Over the last century, efforts have been made to bring various countries together. All these efforts have been applied in enabling human beings on the earth’s surface to come together in all aspects of life. These aspects of human life include social, political and economical aspects. Integration effort has been seen to bear fruits. In the current years, the world has been visualized as being a global village, where the interactions of the people in the world, has been of equivalent to the interaction in one village or locality. Almost all parts of the world are interconnected to the rest of the world in different ways. Barriers, which initially isolated countries, have been removed. In the recent times, higher levels of integration have been achieved. Initially, countries only integrated economically. This is now outdated. Other areas of human life have also been put in the circle of integration. This is commonly referred to as globalization (Ghauri 22).
Globalization is the process by which countries, economies, and regions have been integrated in a global network. Countries’ economies, cultures, and societies have been placed in the global networks of communication, trade, transportation, and immigration. In the past, globalization primarily used focus on the part of the world involving economy. Only factors of the economy were considered as an important part of the globalization. Foreign investment and international flow of capital and trade were held high in the globalization chart. The range of globalization has been broadened to bring in other activities and areas such as sports, media, socio–culture, technology, and politics. Biological factors such as environmental and climatic changes have also been regarded highly. Various factors have played important roles in making globalization a success. Effective communication across the world has been a major contributing factor. Costs of communication have reduced drastically, leading to enhanced communication. This has been facilitated by the growth of information technology since it has enhanced the communication process. Transportation network and immigration links has also been cited to be critical in globalization (Ghauri 22).
As indicated, globalization has various effects. It has played a major role in the current development in the world. One of the main areas that globalization has affected greatly is the environment. The environment encompasses living things and non-living things on the surface of the earth. It also comprises of the non-living things that have been put in their place by activities of human beings. Globalization has affected the environment both positively and negatively. This paper will examine both positive and negative contributions of globalization to economic, social, political, and biotic environment in the world.
Globalization has caused increased consumption of different products. This has led to increased production of goods and services in order to satisfy the global market. This has increased the stress on environment, which impacts the cycles of ecology. Globalization of trade and market has also led to increased transportation of finished goods and raw materials across the world. Fuels used in transportation of these goods have increased the levels of pollution to the environment. Transportation across the world has also resulted in other environmental predicaments such as the intrusion of landscape and noise pollution. Depletion of non-renewable energy sources such as gasoline has also brought environmental concerns. Aircraft transport, which is an important part of global transportation, usually emits gases, which results in depletion of the protective ozone layer. This has caused the greenhouse effect, which has brought about negative climatic changes. Plastic, a major pollutant, is an important part of manufacturing. Plastic is commonly used for preserving and packaging goods for export and since it is a non-biodegradable, it forms a large part of environment toxic pollutants (Labadi 15).
Globalization has led to industrialization. Industrial chemicals and wastes usually find their way into the water bodies and the soil. These harmful industrial products have caused the deaths of underwater organisms. In the year 2010, a container belonging to British Petroleum Company leaked out petroleum product in the Atlantic Ocean. According to Labadi (32), this led to the death of millions of underwater organisms in a stretch of seven miles. In the soil, chemicals and industrial effluents have led to outgrowth of noxious plants and weeds (Labadi 82). These plants and weeds usually cause damage to animals and plants by interfering with their genetic composition. In the end, this will cause plants and animals to have harmful side effects upon consumption. Demand for increased production for a global market has increased demand for factors of production. The demand for land, especially, has been on the rise. This has caused natural environmental encroachment. Forests have been cleared to pave way for agricultural activities and construction of firms and industries. For instance, land in India has been reclaimed from the sea in order to plant rice for the global market (Ehlers 44)…
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Teachers may want to have the students read this introduction before they read the essays on "Globalization" to provide a basic understanding of the concepts included therein.
"Globalization" is a term that came into popular usage in the 1980's to describe the increased movement of people, knowledge and ideas, and goods and money across national borders that has led to increased interconnectedness among the world's populations, economically, politically, socially and culturally. Although globalization is often thought of in economic terms (i.e., "the global marketplace"), this process has many social and political implications as well. Many in local communities associate globalization with modernization (i.e., the transformation of "traditional" societies into "Western" industrialized ones). At the global level, globalization is thought of in terms of the challenges it poses to the role of governments in international affairs and the global economy.
