continued from » Introduction

continued from » Introduction

Everybody talks about it, many people in the world protesting against it, but what is globalization in general? How does it affect everyone and the daily life? Is globalization a good development, or does it involve more disadvantages considering it at a global level (if you take every country – developed and developing country – into account)?

Globalization – Characteristics and Definition

The first time the word ‘globalization’ appeared in media was in 1962, but ‘globalization’ hasn’t been discussed on a scientific level back then. Scientists began discussions on this topic in the middle of the 1980s (cf. Haas et al. 2009, p. 13).

In addition to that, the meaning of globalization was mentioned even earlier than that. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels published the so-called ‘The Communist Manifesto’ in 1848:

„Die uralten Industrien sind vernichtet worden und werden noch taeglich vernichtet. Sie werden verdraengt durch neue Industrien, (…) die nicht mehr einheimische Rohstoffe, sondern den entlegensten Zonen angehoerige Rohstoffe verarbeiteten und deren Fabrikate nicht nur im Land selbst, sondern in allen Weltteilen zugleich verbraucht werden. An die Stelle der alten, durch Landeserzeugnisse befriedigten Beduerfnisse treten neue, welche die Produkte der entferntesten Länder und Klimate zu ihrer Befriedigung erheischen. An die Stelle der alten lokalen und nationalen Selbstgenuegsamkeit und Abgeschlossenheit tritt ein allseitiger Verkehr, eine allseitige Abhaengigkeit der Nationen voneinander. Und in der materiellen, so auch in der geistigen Produktion“ (cf. Ossenbruegge 2007, p. 834)

This extract of their work shows that they foresaw the coming changes in the context of trading. They wrote about the changing of consumer behavior, and that foreign resources from around the world will replace local resources or enrich the variety of resources in order to produce different products. These products aren’t just consumed by a certain country or state, but by every nation on Earth. In order to manage that, Marx and Engels mention world trade as well as dependence amongst nations; their trading goods are not just goods but also know-how.

Now, globalization needs to be seen from different views before giving a specific definition and before it can be characterized accurately.

Globalization is seen as a more complex form of internationalization in the eyes of some scientists, due to the fact that the level of functional integration is higher among international dispersed economic activities. In fact, internationalization is the geographical expansion of economic activity which cross-borders. So, globalization can’t be put on an equal footing with internationalization (cf. Haas et al. 2009, p. 16).

The dissolution of boundaries is an advantage for independent location in context of economy, so that economic globalization can spread around the world (cf. Ossenbruegge 2007, p. 836). Globalization can be seen as a logical consequence of technological development (which allows us to communicate whenever wherever) and the dissolution of boundaries. This is called ‘time-space-compression’ (see illustration 2) due to the fact that space is not seen as it was: the world we live in is much smaller than the world 100 years ago. Also, time is not an issue any more because you can communicate to the other end of the world by using the internet, ships can liver goods faster and so do airplanes (cf. Haas et al. 2009, p. 13 ff.).

Time Space Compression

Illustration 2: redesigned Illustration by McHale which shows the ‘time-space-compression’ (source: Bathelt and Glueckler 2003, p. 264)

Characteristics of Globalization

Globalization has an origin meaning it doesn’t just appear like that, it is caused by specific political decisions.

So, what are the characteristics?

Globalization is driven by the following factors: the meaning of space has been changing (‘time-space-compression’) so that borders are not that important anymore because nations, cities, etc. are linked together so that a network system arose out of it. Another characteristic of globalization is the development of global systems. These characteristics imply trading, international transfer of service and finance. (cf. Kulke 2010, S.84 f.) Globalization is a process which combines the expansion of social networks, including the compression of these networks, so that a global reciprocation (interaction) can grow. In order to that progress a transformation among the participants can accelerate (cf. Haas et al. 2009, S.14).

Globalization – Definition

The aforementioned facts about globalization offer a good foundation to get to the closer meaning of globalization. Actually it is clear what globalization is and what its characteristics are, so that the following definition sums up the already mentioned facts.

Taking ‘time-space-compression’ into account, globalization can be seen as a changing scale of space and time. Due to that fact, global social networks form a connection between faraway places so that events happening thousands of miles away from where you are, you can still see the causes by that everywhere in the world (cf. Haas et al. 2009, p.15). For example, the financial crisis between 2006 and 2008 which was caused by the USA affected every finance system in the world. It could be seen on the stock market in Tokyo as well as in Europe.

Globalization is defined as a global intensification of competition (cf. Zinn 2000, p.4) associated with global free trade. Due to that facts prosperity grows worldwide but it is not evenly distributed (cf. Deutscher Bundestag 2002).

Globalization is also seen as the explanation of development in capitalism (cf. Zinn 2000, p.2):

“Der kapitalistische Markt [ist] als natuerliches Schicksal und die Globalisierung als ‚fortgeschrittenste‘ Stufe der Entfaltung dieser Schicksalsmacht [zu nennen]“ (Zinn 2000, p. 2)

By that quote Zinn sees globalization as a further development of capitalism.