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GGRA02H3 (122)


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Michael Bunce

1 The Historical Geography of Globalization What are the antecedents to modern globalization? When, how and why did the economy go global? “The World is Ten Years Old” “It was born when the Wall fell in 1989…many world markets are only recently freed…the spread of free markets and democracy around the world is permitting more people everywhere to turn their aspirations into achievements. And technology…has the power to erase not just geographical borders but also human ones” Merrill Lynch advertisement, Oct 11, 1998 But, wait a moment... • Did globalization just begin in 1989? • Has it no history? • Are there no antecedents? ANCIENT BEGINNINGS The expansionist civilizations: Greek and Roman Empires • long-distance exploration • innovation and trade • war and conquest • mapping • land clearance and irrigation • first cities Islamic empire 7th - 13th centuries Early global economy based on trade across Asia, Africa and much of Europe. Also known as the Islamic Renaissanec – artists, engineers, scholars, poets, philosophers, geographers and traders – which spread the influence of Islamic knowledge and commerce. 2 The Rise of Global Capitalism Begins to emerge at the end of the 15 century What is capitalism? Economic system based on a free market, open competition, profit motive and private ownership of the means of production (private property), and the exploitation of the surplus values of land (resources) and labour. See also see Sach’s definition – read his article about the rise of global capitalism Stages and ages of global capitalism 1. Age of exploration, encounter and conquest by European countries, notable England, Holland, Spain, Portugal: 15th-19th centuries - new lands, colonization, exploitation of resources, trade in commodities, e.g. silver, gold, sugar, cotton …, 2. Age of Enlightenment: 15th-18th centuries • Intellectual and artistic liberation • Scientific invention and discovery • New philosophies, e.g. of human relations with nature • New technologies • More exploration and trade How much were these really ages of “discovery” and “enlightenment” • Slavery and indentured labour (the first great global diaspora) In 18th century Britain shipped 2 million slaves from west Africa to the western hemisphere: 400,000 to America, 1.6 m. to the Caribbean Portugal shipped 2m. to Brazil. • Destruction of indigenous civilizations, through war, but especially the introduction of European diseases like smallpox and measles. • Imposition of European culture and political systems • Displacement of subsistence agriculture by commercial plantations • Resource degradation – deforestation, soil erosion 3 This age produced
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