GS101 Chapter 2-Globalization and History: Week 1
Is Globalization a New Phenomenon?
-Technology only provides a partial explanation of globalization. Though most people think it is the only
part of globalization.
-Technology however has played a crucial role in the expansion and intensification of social relations and
consciousness around the world and world-space.
-Modern day technology has come from improvements on past technology. Hence we need to look at
history to study globalization.
-Globalization represents the continuation and extension of complex processes that begin with the
emergence of modernity and the capitalist world system
-All researchers put a cap on how far they think globalization goes back.
The Prehistoric Period (10 000 BCE – 3500 BCE)
-12 000 years ago small bands of hunters and gatherers reached the southern tip of South America. That
settled all 5 continents.
-The successful endeavour of the South American nomads rested on the migratory achievements of the
Siberian ancestors who had crossed the Bering Strait into North America a thousand years earlier
-Contact among thousands of hunter and gatherers spread across the world.
-10 000 years ago humans took the step of producing their own food which changed human interaction.
-Over time food surpluses achieved by herders and farmers led to population increases, which
established permanent villages and the construction of fortified towns.
-For the first time, these farming societies were able to support two additional social classes whose
members did not participate in food production.
-The one group spent their creative energies toward the invention of new technologies such as iron
tools, and ornaments.
-The second group comprised of soldiers who later played a role in the monopolization of the means of
violence in the hands of the rulers, and establishing new territories.
-Globalization in this period was extremely limited.
The Pre-modern Period (3500 BCE-1500 BCE)
-The invention of writing in Egypt and central China between 3500 and 2000 BCE roughly coincided with
the invention of the wheel around 3000 BCE in South West Asia.
-These inventions amounted to one of the technological and social boosts that moved globalization to a
-The diffusion of these new technologies to distant parts of the continent occurred within a few
-The wheel spurred infrastructural innovations such as permanent roads and animal drawn carts. Which
led to faster and more efficient transportation of people and goods.
-Empires then came into existence. Due to their previous inventions, the Chinese empire was teh most
enduring and technologically advanced.
-China created much more technological innovations: redesigned ploughshares, hydraulic engineering,
gunpowder, tapping of natural gas, etc.
-China also created the cast irrigation system which consisted of small canals which led to one of the GS101 Chapter 2-Globalization and History: Week 1
Is Globalization a New Phenomenon?
best river transports in the world.
-The standardization of the size of cart axles and the roads they travelled on allowed Chinese merchants
for the first time to make precise calculations as to the desired quantities of imported and exported
-Towards the end of the pre-modern period, the existing global trade network consisted of several
interlocking trade circuits that connected the most populous regions of Eurasia and north-eastern Africa.
-Though throughout all this Australia developed without being connected to these countries, it
succeeded in developing major trade networks in their hemisphere.
-The sprawling networks of economic and cultural exchange triggered massive waves of migration which
led to further population increase and rapid growth of urban centres.
-In resulting cultural clashed those religions with local significance were transformed into ‘major world
religions’ – Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism
-Higher population density and more intense social interaction over great distances led to the spread of
new infectious diseases like plagues.
The Early Modern Period (1500-1750)
-“early modern” refers to the period between the Enlightenment and the Renaissance.
-The rise of the European metropolitan centres and their merchant classes represented an important
factor in strengthening globalization during this period.
-European economic entrepreneurs laid the foundation of the “capitalist world system”
-By the early 1600s national joint stock companies like the Dutch and British East India companies were
found for the purpose