There are heated debates about globalization and its positive and negative effects. While globalization is thought of by many as having the potential to make societies richer through trade and to bring knowledge and information to people around the world, there are many others who perceive globalization as contributing to the exploitation of the poor by the rich, and as a threat to traditional cultures as the process of modernization changes societies. There are some who link the negative aspects of globalization to terrorism. To put a complicated discussion in simple terms, they argue that exploitative or declining conditions contribute to the lure of informal "extremist" networks that commit criminal or terrorist acts internationally. And thanks to today's technology and integrated societies, these networks span throughout the world. It is in this sense that terrorism, too, is "globalized." The essays in this section address some of the complex questions associated with globalization in light of September 11. Before moving to these essays, consider the discussion below about some of the economic, political, social and cultural manifestations of globalization.
Economic manifestations of globalization
Increasingly over the past two centuries, economic activity has become more globally oriented and integrated. Some economists argue that it is no longer meaningful to think in terms of national economies; international trade has become central to most local and domestic economies around the world.
Among the major industrial economies, sometimes referred to as the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, 65 percent of the total economic production, or GDP, is associated with international trade. Economists project that, in the U.S., more than 50 percent of the new jobs created in this decade will be directly linked to the global economy.
The recent focus on the international integration of economies is based on the desirability of a free global market with as few trade barriers as possible, allowing for true competition across borders.
International economic institutions, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), facilitate this increasingly barrier-free flow of goods, services, and money (capital) internationally. Regionally, too, organizations like the North America Free Trade Association (NAFTA), the European Union (EU), and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) work towards economic integration within their respective geographical regions.
Many economists assess economic globalization as having a positive impact, linking increased economic transactions across national borders to increased world GDP, and opportunities for economic development. Still, the process is not without its critics, who consider that many of the economies of the industrial North (i.e., North America, Europe, East Asia) have benefited from globalization, while in the past two decades many semi- and non-industrial countries of the geo-political South (i.e., Africa, parts of Asia, and Central and South America) have faced economic downturns rather than the growth promised by economic integration. Critics assert that these conditions are to a significant extent the consequence of global restructuring which has benefited Northern economies while disadvantaging Southern economies. Others voice concern that globalization adversely affects workers and the environment in many countries around the world.
Discontent with the perceived disastrous economic and social manifestations of globalization has led to large and growing demonstrations at recent intergovernmental meetings, including meetings of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the Group of Eight (G8) leading industrial countries.
Political manifestations of globalization
Globalization has impacts in the political arena, but there is not a consensus among social scientists about the nature and degree of its impact on national and international politics. Some political scientists argue that globalization is weakening nation-states and that global institutions gradually will take over the functions and power of nation-states. Other social scientists believe that while increased global inter-connectivity will result in dramatic changes in world politics, particularly in international relations (i.e., the way states relate to each other), the nation-state will remain at the center of international political activity.
Political theorists and historians often link the rise of the modern nation-state (in Europe and North America in the nineteenth century and in Asia and Africa in the twentieth century) with industrialization and the development of modern capitalist and socialist economies. These scholars also assert that the administrative structures and institutions of the modern nation-state were in part responsible for the conditions that led to industrial expansion. Moreover, industrial development brought with it social dislocations that necessitated state intervention in the form of public education and social "safety nets" for health care, housing, and other social services. Consequently, the development of the contemporary nation-state, nationalism, inter-state alliances, colonization, and the great wars of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries were in part political manifestations of changes in the structure of economic production.
It follows from this argument that in the era of globalization, with its significant changes in global economic relations, the nineteenth and twentieth century model of the nation-state may become obsolete. The economic orientation of the modern nation-state has been centered on national economic interests, which may often conflict with the global trend towards the free and rapid movement of goods, services, finance, and labor. These processes give rise to the question of whether the modern nation-state can survive in its present form in the new global age. Is it adaptable, or will it gradually be replaced by emerging multinational or regional political entities?
