What Is Globalization?

Globalization makes it impossible for modern societies to collapse in isolation, as did Easter Island and the Greenland Norse in the past. Any society in turmoil today, no matter how remote... can cause trouble for prosperous societies on other continents, and is also subject to their influence (whether helpful or destabilizing). For the first time in history, we face the risk of a global decline. But we also are the first to enjoy the opportunity of learning quickly from developments in societies anywhere else in the world today, and from what has unfolded in societies at any time in the past.

- Jared Diamond, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

Podcast of the Day

The free flow of people, money and ideas is making us more connected than ever. That means we share the benefits but also the risks and not everyone is equally placed to take advantage of the opportunities created by globalization. Disenfranchised groups are pushing back as politicians fail to manage the speed, scale and complexity of global change.

Listen to Global Risks and Opportunities on the Big Ideas podcast

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Short Article of the Day

Globalization, according to sociologists, is an ongoing process that involves interconnected changes in the economic, cultural, social, and political spheres of society. As a process, it involves the ever-increasing integration of these aspects between nations, regions, communities, and even seemingly isolated places.

In terms of the economy, globalization refers to the expansion of capitalism to include all places around the world into one globally integrated economic system.

Culturally, it refers to the global spread and integration of ideas, values, norms, behaviors, and ways of life. Politically, it refers to the development of forms of governance that operate at the global scale, whose policies and rules cooperative nations are expected to abide. These three core aspects of globalization are fueled by technological development, the global integration of communication technologies, and the global distribution of media....
 
 

Further Reading

Globalization has become one of the defining buzzwords of our time--a term that describes a variety of complex economic, political, cultural, ideological, and environmental forces that are rapidly altering our experience of the world. In clear, accessible language, Manfred B. Steger goes beyond a narrow economic focus to cover all the major causes and consequences of globalization as well as the hotly contested question of whether globalization is, ultimately, a good or a bad thing.... The book also examines political movements both for and against globalization, from WTO protests to the rise in global jihadism; considers such concepts as "Americanization" and "McDonaldization"; and explores the role of the media and communication technologies in the process of cultural globalization. Finally, Steger explains in accessible language the connection between economic globalization and multinational corporations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization.

Read Manfred B. Steger's book: Globalization: A Very Short Introduction

Related Entries

Capitalism | Colonialism | Justice | Economics | Sociology

Each day I post short quotes by great thinkers on a particular philosophical, scientific or historical topic, along with videos, interviews and articles by contemporary thinkers that explore each topic in more detail. Find me on Facebook or Twitter or enter your email below to learn about the ideas that helped shape our world.