Intro to Globalization
What is Globalization?
“A contested term relating to the transformation of spatial relations that involves a change in
the relationship between space, economy, and society.” – Daniels et al. 2000
“Globalization is a collection of dialectical human agency driven processes which create local-
local and person-person networks of inclusion/compression that increasingly transcend
territorial/national borders and stretch to become global in proportion.” – Warwick Murray,
“A stage of capitalist development, where market-based and profit-oriented forces, prevail in
almost any single production and exchange of goods and services.” – A Marxist view
“Globalization is an endeavor that can spread worldwide the values of freedom and civil contact
– the antithesis of terrorism!” – Alan Greenspan
“Globalization, like the telephone, is both a blessing and a curse… globalization is like a giant
wave that can either capsize nation or carry them forward on its crest… “ – Joe Stiglitz
“Globalization is a process (or a set of processes) which embodies a transformation in the spatial
organization of social relation and transactions – assessed in terms of their extensity, intensity,
velocity, and impact – generating transcontinental or interregional flows and networks of
activity, interaction, and the exercise of power” – David Held et al.
Geographic perspective – the shrinking of the space time continuum through technological
innovation and international migration – that has accelerated the degree of spatial interaction
taking place around the globe today.
Is Globalization a good thing?
Free trade creates wealth
o New liberal economy (privatization, tariffs, etc)
o Allows countries that have resources to take advantage and maximize profit
Spread of ideas promote democracy and awareness of human rights
o Know what’s going on elsewhere in the world and adopt new ideas
Ex. Empowerment of women
The human experience is enriched by the sharing of ideas, cultures, and customs.
Is Globalization a Bad Thing?
Creates “haves” and “have-nots”
The McDonaldization of the world (George Ritzer)
o Less emphasis on quality, less humans, more packaging, more machines.
quantity vs. quality The conquest of American-style capitalism
o No middle-man
o Let companies do the business and reap most of the most profits
o Little government involvement and/or intervention
Un-elected bureaucrats in WTO and IMF are running the world.
o Allowing countries with more money and military base to dictates policies
Propelling Globalization into the Limelight
Huge riots in Seattle in 1999 to protest WTO Meeting, and in other meetings (IMF, World Bank)
o Profit maximization, not looking out for other countries
Homogenization of Culture Around the World
Cultural imperialism – opposite to cultural diversity
o Cultural domination
o Westernized culture
Eroding smaller, ethnic cultures
Leading to rise of hybrid ethnic cultures (Little Italy, Chinatown, etc)
Loss of indigenous culture
Decline of the Nation-State and Rise of Supra-National Organizations
Broad Perspectives on Globalization – Competing Ideas
1. Pro – globalization
a. Market economies, free trade, open markets – neoliberalism
i. Theory that nation-states should not interfere in the economy because
they make things inefficient
ii. Promotes unfettered capital flows and TNC penetration
iii. Primary economic rationale used to promote globalization
iv. Not a popular theory for some
b. Important and progressive ideas
c. Capitalism is good
i. Promotes economic growth/efficiency
ii. Leads to global welfare 2. Anti – globalization
a. Is a threat to society and environment
b. Like colonialism of the past
c. Global economic inequality increasing
d. Especially affects already marginalized groups like poor, women, minorities, etc.
3. Alter – globalization
a. Path of globalization is not pre-determined – it can evolve in different ways
(there is a fork in the road)
b. People and governments can resist and regulate process.
i. Good outcomes from process can take different paths.
*** However… “There is no point in being for or against globalization. Like the weather, it is just there!
One should concentrate on how to live with it, maximize its benefits, and minimize its cost!” – Colin