Changes in political structure and practices resulting from economic globalization are only a partial explanation of changes in world politics in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. International relations and world politics in the second half of the twentieth century were strongly informed by another global factor - the Cold War (i.e., the ideological struggle between the Western nations, the United States and its allies, and the Eastern Bloc, the Soviet Union and China and their allies). The early and most intense years of the Cold War in the 1950s and 1960s coincided with the de-colonization of Asia and Africa and the creation of more than 70 new nation-states. Many of the new nation-states of Africa and Asia had based their struggle for independence on the principles of freedom, justice and liberty - principles espoused by both the Eastern and Western blocks. The economic, political, and ideological competition between East and West had fertile ground in these newly independent nation-states. Although the "cold war" never developed into a "hot war" of actual military conflict in Europe or North America, civil wars within and wars between new nation-states in Africa and Asia were fueled and supported by Cold War tensions. Major conflicts in Korea, Vietnam, Congo, Angola, Mozambique, and Somalia are examples of regional conflicts that were fueled by the Cold War.
To some experts, the demise of the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc a decade ago promised a new era of world peace and increased openness. The processes of globalization accelerated as goods, ideas and people flowed more freely across borders in the post-Cold War political environment. In place of policies of containment, the international community fostered policies of openness to trade and based on the principles of democracy and rights.
With such increased openness, multilateral organizations, and in particular the United Nations (UN), have changed their focus from maintaining the balance of power between the East and West to a more global approach to peacekeeping/peace-building, development, environmental protection, protection of human rights, and the maintenance of the rule of law internationally. The creation of legal institutions like the international criminal tribunals that have sprung up in the past decade, as well as the proliferation of major international conferences aiming to address global problems through international cooperation, have been referred to as proof of political globalization. Still, since all of these institutions rely on the participation of nation-states and respect the fundamental principle of national sovereignty, the extent to which these institutions exhibit true political globalization continues to be debated.
Social and cultural manifestations of globalization
Though there are many social and cultural manifestations of globalization, here are some of the major ones:
Informational services: The past two decades have seen an internationalization of information services involving the exponential expansion of computer-based communication through the Internet and electronic mail. On the one hand, the electronic revolution has promoted the diversification and democratization of information as people in nearly every country are able to communicate their opinions and perspectives on issues, local and global, that impact their lives. Political groups from Chiapas to Pakistan have effectively used information technology to promote their perspectives and movements. On the other hand, this expansion of information technology has been highly uneven, creating an international "digital divide" (i.e., differences in access to and skills to use Internet and other information technologies due predominantly to geography and economic status). Often, access to information technology and to telephone lines in many developing countries is controlled by the state or is available only to a small minority who can afford them..
News services: In recent years there has been a significant shift in the transmission and reporting of world news with the rise of a small number of global news services. This process has been referred to as the "CNN-ization of news," reflecting the power of a few news agencies to construct and disseminate news. Thanks to satellite technology, CNN and its few competitors extend their reach to even the most geographically remote areas of the world. This raises some important questions of globalization: Who determines what news What is "newsworthy?" Who frames the news and determines the perspectives articulated? Whose voice(s) are and are not represented? What are the potential political consequences of the silencing of alternative voices and perspectives?
Popular culture: The contemporary revolution in communication technology has had a dramatic impact in the arena of popular culture. Information technology enables a wide diversity of locally-based popular culture to develop and reach a larger audience. For example, "world music" has developed a major international audience. Old and new musical traditions that a few years ago were limited to a small local audience are now playing on the world stage.
On the other hand, globalization has increased transmission of popular culture easily and inexpensively from the developed countries of the North throughout the world. Consequently, despite efforts of nationally-based media to develop local television, movie, and video programs, many media markets in countries of Africa, Asia, and Latin America are saturated with productions from the U.S., Europe and a few countries in Asia (especially Japan and India). Local critics of this trend lament not only the resulting silencing of domestic cultural expression, but also the hegemonic reach of Western, "alien" culture and the potential global homogenization of values and cultural taste.