• Globalization I

    Definition of Globalization


    Impressions of Globalization


    Causes of Globalization


    Global Profiles of Major Corporations


    Unequal Economic Development


    Culture Wars


    Global, Moral, Religious and Political Values


    World Government


    Current Governing Institutions

  • Experimental Learning Tools

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Definition Ans

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Globalization: Definition

ANSWER:"A" is probably the most reasonable answer.

Globalization may be defined as:

A. the closer integration of the economies, cultures, and political interests of the countries and peoples of the world

B. a plot by developed countries to economically and politically dominate undeveloped countries

C. "world trade" by another name

D. postmodernism


Globalization might be understood, in more limited terms, as merely increased world trade (answer C), but much of world trade is now directly influenced by trade agreements, international law, international financial markets, and organizations such as the WTO and the IMF that have political as well as economic aims. In addition, improved means of communications and cultural exchange have created the beginnings of a global culture.

The fact that the IMF appears to be controlled by a limited number of developed nations has led some critics to the conclusion that "globalization" is really just a plot by developed countries to politically and economically dominate other countries (answer B). While politics do enter into the decisions of the IMF, this "conspiracy theory" view should probably be viewed as an extremist position.

As for postmodernism (answer D), this is a form of moral and intellectual skepticism, currently popular worldwide. This is an aspect of globalization, or of an emerging global culture, rather than a definition of it.

Read the following definitions. This information will be used in the remainder of the course.

Definitions of Globalization:

1. Joseph Stiglitz, an economist and winner of the Nobel Prize defines Globalization as follows:

Globalization "is the closer integration of the countries and peoples of the world ...brought about by the enormous reduction of costs of transportation and communication, and the breaking down of artificial barriers to the flows of goods, services, capital, knowledge, and people across borders." (from Globalization and its Discontents)

2. Thomas Friedman, political reporter for the New York Times, defines Globalization in terms of PARADIGM SHIFTS. We can compare the contemporary world to the world of the Cold War prior to the fall of Communism (1989). The following is a partial list of contrasts derived from Thomas Friedman's book The Lexus and the Olive Tree.

Paradigm Shifts from the Cold War to the Age of Globalization
ColdWar Globalization
(of nations, markets and technologies)
the Wallthe Web
8% of world's countries
have free markets
28% of world's countries
have free markets
Different culturesGlobal culture
Weight (megatons)Speed (megabits)
Power of nationsPower of individuals, markets

3. Go to the Glossary section of the UC Atlas of Global Inequality ( Scroll down to the definition of Globalization.

THIS DEFINITION IS THE CLOSEST TO THE UNDERSTANDING OF GLOBALIZATION THAT WILL BE DEVELOPED IN THIS COURSE. Note the many other terms that are defined at the UC Atlas. You will find the glossary, as well as the many other parts of the UC Atlas site, a useful tool for this course. The definition is reproduced here for your convenience:

"Globalization, global integration: ...a widening, deepening and speeding up of interconnectedness in all aspects of contemporary social life from the cultural to the criminal, the financial to the spiritual...(Held and McGrew 1999: 2). Several dimensions of globalization can usefully be identified. These dimensions can often be analyzed separately even though they may have powerful interconnections. Economic globalization means the greater global connectedness of economic activities, through transnational trade, capital flows and migration. Environmental globalization could include the increasingly global effects of human activity on the environment. Cultural globalization may highlight the connections among languages, ways of living, and fears of global homogeneity through the spread of North American and European languages and culture. Political globalization may include wider acceptance of global political standards such as human rights, democracy, labor standards, environmental standards, as well as the greater coordination of actions by governments and other institutions across the globe." -- Source: UC Atlas of Global Inequality (

Note that in the above definition, Globalization is divided into four aspects or dimensions:

  • Economic
  • Environmental
  • Political
  • Cultural

In the modules used in this course, we will be primarily concerned with economic, political, and cultural issues.

Also note that the definition cites Held and McGrew who emphasize


as one of the general features of Globalization.

(NOTE: The reference is not complete, but is probably from an earlier edition of one of their books. See Resources/Links at main Mindtools site.

The UC Atlas definition emphasizes that while


these trends are also leading to potential


We shall be examining these trends, or economic, political, and cultural forces, throughout this course.

Click HERE to complete this module and take the final Definition Quiz.

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