As promised in my very first blog post, here is a whole post dedicated to globalisation, a topic that is fascinating and terrifying at the same time. It is one of the few topics everybody is talking about sooner or later in their life.
Globalisation refers to the „process of increasing interchange of goods, capital, services, knowledge, and ideas” (Trautsch, 2017, p.2). It is furthermore about migration, social movements, and the uneven distribution of natural resources, which leads to an exploitation of those areas.
It is about politics, economics, technology, communication strategies, social structures, cultures and the environment.
Globalisation can be traced back to the early beginnings of human beings, as trading and migration have been essential in order to survive; the Silk Road, the trading of spices from Islamic and African countries and the discovery of the „New World”, when trading with America began are just a few examples. With technological advancements such as the steamship, the railroad, the telegraph and telephone, nothing could stop people from exploring the globe.
Four Reasons For Globalisation
- Transportation: Large container vessels, aeroplanes, and international railroads make both trading and travelling affordable for nearly everyone.
- Free Trade: Best example here is the EU. The European Single Market is the essence of the EU. The freedom of movement for goods, services, capital and people is what makes the European Union work quite harmoniously (despite the UK is acting like a stubborn child).
- Innovations in communication: With the internet and mobile technology, communication is easier than it has ever been before. And it also contributes to the fact that products and services can be sold and bought globally. However, it should not be left out that worldwide shipping contributes negatively to the carbon footprint.
- International Corporations: Just a few examples: McDonald’s, Starbucks, DHL, Disney, Fashion Brands etc.
Here is the bright side of globalisation:
- Transnational companies contribute by providing new jobs in several countries and by (usually) paying taxes.
- Interconnection of Cultures: A diverse culture shapes a person’s character and helps him/her understand the behaviours of others. It enriches everyday’s life, even if it is only about the Chinese takeaway, Latin American soap operas or the Italian wine in your cupboard.
- Worldwide competition: It allows people to access products, materials, services worldwide and compare prices.
But with all good things, there is always a negative side to it.
- It cannot easily be said if globalisation is contributing towards either to peace or to war. Globalisation operates mostly in the interest of rich countries. Easy trades between countries in which Western countries sell weapons to countries at risk or even at war which makes the situation worse than before. The selling country is happy, that easy money is earned but is not willing to take in refugees fleeing the wars in their home countries. This is a real issue we need to solve quickly to not only protect millions of people from dying but also to end war in the first instance.
- Armed conflicts over scarce natural resources, especially in poor countries are likely to happen with the decrease in those resources.
And who said there have to be armed conflicts? The most powerful weapon of Western countries nowadays is sanctioning a country. That can have devastating consequences for the sanctioned country and its inhabitants but also for the world economy itself.
- Climate change is widely acknowledged to be a result of globalisation. Extreme weather conditions and global warming, that are able to destroy or wipe out whole tracts of land are on the rise.
More or less every benefit of globalisation can be turned into a drawback and vice versa. Globalisation is a topic that is not easy to debate unbiased. It is an important factor for cultural diversity but people must be open to this variety of traditions and behaviours. In my opinion, the most important aspect that needs to be stopped urgently is the selling of weapons just to enrich already rich countries and leave the poor to starve and to die.
Additionally, we need to agree to a global strategy in order to minimise the climate effects on the planet and its inhabitants.
Trautsch, J. M. (2017) Globalization. The SAGE Encyclopedia of War: Social Science Perspectives. [online] [accessed 5th November 2018] http://sk.sagepub.com.ezproxy.mmu.ac.uk/reference/the-sage-encyclopedia-of-war-social-science-perspectives/i8293.xml
Featured Image taken from the Financial Times