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(89 Posts)
whitewave Sat 21-Jan-17 10:32:54

"It has been said that arguing against globalization is like arguing against the laws of gravity"

Kofi Annan - 7th Gen. Sec. UN

There have been a number of references to this in our various threads, often used in a perjoritive sense. So I want to explore this phenomenon, to understand what it means and to try to answer the question whether it is an inevitability, whether individual states can control it, who are the winners and losers.

Welcome all input, and just like populism let's try to keep it civilised.

Eons ago when at uni I can remember looking at this "new" phenomenon. We were just in the post colonial era, and globalization at this stage of understanding was simply looked at as an economic phenomenon.

But I want to argue that the term globalisation can be used to describe a number of processes apart from the economy.

I would argue then that there is a globalization of




Socio- culture


Biological - my particular interest


I think that this is particularly relevant today, with many calling for a more nationalist perspective. So am going to try to work out whether an individual nation state can in fact "control" globalization, or whether they are simply "luddites" and denying the inevitable. If it can't be controlled how then do we control the winners and losers and would this control be desirable?

I think I've bitten off more than I can chew - but if anyone else is up for it let's give it a go!!

Ankers Sat 21-Jan-17 10:48:40

Which definition of globalization would you like to use?

MawBroon Sat 21-Jan-17 10:52:47

How about this?

What is globalization? definition and meaning - › definition
The worldwide movement toward economic, financial, trade, and communications integration. Globalization implies the opening of local and nationalistic perspectives to a broader outlook of an interconnected and interdependent world with free transfer of capital, goods, and services across national frontiers.

whitewave Sat 21-Jan-17 10:59:34

Yes mawbroon that's a good definition. But I'm going to argue that globalisation takes in not just economic spread but also all the other stuff I have listed.

Bear withgrin. Daughter just turned up.

Ana Sat 21-Jan-17 11:04:33

Bear with what? hmm

Ankers Sat 21-Jan-17 11:05:48

The one I was looking at was this one the process by which businesses or other organizations develop international influence or start operating on an international scale:

I would say that even these two definitions are a bit different to each other.

This one puts emphasis on businesses etc as the drivers. In which case I would say yes, individual nations have some control.

Whereas the MawBroon one, I was going to say puts more emphasis on the world being the driver.
But as I read the MawBroon one more, I cant say I totally understand the definition really.

Anya Sat 21-Jan-17 11:24:18

That much is obvious.

Luckygirl Sat 21-Jan-17 11:24:58

I agree that now globalization encompasses every aspect of our lives - business and trade of course, but also culture and much more.

The exchange of knowledge is part of this and has to be a good thing - scientific advances can be shared.

And our cities become melting pots of cultures.

I guess the most difficult aspect of globalization from a personal point of view is that I cannot turn away from knowing what is happening all round the world. That child suffering under bombing raids on the other side of the world is just as important as my own GC - and I cannot shut my eyes to this, although, TBH, sometimes I wish I could.

One of the biggest difficulties is that globalization engenders fear on a tribal level. Look at Trump - it is all about America now and he just wants to pull up the drawbridges and build the walls and keep out this thing that he fears so much - and citizens have followed him in their droves.

But we cannot back away from globalization - it is a reality. Let us hope that we will develop constructive and civilized ways to make it work for the good of all.

Ankers Sat 21-Jan-17 11:30:18

Can you properly explain the MawBroon definition Anya please?

whitewave Sat 21-Jan-17 11:30:32

"It's the economy stupid"

I would argue that the roots of globalization lies in the Colonial Period of the 17 18 and 19th centuries. Often with the use of brute force far off countries were exploited for their natural resources from gold to slaves. The resultant wealth accumulated from this exploitation by individuals in the colonial countries, was the initial engine that drove the industrial revolution. The power lay with these Empires and until very recently remained so.
The capitalist system became the worlds economic system, with a few hiccups on the way. The capitalist driver is the pursuit of profit, and this meant that the industrialist in this pursuit of profit needed an ever increasing expansion into the worlds markets. Economic globalisation was the result.

whitewave Sat 21-Jan-17 11:33:30

luckygirl yes I so agree and that is my argument that people like Trump are trying to put the genie back into the bottle but that it will be an impossible task.

Ankers Sat 21-Jan-17 11:37:41

There is and can be both as far as I see it.
It is all just on a sliding scale. A very large sliding scale.

whitewave Sat 21-Jan-17 11:51:30

So we know then that the long term trends are towards greater interpenetration and interdependence of the worlds economy.
Capital has become global and supra-international corporations whose wealth often far exceed a single country.
The resultant wealth from this market economy is creating more and more wealth in developed countries.

But what we also know that not everything is so interpenetrated.

Wealth accumulation has not been fairly shared
Technology is another, 90% of the world patents is held by the richest countries, and carefully protected by WTO agreements.

Proponents of globalization argue that globalization allows poor countries and their citizens to develop economically and thus raise their living standards.

