperity to all corners of the earth (de la Dehasa, 2006) and despised as a new form of colonialism whereby Western industrial societies find new ways to exploit third world cultures and resources. New technologies, improved communications and a much faster pace in all information-based activities presented dizzying challenges for economists and sociologists trying to keep up with emerging trends. It was easy to imagine that a whole new paradigm-breaking epoch was arriving on a global scale.
Definitions of globalisation are many, but one that has currency worldwide is that of the World Health Organisation, namely: “the increased interconnectedness and interdependence of peoples and countries” (WHO, 2010) which plays itself out in ever faster flows of goods, services, finance, people and ideas across borders. An important accompanying factor was the rise of umbrella bodies and regimes like the IMF and the World Bank who appeared to be taking up a role replacing sovereign states in what came to be known as “the global village”. Some even thought that classical theories based on sovereign states no longer would apply and a new age would begin, in which social and political identities would be freed up from geographical constraints.
Stiglitz notes that the ideal of free exchange of goods, ideas and services did not work out entirely to the benefit of everyone with the result that “globalization has not reduced poverty and created stability” (2002, p. 6). Multinational companies (mostly western, of course) appear to be the greatest beneficiaries of globalization, despite the best efforts of regulatory and humanitarian bodies. It has been suggested that globalization was a temporary phenomenon caused by the push of “the accumulated momentum of restructuring in the West” and the pull of “the vacuum created by the Soviet Collapse” (Rosenberg, 2005, p. 48). Rosenberg sees globalization theory as merely a “tiger-leap of capitalist expansion” (p. 51), and something which was a consequence of past history, not a whole new era dawning. After the turn of the millennium with dot com crashes, credit crunches and continuing nation state it is no longer fashionable to debate globalization as a theory, and as its charm fades it becomes more appropriate to view it as a transitional adjustment phase within classical parameters. It is true that nation states will have less control over wages, jobs, prices etc. because of global fluctuations but this, in turn, produces the usual protectionist responses. As a phenomenon, globalization will remain with us, but as a new all-consuming theory, it has surely already had its day.
Dehasa, G. de la (2006). Winners and Losers in Globalization. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Rosenberg, J. (2005). Globalization Theory: A Post Mortem. International Politics 42, 2-74.
Stiglitz, J. E. (2002). Globalization and Its Discontents. New York: Norton.
World Health Organisation Glossary “Globalization”. Retrieved from:
http://www.who.int/trade/glossary/story043/en/index.html