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What Is Globalisation

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There are many theories that try to define and explain globalisation. What is commonly accepted by most of them is the fact that globalisation is a multidimensional process. The major aspects of globalisation are economical, political and cultural. It can be claimed that globalisation in our days has created a strong debate field where supporters and opponents of globalisation, act in very dynamic ways. The antiglobalisation movement has become a global social movement that has many supporters in a big number of countries who think of globalisation as a big threat to their world. On the other hand, support of globalisation is also widespread in many countries, and what strengthens this support is the belief that globalisation is the progress and the future.

For some, globalisation is not a new phenomenon. This view has to do mainly with the economical aspect of globalisation. According to this view, globalisation is described as the process which involves growing economic “interdependence” of countries worldwide. But the economic interdependence is not a new phenomenon (Singh, 2000:3). By the second half of the 19th century Adam Smith’s theories and the “Laissez Faire, Laissez Passer” age were flouring. Especially from 1870 to 1913 there were almost no restrictions on the movement of goods, capital and labour across national boundaries and the government intervention in economic activity was minimal (Singh, 2000:5). Therefore, perhaps it is not proper to talk of a new phenomenon but instead for a continuously transforming process.

In terms of economics and finance, globalisation is considered to be above all an economic phenomenon which is spreading widespread (Mebrahtu, 2000:22). Globalisation is described here as the increasing transnationalisation of the world economy where government restrictions on the movement of goods and capital have been removed towards the creation of a borderless world. At this point, the importance of the global markets is far bigger than the nation-states (Wilding ; George, 2002:3).

Globalisation could not have the form that it has today without the rapid technology development. One example of technology innovation is the use of the World Wide Web which provides the means for easy and fast money transfers and also provides the opportunity for quick business deals with the use of a button. Moreover, the technological innovation in transportation has created a fast way to trade goods all around the world. But, although globalisation is considered to help the big financial corporations, there are examples of small businesses that managed to survive the effects of globalisation by using the new technologies.

One example of the above is one small family business that produced cheese in Wales (Eleutherotypia, 24/12/03:48). The company was about to shut down but with a new management and investment policy the family company managed to stay alive. What they did was that they used the internet to promote and sell their wide range of cheese products to all over the world. So, anyone, regardless of where he is located, can order their products through Internet by using his credit card and receive it after maximum 4 days. But many believe that this case might not be applicable for the vast majority of small businesses that can not handle the rules of the competitive market and are forced to shut down or to be bought by major corporations

The political dimension of globalisation, has to do mainly with the view that globalisation is a demonstration of the triumph of Capitalism over Communism. Globalisation, in terms the financial means, would not be possible outside of the existence of Capitalism. Moreover, the rise of new-liberalism over socialism gives a push to Globalisation. It is not accidental that globalisation became noticeable in the beginning of the 90’s where the dominance of new-liberalism was consolidating.

The economic values of globalisation are in line with those of capitalism and contrary to the values of socialist central planning. Globalisation as a process, has led to the latest stage of capitalism that is global capitalism or globalism and furthermore, according to Sivanandan, if imperialism is the latest stage of capitalism, globalism is the latest stage of imperialism (Wilding & George, 2002:9).

The change of power is another issue that is under consideration through the political dimension of globalisation. The borderless nation-states along with the easements that the nation-states are offering to the Multi National Companies tend to give the impression that the companies are taking control .MNCs are considered to be the force that will shape the course of events. The state will serve, prepare the ground for the MNC giants, and will gradually retreat and give more power to them. An example of this view is the fact that many people still believe that the recent war of the US against Iraq was held because the big Oil Companies wanted to in order to take advantage of Iraq’s natural oil wealth.

Finally, the cultural dimension of globalisation is the third most important aspect. The positive side of this aspect is the fact that because of globalisation, people come across and meet different cultures. The Chinese restaurants in the western countries are a great example of exchanging cultures and meeting of new ethics and beliefs. From this aspect globalisation can be considered as a process where culture and civilisations meet. According to Anthony Giddens globalisation is the intensification of worldwide social relations which link distant localities in such a way that local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away and vice versa (Renton, 2001: 5).

The negative aspect of globalisation in terms of culture has to do with modernisation. Modernisation is considered as a phenomenon of western societies and is one of the main aspects that globalisation promotes. But this modernising of the world is actually an attempt to westernise the world (Featherstone, 1995: 48). Of course, at this point it is not proper to speak of exchanging cultures but in the contrary for an attempt of homogenisation under the western culture. One example of this westernisation is the Chinese. The Chinese have great tradition in culture and civilisation but still the effects of westernisation are visible to the way they live today. They follow the western fashion in clothes, watch western movies (Hollywood) and eat western food (McDonalds). And one can imagine that they are still at the beginnings of globalisation.

Finally, what must be mentioned is that there is an interdependence of the dimensions of globalisation. The three dimensions are interconnected and depend to each other. Though, the debate about globalisation has already started and all the signs indicate that it will be an unfair battle of today’s remaining ideologies.

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