But opponents say that globalization is unfettered international free market which only benefits the multinationals at the expense of local enterprise, local culture and local people.

There lies the conundrum that is Trump. His vast and untaxed wealth which benefits no one but himself has made good use of globalization in his pursuit of profit. But his message to the American people is in direct contrast.

So I think what I am saying that globalization is a challenge particularly to those who benefit very little from its consequences. Globalization cannot be put back into the bottle as the power that drives it is far bigger than any one country, but that if countries cooperate and work together they can if willing mitigate so much of the damage that is being done.

Ankers Sat 21-Jan-17 12:04:25

^But his message to the American people is in direct contrast.

Is it?

By putting America first, that doesnt at all mean that the americans cannot use globalization does it. Like he has.

Anya Sat 21-Jan-17 12:20:18

I can understand the definition provided by MawBroon Ankers. Are you seriously asking me to explain it to you? I can't honestly beieve that is what you are asking, so I'll take it that you are simply checking that I did understand it myself.

GracesGranMK2 Sat 21-Jan-17 12:20:34

Can't dip in now whitewave but will be back to read what is said. A really great choice for discussion - thank you.

GracesGranMK2 Sat 21-Jan-17 12:25:41

Does it matter that capitalism - which I think you are saying both allows and encourages globalism whitewave - is so very varied within that globalism?

whitewave Sat 21-Jan-17 12:39:07

No it doesn't gg capitalism by its very nature regardless of the political system under which it operates is the pursuit of profit.

mcem Sat 21-Jan-17 12:41:32

ww I'd say that maw 's definition includes most of the topics you listed eg media, culture and technology within the integration of communications.
It's actually quite an inclusive definition and it would be relatively simple to look at both definitions together as they are complementary.
There's a lot more to globalisation than businesses pushing their interests internationally.

whitewave Sat 21-Jan-17 12:44:35

mcem yes you are right and that's what I want to argue next. Just having a breather.

mcem Sat 21-Jan-17 12:54:38

Well I look forward to catching up later as I'm off to take the wee ones to visit mummy in hospital.
The first time I was really aware of globalisation in practice rather than theory was when I found MacDonald's in places I didn't expect. I was pleased when the city of Paris refused permission for those big red M's (I think in the Champs Elysees).
I remember thinking that finding Orangina in Italy, as a teenager, was different and a bit of a treat. Now I don't buy it but it does just sit on the supermarket shelves. Nothing particularly special - same goes for Vache qui rit cheese. Trivial examples but they stuck in my consciousness!

whitewave Sat 21-Jan-17 12:56:22

In this pursuit of profit then globalization has brought, particularly over the past two decades, access to technology previously undreamt of.

So the internet, media, television etc has given us a window on other cultures and value systems. Many would argue that in some areas, there is a cultural homogenisation. That in the not too distant future culture and value systems will be global - there is a common consumption of culture, that cultural diversity is flattening out. An example of this is popular culture amongst the young. They can "talk" to each other at this level throughout the world.

whitewave Sat 21-Jan-17 13:16:44

One other aspect of this spread of cultural understanding/homogenisation is as a result of migration. The logic of the capitalist system is as far as possible, and to date successfully, the free movement of capital, goods, services and labour. It requires easy migration, in order to either provide it with cheap unskilled labour and skilled labour. This has been the most difficult aspect from the industrialist viewpoint. But where cheap labour has run out or too expensive, the company simply up stakes and moves its activities to a labour market that is cheaper, or where there are less regulation, thus maximising his profit.

This is what so many people both here and in America are arguing is the basis of their difficulties. That if we could stop, either this uncontrolled migration or movement of companies overseas, then all will be well.

whitewave Sat 21-Jan-17 13:57:35

Globalization, biology and the Environment.

The last aspect that I want to look at is how globalization has impinged on biology and the Environment.

Globalization and the spread of technology, has its effects felt in almost every aspect of our world.

With regard to biology, some of these effects include the reduction of genetic diversity in agriculture both flora and fauna.
There has been a loss of species, and a often detrimental spread of exotic species.
Industrialisation and its off shoots such as the combustion engine has polluted the air, water and soil.
It is accelerating climate change and exhausting the world's resources.

Izabella Sat 21-Jan-17 14:28:54

ww the globalisation of the chemical industry is one that worries me with huge conglomerates producing chemical agricultural "aids." Many of these have a detrimental effect on the land and flora and fauna. This seems to have steamrollered ahead in front of the globalisation of the English language meaning many farmers in Africa (I use this as an example as I have worked out there) are unable to decipher instructions, dilution rates and the need for protective clothing etc. Often with disastrous consequences.

Returning to language, English to me is one of the main drivers of globalisation rendering different Englishes as the increasing norm wide world ( and one of the reasons I beat a hasty retreat from pedants corner)

This is a wonderful thread and thank you for starting this. I look forward to more comments.